Health Equity in Rural Communities

Rural Colorado residents face unique challenges maintaining their health and wellness. Geographic isolation makes access to health care specialists difficult and expensive. Long and rugged mountain roads make regular visits to primary care providers and dentists  an all-day event. Often lacking a centralized public transportation system, those without cars or trucks face incredible barriers accessing care not available in their community. As members of our communities age, end of life and home care become more necessary but remain limited and expensive.

However, rural communities have advantages that can be leveraged to increase health and wellness. The natural environment we live in offers diverse opportunities for physical activity – we can literally walk out our doors to go on beautiful hikes and exciting ski trips. Our communities are small enough that residents know each other from daily visits to the post office and grocery store. Residents find creative solutions to problems and understand the value of neighbors helping neighbors.

The Colorado Trust is hosting the Health Equity Learning Series to raise awareness about the unique challenges rural Coloradans face in living healthy lifestyles. On July 23rd, a live streaming event will be viewed across the state to address health equity in rural communities. Health equity is the ability for individuals to live their lives to their healthiest.

Speakers include Dolores E. Roybal, Ph.D., MSW, Executive Director of the Con Alma Health Foundation, a health equity funder with a focus on serving rural, tribal and culturally diverse communities in New Mexico. A New Mexico native, Dr. Roybal currently serves on the boards of Grantmakers in Health and the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, and is a senior fellow with the New Mexico Center for the Advancement of Research, Engagement and Science on Health Disparities. The second speaker will be Susan Wilger, Director of programs for the National Center for Frontier Communities (NCFC) based in Silver City, New Mexico. NCFC is the only national organization dedicated to frontier communities and serves as the central point of contact for referrals, information exchange and networking among rural, geographically separated communities. Ms. Wilger currently serves on the Board of the National Rural Health Association.

Join the staff of Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) in a viewing of their presentations on rural health. The screening will take place on Thursday, July 30th from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Wilkinson Public Library Patio located at 100 W. Pacific Avenue in Telluride. TCHNetwork will provide a free dinner as we relax outside and learn more about what we can do as community members to enhance our health. To reserve your spot, please contact Andy at 970-708-7096. We’ll see you there!



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