Successes from a regional health connector

RHC funding sunsetting - Success of the initiative

By Stephanie Salazer-Rodriguez

Published by Mile High Health Alliance 

The three-year State Innovation Model grant that supported the RHC work will soon be sunsetting.  As illustrated below, the three projects, designed to address local priorities, played a significant role in improving health outcomes for Denver residents.

The first project, “Off the Cuff,” identified 2-4 external partners to assist primary care practices with resources to reduce cardiovascular disease by increasing individual’s knowledge of blood pressure numbers. During the project, I partnered with various stakeholders, who assisted in planning and implementing 12 community health events, including two Health and Wellness Expos in Southwest Denver. The events provided services to over 800 community members and generated over $40,000 of in-kind contributions including $3,000 in donated blood pressure cuffs to give to individuals.

The second project, “Partnering to Reduce Substance Misuse,” facilitated the establishment of an educational linkage between the primary care practices and stakeholders. The project was addressed through a partnership with the statewide Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. I participated in the provider education work group, which conducted trainings throughout the state. Additionally, I was involved in the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Collective Impact Initiative on Opioids and Other Substances. The project hosted various convenings that culminated in the formation of action teams to implement goals in the strategic plan. The group continues to identify the root causes of poly-substance misuse and to design a public awareness campaign.

The third project was “Increasing Mental Health Awareness.” The goal was to provide opportunities for primary care practices and stakeholders to participate in stigma reduction campaigns. As the RHC, I worked with the Media Action Team (MAT) for the “Let’s Talk Colorado” efforts. The third year of the campaign specifically targeted mental health for males.  My involvement included identifying and organizing six demographically specific, male focus groups, with the purpose of garnering input and feedback, which was used to develop messaging and materials for May 2019 mental health awareness month. 

As the SIM funding concludes, I will continue these community-focused efforts, transitioning to the title Director of Community Engagement. My immediate activities will include Phase III of the Immigrant Drop Off, Medical Legal Partnership, Latino Age Wave, Census 2020 and emerging issues. I am eager to implement the next chapter.