Bringing Health in Reach

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Since I’ve been at the Foundation, I have witnessed a desire – a thirst – to be bolder in how we work to impact Colorado. We strive to achieve that impact through our organization’s guiding vision. A few weeks ago at our annual Colorado Health Symposium, I shared our bold new vision: Across Colorado, each of us can say: “We have all we need to live healthy lives.”

We realized that we could achieve our former vision of making Colorado the healthiest state, yet still leave many of our friends and neighbors behind. Our new vision is supported by our belief that health is a basic human right and that we want everyone to enjoy that right. We are not making a political statement – this is far beyond the current public debate over health care and health insurance. 

Rather, it is a core belief of all of us at the Foundation, including our staff and Board. Our new vision recognizes and allows for profound impact that is applicable to you, me, an organization, a community, a region and all of Colorado.

Therefore, we created a vision statement literally including voice – a statement that explains that in order for me to have my best health, those around me must have theirs as well. The health of one dictates the health of us all. Yet, the reality is that health is not in reach for many Coloradans.

At the Symposium, our Board Chair, Jerome Davis, was brave enough to share his children’s struggles with sickle cell anemia. He noted that he feels lucky that his family has resources to access care. He’s had the ability to figure out the health system and make sure his children have the treatment and care they need. Health is in reach for his family, even with those struggles. But how would things be different if they were diagnosed at a later age? If they lived in a different ZIP code? If they didn’t have health insurance or access to healthy food? What if he didn’t have the ability to bring health in reach for them?

I have heard many times,If you have your health, you have everything.” Or conversely, “If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters.” Jerome’s personal story is a touching reminder that the opportunity for health is simply not equitable. That’s why a key part of our new vision demands that health be in reach for each of us and the communities we live, work and play in. We want Jerome’s story to be the norm – not the exception. One of our Symposium speakers, Kathleen Osta, from the National Equity Project, said it best: "We are only as healthy as the unhealthiest parts of our community."

Please join us in our efforts to make sure we all have what we need to live healthy lives. Let’s work together on this journey to bring health in reach for all Coloradans.

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