Tuesday, October 3, 2017

CHF blog focuses on community engagement

In the Colorado Health Foundation latest blog post, Connecting to Understand , portfolio directors, Jehan Benton-Clark, Khanh Nguyen and Erica Snow, share their perspectives on why a new approach to engaging with communities across the state is key to helping achieve the Foundation's mission of improving the health of Coloradans.  

"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-speakers. Drilling down to the community level, the median age in Colorado is 36.3; however, if you live the in 81640 ZIP code, the average age is 52.6

From data to our own personal experiences, it is clear that the needs across the state - in every county and community - are as unique as the diverse geography. Coloradans clearly know what the barriers and opportunities to health are in their own communities. And our vision is that across Colorado each of us can say: 'We have all we need to live healthy lives.' Drawing on local knowledge from diverse voices and organizations across the state creates solutions that are practical and effective.

We see engaging residents is vital for communities to thrive. Bringing in new voices and supporting local champions taps into the inherent power in communities and helps create equitable, sustainable and healthy communities."   

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