Colorado 2023 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 2023 Policy and Issues Forum.

  • The awards given Feb. 15, 2023, included:
    • State Representative Mary Young (House District 50), Weld County, 2023 Community Health Champion Legislator Award
    • State Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis (Senate District 17), Eastern Boulder County, including Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, and Erie, 2023 Community Health Champion Legislator Award
    • Eric Galatas, Public News Service, 2023 Community Health Champion Media Award
    • Mitzi Moran, Sunrise Community Health, Stanley J. Brasher Community Health Gratitude Award
    • Fátima Groom, Sunrise Community Health, 2023 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. Mary Young is the State Representative for House District 50, serving Weld County. She currently serves as the vice chair on the Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee and also sits on the Education Committee. She was elected to the House in 2019 and was r-elected in 2020 and 2022. Rep. Young also works as a school psychologist.

Rep. Young has championed a variety of bills addressing a broad range of education, community health, and mental health issues. In previous legislative sessions, she worked on bills to establish the Behavioral Health Administration, implement fee relief for mental health professionals, create inclusive higher education opportunities for Coloradans with disabilities, fund workforce development, and more.

Sen. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis is the State Senator for Senate District 17, serving eastern Boulder County, including Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, and Erie. She previously served as representative for House District 12. She currently serves as the chair on the Local Government & Housing Committee and sits on the Health & Human Services and Transportation & Energy Committees.

Sen. Jaquez Lewis is a licensed pharmacist and has been a champion for health care throughout her time in office. During the 2022 legislative session, Sen. Jaquez Lewis was the lead sponsor on two priority items for CHCs, a 340B anti-discriminatory contracting bill, and a bill to create programs to support the health care workforce. She was also a prime sponsor on a 2019 bill to create a reproductive health program within Medicaid for Coloradans, regardless of their immigration status.

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.

Eric Galatas is the producer and bureau chief for Colorado News Connection, the Colorado Bureau of Public News Service, and the bureau chief for four nearby states. He is a thoughtful go-getter of news stories and is interested in covering what individuals, communities, and organizations are doing to solve problems. He covers many issues and yet is able to produce multiple stories in the health care field.

Mr. Galatas has reported on many different health care issues, including substance abuse, the need to protect the 340B for community health centers, Pueblo’s new “green” building, and much more. He also reported thoughtfully on affordable housing and other issues impacting communities. Mr. Galatas’ impressive storytelling enables stories that impact individuals and communities and the work they are doing to solve problems to reach widespread audiences.

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 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.

Mitzi Moran, CEO, Sunrise Community Health, has worked with Sunrise since 1998, and as CEO since 2006. She has been a life-long advocate for Colorado’s most vulnerable populations. Under her leadership, Sunrise has more than tripled in size, and today is a recognized state and national leader in Health Information Technology adoption, integrated health care services, safety net collaborations, and professional health education.

Mrs. Moran has served on various boards and committees, and was Chair of the CCHN Board of Directors for two years. During this time, she traveled around the state to meet with her peers and fellow CEOs to understand their needs, concerns and excitements, and get to know the communities that they serve. It is this level of commitment and ingenuity, coupled with engagement and building deep relationships, that makes Mrs. Moran a truly incredible leader.

Mrs. Moran served as CCHN’s Public Affairs Committee chair from 2010-2012, where she challenged CCHN staff and members to think more strategically about policy and advocacy and create a true culture of advocacy.  As CEO, she asks that all Sunrise staff and board members register as CHC advocates, including it as a part of the onboarding process, and fosters a sense of advocacy in her employees through creative advocacy competitions and learning experiences for staff. She embodies her motto: “puzzle, not poker,” meaning, it’s better to work together to solve the problem, rather than holding our cards too close to our vest.

 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 Fátima Groom, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Sunrise Community Health.

Mrs. Groom joined Sunrise in 2016 as the development coordinator. Since joining the Sunrise team, she has helped to elevate the advocacy program and ensure that Sunrise is a trusted voice in the communities they serve. She is a passionate leader and is dedicated to Sunrise’s mission, patients, and communities.

Through Mrs. Groom’s leadership, Sunrise was one of the first health centers in the nation to achieve NACHC’s Advocacy Centers of Excellence (ACE) status, which requires a Community Health Center to operationalize advocacy and ensure staff and patients understand the importance.

When one of CCHN’s legislative priorities was in trouble during the last session, staff were able to call on Mrs. Groom and team to get in touch with key legislators that truly made the difference in the vote. She is always willing to go above and beyond for the mission.

Mrs. Moran, CEO of Sunrise, said of Mrs. Groom – “she is a tireless advocate for Sunrise and for our patients. Her enthusiasm and energy are boundless!”

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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 855,000 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

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