Our Equity Statement
Aurora Health Alliance’s commitment to health equity means we strive for and promote the highest possible standard of health for all people.
To Aurora Health Alliance, health equity means everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible, regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, language, physical and mental ability, and other core aspects of identity. It requires the dismantling of structural racism through the removal of barriers to health. It requires both improving access to the care and resources needed to thrive, along with equitable treatment once that access is gained.
AHA envisions a community where all residents have an opportunity to achieve optimal health.
To achieve equitable access and promote a healthier Aurora for everyone
- Serve as a catalyst, coalition-builder, and inclusive convener.
- Build and nurture collaboration in understanding and in seeking solutions to Aurora’s healthcare problems.
- Commit to an inclusive, productive, and respectful approach to community discussions and problem-solving; one that focuses on solutions, not blame.
- Seek to engage and listen to those directly affected by community health issues.
- Offer multiple ways to engage in what we do, so that more people, communities, and organizations can participate.
- Identify, promote, and build upon what is already working well.
- Strengthen Aurora’s capacity by supporting new and emerging professionals, providers, activists, and leaders.
- Acknowledge contributions and celebrate successes.
Aurora Health Alliance (AHA) offers an inclusive convening table where health and community leaders can come together to discuss and develop solutions to health access issues in their community: inadequate primary care capacity, limited access to specialty care, inequitable distribution of health resources, and fragmented approaches to solutions. We provide a practical, innovative, and open approach to collaboration, and we not only react to, but also tries to anticipate, the needs in the community.
For more than a decade, Aurora Health Alliance has been increasing access, expanding coverage, and building collaboration!
In 2021 AHA:
- Established a Health Equity Statement to guide our vision and mission
- Created and published videos with information about the COVID-19 Vaccines in English and in Spanish
- Convened a network of organization working with the unhoused population in Aurora for the sharing of information, services, and other collaborations
- Created and published a video of 2021 City Council Candidate Interviews on their campaign's plans to support and address the unhoused community, if elected
- Our Kids and Behavioral Health Groups combined to present a two-part webinar on Youth Suicide featuring CO Dept. Public Health & Environment, Tri-County Health Dept., Partners for Children's Mental Health, Denver Dept. of Public Health & Environment, Aurora Mental Health Center, Cherry Creek Schools, Aurora Public Schools, and Children's Hospital Colorado
- Created and distributed a Guide to Low Cost Oral Care in Aurora in English and Spanish with a flowchart for adults to help navigate oral health services
- Was awarded a three-year grant from Delta Dental Foundation of Colorado to support the Aurora Smiles work
- Completed and compiled the results of the Access to Specialty Care Needs Assessment, having collected data from area providers around the key priorities of specialty care access in Aurora
- Our Kids Interest Group hosted "Envision: You," a project to help LGBTQ+ youth overcome disparities
In 2020 AHA:
- Switched all meetings to an all virtual/webinar format
- Created a COVID-19 Resource page on our website
- Hosted a Behavioral Health During COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations series
- Held an Access to Specialty Care E-Consult series
- Hosted a special Race as a Social Determinant of Health webinar
- AHA's Executive Director, Mandy Ashley, was interviewed by Dennis Stretar at Our Community Broadcast Network
- Created our first Behavioral Health Interest Group
- Created and published the first of three videos with information about the COVID-19 Vaccines
- The Aurora Smiles group created a resource flowchart for adults to help navigate oral health services, including those who are uninsured or underinsured
- The Social Determinants of Health Interest Group hosted a robust panel focused on child trafficking
- The Access to Specialty Care group launched a Special Needs Assessment to determine the obstacles that medical providers face in securing specialty care for their patients
- In 2019, AHA provided education, information, and networking opportunities through 19 InterestGroup gatherings focused on Kids Health, Senior Resources, Access to Specialty Care, and Social Determinants of Health.
- We coordinated with Children’s Hospital Colorado the third bi-annual Kids Convening, sharing information on infant mortality, housing concerns, sexual health, and mental and behavioral health in refugee and immigrant children.
- Our Kids Group and Social Determinants of Health group joined forces to present a panel discussion on Gun Violence: Discussion on Prevention Tactics and Responses to Our Cultural Trauma, featuring presentations of statistical data for Aurora, prevention efforts, mental health and trauma, where we go from here.
- Our Social Determinants of Health group visited Undesign the Redline, an interactive exhibit connecting the intentional and systematic racial housing segregation of the 1930s to political and social issues of today, through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and its legacy.
- AHA hired our second Executive Director, Mandy Ashley who previously served on the AHA board from 2015 – 2018. She has worked at UCHealth as the Manager of Government & Corporate Relations, as well as in the Compliance Department at Colorado Access.
- Working with Doctors Care and RubiconMD, AHA conducted a demonstration project to show what the positive impact of e-consults with specialty care physicians can be on improving access to primary care. The project was highlighted in an article in the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians April magazine.
- AHA hosted a community-wide workshop called Nowhere to Go, highlighting the plight of vulnerable seniors stranded in hospital emergency rooms. AHA provided much of the groundwork for a 3-part series on Channel 9 about the issue statewide.
- AHA provided education, information, and networking opportunities through 27 Interest Group gatherings focused on Kids Health, Senior Resources, Access to Specialty Care, Coverage Expansion, and Social Determinants of Health.
- June 2018 - the Board voted to change the Aurora Health Access changed its name to Aurora Health Alliance.
- Thanks to start-up funding from DentaQuest, AHA launched Aurora Smiles to improve access to oral health services in Aurora. Partners include CU School of Dental Medicine, Children’s Hospital, Tri-County Health Department, MCPN, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and others. Mayor Hogan issued a proclamation making February 2017 Aurora Smiles Month. Working with community partners, the Aurora Smiles Team provided free dental screenings and fluoride varnish to over 100 children in Aurora.
- The Social Determinants of Health Task Force hosted several meetings focused on families living in motels along Colfax Avenue. Working with community partners, the group delivered letters and information about mold and bed bug reduction to motels along Colfax. Inspired by this, the Latino Research & Policy Center secured funding to study how indoor environmental allergens affect the health of families in Aurora.
- During the 2017 July Quarterly Community Meeting, AHA partnered with Kaiser Permante Care Equity Project to host a play on food insecurity at the Vintage Theater.
- AHA’s Kids Interest Group worked with the Piton Foundation to produce a report titled North Aurora Immigrant and Refugee Demographic Profile.
- The Senior Circle produced the Guide to Affordable Oral Health Services for Seniors.
- AHA Board surveyed Colorado’s 18 other health alliances, considered various funding options, and adopted this sustainability strategy: 1) a majority of AHA’s operating funds will come from supporting organizations through annual Affiliations, 2) the Board believes reliance of this source of funding will validate AHA’s value to the partners and the Aurora community; it will allow AHA to remain independent and responsive to community needs as they arise, 3) a goal of raising $100,000 through Affiliations was set.
- Working with Tri-County Health Department and Piton Foundation, AHA launched a community-wide outreach to promote Earned Income Tax Credits. The project was presented as an example of effective community outreach and education during Annual Colorado Public Health Conference.
- The AHA Access to Specialty Care Task Force conducted a needs assessment among members to determine which specialty care referrals were most challenging to secure for Medicaid clients, and the results were: urology, orthopedics, dermatology, neurology, and rheumatology.
- AHA launched the community-wide education project Know Where to Go, to explain difference between urgent care clinics and free-standing emergency rooms.
- June 2015 – The first Aurora Senior Forum was held in the community room of St. Theresa’s Church, with 76 participants and 14 exhibitors.
- AHA’s Adult Access Work Group voted to become the Access to Specialty Care Task Force, to focus on a chronic and worsening problem.
- AHA’s Board revised the mission statement “to collaboratively improve access to care and create a healthier Aurora,” adding, “with a focus on our most vulnerable and underserved residents.”
- AHA began working with and supporting Primary Care Progress, a dedicated group of students (and some faculty members), and the Fields Foundation to explore the feasibility creating a free student-run clinic in Aurora. In July of 2014, 740 students across the Anschutz campus signed a petition to support such a clinic, and the DAWN Clinic opened in March 2015!
- March 2014 – AHA hired its first Executive Director – Denise Denton
- October 2014 – An Oral Health Convening was held at the Martin Luther King Library to identify oral health needs and resources in Aurora, and 22 organizations participated.
- December 2014 – The Senior Circle was formed, led by partners at InnovAge and the Colorado Gerontological Society!
- The 1st Aurora Kids Convening was held January of 2013. The Colorado School of Public Health, Colorado Children’s Health Access Program, and Children’s Hospital Colorado partnered with AHA to organize the event. One of the major problems identified was lack of health insurance.
Data showed that the proportion of uninsured children in North Aurora (21.4%) was two times higher than Colorado statewide (10.1%), and stakeholders estimated that 20% of Aurora’s youth were uninsurable due to lack of documentation.
AHA later took on several projects related to health insurance and documentation, including a report titled Private Health Insurance Options for Undocumented People.
- AHA received a 3-year operating grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to hire an Executive Director, formalize a governance structure, and develop a sustainability plan.
- July 2013 - AHA’s Founding Board and officers were selected, representing many who are still engaged today: Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Public Schools, Aurora Mental Health Center, Children’s Hospital, Colorado Access, Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council, MCPN (now STRIDE), and Tri-County Health Department.
- Dec 2013 - AHA produced its first e-newsletter.
- AHA volunteers conduct a “Canvassing and Congregation” survey of 161 families in NW Aurora.
63% said they avoided getting medical care because of cost.
31% had difficulty getting a primary care appointment within a month for a non-urgent need.
- Working with the Colorado Children’s Healthcare Access Program (CCHAP) AHA produced a list of Pediatric Medical Homes serving Aurora.
- June 2012 - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid awarded a 3-year $4.2 million grant to Metro Community Provider Network (now STRIDE) to implement the “Bridges to Care” program at the University of Colorado Hospital.
AHA, along with Aurora Mental Health and Together Colorado were key community partners.
The goal of the grant was to reduce emergency room visits and unnecessary hospitalizations.
The program served over 600 patients, and among 225 program graduates, the number of ED visits to UCHospital decreased 49 percent, while the number of hospitalizations fell 55 percent, and that resulted in savings of nearly $8 million in charges.
- A community survey was conducted to identify health access priorities for AHA to address. The highest priorities identified were: 1) high numbers uninsured/underinsured, 2) inadequate primary care capacity, 3) limited integration, care coordination, and access to specialty care, and 4) inequitable distribution of healthcare resources.
- AHA Task Force received a small grant to expand health insurance coverage, especially among Aurora’s immigrant and refugee communities. They worked with Aurora’s ethnic restaurants to provide community education about health insurance enrollment through table tents, post cards, and coloring placemats. This kind of outreach - with informal, trusted community leaders was a very effective way to reach their targeted families.
- Early 2009 - The parishioners of St. Theresa’s Church were concerned about access to healthcare in NW Aurora and began to hold neighborhood meetings to discuss the problem.
- November 2009 – St. Theresa’s hosted a community meeting to discuss healthcare access in Aurora – over 150 people attended. Together Colorado and STRIDE (then called MCPN) helped organize the event.
The group identified 3 guiding principles: 1) the healthcare system in Aurora can meet the needs of all residents; 2) it will take all of us working together to succeed; and 3) the diversity of Aurora is a strength and all with aligned interests are welcome.
- January 2010 – As a result of the community meeting, the all-volunteer Aurora Health Access Task Force was formed and the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved (now called the Center for Health Progress) received a grant to help support AHA.