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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As a Senior Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation, I am continuously learning how social, environmental and economic circumstances contribute to our overall health. This understanding is vital to the success of the work we do across the state.

Last month, I attended Poverty’s Impact on Colorado’s Health, a Symposium Unplugged event the Foundation hosted in Cañon City, Colorado. Nearly 200 people gathered on the grounds of a former monastery to discuss issues related to the intersection of poverty and health.

What we heard, over the course of the day, was that poverty and health are inextricably connected. That well-being is near impossible without economic opportunity and in the face of systemic obstacles. And that the resiliency of

“We heard you love bacon!” This is a refrain that Hillary Fulton, senior program officer at the Foundation, is starting to hear often. As she travels throughout northeastern Colorado – meeting with everyone from community leaders to local farmers to residents – she’s been focused on listening, building relationships and really digging in to understand the nuanced dynamics at play when it comes to health in this beautiful part of the state. And it turns out, that listening has been a two-way street. Because everyone seems to know her favorite breakfast order.

Since early 2017, our program staff has been part of a transformative shift in how we do our work at the Foundation. We implemented a new Community Engagement

About two years ago, I was brand new in my role as President and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. I was also in the midst of a whirlwind listening tour of Colorado. We went to every corner of the state to learn about what being healthy means to Coloradans. What we heard changed us. And we want to share the impact, scope and scale of that change with you.

Then, and now, in every community – and in every conversation I have – we hear one thing over and over: that having health in reach means something different for every Coloradan.

Why is this? It’s a pretty simple answer with a not-so-simple solution: Not all of us have the

Southeast Colorado is a land of wide-open spaces. Home to the Wet Mountains and Spanish Peaks, the area is rich with charming towns and friendly faces. Visit any town and find local cafes, restaurants and places to shop nestled together right on main street. On the many visits we’ve made to the region, we learned the locals are easy to engage with and enjoy sharing stories about their community.

Located in Fremont County, Cañon City is home to seven of Colorado’s 23 public and private correctional facilities. Eager to understand what happens when inmates are released, the impact on local communities and supports for the prison workforce, we embarked on a journey to learn more.

We decided that one of the