The Work We Do

Thoughtful. Meaningful. Impactful. Through community engagement programs, active administrative partnerships, youth sexual health and education services, and food access and security initiatives like the Collaborative Leadership Initiatives, Trailhead enables us to realize the true and purpose-driven potential of public health in Colorado. Through a culture of conscious collaboration—a think tank of the possible—Trailhead provides the essential tools, platforms and the necessary personnel for realizing the complete and full potential of what public health in Colorado is truly meant to achieve.

Community Engagement

Improving public health is a journey that depends on effective community engagement. By providing all the essential services you need, Trailhead Institute is the strategic partner that leads and explores holistic efforts that will benefit the public equitably.

As guides for public health, we seek to involve community members in identifying critical issues and better inform the research efforts and health programs aimed at addressing them. This is one way we embrace the needs of communities, researchers, partners, patients and providers.

We offer the added value of our knowledge and experience, as well as the capacity to manage all aspects of a program, including contracting, fiscal administration, training and building capacity. We also award grants and contract programs to support the efforts and initiatives of other organizations and individuals that are focused on community engagement initiatives.

Our current community engagement projects

The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) is a collaborative enterprise involving Colorado universities, research organizations, health care organizations, and multiple community organizations. Together, these organizations seek to translate research discoveries into improved patient care and public health more quickly within our communities—with the ultimate goal of reducing health disparities in the Rocky Mountain Region. Recognizing the crucial role of community engagement in these endeavors, the Community Engagement Core of CCTSI was created to transform the existing community research processes and infrastructure using community-based participatory research principles while growing community-academic partnerships. A dynamic Partnership of Academicians and Communities for Translation (PACT) guides the work of the Community Engagement Core while enabling a more collaborative exchange between communities and academic programs. Trailhead Institute manages all the funds that are going into the community for this program and oversees a Community Research Liaison (CRL) Program and a Pilot Grants program.

To learn more about the CCTSI – Community Engagement Core, visit this link.

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) project explores partnership sustainability through four phases: developing an advisory panel to identify priority topics around sustainability, hosting a series of meetings with individuals sharing their stories and lessons learned on these priority topics, hosting an interactive workshop to further refine and report out findings, and developing resources and tools to facilitate successful partnership sustainability to wider audiences.

Check out the PCOR Sustainability Toolkit Library for more resources to support sustainability in new and existing PCOR partnerships.

Regional Health Connectors (RHCs) serve as liaisons to physician offices, public health and community organizations, creating partnerships that lead to healthier communities and healthier practices. RHCs provide links among the various components of the healthcare delivery system (with a particular focus on primary care), practice transformation organizations, public health system, community organizations, state, county and city agencies, and the academic health system. One function, for example, is to build relationships with primary care practices to make them aware of the resources available to help them evolve to new models of care delivery and compensation. RHCs are deployed across Colorado as a part of the Colorado Health Extension System, a multi-stakeholder collaborative that creates a statewide infrastructure to support and coordinate practice transformation and to connect primary care to local public health and community organizations for community health improvement initiatives.

The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center works in collaboration with several organizations to develop, market, deliver and evaluate a wide range of trainings based on current needs and public health trends. Trailhead Institute is providing training and leadership support in two specific ways: through our administrative partnership program and our staff expertise to develop trainings.

Our staff at Trailhead Institute comprises a team of public health specialists with a broad base of experience and expertise. Together, we can provide consulting for just about any public-health-related effort, including community engagement support, fiscal trainings, grant writing and meeting facilitation. We welcome the opportunity to share our expertise and expand our partnerships.

Trailhead Institute provides ongoing support for a variety of special projects and events for existing partners. We serve in different roles based on the specific needs of each partner, providing a wide range of support that can range from serving as an administrative support system to behind-the-scenes coordinators.

Community engagement projects we’ve completed

Brings together key health and community leaders who are committed to transforming the health care system in Aurora, serving as a powerful catalyst for change.

This initiative gave local communities an opportunity to collaborate and learn how to use multiple funding streams to support evidence-based and best practice services. It also taught them how to accomplish these goals while maintaining the transparency and accountability required by Temporary Assistance for Need Family (TANF)’s outcome-focused funding stream.

CIPAC (Colorado Influenza and Pneumococcal Alert Coalition / Latino Influenza Vaccination and Education) Live Initiative provided educational outreach to the Latino community to improve their understanding of the importance of preventative care, such as influenza immunizations. The program provided influenza immunizations to school-age children and their families in an effort to positively impact the health of this population in Colorado.

Trailhead Institute worked in collaboration with the Center for Healthy Living with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to house resources for training and activities to improve the health of Coloradans.

This initiative used educational outreach to increase colorectal cancer screening among Colorado citizens.

Trailhead Institute requested and received two years of funding on behalf of the LINKS Initiative to implement Colorado’s Behavioral Health Action Plan for Children, Youth, and Their Families. The plan promoted a shared policy agenda for state agencies, consumer advocacy groups, legislators and other leaders in the behavioral health system.

Inspired by an unconventional program developed by The Baltimore Child Health Plan, the Encrucijada project created a full series of novellas – Spanish-speaking soap operas—to promote enrollment in public health insurance and health promotion and disease prevention.

A collaborative between Colorado and New Mexico, EvidenceNOW Southwest (ENSW) was designed to help small and mid-sized primary care practices that are focused on improving the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular risk. Trailhead Institute was one of the local host organizations supported by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality through the EvidenceNOW program. We contracted with multiple practice transformation organizations, which supported practices engaged in this type of effort. We also managed the Regional Health Connector program for the ENSW program.

Well rounded partnerships are diverse, dynamic, equitable and fluid. The following resources give you helpful information and best practices for building and growing successful partnerships:

  • Download the following tool for helpful partnership-building advice from prior Pipeline to Proposal Awardees
    Partnership Lesson Learned Tool
  • Watch the following webinar for a history of partnership engagement and tips on how to engage patients in your partnership
    True Patient & Partner Engagement
  • Download the following guide for information on how to lead discussions that engage patients, stakeholders, and researchers in your partnership projects
    PCORI Sample Engagement Pages

An advanced CER question should incorporate patient, stakeholder and research input as well as address each section of the PICOTS Framework: Population, Intervention, Comparators, Outcome, Time Frame and Setting. The following resources can help you craft a comprehensive CER question:

When it comes to proper invoicing, just follow this simple equation: Proof of Purchase + Business Purpose = Proper Backup Documentation. You can also access any of the following resources for additional information and support to help you keep both your budget and invoicing on track.

PCORI recommends that partnerships look for a variety of project funders—in addition to any PCORI Funding Announcements you’ve secured.

  • Watch this webinar for tips on finding appropriate funding sources for your project; it also includes a helpful guide and template to track your applications:
    Environmental Scan of Funding for Your Community-Engaged Research
  • Watch this webinar for an overview of funder types (and the differences among them) as well as tips on how to divide responsibilities of completing an application and how to navigate the IRB process:
    Strategic Partnership Planning
  • Get statistics on the rates that PCORI and NIH fund applications, including a detailed breakdown by PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA):
    PCORI and NIH Funding Rates

The most effective LOIs and grant applications are usually the result of well-rounded collaboration where each partner plans and writes content for sections that relate to their areas of specialty. The following resources can help guide your efforts along the way:

If you are part of the Pipeline to Proposal program, you’ll need to provide a very specific set of progressive deliverables, which are outlined here. Progressive deliverables are designed to help your partnership build an effective collective by gradually adding on to each deliverable. Once you’ve met all the deliverable, you should have most of the components needed to complete an LOI submission for your project. The following resources can help you at every step in this process:

Data collection can be done in a variety of ways, but the following guidelines and agreements can help make sure you meet all your partnership requirements.

For more information about the Regional Health Connector program, visit their website at

Please contact us directly, and one of our experienced staff members will be happy to assist you.