Mention “Frontier Medicine in Colorado” and you might conjure up a vision of TV’s Jane Seymour as Dr. Michaela Quinn in 19th century Colorado Springs. But you may be surprised to learn that Colorado still has four “Frontier and Rural Area” levels as defined by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.
These areas vary by degree of remoteness and difficulty in travel for health needs. Indeed, dealing with a major health problem in the middle of a winter storm when the nearest specialty location is across a mountain range isn’t a simple 911 response.
An easily dealt-with injury such as a broken leg or head injury can be fatal when care is impossible to reach.
Today we talk with Dr Clifford Brown, the Director for the Custer County (Colorado) Public Health Agency. Dr Brown is a Doctor of Optometry who gravitated into public health after stints in the United States Air Force and Army. His career brought him to this sparsely populated area nestled between two major mountain ranges and many long miles from the nearest tertiary care.
Dr Brown and I discuss the imperatives of public health in a frontier area and how technology is providing some solutions. Individualism and self-sufficiency are challenges for public health workers that require not only deft and empathy but also a realization to meet people where they are.