The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has recognized Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) for its ability to respond to public health emergencies.
As local health departments nationwide strive to protect the public from new and infectious diseases, bioterrorism, natural disasters, and other public health threats, LCDHE met the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We've worked very hard over the past several years to upgrade our ability to quickly and effectively respond to public health crises in Larimer County," said Janelle Henderson, the Emergency Preparedness coordinator for the Health Department. "We are all very proud to have our work recognized by Project Public Health Ready as having achieved a high level of preparedness."
Henderson stresses, however, that the work is ongoing.
"This certification does not mean out work is done," she said. "We can never be fully prepared for every unique and unexpected public health emergency, but the level we have achieved gives us the confidence that we can face the challenges each situation presents us."
"NACCHO commends Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for being a model of public health emergency preparedness," said Robert Pestronk, Executive Director of NACCHO. "The public health system is making great strides thanks to the good work of leaders in local public health preparedness such as Larimer County Department of Health and Environment."
Mark Richards, president of the Larimer County Board of Health, expressed his pride in the Department's staff and hard work in achieving this important recognition:
"The Board values highly the competency of the Department and is confident that it is well-prepared to deal with emergency situations if they arise. The Department is well known for its collaboration with other local, State, and National agencies in responding to public health emergencies."
Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a thorough evaluation process by peer review. PPHR required Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to meet expectations in public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning; workforce competency; and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event. The recognition confirms that Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has an emergency response plan in place, the plan is connected to other jurisdictional emergency response plans, agency staff members are trained, and the plan is exercised and used during public health emergencies.
"This community is a leader in emergency preparedness-in public health, in public safety, and in other disciplines," said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, the health department director. "Still, the most important factor in determining whether we succeed in responding to an emergency will be the actions of our citizens in advance planning, cooperating with authorities, and helping each other in a time of crisis."