Licona award

Due to guidelines on social distancing and gatherings, the Foundation is postponing the Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Program for the remainder of 2020. We will instead open the call for nominations in 2021, with intent to honor the award recipient in the community of which they live and work.

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The Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award recognizes impassioned Coloradans who are finding innovative and effective strategies to overcoming community health barriers across the state. The program brings recognition into the awardees’ community to honor their important work in the fight for health as a human right.  

A nationally recognized advocate for social justice and the health of high-need populations, 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 in communities brought a critical voice to some of the most important conversations and decisions related to how we can bring 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.”

Last year, the Foundation recognized Rebecca “Beka” Warren with the 2019 Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award. A dedicated champion for health equity, Beka’s lifelong efforts have created health opportunities for those most in need, and her legacy is withstanding.

The Foundation will open our call for nominations in 2021. 

The award program is designed to:

  • Advance innovative, proven and replicable solutions to critical health issues in Colorado communities
  • Recognize community health leadership and the power of community-based leadership in driving positive health outcomes
  • Recognize and acknowledge impactful efforts affecting social justice and improvement in the health delivery of communities with the highest needs
  • Inspire others to strive toward Dr. Licona’s standard of excellence and to acknowledge those whose work embodies his spirit of care, compassion, activism and dedication

A strong nomination application will exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Builds bridges among people with differing backgrounds or viewpoints
  • Achieves positive change in their community
  • Contributes to better public policies and practices in the field
  • 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
  • Creates a positive impact in the delivery of rural health and migrant health and/or the overall health of those most in need

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Nominee must be a Colorado resident
  • Nominee must be making a positive impact within Colorado communities
  • Nominee must have influenced or made a significant contribution to community health and/or public policy in Colorado that advances the Foundation’s mission of improving the health of 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 2019 award recipientWatch a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Licona.

The award recipient will be offered the opportunity to designate a one-time $20,000 donation to support his or her work or that of a nonprofit working to improve the health of Coloradans.**

Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award Recipients

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

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

*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.