Licona award

The Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award is now closed and will open for nominations in the spring of 2022. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the nomination criteria outlined below. For questions, contact Keri Jones, Colorado Health Foundation communications officer, at 303-953-3695.

Haga clic aquí para ver el sitio web del Premio Dr. Virgilio Licona al Liderazgo de la Salud Comunitaria en español. 

A nationally recognized advocate for social justice and the health of communities experiencing the greatest needs, Dr. Licona contributed to the health of Coloradans as a physician and expert in rural health care delivery and migrant health. His role as a leader – at both the systems- and community-levels – brought a critical voice to some of the most important conversations and decisions related to bringing health in reach for all Coloradans.

In a documentary showcasing his life’s work, Dr. Licona eloquently shares his challenging, yet rewarding journey as a grassroots activist:

“All of this, why? ... I’ve been able to focus my efforts within the health care arena to push forth those ideals that we had of the Chicano movement of improving the living status of our population, our communities and fighting for justice, fighting for equality. Fighting for those things that we think each one of us deserves, just because we are human beings and we breathe air, we’re on this planet and we’re in this together.”

This award program recognizes impassioned Coloradans who are finding innovative and effective strategies to overcoming community health barriers across the state. It seeks to honor on-the-ground changemakers – working both at the systems- and community-levels – who are helping Coloradans with the greatest needs thrive today, tomorrow and in the years ahead.

The award program is designed to:

  • Recognize impactful efforts advancing social justice for and health improvement of Coloradans who have historically had less power and/or privilege             
  • Advance innovative, proven and replicable solutions to address critical health issues in Colorado communities
  • Recognize community health leadership and the power of community-based leadership in driving positive health outcomes
  • Inspire others to strive toward Dr. Licona’s standard of excellence and to honor those whose work embodies his spirit of care, compassion, activism and dedication

Through this award program, the Foundation recognizes one Coloradan annually who demonstrates distinguished leadership in the communities they serve and in the systems they are working to disrupt for positive change.

A strong nomination application will exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Aligns with the Foundation’s cornerstones which outline who we serve, how our work is informed and our intent to create health equity
  • Advocates and creates a positive impact for advancing social justice and improving the health of Coloradans who have historically had less power and/or privilege
  • Achieves positive systems- and community-level change that advance health equity for people in their community
  • Contributes to better public policies and practices in the field
  • Fosters lasting connections and builds bridges among people with differing backgrounds or viewpoints
  • Represents a community-based organization from any field (e.g., education, health, public safety, housing, economic development, environment, etc.) that shows evidence of improving health outcomes in their community

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a Colorado resident
  • Must be making a positive impact on the health of Coloradans who have historically had less power and/or privilege
  • Must have influenced or made a significant contribution to community health and/or public policy in Colorado that advances the Foundation’s efforts to bring health in reach for all Coloradans

Nominations must comply with the following eligibility requirements:

  • Nominations are open to the public
  • Each nominator is allowed one nomination
  • Potential candidates may be nominated by more than one person
  • Organizations may nominate more than one person, but may only submit a single nomination per candidate.*
  • No self-nominations will be considered
  • No Foundation Board member, Board committee community member, staff or their immediate family members will be considered
  • No posthumous nominations will be considered
  • No standing elected officials will be considered

Learn more about the nomination criteria and the 2019 award recipientWatch a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Licona.

The final award winner will be chosen by The Colorado Health Foundation Board of Directors in the summer of 2021, and the awardee will be announced in the fall. The award recipient will be offered the opportunity to designate a one-time $20,000 donation to support their work or that of another nonprofit working to improve the health of Coloradans.**

For questions, contact Keri Jones, Colorado Health Foundation communications officer, at 303-953-3695.

Haga clic aquí para ver el sitio web del Premio Dr. Virgilio Licona al Liderazgo de la Salud Comunitaria en español.

Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award Recipients

2016 – Dr. Virgilio Licona
2017 – Sundari Kraft
2018 – Liza Marron
2019 – Beka Warren
2021 – Dr. Lilia Cervantes

*We encourage individuals within an organization to collaborate on submitting a single application per candidate.

**The award donation funds may be distributed to the winner’s Colorado-based charity of choice, but “shall be used for such charities that do not enjoy substantial support through taxation.” As a result, The Colorado Health Foundation may only make a grant to a publicly-funded organization if the grant supports a specific project that does not receive most of its funding from public dollars.