Southwest District Health Launches Assessment & Case Management Program to Support Youth Ages 10-17

YouthROC connects youth and their caregivers with support services in their community.


September 14, 2023 (Caldwell, ID) — Southwest District Health’s newly formed Safe Teen Assessment Program, called the Youth Resource & Opportunity Collaborative, or YouthROC, provides youth, and the trusted adults in their lives, an easy way to find support services and resources during times of need. Through a single-entry point, YouthROC integrates prevention and early intervention services that can help youth improve their health, increase well-being, stay in school, find employment, stay out of crisis, avoid law enforcement and juvenile justice involvement, and help build a stronger emotional foundation for a successful future. The program is provided at no cost to the public thanks to a $1,500,000 grant provided to Southwest District Health in 2022 by the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections.

 Accessing YouthROC is a simple three-step process that can be initiated by youth ages 10-17 or a concerned adult, such as a parent/guardian, doctor, church member, or school employee.

After completing a short questionnaire through the website, the youth (or parent/guardian) will be contacted by a YouthROC provider within 48 hours to complete a quick screening and schedule further assessment with a licensed therapeutic professional. The youth and their parent/guardian will work with a case manager to create an Individualized Care Plan. Assessors and Case managers are provided through several partnering community organizations. These include Advocates Against Family Violence, Boys and Girls Club of Canyon County, Nampa Family Justice Center, and WICAP (Western Idaho Community Action Partnership). Services are free and available in Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties with providers having the ability to move throughout the counties to serve youth and families in need.

YouthROC providers can help facilitate tutoring, enrollment or involvement with extracurricular activities, coordinate transportation to appointments, and provide referrals to other providers. They can also assist with independent living skills such as obtaining an ID card, signing up for driver’s education, job readiness skills and more.

“Growing can be tough, and it’s even harder when you don’t know where to turn, or what resources are out there to help,” says Savannah Swisher, YouthROC Project Manager at Southwest District Health. “YouthROC puts local youth and their families first; making sure they receive support when it’s needed. There are no long wait times, just assistance and encouragement to help youth get back on track.”

YouthROC began accepting referrals in February 2023, and in the first 6 months of service, received referrals for 137 youth, completed 71 behavioral health assessments, and supported 69 youth through case management services. In the month of August alone, YouthROC received 38 new referrals for services and still maintains its capacity to help new youth and families with no wait times or waitlists as the new school year gets underway. Learn more about YouthROC at



Southwest District Health is one of seven public health districts throughout Idaho established to protect and promote the health and wellness of those who live, work, and play in our region. We proudly serve Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington Counties. We work in partnership with our community to identify health needs, design solutions, and implement services that encourage behaviors contributing to healthier, longer lives. Learn more at


Media Contact:

Monique Evancic, Public Information Officer 
Southwest District Health

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First human infection of West Nile virus in Idaho this year


Idaho’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) infection this year was identified in a Washington County resident over the age of 50 on Thursday, Aug. 3. This person has been hospitalized with the infection but is recovering and being discharged home. So far this year, WNV activity in mosquitoes has been detected in nine Idaho counties, seven of them in south and southwestern counties. WNV has also been detected in mosquitoes in neighboring Malheur County, Ore.

WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can lead to severe disease in some people.

“We strongly encourage Idahoans to fight the bite of mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian. “Confirmation of a human infection is a good reminder for all of us to take protective measures against mosquito bites. This includes wearing insect repellent and protective clothing in addition to reducing standing water around our gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.”

Symptoms of WNV infection often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Infection can result in severe illness, especially in people 50 years or older, leading to hospitalization and even death. Talk to your healthcare provider about testing for WNV to confirm your illness.

Last year, three human WNV infections were reported statewide. WNV activity in mosquitoes, horses, or people was reported in seven counties. WNV infections that might be reported each year are difficult to predict as some cases might not seek testing, but in the last five years, 11 cases have been reported each year, on average.

To protect against WNV infection, people should avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. In addition, everyone should:

  • Cover up exposed skin when outdoors and apply DEET or other EPA-approved insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing. Carefully follow instructions on the product label, especially for children.
  • Insect-proof your home by repairing or replacing damaged screens.
  • Reduce standing water on property. Check and drain toys, trays or pots outdoors that can hold water.
  • Change bird baths, static decorative ponds, and animal water tanks weekly to reduce suitable mosquito habitats.

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals, like dogs and cats, but can cause severe illness in horses and some species of birds. Although there is no vaccine for people, there are several vaccines for horses, which should be vaccinated annually.

For more information, please visit

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at

Southwest District Health is one of seven public health districts throughout Idaho established to protect and promote the health and wellness of those who live, work, and play in our region. We proudly serve Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington Counties. We work in partnership with our community to identify health needs, design solutions, and implement services that encourage behaviors contributing to healthier, longer lives. Learn more at


Media Contacts:
Greg Stahl, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Monique Evancic,  Southwest District Health

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Harmful Algae Bloom Season is Here


Beware of harmful algal blooms when recreating in bodies of water

The Southwest and Central Health Districts want to inform the public of the risk of illness in the region when recreating in bodies of water that have Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) during the summer months.

During the HAB season, naturally occurring cyanobacteria will become more active with warmer temperatures. When there are more nutrients in the water for the bacteria to feed on, the bacteria can create large algae blooms, some of which produce toxic chemical compounds, or cyano-toxins, which can be fatal to animals and humans.  Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor.

While the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) tests some bodies of water in Southwest and Central Idaho regularly, many bodies of water throughout the state are not monitored for HABs, so recreators should watch for the signs of HABs to avoid exposure.

When toxin levels are greater than the health standard, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will issue advisories for those specific bodies of water and post updated information on their interactive online map. Both health districts urge residents and recreators to find information on the body of water they plan to interact with to make an informed decision before they recreate.

When recreating near or in a body of water impacted with cyano-toxins, take the following precautions:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

For current information about harmful algal blooms, and advisories, visit DHW’s site and interactive map

or DEQ’s website.

DEQ media contact: Anna Marron 208.373.0427
DHW media contact: Greg Stahl 208.334.0668
SWDH media contact: Monique Evancic 208.455.5413
CDH media contact: Maria Ortega 208.327.8639

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Housing, healthcare, and mental health and substance misuse are the most pressing health needs in 10-county region of Southwest Idaho


Caldwell, ID – Safe, affordable housing, access to affordable healthcare and mental health and substance use disorder treatment are the most pressing health needs in a 10-county region home to more than half of Idaho’s residents, a new joint assessment finds. The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a multi-agency initiative convened by the Western Idaho Community Health Collaborative (WICHC) with key participation and funding from regional partner organizations like Central District Health, Southwest District Health, Saint Alphonsus Health System, St. Luke’s Health System, United Way of the Treasure Valley, Intermountain Health, and Weiser Memorial Hospital. The ten counties assessed were Ada, Elmore, Boise, Valley, Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington.

In the past, each organization conducted its own assessment every three years per a federal requirement. For the first time in Idaho’s history, the data has been gathered as a joint community effort putting the organizations on the same assessment cycle. This unprecedented partnership is significant because they are collaborating to research and tackle pervasive issues in the community and avoid duplicating efforts, potentially leading to more successful outcomes and a greater impact. This collaborative approach included substantial community input and utilized a social determinants of health (SDoH) framework to determine priority areas. The priorities that emerged from this year’s report are:

  • safe, affordable housing and homelessness
  • behavioral health, including mental health and well-being, and substance misuse
  • access to affordable health care, including oral and vision health

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is available in PDF form HERE. This year, there will also be a companion site, the Idaho Oregon Community Health Atlas. It is a new, public-facing data portal that is currently live and all features will be available by the end of July. The Health Atlas allows residents, community organizations, policymakers, researchers and public health stakeholders to access and use data, to understand health disparities and drive change within their communities, as well as for grant writing and planning purposes.

The new online resource, powered by Metopio, publishes data about hundreds of indicators in the community, and makes that data available in visualizations like maps, charts, graphs and tables. The tool makes it easy to assess drivers of health for the community and prioritize data-informed actions that address social determinants of health. The online hub also provides a one-stop shop to view the learnings and insights from key counties’ community health needs assessments.

Alexis Pickering, Health Strategist with both the Central and Southwest health districts says, “History shows us that we can’t accomplish the most urgent challenges of our community by going it alone. This is a major, critical endeavor that shows how serious these collaborative partners are about addressing community needs in unprecedented ways, and having shared metrics on community priorities so we can build and sustain a healthy region.”

“Saint Alphonsus is proud to collaborate with our partner health systems to identify the strengths, opportunities, and the greatest needs in the Treasure Valley as told to us by the residents themselves. This report will give us the collective data to understand how we can lean in to support our communities in not just surviving, but thriving,” said Rebecca Lemmons, Community Health and Well-Being Director at Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Lisa Nichols, Associate Vice President of Community Health at Intermountain Health says, “Intermountain Health is excited to collaborate with community partners to understand the needs of our community and develop programs to address those needs. The mission of Intermountain Health is helping people live the healthiest lives possible. Participating in this Community Health Needs Assessment help us best understand the needs of our community and act to fulfill our mission.”

“The new collaborative approach for this needs assessment is transformational for our communities. It allowed us to not only pool resources for more robust and efficient data collection but will also guide collaborative action amongst partners working in alignment to address common priority needs.  This collective attention will create a significant impact in our communities,” said Angie Gribble, St. Luke’s senior director of community health and engagement.”

Addressing complex community needs is possible when we take a collective approach. The organizations are now continuing to work together to use the data to create an implementation strategy and plan by the end of the year to determine how to best address the priority areas identified by the joint assessment. This plan will be Idaho’s first shared implementation plan that will coordinate and direct activities from all the partner agencies. To get involved, contact WICHC via


Southwest District Health is one of seven public health districts throughout Idaho established to protect and promote the health and wellness of those who live, work, and play in our region. We proudly serve Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington Counties. We work in partnership with our community to identify health needs, design solutions, and implement services that encourage behaviors contributing to healthier, longer lives. Learn more at


CDH, Public Health District IV, is one of seven public health districts within the state of Idaho, serving the counties of Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley. With a vision of Healthy People in Healthy Communities, CDH’s emphasis is on decreasing risk factors for chronic disease, improving quality of life and increasing the years of healthy life among residents.


As the only Idaho-based, not-for-profit health system, St. Luke’s is a vital part of a healthy community, led by local physicians and boards to further our organization’s mission “To improve the health of people in the communities we serve.” Working together, we share resources, skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care at every St. Luke’s facility.


Saint Alphonsus health system is a Catholic, faith-based ministry and not-for-profit health system serving the state of Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada communities. The health system boasts 4 hospitals, 560 licensed beds and 7 joint venture relationships. The health system employs 6,100 colleagues and 537 medical staff. The Saint Alphonsus Health Alliance is comprised of 3,100 employed and independent providers.  1,200 physicians are members of the Saint Alphonsus medical staff. Saint Alphonsus is a proud member of Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation.  Trinity Health serves people and communities in 26 states from coast to coast with 88 hospitals, 135 continuing care facilities, 17 clinically integrated networks, 136 urgent care locations, and 24 PACE center locations.  Across the footprint of 26 states, Trinity Health employs 123K colleagues and 8.3K employed physicians and clinicians. Nearly 26.6K affiliated physicians are members of the medical staff. To find out more go to:


Intermountain Health operates multiple medical facilities in Idaho, including Saltzer Health. Intermountain is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with about 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health and other health services in seven states. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs.


About United Way of Treasure Valley – Since 1928, United Way of Treasure Valley has been improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community to advance the education, health, and financial stability of every person in the Treasure Valley.


Media Contacts

SWDH Monique Evancic 208.455.5413
CDH Maria Ortega 208.327.8639
St. Luke’s Christine Myron 208.340.8260
St. Al’s Mark Snider 208.779.0560
Intermountain Amy Stahl 208.869.0637
United Way Brittany Rosenthal 208.576.6596



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Southwest District Health Provides Syphilis Outbreak Update


 Caldwell, Idaho – Southwest District Health officials note the number of reported cases of syphilis remains high in its six-county region in the wake of Central District Health (CDH) declaring an outbreak of syphilis in Public Health District 4 today.

Southwest District Health declared an outbreak of syphilis in 2021 after case numbers showed a 5-fold increase between 2018 and 2021. In 2018, SWDH identified 14 syphilis infections. In 2021, SWDH saw the number of reported cases grow to 70, the highest in SWDH reported history. In 2022, SWDH continued to have higher than historical number of infections with a total of 64 syphilis cases reported.

“Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can have serious health consequences if left undetected and untreated.” said Ricky Bowman, SWDH Public Health Preparedness and Epidemiological Response (PHEPER) Manager. “This continued increase in reported case numbers shows the need for increased awareness of the potential for syphilis transmission among all ages and populations,”

Symptoms of syphilis can include sores, rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Some people with syphilis experience no symptoms. If left untreated, syphilis can cause vision or hearing loss as well as other neurological complications.

In addition, pregnant individuals should consider the risk of congenital syphilis, which occurs when a pregnant person with syphilis passes the infection to the unborn baby. Congenital syphilis can result in stillbirth, early infant death or long-term health problems for the child. All pregnant individuals should be screened for syphilis at their first prenatal appointment and potentially again before delivery to ensure there is no risk of congenital syphilis.

Safer sexual practices, along with regular testing for STIs (that include syphilis and HIV) and rapid treatment for infection, are an important part of maintaining overall health and well-being. More information about risk reduction strategies is available from your medical providers or at Along with limiting the number of sexual partners and routine STI screening, condoms are a recommended method for reducing the risk of syphilis transmission. Free condoms are available for Idaho residents at If you want to be tested for syphilis or HIV, please ask your provider. Syphilis and HIV tests are typically done through a blood draw.  For more information about syphilis and local trends visit

About Southwest District Health

SWDH, Public Health District 3, is one of seven public health districts within the state of Idaho and serves the counties of Adams, Canyon, Gem, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington. With a vision of A healthier Southwest Idaho, SWDH’s emphasis is to promote the health and wellness of those who live, work, and play in Southwest Idaho.

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Media Contact

Katrina Williams, Management Assistant
Office: 208-455-5317 |

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