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Arenales receives Iglehart Award for Leadership in Health Policy

Health care champion honored at the 2014 Colorado Health Symposium

KEYSTONE, CO — Elisabeth Arenales received the distinguished John K. Iglehart Award for Leadership in Health Policy during the Colorado Health Foundation’s Colorado Health Symposium, July 24 at the Keystone Resort & Conference Center. The award recognizes a person whose wisdom, involvement and leadership consistently advanced the cause of health and health care for the people of Colorado.

Elisabeth Arenales is the 2014 recipient of the Iglehart Award for Leadership in Health Policy.

Arenales, has been the Health Care Program director for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy since 2000 and has spent a lifetime fighting for the protection and expansion of healthcare access for low-income and underserved Coloradans. 

“Elisabeth Arenales has long been at the forefront of the battle to provide access to health care for lower-income communities in Colorado,” said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. “Her work as an advocate for expanded coverage has served to bring Colorado closer to becoming the healthiest state in the nation, and her work in helping to establish the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative as well as her continued labor at the Center for Law and Policy has helped to give rise to an increasingly equitable health care system.” 

Arenales’ efforts as an advocate and health policy expert have helped to shepherd in legislation and programs that address health access barriers and have led to significant changes in the Colorado health landscape. In addition, her past work with and efforts to found the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative have served to create a lasting and meaningful impact in the capacity and infrastructure for Colorado’s health advocacy work.  A Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform commissioner and a veteran of numerous efforts to improve the state of Colorado’s health care systems, Arenales’s commitment to Colorado’s residents make her this year’s Iglehart Award winner.

Elisabeth Arenales (middle) stands with Anne Warhover (left) and Sally Schaefer. Warhover is president and CEO and Schaefer is c

In addition to the Iglehart Award that she has won today, Arenales has been recognized by organizations including the University of Colorado (Law School Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement), the Colorado Bar Association (Donald Hoagland Award), Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (Trial Lawyer of the Year), and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a community health leader.

The award is named after John K. Iglehart, founding editor of Health Affairs, a health policy journal. In conjunction with the Iglehart Award, the Foundation will make a $10,000 contribution to a health care nonprofit of Arenales’ choice.

“To be recognized by your own community is really one of the highest honors that you can receive," said Arenales. "Everything I do and every place I go I carry a little piece with me -- a little piece of a memory of someone who is in pain or is hurting because they are not able to access the things they need in health care. I think about the person who I talked to the day before she died, because she wasn't able to get the health care medicines that she needed. Those are the people I think of, and that is what makes me the most proud to do this work -- that sometimes we can help them.“ 

The Iglehart award is a tradition of the annual Colorado Health Symposium, produced by the Colorado Health Foundation. In 2007, the award was established to recognize Iglehart's more than 20 years of dedication to the Symposium and his contribution to the health policy discussion. Past award recipients include William Lindsay, president of Lockton Companies LLC and chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare Reform; former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher; Dr. Jay Want, now principal of Want Healthcare LLC; Joan Henneberry, former planning director of the Colorado Health Insurance Exchange and former executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, currently a private consultant and Barbara Yondorf, a consumer health advocate; and Margarite Salazar, Colorado Commissioner of insurance.

To join the 2014 Colorado Health Symposium online, visit the Symposium's social media webpage.

About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is singularly focused on helping Coloradans live their healthiest lives by advancing opportunities to pursue good health and achieve health equity through grantmaking, policy and advocacy, strategic private investments and convening to drive change. For more information, please visit