Building a Better-Connected Health System
Built on the belief that a better-connected health system can improve the well-being of all people living in Colorado and create a more just society, Trailhead’s Regional Health Connector Program works to improve health outcomes across the state through an innovative workforce dedicated to building connections between primary care practices, behavioral health care providers, public health and social services.
Beginning in 2015 with two Regional Health Connectors (RHCs) serving the Denver metro region, the program reached full force in 2017, hosting RHCs in each of Colorado’s 21 designated health regions.
As the program enters its fifth year of statewide operation, we’ve put together a five-year milestone report that reflects on the growth of the Regional Health Connector program and shares stories of the impact that RHCs have had in their communities. To read more about the program and stories from the field, click the link below.
Stories of Impact
A core component of the Regional Health Connector program’s success lies in the locally-based structure of the RHC workforce. Because RHCs are residents of the regions that they serve with a history of working within communities, RHCs have a keen ability to identify the social needs and barriers to health that exist in their regions. Included in the five-year milestone report are stories from RHCs addressing unique community needs across Colorado including social isolation among older adults and improving access to transportation.
Taking on Transit as a Barrier to Health
Identifying access to transportation as a barrier to health in the San Luis Valley, Regional Health Connector Dee Kessler has been a steadfast advocate and partner in introducing an affordable shuttle service to the San Luis Valley since joining the Regional Health Connector program in 2016. Read more.
Addressing Social Isolation Among Older Adults
Serving as a Regional Health Connector to Jefferson County, Cynthia Farrar’s work in Region 21 has focused on improving connections between older adults with services and programs that address social and physical isolation needs since 2019. Read more.
Supporting Otero County’s Mass Vaccination Clinic
Joining the Regional Health Connector workforce in October of 2020, Christine Coffield’s early work as an RHC in Region 6 supported the initial planning of Otero County Health Department’s COVID-19 mass vaccination drive-through clinic at the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds in Rocky Ford that opened in January of 2021. Read more.
Supporting the Distribution of Monoclonal Antibodies (mAb) Treatments in Colorado
Beginning in April 2021, seven Regional Health Connectors were selected to support CU Anschutz’s mAb Colorado project advancing the distribution of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) treatments. These treatments are currently available to people who have tested positive for COVID-19, exhibit mild to moderate symptoms of the disease and who are at high risk of developing severe COVID-19. When given within the first 10 days of illness, mAb treatments can prevent hospitalizations and/or severe complications caused by COVID-19.
As a crucial point of connection in the community with existing relationships between primary care practices, behavioral health care providers and public health agencies, RHCs are working with the university to support the program’s messaging and engage community members and providers in the availability and effectiveness of mAb treatments.
As RHCs and university partners are working to raise awareness for and facilitate the dissemination of mAb treatments across the state, there is a concerted effort to ensure that these treatments are distributed across geographically, racially, ethnically and medically diverse groups in Colorado. To learn more about the availability and effectiveness of mAb treatments, view the mAb Colorado project webpage through the button below.