Our issues of priorities Policy-Focus-Graph-300x300

1. Reduce obesity and related chronic disease

Healthier Colorado seeks to reduce obesity and related chronic disease, and we place an emphasis on childhood obesity and population disparities within this issue area. Colorado’s adults are famously the nation’s least obese, but our children rank significantly lower.

Residents with lower socioeconomic status, non-white populations (especially Latinos and African Americans), and certain geographic areas (especially rural ones) have higher rates obesity and related disease. We focus on the twin components to the prevention and reduction of obesity: physical activity and nutrition.

2. Improve mental & behavioral health

Healthier Colorado aims to improve mental and behavioral health in Colorado. We believe that every Coloradan should have access to quality mental and behavioral health services that are affordable and integrated on equal footing with physical health within our health system. We pursue policy change on mental and behavioral health that improves Coloradans’ quality of life, avoids premature death, and prevents adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). We have made this category a priority for reasons including the fact that Colorado ranks poorly on several mental and behavioral health indicators.

3. Address population-level health disparities

Healthier Colorado seeks to reduce health disparities on the basis of socioeconomic status, race and geography. We believe that a person’s health status should not be dictated by how much money they make, the color of their skin or where they live. Unfortunately, there are pronounced health differences between Coloradans on these bases. We focus on disparities within the areas outlined above, in addition to emerging opportunities to make a meaningful difference in other areas. These opportunities may include, but are not limited to, progress on oral health, tobacco use and housing.

How we pick our priorities

The people of Colorado are our organization’s constituency. We take this responsibility seriously and thus conduct a thorough and inclusive statewide process to figure out where to direct our resources and advocacy. These are the evaluation components that lead to the selection of our priority issues:

  • Health data analysis: We examine population health data to determine which health focus is most in need of improvement. This examination includes comparisons between Colorado and other states and between regions and counties within Colorado.
  • Social science analysis: We review public opinion research, some of which is commissioned by Healthier Colorado, to learn about Coloradans’ attitudes on health policy.
  • Statewide conversations: We regularly tour the state to meet with stakeholders, health professionals and regular folks to learn about various perspectives around Colorado.
  • Advocacy field assessment: We seek to partner with other advocacy organizations and deploy our unique resources toward issues on which they are truly needed. Therefore, we work to develop partnership opportunities and avoid duplication.
  • Policy opportunity assessment:  We consider both the degree to which policy change can make a positive difference (versus, for example, direct service work), the number and potential impact of policy changes, and the political viability of those measures.

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