DENVER― Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN) announced its annual awards for Community Health Champions and Advocates, people who support the work of Colorado Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the people they serve, during its 2022 Policy and Issues Forum.
- The awards given March 9, 2022, include:
- Representative Julie McCluskie (House District 61), Lake, Pitkin, Delta, Summit, and Gunnison Counties, 2022 Legislator Community Health Advocate Award
- Representative Daneya Esgar (House District 46), Pueblo County, 2022 Legislator Community Health Advocate Award
- Donald Moore, Pueblo Community Health Center, Stanley J. Brasher Community Health Gratitude Award
- Laura Larson, STRIDE Community Health Center, 2022 Community Health Advocate Award
- Alicia Dunn, R.N., Summit Community Care Clinic, 2022 Volunteer Clinician Community Health Champion Award
Legislator Community Health Champion Awards
The Legislator Community Health Champion awards are given to legislators who have gone above and beyond to support legislation and positions that directly support CHCs and increase access to primary health care for the underserved.
Representative Julie McCluskie represents Colorado House District 61, which includes the counties of Lake, Pitkin, Delta, Summit, and Gunnison. Rep. McCluskie was a primary sponsor for CCHN’s priority legislation, Senate Bill (SB)21-212 Primary Care Payments Align Federal Funding, which doubled the federal match for the Primary Care Fund in Colorado. Rep. McCluskie also sponsored SB20-212 Reimbursement for Telehealth Services, and is currently co-sponsoring Cover all Coloradans, a bill that CCHN has been actively working on to expand health care coverage to more patients.
Rep. McCluskie serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the current chair of the Joint Budget Committee. In these positions, she has helped support many budget items of interest to CHCs, and has protected programs important to CHCs from budget cuts. Ross Brooks, CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers, and Helen Royal, CEO of Summit Community Care Clinic, said in a joint comment about her: “Julie is not just a legislator but also an amazing human who never loses focus of the people who make up the communities that she serves. Neither of us ever hesitates to reach out to Julie, and whenever we need something, she listens.”
Representative Daneya Esgar was elected to represent Colorado House District 46, which covers a portion of Pueblo County, in 2015. During her time in the legislature, she has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Coloradans through her legislative leadership and advocacy, including as a previous House Majority leader and Chair of the Joint Budget Committee. Rep. Esgar has continued to prioritize state budget items that support CHCs and their patients, in addition to protecting important programs for CHCs from budget cuts during the pandemic.
Since taking office, she has sponsored or supported numerous bills of interest to CHCs and has used her leadership positions to speak in favor and advocate for CCHN Public Affairs Priorities time and time again. Donald Moore, CEO of Pueblo Community Health Center said about her: “Representative Esgar has improved the lives of Coloradans through health care, reproductive rights, consumer rights, and gender equality legislative leadership and advocacy.” This is her last year in the Colorado legislature.
Stanley J. Brasher Community Health Gratitude Award
This award was created and named in honor of Jerry Brasher, former CEO of Salud Family Health Centers and one of CCHN’s founders. The award is given to a CHC executive who has worked at a CHC for ten or more years, has maintained excellent relationships with their state and national legislators, and has done something extraordinary as it relates to CCHN’s priorities during their career.
Donald Moore, President and CEO of Pueblo Community Health Center (PCHC), has been a member of the PCHC team since 1999, serving as Chief Operating Officer until 2009 when he was promoted to CEO. He has been a life-long advocate for Colorado’s most vulnerable populations and has been working in safety-net clinics for nearly 30 years. Mr. Moore has created and grown important partnerships within his community and is a well-known figure and advocate for residents in Pueblo County and beyond.
Mr. Moore has been the Chair of CCHN’s Public Affairs Committee since 2018. Through his thorough preparation and dedication to CCHN’s Public Affairs Priorities, he has helped guide the committee to be more thoughtful, strategic, and efficient.
Mr. Moore takes the time to understand the issues impacting his community and patients and is thoughtful about how legislation and regulation could help or harm them. He deeply understands the importance of advocacy and takes great care to personalize his efforts. He goes above and beyond to create lasting relationships with his elected officials. He has most of them on speed-dial and is in regular communication with them about legislative and non-legislative issues alike.
Alice Steiner, Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy at CCHN said of Donald: “His attention to detail and understanding of its impact on the bigger picture really helps make our job at CCHN easier. He is an incredibly thoughtful leader and is always going the extra mile when it comes to advocacy.”
Community Health Advocate Award
Since 2008, CCHN staff have recognized a CHC advocate of the year during its Policy and Issues Forum.
Laura Larson, Vice President of Development for STRIDE Community Health Center (STRIDE), joined STRIDE (then Metro Community Provider Network) as the development manager in 2013. Since joining the team, Ms. Larson has helped to secure millions of dollars in new grant funding and has tripled the net revenue of STRIDE’s two annual fundraising events. She is a passionate leader and is dedicated to STRIDE’s mission, patients, and community.
Ms. Larson’s ability to develop strong relationships with donors, community partners, elected officials, board members, and staff has helped to deepen STRIDE’s impact on the health of the communities they serve. STRIDE’s service area touches the districts of 22 state legislators and three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Larson has worked hard to ensure that each one of them knows who STRIDE is, what they do, and that they can be called upon for support and partnership.
Ben Wiederholt, CEO of STRIDE said: “Laura has a tireless commitment to the mission and her work and is a FANTASTIC choice for this award.”
Volunteer Clinician Community Health Champion Award
The Volunteer Clinician Community Health Champion Award honors volunteer clinicians who have been dedicated to serving the needs of the medically underserved. The clinician must have provided direct patient services in or on behalf of a CHC for a minimum of three years and must have led advocacy activities on behalf of the medically underserved.
Alicia Dunn, R.N., has been an invaluable volunteer for Summit Community Care Clinic (Summit) staff and patients since it opened in 1993. She worked as a volunteer for years, spending hours involved in child-centered activities, patient education, staff education, and quality assurance reporting. Eventually she began working for Summit part-time, until 2018 when she left regular employment but continued to volunteer on a consistent basis. During the pandemic, Ms. Dunn spent an estimated 64 hours working at 16 of Summit’s 40 COVID-19 pods, and she was an important resource for Summit’s work in the COVID-19 vaccine response. In addition to volunteering for Summit, Ms. Dunn volunteers for many other organizations in her community.
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The Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN) is the unified voice for Colorado’s 20 Community Health Centers (CHCs) and their patients. CHCs provide a health care home for more than 847,000 of their community members – more than one in seven people in Colorado – from 63 of the state’s 64 counties. Without CHCs, hundreds of thousands of Colorado’s low-income families and individuals would have no regular source of health care. CCHN’s mission is to increase access to high quality health care for people in need in Colorado. For more information about CCHN, please visit https://cchn.org/.
To learn more about careers at Community Health Centers, please visit www.missiondrivencareers.org.