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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How can you tackle inequity? Look at your immediate surroundings: Your neighborhood, your work, your city or your volunteer time. What is happening that prohibits people from reaching equity in their health, in their pay, in their treatment by our institutions? 

It's fair to say this challenging, self-reflective approach is not the first quality many city residents expect to find in their local police chief. Thus, it's all the more effective and thought-provoking when retired Charleston, S.C. Police Chief Greg Mullen quietly described the painstaking steps he led his department through while changing a deep-seated culture and creating a more equitable city.

Mullen, speaking at the 2017 Colorado Health Symposium, told of balancing his obvious job – public safety

The beauty of Colorado originates from its diversity. Our state is interlaced by rugged mountains, vast plains, grasslands and wetlands, cavernous canyons, mesas and the tallest sand dunes in North America. When we apply a different lens and look beyond geography – at county, city and community level data – we see even greater variation across the state.

Colorado’s median income is $63,945 compared to Costilla County at $27,944. Looking at the city level, Aurora Public Schools serve students from 130 countries and who speak more than 150 languages. Thirty-six percent of their students are second language learners and 82 percent of them are Spanish-speakersDrilling down to the community level, the median age in Colorado is 36.3; however,

Just more than a month ago, we closed the books on our Colorado Health Symposium. At the event, we dug into inequity, with a special focus on racial inequity and racism, all of which prevents people from leading their healthiest lives.

We received feedback onsite and afterward through an evaluation survey. As I’m taking in all of the feedback, I thought it was important to share what we’ve heard because all feedback we receive is a gift that helps us to improve our work.

Those comments, not surprisingly, revealed many perspectives on inequity and what people took away from the conversation. Though more than 600 of us attended the same event, there were widely varying experiences. Lots of people were

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.”

Inspired by Dr. Licona’s pioneering spirit, our new award program, the Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award, seeks to honor his life