Communities

Colorado HealthStory has worked with several different communities across the state. While each community has an individual approach to health and their own challenges, we hear many of the same themes echoed in residents’ stories, including access to quality care, difficulty navigating the health care system, the lasting impact of a caring provider, and challenges associated with chronic care. Although these overarching themes are shared across communities, solutions and innovations to address such issues are unique to each community. Find information and resources about each of the communities we’ve visited below.

Advancing Care Together

In 2013, the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) included questions around mental health for the first time. The results were significant: one out of every four Coloradans experienced one or more days of poor mental health during the past 30 days. Yet, despite its pervasiveness, the stigma associated with mental illness and the barriers to accessing mental health services are significant. According to the CHAS, nearly 8 percent, or over 375,000 Coloradans, said they needed mental health services in the past year but did not get them. And one in three of those individuals did not feel comfortable talking about personal problems with a health professional. In the summer of 2013, Colorado HealthStory partnered with Advancing Care Together (ACT) and the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) to collect patient and provider stories at eight of the eleven ACT innovator sites. We sat down with physicians, counselors, and patients alike, and asked them to tell us a story about their recent health experiences.

Aurora

With a population of 323,000 people, Aurora is bigger than Pittsburgh and New Orleans. The Gateway to the Rockies–as the city is endearingly nicknamed–spans two counties, Adams and Arapahoe. Colorado HealthStory collected a number of stories from both counties in early 2011. In July 2011, we held a community forum to highlight Aurora’s stories and start a new conversation about health in the community. At the forum, a participant said that it was important for every Aurora resident to take responsibility for his or her own health. If residents are able to commit to personal involvement in their own health and the health of their city, Aurora could eventually reach its loftier goal of becoming the healthiest city in Colorado.

Colorado Springs and El Paso County

Just 60 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs is the second biggest city in Colorado. It is home to the US Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods and the United States Olympic Committee. Starting in 2012, Colorado HealthStory worked with Community Health Partnership (CHP) and its’ members to record and disseminate stories.  Colorado HealthStory shared stories at their October Behavioral and Mental Health Summit. Colorado HealthStory also participated in a Pikes Peak Chapter of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management’s meeting.

Greater Park Hill Neighborhood, Denver

The Greater Park Hill Neighborhood of Denver is known for having a strong culture of health and wellness. As we collected stories in Park Hill in early 2012, we found this culture alive and well. At our Park Hill community forum in May 2012, local residents were encouraged to join the ongoing efforts to improve health experiences in the neighborhood. The be well movement and Together Colorado have a strong presence in these neighborhoods. We appreciated all of the community activists, health care providers, and community-based organizations that came to the forum and participated in the important conversations about health.

La Plata County

In the Southwest part of the state, La Plata County is known for it’s stunning beauty and rich culture. Throuhgout 2012, Colorado HealthStory worked with the Citizen’s Health Advisory Council (CHAC) to record and disseminate stories. With the help of CHAC, Colorado HealthStory shared stories at their provider mini-summit about the importance of health navigators. CHAC also featured Colorado HealthStory at their annual health summit.

Larimer County

Colorado HealthStory began collecting stories in Larimer County in the summer of 2012. Larimer County is located in Northern Colorado, and it is the sixth most populous county in the state. Fort Collins is the largest city in Larimer County, including approximately 30,000 students attending Colorado State University. Larimer County has a strong investment in health and wellness among its residents of all ages.  Colorado HealthStory continues to work in Larimer County,seeking opportunities to share the collected stories.

Otero County

Otero County is home to the famous agricultural town of Rocky Ford. In the summer of 2011, Colorado HealthStory traveled to the Rocky Ford region to record stories and get our fill of melons! At the late August 2011 community forum hosted by Colorado HealthStory, it was exciting to have so many players in the room, as representatives from the hospital, county commissioners, and private practices engaged in discussions about possible community-driven solutions.

Summit County

Summit County is known for its endless recreational opportunities and beautiful mountains. In the summer of 2011, Colorado HealthStory traveled to Summit County to record stories in partnership with the Summit Community Care Clinic. We held a community forum in August 2011 where participants commented on their frustration with our current health care system and applauded people working to change it. A top issue of interest of participants was the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. As a result, Colorado HealthStory has since returned to Summit County to present educational information on this topic.

 

 

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