Throughout my professional career, I’ve worked for a variety of different causes. However, from my early days in the economic and environmental justice movements, to my current role working with communities to create better health care systems across Colorado, one thing has stayed the same. To paraphrase an old adage, in every movement I join, my colleagues and I have been able to make meaningful progress because we stand on the shoulders of giants.
As CCMU begins to celebrate our 15th year of existence, we’ve been reflecting a lot on the early work of the giants who came before us. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been excitedly reading about CCMU’s extensive community and statewide work that took place in the early years. The most ambitious community-based initiative that CCMU organized was our Healthy Colorado Now tour.
In 2000, CCMU embarked on a large-scale tour to engage Colorado communities around a key question: How can we best provide health care coverage and access for every Coloradan? CCMU staff conducted 20 town hall meetings in communities across the state and heard from over 1,000 Coloradans. As might be expected, many of the identified priorities ring true to this day:
- ensuring choice and efficiency in our health care system;
- securing access and coverage to care for everyone; and
- finding Colorado-driven solutions.
This year, I’ve been doing a bit of traveling around the state myself, meeting with groups who are hard at work devising local solutions to our ongoing health care system challenges. Remarkably, many of the folks who attended the Healthy Colorado Now town hall meetings 12 years ago (We still have the sign-in sheets!) are the same people still working tirelessly today to give every Coloradan the opportunity to live a healthy life.
There is still much work to be done, and the mission will live on for countless years ahead. As long as I am here and able though, I will stand proudly on the shoulders of the giants who came before, continuing their efforts to transform local health care systems through community-driven solutions. Every day we can see a little farther on the horizon.