SIM increases consumer/patient voice on advisory board

Two new members joined the SIM advisory board to represent consumer and patient perspectives during the Nov. 26 meeting.

Griselda Peña-Jackson, BSBA, executive director of 2040 Partners for Health, (, will join the board as a voting member. Peña-Jackson was involved with SIM’s consumer outreach this year and brings a wealth of experience with consumer advocacy work and community organizing to the table.

Laura Carroll will join the SIM advisory board in the new role of honorary patient representative. Carroll has been engaged in the Medicare Experience Advisory Council and was recently asked to participate in a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference during "Beneficiaries helping to improve the Medicaid program" session. Carroll explained that participants discussed barriers to widespread integration of physical and behavioral health services and strategies to address those barriers."

Both Peña-Jackson and Carroll were interested in joining the SIM advisory board because of their interest in patient advocacy.

“Health has always been at the top of my interest in working in communities,” says Peña-Jackson, who has a keen appreciation for health equity work and the need to ensure greater access to health care. “I hope to give voice to different stakeholders in the community,” she adds. “I’m young, I have a family and I see the costs of care continuing to go up, and really bringing equity into the conversation when it comes to health.”

Carroll, who has played a leadership role in the state’s MEAC, notes why she participated in the council during a SIM podcast: “It gives people, who felt like they needed their voice to be heard an opportunity to use that voice,” she explains.

Listen to the full podcast ( to learn more about how integrated care has benefitted Carroll’s family. “Behavioral health piece is so very important and something that we’ve been missing as a whole-health model so I’m excited that Colorado is stepping up to do something about it.”

SIM, which is focused on helping primary care provider sites integrate physical and behavioral health and gain the skills they need to succeed with alternative payment models, has prioritized consumer engagement. The team recognizes the essential role that patients play in health care reform and welcomes the expanded consumer and patient presence at the advisory board table.