FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Fifteen members named to the new Health Equity Commission
DENVER – Fifteen members have been named to the state’s new Health Equity Commission. As set forth in HB13-1088, the commission replaces the Minority Health Advisory Commission. The commission advises the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through its Office of Health Equity on data collection and dissemination strategies, aligning the department’s health equity efforts, strengthening collaborative partnerships with communities and promoting workforce diversity.
The commission, which provides a formal mechanism for public input, consists of 15 members: 10 members representing Colorado’s diverse populations and one member each from the Colorado Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the Department of Public Health and Environment as an ex officio member.
The following commission members were appointed by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s executive director: Chris Armijo (Denver), Karen Koenemann (Leadville), Leonardo Kattari (Denver), Linda Burhansstipanov (Pine), Maisha Fields-Pollard (Centennial), Mayra Rosa (Denver), Melanie Tran (Lakewood), Nita Mosby Henry (Denver), Suzuho Shimasaki (Denver) and Tony Hernandez (Denver).
Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (Commerce City) was appointed by the president of the Senate and Rep. John Buckner (Aurora) was appointed by the speaker of the House. Dr. Judy Zerzan will serve as the designee for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Paul Stein will serve as the designee from the Department of Human Services. Karin McGowan will serve as ex officio member of the commission for the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Although Colorado ranks as one of the healthiest states, gaps in health persist. Some communities bear a disproportionate burden of disease, illness and, consequently, a poor quality of life. The Office of Health Equity is working closely with the Health Equity Commission to explore possible public health system changes to give every Coloradan an equal chance to be healthy.
One key responsibility of the commission is to work with the Board of Health to implement the Health Disparities Grant Program with funds appropriated from the Amendment 35 tobacco cash fund. HB13-1088 also expands the scope of the Office of Health Equity to serve a wider variety of populations, including those defined by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, age and low socioeconomic status.
Regular meetings will be held the first Friday of each month.