CCAHEC Aims to Strategically Improve Health Education
As we wrap up another beautiful summer, the CCAHEC Team is excited to be implementing our latest strategies. Earlier this spring the Board of Directors, staff, and CORP members came together to draft goals for our current fiscal year. We spent our summer months refining our strategic plan and are now making great strides in progress on our goals that center on developing and modifying programs to meet the diverse needs of our audiences.
As we examine our current and potential programs, the theme of diversity and inclusivity continually rises to the top. Traditionally AHECs have focused on geographic and racially diverse populations. While extremely important and valuable to the services we provide, we realize that there is a gap in who we are reaching and where the needs are at. We have begun to ask ourselves how we can better include additional populations such as LGBTQ communities, those with physical and mental disabilities, and military veterans.
Our mission statement affirms that “within an innovative framework, Central Colorado Area Health Education Center (CCAHEC) partners to create and implement educational programs, addressing the dynamic needs of students, providers, and community members.” To get us started, we are learning about marginalized communities and the health disparities they face. We are looking at data that demonstrates how these groups are disproportionately affected when it comes to health outcomes. For example, according to One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ Advocacy organization, while LGBTQ individuals have many of the same concerns as the general population, like affordability, access, and quality of care, they also face several unique challenges that affect the ability to live healthy and affirmed lives. Lack of understanding, discrimination, stigma, violence, higher rates of health problems, as well as other barriers, can compound and produce worse health outcomes. To that affect, we at CCAHEC also strive to promote and support our trainees and employees who reflect the diverse populations we serve.
At CCAHEC we are having discussions about how the needs of those we serve have changed over time and will continue to change as we move forward. We recognize that as we evolve to meet the changing needs of our communities, we must continue to focus on developing educational programs that embrace and model behaviors and actions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are taking a hard look at ourselves, our practices, our programs, and our beliefs.
We realize that we have a great deal of learning to do before we can implement significant changes into our programming. To that end, we will be launching an all new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee to help guide us. We are currently seeking partners who have experience, knowledge, and advice around diverse communities and who are willing to help us learn and grow in our understanding, so that we can better connect students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. If you are interested in learning how you can get involved, please email me at LinBrowning@centralcoahec.org.
Thank you for your support!