Question systems. Explore concepts. Discover solutions. And realize that along the way, just as every journey in public health is distinctively different, so too is your experience through our site. In anticipation of this, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions. So go ahead … Dive in. Learn. Open yourself to the many possibilities and value that Trailhead as your strategic partner has to provide to help set you on a path to public health success.

For more than two decades, Trailhead Institute has supported a variety of Colorado projects, programs and partnerships whose work has a positive impact on health and makes a real difference in the quality of people’s lives. We believe effective partnerships are essential to addressing the needs of communities, which we achieve through our organic and collaborative approach. By providing leadership, creating engagement and building partnerships, we work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live, work and play in healthy environments. It’s part of our larger mission to advance innovation and collaboration in public and environmental health.

Trailhead is an expert in helping communities identify and leverage their strengths to overcome real and perceived barriers. The organization is dedicated to listening, learning, and growing with communities as it provides capacity-building services tailored to advance the community’s goals and missions. Trailhead has successfully developed and implemented community engagement programs across the state and the country and is a trusted partner in projects that span all 64 of Colorado’s counties. Within this broad scale, Trailhead strives to address the needs of its partners, taking into account the uniqueness of each community.

As a Public Health Institute (PHI), Trailhead’s strengths align within the competencies of PHI and include Population-based health program delivery, Fiscal/Administrative Management, Collaborative Leadership, Training and Technical Assistance, Research and Evaluation, Public Health Policy and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Trailhead’s work is driven by the following beliefs:

  • We believe collaboration is the only way to address the problems communities face, because nobody can solve these problems alone.
  • We believe that building capacity requires a space where community leaders can focus on addressing community challenges and improving the places where Coloradans live, work and play.
  • We believe in working toward fairness and recognize the inherent inequities of systems; we must work to create fair and equitable systems.
  • We believe that communities need to lead decision-making and resource distribution for public health.

Guided by our beliefs (listed above), Trailhead accomplishes its goal of improving public and environmental health through the following efforts:

  • We advocate for communities to be a leading voice in guiding the actions of systems, institutions, researchers, policymakers and decision makers when it comes to public health.
  • We support organizations, particularly those that are community-based and grassroots, by providing administrative services, administrative coaching and community engagement support.
  • We collaborate with public health agencies, universities and organizations of all kinds to address administrative inequities in health systems.
  • We challenge the status quo as experts in building strong networks, integrating funding to achieve specific goals and creating adaptive frameworks that can guide an organization’s partners.

Through years of partnership success, we have learned that offering multiple and varying forms of assistance is the best way to meet the unique and diverse needs of partners.

Our approach centralizes strong relationship development so that our partners are comfortable discussing and fully vocalizing their needs. One-on-one and small group coaching conversations are a key component. We prioritize building trusted relationships with our partners, so they can speak openly about both their struggles and successes. The coach also serves as a point of accountability for partnerships.

Through ongoing coaching conversations, Trailhead works with each partner to help both of us understand how our efforts can meet their needs. This includes building and maintaining communities of practice, training, development and dissemination of materials, meeting planning, meeting facilitation, strategic planning, fiscal and administrative support, fiscal sponsorship, program development and implementation, among many others.

Trailhead is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.

According to the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI): Public health institutes are nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing public health practice and making systematic improvements in population health.

We couldn’t agree more. A public health institute should also support and promote the kind of improvements that give all people access to the conditions and resources they need to lead healthy, happy lives.

At Trailhead, our Administrative Partnership program combines fiscal sponsorship and operational support for individuals, organizations and collaboratives. It allows us to be more flexible and strategic in the way we work with our partners. This approach lets partners leverage our back office services while maintaining full control over their projects. Our Administrative Partnership Program differs from traditional fiscal sponsorship because we also work with partnerships before funding is secured to provide any capacity and expertise they might need to jumpstart their efforts. We believe that investing time, energy and passion at the early stages enables our partners to build the skills they will need to expand administrative capacity in the future.

We are always seeking new and different ways to support community based and system public health partners as Administrative Partners. If you are interested in becoming a partner, complete this application. If you would like more information about the Administrative Partnership Program see our white paper.