Stories from Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan Counties

This page features stories from Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan Counties. Listen to these stories, visit our Featured Stories page, or search for stories by topic or by location.


Debbie Higgs

My name is Debbie, and I am a yoga practitioner and teacher. I maintain a healthy lifestyle that focuses on clean eating, exploring the outdoors, and yoga. Most would assume from all physical appearances that I am a healthy woman in her mid-twenties, but I have a hidden disability.



Elaine and Tracy – La Plata County, CO

Elaine - La Plata County, COElaine, of La Plata County, describes her difficulties with her oral health and her struggle to secure dentures. After failing to navigate the local health system on her own, she found help in the way of an senior health nurse navigator named Tracy. With the help of Tracy, Elaine is on the path toward recovery.

“I suffer depression and it’s mostly because I can’t eat. It takes me a whole hour to eat without my teeth.”


Laura – Durango, CO

Laura - Durango, CO

Laura, of Durango, is an RN working in one of the local School Based Health Centers. She shares her story about the kids she works with and the pride she takes in her job.

“Being in the school, being accessible, the kids can walk in anytime…Having it in a place that’s familiar to them really makes a big difference.”


John – Durango, CO

John - Durango, CO

John, a medical student in Denver, CO who did his rural rotation in Durango, shares his story about how developed a passion for medicine. He talks about his time volunteering in the Chiapas region in Mexico, and the similar struggles of chronic disease and poor access to care amongst citizens in the United States.

“There’s a big discussion about safety net clinics and safety net health care systems and the people who are making decisions are so detached from the reality on the ground, in terms of health care, that they’re more likely to do away with them.”


Dell – Durango, CO

Dell, of Durango, CO shares her health story. She talks about her cancer diagnosis, invasive surgeries, and subsequent care. Dell also describes the benefits of a health navigator and how she took her health care into her own hands.

“That first month [of a health challenge] is hell. Because of not knowing who to believe or what to believe, and all of the opportunities and all of the options that are available to you. That is really difficult.”

Don Jesus

Don Jesus – Durango, CO

Danny and Mariel, both La Plata County-based Community Health Workers, share the story of Don Jesus. Don Jesus was an elderly gentleman who was found on the ground of his trailer after three days of no water or food and in very bad condition.

“The truth is that Jesus is not only our client, but he is our friend… He is the one who brought us together, who brought this community together.”



Matthew – Durango, CO

Matthew, a Durango resident, shares his story about trying to get coverage with a pre existing medical condition. After injuring his knee skiing, it took over a year for Matthew to receive the necessary orthopedic surgery. He finally got the care he needed through the Cover Colorado program.

“I remember the car ride home … thinking, what am I going to do? I don’t have [health insurance] and it was just full of fear.”


Laurel – Durango, CO

Laurel, a Durango resident, shares her story about the local school based health centers. She talks about the impact on kids, their families, and the greater community.

“I would encourage anyone … whether you have kids or not, to check out the school based health centers… because they are making a difference in our community.”

Christina and Jaden

Christina and Jaden – Durango, CO

Christina explains her family’s decision to move from their home in Durango to Denver for her son Jaden’s specialty care. Despite having formed a close relationship with their primary care provider in Durango, the financial strain of living so far away from a neurosurgeon has forced Christina and her family to make this tough choice.

“Its been a very hard decision to move to Denver, because this is home…I’m losing that large chunk of go-to care for specialty care.”