In Good Health

Colorado Health Foundation Blog
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We awoke in La Junta to find a light dusting of snow, below freezing temperatures and lots of wind. Yet the Foundation crew was determined, we have too much to learn to let the wintry weather deter us. Today, we headed to more of the unique rural communities that makeup Southeast Colorado.   

We began our day playing at Swink Park where we huddled together in the morning cold as locals told the tale of the park’s evolution. The land was designated for park use more than 50 years ago but wasn’t developed until 2012. It’s equipped with robust circuit stations and playground equipment suited for a wide range of kids. The fields are used by the town’s sports teams

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This leg of the #HealthiestCO tour is our last road trip of 2015. We plan to visit six counties in the Southeast region of Colorado over the next two days.  

It’s not melon season, but we were still excited for a brief stop in Rocky Ford on the way to La Junta. Clear roads and sunny skies meant an early arrival in Otero County, giving us an impromptu walking tour opportunity. Karen bought a hat from a man named Don who has been working on Main Street for 60 years. Before heading out, she also met briefly with Doug Miller, a practicing primary care provider in Rocky Ford who doubles as a member of the Foundation’s Philanthropy Committee.

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We began the last day of our seventh tour in Alamosa, the “Gateway to the Great Sand Dunes.” Here, we learned how the 160 staff members at the San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group (SLVBHG) have collaborated with Valley Wide Health Services and sheriff's offices across the region to serve nearly 4,800 clients in the Valley this year. SLVBHG helps area residents with behavioral health needs such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse – challenges we’ve seen across every county we’ve visited thus far on the Statewide Tour.

We arrived at the Boys & Girls Club of the San Luis Valley to find the gym beautifully decorated by dedicated children of the club – we were flattered to say

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Our tour today covered La Plata, Archuleta and Conejos counties.

The small size and remote location of Ignacio, presents transportation issues and problems accessing providers for its residents. In fact, the city recently opened its first pharmacy in over thirty years. We visited the Southern Ute Community Action Programs (SUCAP) team to learn more about the barriers to health and the variety of programs being offered to residents. SUCAP’s services touch on a variety of programs for all life stages, encompassing child and family development programs; nutrition and wellness; alcohol and substance abuse treatment; job training; youth development and public transportation. The group emphasized the need for health literacy support through navigating health insurance benefits, providing “door-through-door” transportation services,