Danyelle Rigli, Advocacy Coordinator
Mountain Family Health Centers sent a delegation of staff and board members in February to the Colorado Community Health Network Policy and Issues Forum in Denver. The annual event ran February 6th & 7th this year.
Mountain Family has a scholarship contest each year for staff interested in attending. All staff are eligible to submit an essay expressing why they feel they would be a good representative of Mountain Family at the Colorado State Capitol building. A winner from each Mountain Family site is chosen and prepped for the event.
The first day of the forum is spent with staff from the Colorado Community Health Network. Attendees learn about important topics, including the process of how a bill becomes a law, legislative priorities for Community Health Centers in Colorado, and tips on visiting with state legislators from each district.
Priority issues for Community Health Centers this year include the high cost of health care across the state, hospital pricing transparency, the growth of Medication-Assisted Treatment programs in response to the nationwide opioid epidemic.
On Thursday, February 7th, the Mountain Family delegation made its way to the Colorado State Capitol, home of the Senate, House of Representatives, the Office of the Governor, and other offices. Our staff and board members met with Representative Julie McCluskie (D) and Senator Kerry Donovan (D), who both represent Eagle County. Mountain Family was slated to visit with Rep. Dylan Roberts, also representing Eagle County, but the meeting was rescheduled due to snow and the delayed start at the House of Representatives that morning.
In recent years the Mountain Family delegation met with Rep. Bob Rankin (R) during the annual gathering, but he was recently appointed to the Colorado Senate and was not able to meet due to scheduling conflicts. Overall, the Policy and Issues Forum was educational for both Mountain Family representatives and state legislators alike.
The Colorado the Colorado Community Health Network announced the Community Health Champion Awards during this year’s forum. Congratulations to all the winners!
Legislator Community Health Champion Awards: Senator Kerry Donovan (State Senate District 5) & Representative Chris Kennedy (State House District 23)
Volunteer Clinician Community Health Champion Award: Dr. Robert N. Alsever (Pueblo)
Media Community Health Champion Award: Ms. Jennifer Brown (The Colorado Sun)
Community Health Advocate Award: Mr. Jim Farmer (High Plains Community Health Center)
Stanley J. Brasher Community Health Gratitude Award: Dr. Michael Welch (Peak Vista Community Health Centers)