Adams County has appointed a former Tri County Health Department employee as director of the newly formed Adams County Health Department, the body that oversees public health in the county following Tri County’s demise in early 2023.
One of the new division’s top priorities is to “achieve health equity,” the appointed director, Dr. Kelly Weidenbach, said in a news release.
“We often talk about raising the voices of communities and populations who have historically been underrepresented, underrepresented and may be experiencing adverse or disproportionate outcomes,” Weidenbach said in a release. said.
The Tri-County Health partnership, which has provided health services to Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties for over 50 years, has been severely disrupted by Douglas county disagreements over COVID-19 policy and will soon cease to exist.
The process of withdrawing the three counties from the Tri-County comes as the Douglas County Commissioner decided to leave the Department of Health immediately in September 2021 after months of disagreements over COVID-19 protection measures. started.
Tri-County gained prominence in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic as it imposed mask requirements in schools and the general public. not exposed to the eye.
For example, the Adams County Department of Health offers residents discounted or free access to a variety of clinical services, including immunizations, chronic disease prevention, and registration to provide free meals to women and their children who cannot afford to buy groceries. Offers. According to a news release, the availability of monkeypox testing will increase in the coming months, enabling treatment and testing for sexual health, family planning and sexually transmitted infections.
County agencies take many forms
The composition of the Adams and Arapahoe counties health departments appears to be set to recruit more former Tri County leaders than the Douglas health department.
Tri-County lists its 10 staff members as its “executive team.” This is a group of leaders who oversee priorities such as emergency preparedness, disease surveillance and environmental health. Arapahoe County has scooped up six of these leaders, plus the former Tori County Nursing Director, to work for his one county health department scheduled for July. .
Adams County would absorb one of these ten leaders, plus a former policy expert from Trie County, in addition to Weidenbach. Douglas County is not hiring any of these key three-county employees as of July.
The Douglas County Health Department had not announced high-profile hiring of previous Tri County employees, but the new division will absorb a handful of employees from retired agencies.
“We have hired two people from Tri-County so far, and we expect to probably have about 10 more,” a Douglas County statement said in late July.
The Douglas County Health Department has a potential workforce of about 35 full-time employees and two contractors, according to an April 19 working session with the county’s elected leader, the County Commission. An organizational chart of the staff surfaced.
Meanwhile, the Adams County Health Department plans to employ about 170 people in total, though that number could change, said Adams County Commissioner Lynn Baka.
“We have at least 60 staff from Tri-County Health in various positions,” Baca told Colorado Community Media in July.
Arapahoe County will employ up to 180 people for the health department, according to Arapahoe County spokesperson Luc Huttlestad.
When asked how many lower-level Trie County health workers are expected to work in the Arapahoe County Health Department, Arapahoe County said in a July statement: (Arapahoe County Health) leadership and Trie County employees certainly have a wealth of relevant experience and expertise. ”
Focus on a diverse population
The split in Tori County began with the secession of Douglas County, but Adams County’s elected leaders have shown some enthusiasm for secession – though not because they opposed masking early in the pandemic.
Baca describes the transition as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and a doorway to better meet the unique needs of Adams County residents.
Dr Sheila Mahnke of the Adams County Health Board said in a news release: (The Health Board is the policy-making body of the health sector.)
Colorado Community Media reported in 2021 that 41% of Adams County residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, and 46% identify as exclusively white. For the last 10 years. “Majority Minority” means that the majority of the residents are people of color.
Mental health, addiction may be a priority
Weidenbach, who will serve as executive director of the Adams County Health Department, was previously named Adams County Public Health Transition Commissioner. This was the position that would guide the county toward its transition to the new Public Health Service. The county announced her new position on September 1st.
“We are also taking seriously our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as communities may have lost traction on key health issues such as mental health, substance abuse, and physical and mental well-being. We are looking at where there is,” says Weidenbach. news release.
“Mental and behavioral health is certainly the focus of the Commission. So how can we develop and build capacity within the new health sector to address barriers to improving mental health in our communities? We will consider whether,” Weidenbach said in a release.
Tori County Health Department,
COVID-19 (new coronavirus infectious disease)