In Gratitude: Dr. Virgilio Licona

March 30, 2016

Maureen Maxwell, (303) 913-9078, or

In Gratitude: Dr. Virgilio Licona

Statement attributable to
Annette Kowal
Chief Executive Officer
Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN)

DENVER― Our friend and dear colleague, Dr. Virgilio Licona, passed away on March 29, 2016. We are deeply saddened and will miss him tremendously. We carry him in our hearts with gratitude, for he lived so vigorously all of the best ideals of the Community Health Center movement.

Governor John Hickenlooper had already planned on proclaiming “Virgilio Licona Day” in the State of Colorado in honor of Virgilio.

Virgilio was the associate medical director of Salud Family Health Centers in Fort Lupton, Colorado, and held an appointment as clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He and Barbara, his wife, lived in Brighton, Colorado with their daughter Tara, granddaughter Isabel, and grandson Francisco, and in close proximity to their son Marco.

He began his health care career as director of a Migrant and Community Health Center Rocky Ford, Colorado in 1973. He was a nationally recognized expert on migrant health; rural health delivery; health care workforce issues; and Medicaid managed care.  Virgilio was the sort of person to take personal responsibility: when the Rocky Ford Health Center could not fill the position of physician assistant, Virgilio went to PA school. Later he went to medical school to earn his doctorate, while working at Pueblo Community Health Center, which was having difficulty finding a physician to hire. For more on Virgilio’s inspiring career, read today’s news release from Salud Family Health Centers.

For decades, Virgilio spoke up for health care access and quality for everyone, regardless of income, location, or background, and did so with grace, humor, and persistence. We will continue working to live up to his inspiration.

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To hear a corrido honoring Dr. Licona, with photographs of him, please visit

The Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved published an article about Dr. Licona in the February edition. View the article here:

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 650,000 of their community members – more than one in eight people in Colorado – from 61 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