Teen Pregnancy is a public health issue because it is so common and is associated with many negative consequences for both the pregnant teen and the child or children.

When looking at the data we observe that infants born to a teen mother are more likely to have lower birth weights, and have a higher rate of infant mortality, as well as  increased risk of hospital admissions throughout their early childhood. The data also shows that these children also grow up in less supportive home environments, have poorer cognitive development, and are more likely to have a teen pregnancy themselves. For the teen mother they are more likely to be socially isolated, have mental health problems, and have fewer opportunities for employment and education. Teen mothers and fathers are less likely to be financially secure and this makes it more likely for families to perpetuate the cycle of inter-generational poverty.


TriCounty Health Department offers the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) at several schools as an after school club. TOP is a teen pregnancy prevention program. However, it also provides youth with the skills to be successful in life. TOP  is a suicide prevention program, substance abuse prevention program, and life skills program. It is truly a positive youth development program where well trained adults go into the schools and teach the youth life skills and provide them with volunteer opportunities. The instructors provide the education and insight so youth can choose a life path for themselves, understand how to take responsibility for their actions and their future decisions. Honestly, I’ve been teaching this program in schools for 3 going on 4 years now and have never even discussed teen pregnancy with any of the youth. We have seen our teen pregnancy rates begin to decrease in part I believe to this program.  


The program is based on a National Curriculum that instead of focusing on teen pregnancy as a topic of discussion focuses on building their skills, and teaching them how to think instead of what to think. Again, this is to give them the tools they need, and the confidence to choose their path for themselves with a better understanding of the decision making process as well as consequences associated with their decisions.


Each week we focus on a topic or service idea. Some of the topics we’ve covered this year include communication, empathy, emotion management, health and wellness, goal setting, identity, and more. For service we really try to make this meaningful by giving them what we call the CSL glow. Which is that feel good feeling where they accomplished something, they helped someone, and they did something challenging to better themselves and their community. We also try to utilize our service hours to build their skills a little more. This year we built a community garden in Vernal and it was constructed 100% by the youth. They learned how to measure out the boards, cut the boards using a saw, and how to use a drill to assemble their planter boxes

(Don’t worry, everyone had consent forms signed to do this and we taught safety while using these tools as well).


Overall, we want to teach youth that there is more they can do, more they can accomplish, and that they do have the power to accomplish whatever they want in life. Our goal is to provide youth the tools needed to take ownership of their lives, and provide the means for success for themselves, and their future families.

Listen to Give’m Health’s radio spot for more detailed information.

Reasons it is important to bike to work this spring.

  • 40% of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent.
  •   Hundreds of American communities have been successful in increasing bicycle commuting by providing Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day events. TriCounty Health Department is incouraging the community to bike to work from May 12 to May 18.
  • Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is also fun, cheap and good for the environment. Riding to work or the shops is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. An estimated one billion people ride bicycles every day – for transport, recreation and sport.

Vernal, UT- On Saturday, April 27th, local law enforcement agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 17th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Pills and patches will be accepted. (The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.


Last fall Americans turned in nearly460 tons (949,046 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners with 292 pounds collected locally.. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back Events, DEA and its partners have taken in nearly 11 million pounds– nearly 5,500 tons– of pills.


This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medicine being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines- flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash- both pose potential safety and health hazards.


Take backs are slated for Saturday, April 27th from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Al’s Foodtown in Duchesne, Stewart’s Marketplace in Roosevelt, and Walmart in Vernal.  For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Take Back Day event, go to www.tricountyhealth.com or www.DEATakeBAck.com.


Join TriCounty Health Department WIC as we celebrate Easter on Monday, April 15.

Kick butts day: Tuesday March 19 at Vernal Middle school during lunch.

What is kick Juul day?

It is an event where the Uintah County Youth Coalition educates the middle schoolers about Electronic cigarettes and the dangers of vaping. We are encouraging them to kick the Juul. They will learn how nicotine affects each part of their brain. They will also have the opportunity to sign a banner pledging to be nicotine-free.


Forty percent of teens in vernal have tried vaping, and 17 percent are currently vaping. Those that use e-cigarettes are 4 times as likely to try cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes come in many different shapes and sizes which means they can be hid very easily. They can even look like a pen or a USB flash drive.  


Most Electronic cigarettes have nicotine, in fact, one pod = 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. Not all the effects are known yet as they are still being studied. but we do know that they have some of the same chemicals that are in cigarettes, including cancer causing ones, Such as formaldehyde.


Some short term effects of vaping that we do know are: It can irritate, the eyes, nose, and throat. E cigarettes can occasionally cause coughing, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, especially in new users.

Nicotine causes the release of dopamine which leads to addiction.Using nicotine during adolescence can harm the developing brain and can alter nerve cell functioning. E-cigarette users are more likely to have a stroke, heart attack, and coronary disease.


Talk with your children about the risks, and encourage them to avoid e-cigarettes and all other products containing tobacco and nicotine.


If you need help quitting a tobacco/nicotine product contact waytoquit.org or contact, Heather Reynolds at the Tricounty Health Department.



Top 10 Facts About Groundwater Use
Only 1 percent of the water on Earth is useable, 99 percent of which is groundwater.
The United States uses 349 billion gallons of freshwater every day.
Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
Groundwater accounts for 33 percent of all the water used by U.S. municipalities.
44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply.
More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people.
53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used for agricultural irrigation each day. In 1990 that number was 2.2 billion.
The largest U.S. aquifer is Ogallala, underlying 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Scientists estimate it could take 6000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted.
California pumps 10.7 billion gallons of groundwater each day, a third more than the second-highest state, Texas.
Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons per year.

Question to ponder: If my septic system is putting wastewater into the ground, and my private well is pulling water out of the ground, does that mean I’m drinking toilet water?

Private Wells

Helpful info from EPA: EPA Private Wells, EPA Testing Wells

When was the last time you tested the water from your private well? If your well was drilled after 2008, and it was in conjunction with a new septic system, TriCounty Health required it to be tested for contaminants. If your well is older than that, or if you’ve recently moved in to a new home with a well, you may want to see what is in your water. Regardless of when it was drilled, EPA recommends private well owners test their wells annually for bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH. Other testing should occur at different frequencies depending on your stage of life, current health condition, and when you notice a change in your water. EPA Homeowner’s Guide to Testing Drinking Water

TCHD can currently process samples for bacteria, and will soon have the capability of testing for Nitrates, but samples for other contaminants would need to be processed at a Salt Lake area lab. Examples of other contaminants of concern include: heavy metals (lead, copper), poisons (arsenic, cyanide), nitrates, sulfates, etc. (Nitrates cause Blue Baby Syndrome) You may even want to simply know the sodium levels if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Bacteria and nitrates in your water could indicate an improperly functioning septic system–either a neighbor’s or your own. Or it could be a result of flooding and an improperly protected well.
Depending on what kind of Spring and Summer we have in the Uintah Basin, flooding is a very high possibility. You’ll want to have your well tested after a flood event, and you’ll want to do what you can now to prevent your well from getting hit with floodwaters.

Sample bottles and forms for all types of tests are available at both the Vernal and Roosevelt offices.

Septic Systems

Another big component of the topic of groundwater is the kind of water we put back into the ground. If constructed, used, and maintained properly, a septic system is a low threat to the quality of water found in the ground. However, if not done properly, septic systems can be a great threat. The soil in your yard acts as a great filter that pulls contaminants out of the water so that it is clean by the time it hits the groundwater. If the soil doesn’t have a sufficient opportunity to clean the wastewater, contaminants will reach the water, and get into your drinking water supply. Regular maintenance of your septic system will help ensure the groundwater remains good enough to drink. It is recommended that septic tanks be inspected every 3-5 years, and pumped as needed. Spending a few hundred dollars regularly may save thousands of unanticipated costs down the road. Companies currently permitted to inspect and pump septic systems in the TriCounty area can be found here: Liquid Waste Operators

TriCounty Health Department has partnered with Ashley Regional Medical Center to bring you a fun, family oriented event. The first ever Family & Community Health Event will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Uintah Recreation Center. The focus is on Diabetes Prevention and Care. There has been a lot of hard work go in to planning this event from not only TriCounty Health and Ashley Regional but the Uintah County School District, Painted Horse, USU Extension, and more.


1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 84 million adults have prediabetes, which means they’re not diabetic yet and they can take the steps necessary to PREVENT diabetes. Preventing diabetes is HUGE! In 2017, the cost of diabetes was over $327 billion, with $237 billion in direct medical costs such as amputations, hospitalizations, and insulin.


The average person with diabetes spends about $16,750 every year in costs related to diabetes. Right now L&L Motor Company has a 2016 Buick for sale for $18,000. You could almost pay cash for a Buick with your savings in diabetes prevention.


Living with diabetes is also very difficult, definitely manageable, but difficult. There are the constant demands of eating carefully, exercising, monitoring your blood glucose, scheduling, planning, dealing with the symptoms of a high or low glucose, dealing with complications, meeting regularly with your physician to manage diabetes.  So why wouldn’t you take the steps necessary to prevent diabetes?


So, what are those steps? The simple answer is eat better and move more. Make time for exercise. Make time for meals. But for a more in depth answer come to our Event on March 2, 2019 at the Uintah Recreation Center from 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. and learn more about diabetes. We will have booths so you can learn how to prevent diabetes and how to manage it. It is a family oriented event, there will be plenty of fun things to do like CREATE your own smoothie, play the Wheel of prizes, and earn tickets for our drawing. We have some really cool door prizes being donated, from coupons and gift certificates to local businesses like Soda Poppin’, and B-Fruity, to a three-hour bounce house rental from Jumpalot LLC. You’re not going to want to miss out on this event. We hope to see you there!


Again, it’s Family & Community Health at the Rec Center here in Vernal from 12:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. on March 2, 2019

Dating abuse can happen to anyone. Did you know 1 in 3 teens experiences dating abuse? Dating abuse can be physical or emotional, and anyone can be a victim of dating abuse.


February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Our goal is to empower young people to build healthy relationships from the ground up, and we are starting with education and awareness.


Dating abuse is a pattern of behaviors one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. Many people assume abuse means that physical violence is happening, but that’s not always the case! Abuse comes in many forms—it’s not just physical. Young people who abuse their partners, do so because they feel they need to exercise power and control over the other person—and that’s never OK.


We know that in a single year, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner—and that’s one too many. We also know that 3 out of 4 parents do not talk to their children about teen dating violence. Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors. High School and College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it. One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, online access, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse. Learning more about what dating abuse looks like is taking part in the movement to end it.


Everyone deserves to have a safe and healthy relationship. Every relationship has disagreements sometimes – it’s how you choose to deal with them that matters. Arguments with your girlfriend or boyfriend should never turn scary. If you’re looking to get out of an unhealthy relationship, there are anonymous peer advocates that can help. Just text “love” to 22522 to learn about your options.


One in three teens in our country experiences dating abuse—and I think that’s one too many! I’d love for you to join me in raising awareness about dating abuse and promoting healthy relationship during February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. I believe that everyone deserves a healthy, safe and respectful relationship. Do your part and check out more information about dating abuse at www.loveisrespect.org