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Region 4 News June 18th, 2024
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Colorado Regional Health Connectors Work to Improve Community Health

Posted in: #CC/Academic List, #Health Interest List, #Health Sciences List, #Public/K-12 List, Blog


In June 2021, I attended a virtual Colorado Regional Health Connectors (RHC) panel to learn about the Connector’s work to improve the coordination of primary care, public health, human services and community health organizations throughout the state. The program is comprised of twenty-one regions reaching urbanrural, and frontier counties and provides an opportunity to understand local health needs that can vary widely from community to community. 

Figure 1 Colorado Regional Health Connectors Map  

 

Each RHC is hosted by a local organization that has an established relationship in the region and experience with community-based work. As a trusted member of the community, RHCs live and work in the area. They leverage their local knowledge to partner with clinical quality improvement teams to address new models of care, connect primary care with community-based behavioral health and social services, and recommend reliable resources to improve health outcomes.  

 

Three regions from the RHC  were present on the panel, and each Connector shared current projects: 

  • Shannon Borders from RHC Region 5 works to support success in agriculture for people with disabilities with the AgrAbility Project. Her collaborators include the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.  
  • Dee Kessler from RHC  Region 8 works to improve transportation options and through a grant developed MySLVConnect to provide up-to-date resources for community members in the San Luis Valley.  
  • Mary Burt from RHC Region 10 provides health education, basic health screenings, coaching, and casework support. She works to improve access to healthy food. Her collaborators include the public library, Tri County Health Network, and Cooking Matters. 

I left this meeting with a huge sense of gratitude for the depth and breadth of work each of these Connectors carries out. Each was incredibly passionate about the communities they serve, and I hope to discover ways NNLM Region 4 can support their efforts.  

Further reading on the Colorado Regional Health Connectors program: 

  1. Building Partnerships: The Regional Health Connectors’ Impact on Colorado (2021) 
  2. Bringing Together Clinics and Communities (2018) 
  3. Food for Thought: It Takes A Village: Examining Colorado’s Health Connector Workforce (2018) 

-Dana Abbey, NNLM Engagement Coordinator – Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico 

 

Dana Abbey is an Engagement Coordinator with the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Region 4. For over 15 years, she has worked to improve the public’s access to reliable information to enable informed decisions regarding health and to enhance access to evidence-based research for clinicians and the public health workforce.
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