In Good Health

The Colorado Health Foundation’s blog is designed to share perspectives, personal stories and what we are learning in our efforts to ensure that, across Colorado, each of us can say: “We have all we need to live healthy lives.”

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During our last week of the #HealthiestCO statewide tour, we headed 20 miles north of Denver, to the community of Brighton in Adams County. Just far enough outside the city to feel a little more rural and a lot less urban, Brighton has a charming, unique feel. 

With an intimate group of 10-12 attendees, Karen started the conversation by asking about the area’s assets. Residents immediately pointed out the movement toward integrated health care, as evidenced by the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. They discussed the new hospital and medical facilities, saying that health care access is supported by commissioners who have worked to bring additional health services to the area. The local nonprofit infrastructure also reaches into schools and

This week marks a significant milestone for the #HealthiestCO Statewide Listening Tour. In October, we set out to listen to community members from each county across the state. Today, we’ve officially cruised 63 of 64 Colorado counties, with only Denver left to go.

For our final road tour in the Eastern Plains, we traveled the prairielands, crossed paths with tumbleweeds and stretched our sights on the big sky and wide open spaces. More importantly, we met with some very important and passionate community members from Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. 

Our first stop at Kiowa Town Hall included a conversation that was rich with insights on community assets and challenges. Residents spoke of bountiful outdoor activities but lack

Today we visited our 57th (Rio Blanco) and 58th (Moffatt) counties on the tour. The small towns of Meeker and Craig and nearby Rangely in northwestern Colorado offer their residents a good life – one in which they live by the idea of “growing their own.” Less than an hour apart, the three communities boast gorgeous landscapes and cater to the outdoor lifestyle, offering hiking and biking trails, snowmobiling and seasonal hunting and fishing.

Rural economies often rely on natural resources of some type or another – and must depend on a sometimes unstable market. In Meeker, 80 percent of the local tax revenue comes from energy. Agriculture is another economic driver.

Access issues of all types are clouding

A full house of community members joined us for our visit to Golden at the American Mountaineering Association. Fittingly, next to the beautiful red rocks of the Front Range, Jefferson County residents shared their pride in their community’s unparalleled open spaces, parks and recreational opportunities. With a spirit of collaboration guiding the discussion, community members also shared the significant barriers to health in their community, most of which are related to poverty and behavioral health issues.

Initial comments from the group reflected a truly collaborative approach amongst the people in the room, who mentioned partnerships between public health, human services and parks and recreation. Unique to Jefferson County, the Child and Youth Leadership Commission is a partnership of 22 family-serving