Drinking Water Week Emphasizes Importance of Clean Water

Drinking Water Week Emphasizes Importance of Clean Water

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us


Mesa County Public Health is celebrating Drinking Water Week by highlighting the work of our Regional Lab. Water is an important resource that plays a crucial role in daily life for everyone in our community. Our team works hard to ensure the water we drink is safe. 


Regional Lab Water Services

Homeowners with private wells can have their water tested to ensure its safety. Our water quality program provides bacterial testing for drinking water and irrigation water samples. In 2022, we processed 3,500 water samples. 

“We want to make sure everyone in our community has access to safe drinking water,” said Lab Supervisor Michelle Colon. Safe and clean water is a necessity. It is a key factor that contributes to the overall health and wellness of our residents.”

We offer water testing in our Regional Lab Monday through Thursday. The lab is certified through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Visit our website for more information about the Regional Lab.

Air Quality Awareness Week Reminds Residents to Check Conditions

Air Quality Awareness Week Reminds Residents to Check Conditions

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us


Air quality directly affects the health and wellness of our community.  Mesa County Public Health monitors air quality so we can notify the community when there are concerns. Air Quality Awareness Week is a time to highlight the importance of protecting air quality, tips for planning outdoor activities, and the overall importance of clean air.


Tools to Monitor Air Quality

Our Environmental Health team uses local data to help inform the community about current air quality conditions and any changes that are expected. We rely on data from the National Weather Service and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as sensors that volunteers place at their homes or businesses to measure pollutants in the air. The Purple Air Sensor Map on our website shows air quality at different locations in the Grand Valley using those sensors. Residents can also check out the air quality camera snapshots showing visibility conditions. 

You can also:


What Residents Can Do

Check  air quality when you’re planning an outdoor activity. Visit our Air Quality webpage. You’ll see in the upper right corner what the Air Quality Index (AQI) is for our area.

There are several levels of the Air Quality Index (AQI). Most days in Mesa County the AQI is in the ‘Good’ range. It means air quality is safe for being outside. 

We can all help improve air quality as a community with small actions like driving less, riding a bike or walking instead of driving, composting instead of burning yard waste, and by reducing our waste in general.


Trends in Local Air Quality

Recent trends in Colorado and Western states include warmer and drier air. As a result, we’re seeing more wildfires, both in quantity and in intensity. This produces greater volumes of smoke, which we all breathe. Immuno-compromised, our elderly population, and kids are the most affected. For example, low levels of air pollution can impact lung development in children. Even healthy individuals may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to more pollutants in the air, like coughing, congestion, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Because of this, it is important that we maintain our clean air here in the Grand Valley. Rain and snow can help improve air quality. As rain droplets (or snowflakes) fall to the ground, they can collect air pollutants on their surface and drag them to the ground, “cleaning” the air. 

Unfortunately, less precipitation overall also means less cleaning of the air so particulates and other pollutants may linger longer. Also, more travel to and from our county, or an increase in population means more emissions from vehicles, businesses, and construction. It all impacts the quality of life and health of a community in the long term. 


Burn Permit Update

People who have burn permits also need to know air conditions to make sure it’s safe to burn.  Permitting goals include protecting the health and safety of residents and to reduce pollution in Mesa County. The spring open burn season recently finished in the City of Grand Junction. It continues through May 31 for residential permit holders in Mesa County. Agricultural permit holders in Mesa County may burn year round, provided conditions are okay for open burning.

If you have questions or need help, call us at 970-248-6900. Air conditions can change quickly, so it’s important for people  to check our website on a regular basis. During the first quarter, Mesa County Public Health issued three No Burn Advisories.


Mesa County Public Health Program Helps First-Time Moms Manage Stress

Mesa County Public Health Program Helps First-Time Moms Manage Stress

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us


April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month. Stress can have a negative impact on a person’s overall health and well-being. Managing stress is critical to creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Stress can take many forms. For many women, the transition into motherhood can be stressful. Nurse-Family Partnership is a program at Mesa County Public Health that works with first-time moms to help alleviate this stress.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) offers support for women during pregnancy and up to their child’s second birthday. Each mom in the program is connected with a specially trained, registered nurse who will visit a few times a month. Last year, NFP nurses completed more than 3,000 visits to serve 267 clients in Mesa County.

“We worked with one local mom who had a baby under one and another on the way. She was dealing with her own health issues. Her husband had a stable job, but their housing situation was a challenge. There were days she felt overwhelmed. That’s where NFP nurses come in,” said Amanda Jensen, a manager for Nurse-Family Partnership. “Having a nurse visit her in person regularly made all the difference in knowing she and her husband could handle two children under two.”

The nurses help women learn and practice things that make them more confident as a mom, like breastfeeding, nutrition, child development, and safe-sleep techniques. The visits also include mental and physiological health evaluations, which enables the nurses to tailor their support and education to each mom. These women are also being connected to other resources that can help. Helping women have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, can reduce stress surrounding pregnancy, especially for first-time moms.

“Our nurses are fully invested in advocating for and providing new mothers with the confidence and tools they need not only to ensure a healthy start for their babies, but to envision a life of stability and opportunity for success for both mom and child,” said Jensen.

Research has shown this support leads to better pregnancy outcomes, as well as improved child health and development, and increased economic self-sufficiency. Nurse-Family Partnership empowers first-time moms to have a healthy future.

First-time moms must meet the eligibility requirement to become involved. Visit our website to sign up for the program.  


Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet Ahead of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet Ahead of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us




Saturday, April 22 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Mesa County residents are encouraged to get rid of their unwanted or expired prescriptions to keep kids and adults from misusing them. People may do so safely at several locations in Mesa County throughout the week. These collection sites will only take prescriptions during their regular business hours listed below.




Canyon View Pharmacy
2373 G Rd. Suite 120
Mon.- Fri. 8:30AM – 6:30PM

St. Mary’s Hospital
2635 N 7th St.
Box in Main Lobby
Open 24 hours

240 W Park Dr.
Mon.-Fri. 10AM-6PM

All locations
Hours vary by location



Family Health West
300 W Ottley Ave.
Mon.-Fri. 7AM-6PM



Palisade Pharmacy
707 Elberta Ave. Suite B
Mon.-Fri. 9AM-6PM
Sat. 9AM-3PM




Keep these practices in mind as you take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

  • Keep your medicine in the bottle when you return it.
  • Don’t crush your medicine. It can create a dangerously high dose that could accidentally be taken in through skin contact or breathing.
  • Items you cannot drop off include:
    • Aerosol cans
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Illegal drugs
    • Inhalers
    • Needles 
    • Thermometers
    • Liquids
    • Lotions
    • Empty bottles
  • Do not flush pills or dump liquid medication down the drain. It could hurt the environment and potentially harm the food and water supply.
  • If you must dispose of medication at home:
    • Remove labels, or cross out any identifying information on the container.
    • Mix the medicine with something that cannot be eaten, like kitty litter, coffee grounds, or saw dust. Put in a sealable bag or other container that won’t leak.
    • Wrap the container in newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents and place it into the trash.
  • Needles are accepted at the Mesa County Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.
    • They are open Wednesday – Saturday from 8 AM to 4:15 PM.
    • The service is free for the public.
    • The needle must be enclosed in a hard, plastic container. For example, an empty laundry detergent bottle would work.
    • There must not be any substances left inside of it.
    • The facility accepts over-the-counter medications as well, but not prescriptions.




Prescription drug use and misuse is an issue that impacts residents of all ages in Mesa County. The overall overdose rate per 10,000 people in Mesa County is highest in 12-17 year olds, but opioid overdose is most prevalent in 25-44 year olds. In 2021, 38 residents died from an overdose, doubling the number of deaths just three years prior in 2018. Over the past 12 months, monthly overdose visits to local emergency departments and outpatient clinics remained steady. Opioid prescription rates have declined steadily since 2016, but still remain higher in Mesa County than Colorado.

“The drug overdose epidemic is a serious public health and safety threat,” said Brandon Gray with the Mesa County Opioid Response Group. “We are committed to making the community safer and healthier, by connecting key organizations to address all aspects of substance misuse. Participating in events like these help raise awareness of the issue and promote safety for those around you.” 

The Mesa County Opioid Response Group (MCORG) is working to address substance misuse in the community by expanding drug misuse prevention and education and improving treatment access and retention. Learn more about MCORG’s current work and opportunities to get involved at healthymesacounty.org.


Air Quality Awareness Week Reminds Residents to Check Conditions

Mesa County Public Health Celebrates National Public Health Week

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us


Public health is community health. 

National Public Health Week, which is celebrated the first week of April, is a time to recognize the contributions of Public Health. Our mission at Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is to work together to anticipate and respond to conditions that impact the health of residents and visitors in Mesa County. 

“Our collaborative approach is unique. Our teams are all connected to a bigger picture. We’re not just working to make the community healthier and safer today- we’re improving systems that lead to sustained change over time,” said Executive Director Jeff Kuhr.

Part of our approach includes looking at conditions in communities that impact people’s health and well-being. “Our environment impacts our health in a significant way. How close do you live to a grocery store that has fresh fruit and vegetables? Do you have a park in your neighborhood or a safe walkable trail? We like to step back and look at these conditions,” said Kuhr.

We can improve the health of residents by addressing certain factors:

  • increasing access to preventive health care and mental health services.
  • improving the environment and conditions for community members to choose a healthy lifestyle.
  • strengthening economic resilience through an economy that supports the local workforce.
  • building social connectedness across neighborhoods.

We work with our partners to address these concerns and find solutions that are unique to Mesa County. More than 50 partners work with us on different initiatives like the Clifton Community Transformation Group. Community leaders are developing solutions that lead to connection and a sense of community in Clifton.

We work to support local families and help them become more economically stable. Our Grand Valley Connects team provides enhanced resource navigation and enrollment support for services. Our WIC team serves 2,800 families each month with each family receiving about $100 worth of healthy foods. This enables families to afford other needs. We understand that child care is essential economic infrastructure and work to improve the quality and quantity of child care in Mesa County.

Our team helps create environments that promote health and safety. In 2022, MCPH performed over 500 inspections at local businesses including restaurants, body art parlors, pools, and schools. We work with businesses that people visit every day to make sure they are operating safely. Meanwhile, the Trails Crew built nearly ten miles of new trail at 18 Road to provide easier access to outdoor recreation.



By offering these services and resources, our agency gives residents the opportunity to thrive. We are grateful to serve the community and are looking forward to expanding our programs. For example, our regional lab is expanding to provide more services and we are launching in-person food safety courses.

Our work would not be possible without the vision of our Executive Director, Jeff Kuhr. He makes sure our team has the tools needed to continue the work of public health-  improving the health of our families and future generations.

“Improving the quality of life for people in Mesa County is at the heart of what we do. Our focus in 2023 is continued innovation. We’re excited to continue our work to improve and expand the systems that support the health and well-being of our community,” said Kuhr.

Mesa County Public Health Nurses Help You Prepare for Vacation

Mesa County Public Health Nurses Help You Prepare for Vacation

Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 sarah.gray@mesacounty.us



The nurses at Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) are experts when it comes to travel vaccines. They can help residents determine what is needed depending on where they are traveling. The nurses research and stay up to date on all recommendations and requirements, and can access information that travelers may need in order to make decisions about their vaccine needs. 

“Travel vaccines allow people to travel to areas they may not be able to go to without. It also ensures they will remain healthy on their trip. We are the only full-service travel vaccine clinic between Denver and Salt Lake,” said Allison Sanchez, the Clinical Services Manager. 

In 2022, the Public Health Clinic nurses provided 367 travel vaccinations. These vaccines protect people from illness that may be prevalent in the area they are visiting. All environments are different and it is important to know what you may encounter when traveling. The vaccines also protect people who are native to that area from a person bringing illness into the country. Like all vaccines, they protect the person, and those around them. 



Call 970-248-6900 to make an appointment. Keep in mind, some immunizations need to be given over the course of several appointments, so it’s better to contact us as soon as possible before your trip. For more information on travel vaccines, head to our website.



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