About Public Health

The History of Public Health Nursing

In 1888 Colorado celebrated the first graduate from a school of nursing. Following this event in 1893, The Denver Flower Mission hired nurses to visit the sick in their homes. The key phrase used for this was “Public Health Nursing.” From 1920-1924 The Colorado Tuberculosis Association established public health nursing services in Colorado. Around this time Eugenie Atwell, RN – PHN with the CTA worked in Rio Grande County promoting interest in health programs.  Within this period, The Maternity &
Infancy Act of 1921 often called the Sheppard-Towner Act was established which was the first major piece of legislation after the Women’s Suffrage set a precedent for grants to the states. A prototype of patterns in federal-state-local relationships. This was the first major funding to lower infant & maternal mortality rates. Rio Grande County has a proud history of valuable workers including Maude Hawson, RN who worked in Del Norte to improve sanitation and health habits and Ester Phillips, RN who
translated into Spanish and printed pamphlets on the care of pink eye, scabies, and body lice specifically in the Monte Vista area.

Rio Grande County Public Health as of Today

As of today, Rio Grande County Public Health specializes in offering comprehensive travel health consultation, education, immunizations, and expert advice for individuals. Our primary goal is to help ensure that we as a whole community are living healthy and high-quality lives. Our staff wants to empower the people of Rio Grande County to make informed decisions and
adopt behaviors that protect and enhance the health of individuals, families, communities, and the environment. To meet new challenges head-on, local public health has identified positive and valuable relationships with local physicians who care deeply about serving the community and leaders from various agencies within the county who are engaged, active, and supportive. It is the mission of Rio Grande County Public Health to be on the frontline identifying gaps in our community and utilizing resources to neutralize those obstacles. Rio Grande County Public Health has been a valuable resource providing services aimed at
promoting, achieving, and maintaining a healthy standard of living by offering many resources and programs including Maternal & Child Health, Emergency Preparedness, Substance Use Prevention, Health Equity, Immunizations, Disease Prevention, and many more…