(FOUNTAIN, Colo.) — The City of Fountain awarded its first Spirit of Fountain award to El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan for her work to improve the overall health and livelihoods of those living in Fountain Valley.

According to the El Paso County Health Department, Wheel has been a strong advocate for connecting people to mental health resources and has worked with community partners to make progress on critical health issues like youth suicide and youth substance use prevention.

Wheelan’s accomplishments are listed as:

  • Originally opened in December 2020, Public Health South location was quickly operationalized as a hub of critical pandemic response activities, including providing free COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
  • Expanded public health services at Public Health South now include the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, Communities That Care (CTC), and laboratory services (including water testing).
  • The City of Fountain has also been able to create a Behavioral Health Connect Unit (BHCON) program, pairing law enforcement with mental health experts. 

“Susan Wheelan is receiving this award for her leadership and partnership on regional efforts to address health concerns like COVID-19, development of a county facility to provide services to Fountain, creation of an emergency operations location in Fountain, and for being an advocate for mental health issues. Susan’s collaboration with the City of Fountain has improved the health of all our citizens,” said City of Fountain Mayor Sharon Thompson.

“It’s all about collaboration. My efforts are successful with a strong team and with the support of so many wonderful partners,” said Wheelan. “Expanding services to the Fountain Valley with a new Public Health South location has long been part of my strategic vision, driven by data and assessing areas of need with our Data and Analytics Office. My goal is to improve community health by increasing easy access to critical services and reducing barriers.”