Back in Person: Our Approach to the 2022 Colorado Health Symposium
Springtime in Colorado is a perfect time to act on change. As we witness the beauty of renewal in nature, I am reminded of all that needs tended to in our collective hearts and minds to make transformative change possible.
Here at the Foundation we are preparing for the return of our signature event, the 2022 Colorado Health Symposium, taking place July 27-29 in Keystone, CO. Registration for the event is now open. This year’s theme is focused on “game changers” — those small and large shifts that can change the whole paradigm of how we move through the world and how we actualize health.
Last month, my colleagues Erin Brown and Amy Latham discussed how the Foundation is adapting our approach to center racial justice as a key pathway to advancing health equity. Though many of us are ushering some form of normalcy at this stage of the pandemic, we know that we can never return to the way things were before, nor should we.
The pandemic has been a supercharge for change. Our Symposium honors the changes this moment brings, and the game changers that will drive health equity forward.
Within this, we must acknowledge the loss and learning that has taken place and the present opportunity to create a new normal. Tens of thousands of lives lost and over a million more have been impacted in our state alone. In particular, Coloradans of color experienced overlapping endemics of racism and poverty that kept health out of reach — and the health crisis only exacerbated these struggles.
It is our responsibility to use this moment for radical change. We aim to honor those we have lost by supporting people and communities across the state in co-creating a way forward where each of us can say with confidence, “I have all I need to live a healthy life.”
This year, we look forward to learning from game changers who are already offering thoughtful new normals for themselves and their communities. Some of these “new normals” aren’t new at all; many of the folks joining us at the Symposium are carrying traditional methods through to the present. Others are moving through radical imagination to bring the future to today.
Equity and justice practices are prioritized in every aspect of what we do. This rings true for how we design the Symposium, too. We acknowledge that by hosting this event in person, it will be inaccessible to some. We aim to find ways for authentic connection and knowledge-sharing through virtual solutions, including free livestream access.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does our learning of the most up-to-date safety strategies for in-person engagement. The Foundation has made significant efforts to model community responsibility over the past two years by adjusting the format of events — with public safety at the heart of our decisions. We will continue to do so in conversation with community members, and with ongoing recommendations from public health officials nationally, statewide and in Summit County (where the event will be held).
Our utmost priority is to create an experience that is as rewarding as it is safe. On behalf of our Board and staff, we are excited to gather with you in person this summer!
Tickets for the Symposium sell out quickly.
I leave you with the questions I proposed earlier this year, as I find them still relevant to how I am navigating my own work and the work we do at the Foundation:
- What if we viewed our relationship with change differently than ever before?
- Can we harness change to disrupt the status quo?
- Instead of viewing our current environment as an impediment to change, what if we viewed it as a facilitating agent for change?
- What if change and uncertainty is the new normal? If so, what’s it going to take for us to commonly agree and accept that?
If you are able to join us, we would love to hear your answers.