Colorado 2024 Community Health Champions and Advocates Honored

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 2024 Policy and Issues (P&I) Forum.

The awards given March 13, 2024, included:

  • State Representative Emily Sirota (House District 9), serving Arapahoe and Denver County. 2024 Community Health Champion Legislator Award
  • State Perry Will (Senate District 5), serving Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose and Pitkin counties, 2024 Community Health Champion Legislator Award
  • Trevor Reid, Greely Tribune, 2024 Community Health Champion Media Award
  • Simon Hambidge, Denver Health Community Health Services, 2024 Stanley J. Brasher Community Health Gratitude Award
  • Cathy Alderman, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, 2024 Community Health Advocate 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.

Rep. Emily Sirota currently serves as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and also sits on the Joint Budget Committee. Rep. Sirota has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the health of her constituents and Colorado through her leadership on a variety of bills addressing housing, education, and other issues related to the social determinants of health.

Rep. Sirota was a prime sponsor for HB23-1300, Continuous Eligibility Medical Coverage, which will greatly improve how CHC Medicaid patients maintain Medicaid benefits. She championed this bill from inception to the Governor’s signature She has been a long-time advocate for reducing barriers to access to public benefits and health care. She also supported CCHN’s initiative last year to add funding to the Primary Care Fund, supporting CHCs and how uninsured people can access care.

Sen. Perry Will currently serves on the Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee and has served on other committees related to energy, agriculture, and health while serving as a Representative for House district 57. Senator Will also previously served as a wildlife officer at the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife for over 40 years.

Senator Will has been a champion for rural health care throughout his time in office. He has been a strong supporter of CHCs and their workforce. Senator Will has led or been very involved in bills to change the rules for physician assistants, co-sponsoring or being the prime sponsor on three bills over the years. He has also sponsored a variety of other bills that support workforce at CHCs. He was one of the original sponsors of CCHN’s 2020 telehealth bill, which merged into SB20-212, Reimbursement for Telehealth Services. This bill allowed telehealth reimbursement under Medicaid at CHCs, an important option still today.

2023 Community Health Champion Media Award

Each year CCHN honors a newspaper, radio or TV station, or member of the media for high-profile coverage of issues facing the underserved, coverage of emerging issues in health care for the underserved, and for portraying the human faces of health care issues.

Trevor Reid has been a writer and editor for the Greeley Tribune since 2017. Sunrise Community Health Center staff, who have provided information for several of Mr. Reid’s news stories, shared that he has an inquisitive and open mind, and seeks all sides of a story. He is especially thoughtful at speaking to people on the front lines, particularly within health care, to understand what is happening with patients and the health care teams that care for them.

Mr. Reid has reported on many different health care issues, including health care collaborations in Greeley, COVID-19 vaccines, Sunrise’s history in the community, and much more.

tanley 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 10 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.

Simon Hambidge has been part of Denver Health since 1997, taking the reigns as CEO of Denver Health Community Health Services in 2014. He serves on a variety of Boards, including recently as CCHN’s Board of Directors Chair, as well as on the board of Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States. He was appointed by Governor Polis to serve on the Medical Services Board, which determines Medicaid regulations for Colorado. In all of these positions, he speaks up and out, working to solve the health care needs of people in Colorado, sharing his thoughtful and wise advice, and encouraging the input of others.

Dr. Hambidge participates in the CCHN P&I annually and has participated in every NACHC P&I Forum since 2015, leading several of those visits over the years and coaching his Board members on sharing their stories to help their representatives and senators understand the value of CHCs. Dr. Hambidge has also participated in advocacy during the rest of the year, responding to calls-to-action to call or email members of Congress maintaining relationships with state legislators.

Dr. Hambidge has dedicated his professional life to providing care and advancing primary care access in the Denver metro area. He is a caring provider, a skilled administrator and community liaison, and life-long advocate for our most vulnerable populations.

 Community Health Advocate Award

Since 2008, CCHN staff have recognized a CHC advocate of the year during its Policy and Issues Forum.

This year CCHN recognized Cathy Alderman, Chief Communications and Public Policy Officer, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Ms. Alderman has spent the majority of her career working in public policy and always creates a meaningful connection with community members, partners, and policy-makers. Her commitment to the mission and community that the Coalition serves is incredibly apparent.

The Coalition for the Homeless has a broad policy agenda, covering housing, homelessness, health and economic stability. Through Ms. Alderman’s leadership, the Coalition has successfully advocated for bills related to affordable housing, renter protections, economic security, substance use, health care and more.

She helps legislators – and all of us – make the connection that housing is health. It is evident in Ms. Alderman’s advocacy that she keeps the community the Coalition serves at the forefront of any policy. She leads the Coalition’s work at the capital, testifying frequently on a number of bills, and is an active participant in CCHN’s Public Affairs Committee, sharing her expertise and energy for the CHC program.

# # #

To interview a Community Health Center leader in your area, please contact Maureen Maxwell at (303)913-9078, or

 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 832,000 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

 To learn more about careers at Community Health Centers, please visit