San Juan Basin Health believes that every person deserves to live a healthy, addiction-free life. 

The Health Policy and Systems program works to reach that goal in La Plata and Archuleta counties through education, collaboration, and policy development which positively impact community norms and increase the number of developmental assets self-reported by youth.

Click the dropdown menu below to learn more about Health Policy and Systems’ specific education, collaboration and policy development work.

Health Policy and Systems provides customizable workshops for parents, youth-serving organizations and youth building Developmental Assets and integrating this strength-based framework into existing programs.

What are the Developmental Assets?

The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities essential to raising successful young people.  Studies of more than 2.2 million young people consistently show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Research has shown that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. The same kind of impact is evident with many other problem behaviors, including tobacco use, depression and attempted suicide, antisocial behavior, school problems, driving and alcohol, and gambling.  For more information about Developmental Assets visit For age appropriate Developmental Assets lists with action steps click here.

Health Policy and Systems provides evidence supported education about the effects of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco (including electronic cigarettes) to the community by request. For one example of Marijuana effects on the adolescent brain, click here to view the infographic developed with youth input.

SJBHD_armPC_Page_1Youth recognizing the presence of an adult role model in their life is one example of a Developmental Asset. This campaign encourages youth to identify the positive role models in their lives. Youth submitted 339 nominations this year: 88 from Archuleta County and 251 from La Plata County!

After youth submit their nominations, youth/adult focus groups select winners for the five categories: Durango, Ignacio, Bayfield, Native American and Hispanic. This campaign grew out of a concerning statistic from the 2007-2008 Youth Developmental Asset Survey of La Plata County: 72% reported that adults do not model responsible behavior.

Thank you to Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County and Celebrating Healthy Communities for their continued support of this campaign!

SealofApproval2014In an effort to encourage community event planners to consider participants of all ages, the Healthy Event Seal of Approval was developed to recognize events that are alcohol-free, appropriate for children, youth, and families, and are affordable.

Past event recipients of the Healthy Event Seal of Approval:

• Pine River Shares
• The Serengeti Wipeout
• The Junior DEVO fun race
• Outdoor Movie Night (Three Springs)
• Fall Festival (Three Springs)
• Around the World Children’s Festival (Del Alma at the Durango Education Center)
• Apple Days (Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado)
• Butterflies & Blooms Walk (San Juan Mountain Association)
• Pies in the Garden (The Garden Project of Southwest CO)
• Walk for Wilderness and Family Fun Fair (San Juan Mountain Association)

To nominate an event in La Plata or Archuleta County, please email Cindy Schultz.

  • Too Busy– This social norming campaign addresses the misperception of unhealthy norms and notion that ‘everyone is doing it’ with local Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data: 3 out of 4 La Plata County youth do not drink alcohol.

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  • They are listening – The message of this campaign is that teenagers do listen to their parents, even though they don’t always show it. Research shows that parental disapproval is very important to prevent youth drug and alcohol use.

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  • Marijuana Education- This campaign featured numerous print and social media graphics focused on giving youth, young adults and parents the facts about marijuana’s potential effects on the body and Colorado law.


  • Tobacco Education– Health Policy and Systems has had numerous tobacco-related education campaigns. Most recent Ordinancecampaigns have focused on celebrating smoke-free legislation in Durango (all city-owned bus-stops, parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities and the Animas River Trail are smoke-free) and promoting effective cessation resources for people ready to live tobacco-free. Click  to read the ordinance.

“The debate is over. The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard.” – United States Surgeon General, 2010

Research shows that smoke-free policies are effective at reducing both exposure of harmful secondhand smoke and initiation of tobacco use by youth. The Health Policy and Systems program works with closely with schools, local government, employers and property managers to establish smoke-free policies to the benefit the health and safety of all.

Are you a property owner, manager or tenant interested in learning more about the benefits of smoke-free policies?

Quitting is hard, but there are great {free} resources for those ready to quit.

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In addition to providing support resources to individuals, Health Policy and Systems works closely with health care providers to implement best-practices for tobacco treatment. We can provide technical assistance with the following:

  • Meeting meaningful use requirements
  • Billing Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance
  • Integrating small, but significant changes into patient flow to bolster intervention efforts
  • Providing brochures, posters, signage, and other self-help materials for effective cessation resources
  • Training tailored to meet the needs, interest, and schedules of staff
The stronger our networks, the stronger our community! The Health Policy and Systems program leverages the partnership with the Celebrating Healthy Communities Coalition as well as other community entities to maximize efforts. To get involved, learn more, or partner, please contact us at (970)247-5702.