Health Coalition of the Gunnison Valley
Community Health and Equity was one of four pillars the OVPP identified as a source of prosperity for all community members. The OVPP gave authority for the formation of the Gunnison Valley Health Coalition (GVHC) to carry out three goals around this pillar: 1) meet the Basic Needs of the community (food, shelter, and safety/security); 2) enhance and improve positive Healthy Youth Development opportunities for ages 0-20 years; and 3) meet the Health and Wellness (physical, mental, dental, and spiritual) needs of all residents. As indicated above, community leaders and champions in the community support the CTC and community prevention efforts. During the past 5 years, the community has been working collaboratively with the Health Coalition of the Gunnison Valley (HCGV). The Leadership Team consisting of the Director of Gunnison County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the County Health Officer, the Director of Community Impact of the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley, the Director of the GVH Foundation, Director of Juvenile Services/CTC facilitator, Adult Protective Services Manager, and Gunnison Valley Family Physicians (GVFP) manager. The Basic Needs group focuses on housing, food security, and safety. Its 20+ members include representation from nonprofits like the local food pantry, Hispanic Affairs Project of Western Colorado, Inmigrantes Unidos, the local public library, and faith communities. The Health and Wellness group focuses on access to health care services and social determinants of health. Members include Gunnison HHS, the GVH System (EMS, Hospital, Long-Term Care, Primary Care, and Health Foundation), CMH, GVFP, GCSAPP, Six Points, Tri County Health regional contact, Red Cross, private behavioral health providers, CBSOM, Project Hope, and Veteran Services. The Youth Development group focuses on healthy behaviors and development of our youth and includes representatives from GCJS, RE1-J School District, Gunnison Hinsdale Early Childhood Council, Gunnison Valley Mentors, Social Services, CBSOM and WCU. The work the HCGV and all of the partners are doing are aimed at addressing and implementing community-driven system change that benefits the lives of all of our community members. Successes of the HCGV include strategic planning and shared knowledge across community partners.
GCSAPP works with youth and families in the community to better understand cultural needs and barriers. GCSAPP has facilitated focus groups with youth, parents, the immigrant community, school and businesses. GCSAPP is also part of the rural resort community of practice statewide to understand the complexity of rural resort culture and how to provide programming that is inclusive of youth needs and interests and understand how extreme economic deprivation and privilege show up in our communities. These efforts allow us to draw on community-based values and understand the cultural context of the community to plan, implement and evaluate prevention programming.
In the Winter of 2021, the department of Juvenile Services contracted with an outside entity to provide an equity lab for all staff. The goal is to begin to dedicate time for self-reflection and understanding to be advocates for change in local systems. Gunnison County’s department of Health and Human Services began their equity group in 2020. These efforts are helping staff in understanding racism and other intersecting oppressive systems and intend to be the catalyst for change across other County departments. Additionally, the RE1-J School District is addressing racism, inequity and oppressive systems as part of the new district wide SEL programming which is in partnership with Gunnison County. The School is also hosting deep dive equity labs for staff.
Rural Communities Opiod Response Program
In the summer of 2019, the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) was created as part of a planning grant which began as a collaborative effort between Gunnison County, The Center for Mental Health, Western Colorado University, and the Health Coalition of the Gunnison Valley. These organizations applied for and received funds for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program planning grant.
Since then, 30 individuals and organizations have joined together to make up a consortium with the goal of addressing needs and gaps in opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery in the Gunnison Valley. It is important to note that although the focus of the grant is on opioid use disorder, this group is approaching the issue from a poly-substance lens. To get involved or learn more about the consortium's sub-groups, review the tabs above for each area.
When conducting our Environmental scan and gaps analysis, one of the major gaps we identified was the stigma associated with addiction, and how that stigma often acts as an insurmountable barrier for those seeking treatment. This video, featuring community members and professionals, is an effort to start the conversation and change the narrative on addiction.
The education subcommittee meets every month to talk about and brainstorm education events can be implemented for the benefit of the public. To date, educational events have included trainings for medical providers that granted CME credits, and events for the public that are aimed at de-stigmatizing addiction.
To learn more or to participate, contact Kari Commerford via email at email@example.com.
The messaging subcommittee focuses primarily on messaging efforts that are associated with the work the consortium has been doing. For example, recent efforts have focused on creating advertising materials for upcoming education events, such as the much anticipated showing of our locally made video “Understanding Addiction Through Connection”. Other efforts include spreading the word about the availability of Naloxone and upcoming drug take-back events.
To learn more or participate, contact Kyle Tibbett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sober activities subcommittee focuses on brainstorming and implementing substance free events in Gunnison County. Historically, Gunnison County fosters a culture of substance use that can make it especially difficult for individuals who may be in active recovery. The sober activities subcommittee strives to implement sober-free activities as a measure of 1) assisting those who are in recovery, and 2) bolstering Gunnison County’s prevention efforts.
To learn more or participate, contact Eric Barker at email@example.com.