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2017 Denver Youth Health Assessment Examines Opportunities, Threats Facing Local Youth

Community health data provides insights on how to better support youth health

Monday, January 22, 2018

Be Healthy Denver, a joint effort between the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Public Health and several partner organizations throughout the city, today released the 2017 Denver Youth Health Assessment, the city’s first report focused specifically on evaluating youth health in Denver. The release follows a year-long effort that involved collecting and analyzing input from more than 400 youth ages 15 to 25 and 21 youth-serving organizations.

Staff from Denver Public Health and Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment guided nine youth leaders who were instrumental in executing all aspects of the work—from designing the approach, to collecting and analyzing data, to developing the final report. With data they collected from more than 400 peer surveys and four focus groups, they identified four overarching themes affecting youth health in Denver. These themes focused around young people needing to be:

  • Treated and respected as unique, multi-faceted individuals.
  • Guided toward a positive and healthy future.
  • Resilient and able to bounce back.
  • Connected to their communities.

The data also uncovered key threats affecting youth health and the health of their families and communities. These include mental health and substance use; challenges to living a healthy life; exposure to violence; and inadequate access to health care, among others.

“Involving youth from the beginning of this process was the key to hearing their voice,” said Bill Burman, MD, executive director, Denver Public Health. “It is a complex time to be growing up in Denver, and young people want to play a leading role in making things better.”

“Our youth want to become successful, independent and resilient adults,” adds Bob McDonald, executive director Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment. “All members of our community can read this assessment and take immediate steps to help all youth in Denver pursue a healthy future.”

For more information or to download a copy of the 2017 Denver Youth Health Assessment, visit BeHealthyDenver.org. A video about the report is also available on YouTube.

About Be Healthy Denver

Be Healthy Denver imagines a community where all residents are healthy, regardless of their race, ethnicity, income level, or neighborhood in which they live. The initiative is a joint effort between the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Public Health, and several partner organizations and individuals throughout the city. Be Healthy Denver collaborates on two major efforts to improve public health in Denver—conducting community health assessments, and development and implementing a Community Health Improvement Plan. Visit BeHealthyDenver.org to learn more.

About Public Health in Denver

Together Denver Public Health, a department of Denver Health, and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, a department of the City and County of Denver, provide comprehensive, high-quality public health services to the City and County of Denver. The agencies have unique areas of expertise in public and environmental health, which are used to collaboratively serve the community. The high-quality services provided resulted in the City and County of Denver receiving national public health accreditation in 2017. Much of the work is done in partnership with community organizations in Denver’s diverse neighborhoods.

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