We’re Back! CCAHEC’S Regional Health Connector Program Returns
CCAHEC is pleased to again be the recipient of the Regional Health Connector (RHC) program for Colorado Health Statistic Region (HSR) 17 which covers Park, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties and HSR 4 which covers El Paso and Teller counties. CCAHEC is also thrilled to announce an additional third region, HSR 16 which spans Boulder and Broomfield counties. The previous Regional Health Connector program was a joint effort between Trailhead Institute and Colorado Health Institute (CHI). Funding was received through two practice transformation initiatives in Colorado which include EvidenceNOW Southwest (ENSW) and the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM). All these efforts were part of the overarching coordinating partnership called the Colorado Health Extension System. The Regional Health Connector program focused on Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) to address the social and health disparities within the local population. Each RHC developed three projects addressing behavioral health and cardiovascular health issues in their respective region. Unfortunately, in June of 2019 the RHC project ended due to lack of sustainable funding opportunities.
It was devastating to see the RHC program end, however, 2020 has brought the partial return of the RHC program through the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and its Practice Innovation Program. Trailhead Institute continues to be the Program Staff for the RHC work. This program funds one part time RHC per region and is expected to continue for the next two years. The RHCs will serve as a crucial point of connection between primary care practices, other health care providers, public health, and community resources, while engaging primary care in local community health planning and improvement efforts, and aligning public health and community resources in efforts to transform and improve primary care. The Regional Health Connector program continues to be critical for achieving successful interventions for social determinants of health through partnerships between primary care and community health organizations and will help to further build on the cross-sector partnerships and synergies that have formed as a key outcome of State Innovation Model (SIM).
COVID has brought some unique challenges to the program but each region has chosen one Local Priority Project to focus. Although CCAHEC hosts three RHC regions, CCAHEC would like to introduce one region’s project work now. Darlyn Baker and Kathy Orr are the RHCs for HSR 4. HSR 4’s project will address social determinants of health (SDoH) through a trauma lens. The basis for this approach can be found in the updated adverse childhood experience module by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which places generational embodiment, as well as social and local community conditions, at the foundation of what impacts life-long health and well-being. The understanding of stress affects physical health, mental health, and social well-being of community members, which is timely with the current COVID 19 crisis. Additionally, this project will include provider education on trauma and stress and its relationship to SDoH. This project will support the screening of patients, specifically for food insecurity, because it is an essential part of a comprehensive approach for addressing obesity. Additionally, the RHCs will work to identify appropriate resources such as National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) to improve health outcomes in HSR 4. By incorporating a trauma informed approach, the project will help to develop a care plan to address community obesity and other SDoH that impact the wellbeing of HSR 4 communities.