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Public Health in the Rockies Previews, Plus a Tough Mudder

Public Health in the Rockies Previews, Plus a Tough Mudder

This week, our team is trekking up to Vail for the Public Health in the Rockies (PHIR) 2015 Annual Conference. Health professionals in Colorado and surrounding states will network, get educated, develop their skills, and have the opportunity to attend seven – yes, seven! – CHI presentations.

Here, we offer previews of the CHI presentations.

Preview Number One:

Research Analysts Tamara Keeney and Hannah Wear will be presenting “What Matters Most for Childhood Obesity in Denver?” Tamara and Hannah will provide a close-up analysis of the disparities in childhood obesity rates across the city. They used new clinical BMI records to take a hyperlocal look at the geographic patterns and community demographics underlying child obesity. Following the analysis, they will discuss promising efforts to reduce obesity in Denver’s neighborhoods by addressing community-level factors.

Preview Number Two:

Joe Hanel, Senior Communications Expert, and Policy Analyst Allie Morgan will be taking a “deep dive” into the public health-related bills in last year’s legislative session. “The Politics of Public Health: Hurdles for Public Health Bills in Colorado's General Assembly” will cover the politics and debates in 2015 that affected how legislators viewed public health issues. Two bills will come into focus: Retail Food Establishment Fees and Long Active Reversible Contraception (LARC) Funding. Allie and Joe will cover how public health funding requests fared in the budget and the impact that the Joint Budget Committee had on those decisions.

Preview Number Three:

Nina Roumell, Research Analyst, will give a sneak peek into the 2015 Colorado Access to Care Index, perfect at a time when the health policy conversation is shifting from coverage to access. Nina’s session will help attendees conceptualize the level of access to care in their communities through the index's framework of Potential Access, Barriers to Care and Realized Access. Attendees will also get a deeper understanding of disparities between communities and tracking change over time.

Previews Numbers Four, Five and Six:

Policy Analyst Natalie Triedman will be busy at the conference. She is slated to give three presentations. First up will be “Assessing Early Impacts of Health Reform in Colorado: Data from the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey.” This session will rely on the recently-released CHAS data to address how many Coloradans remain uninsured and why, whether the Medicaid expansion population has shown pent-up demand, the early impact of higher rates of health insurance on overall health, the extent to which Coloradans have access to health care and more. Health and health care trends by such factors as income, insurance status, age, gender, race/ethnicity and geography will be highlighted. For those who won’t be at the conference to hear Natalie, the CHAS results can also be found here.

Natalie’s second talk, “Past, Present and Future of School-Based Health Care in Colorado,” discusses the changing payer mix and demographic characteristics of the SBHC patient population. To give a sneak peek of the new data, a record 34,000 children, most of whom are uninsured or publicly insured, received care at a SBHC in the 2014-15 school year, up more than 60 percent in seven years. Natalie will also delve into the results of a Needs Assessment conducted by CHI that identifies the schools and districts that have the greatest potential to benefit from a SBHC.

And, finally, Natalie will be part of a presentation in partnership with Denver Health and Kaiser Permanente Colorado. The presentation, “Early Results from Affordable Care Act Implementation in Denver,” analyzes the impact of health reform efforts in Denver. Drawing from both administrative and survey data, this presentation looks at how health reform has affected coverage, access to care and use of health services.

Preview Number Seven:

Jessica Fern, Policy Analyst, will be presenting as a member of the HEAL Surveillance Workgroup, which has a goal of increasing awareness and improving available data on healthy eating and active living. The presentation will dive into two of the group’s activities: a prioritized list of HEAL surveillance indicators with related metadata as well as data and policy briefs related to fruit and vegetable consumption

Bonus Preview:

Jeff Bontrager, Director of Research on Coverage and Access, is headed to Durango this week to give the keynote address at the Community Health Action Coalition’s 6th Annual Health Summit. His talk, “An Ounce of Prevention: The Value of Preventive Care and Wellness for Colorado,” discusses how social determinants of health and regional health indicators suggest opportunities for workplace wellness initiatives. He will also provide insight on provisions of the ACA that address workplace wellness programs.

In other news, and other parts of Colorado, CHIers are staying active and daring.

Our very own Becca Silvernale, Senior Data Analyst, finished the Tough Mudder in Aspen this past weekend. The race included tear gas tunnels and dumpsters full of ice. Yikes! But fear not, Becca is safe and in great health. Other weekend trips included a relay race that ran through the night. Nina Roumell completed a total of 16 miles over the course of 24 hours. Go CHI!

Finally, the 2015 Reaching Our Peak will be out on Wednesday. Don’t miss our annual report which rates Colorado on its efforts to improve health with a focus on communities, schools, workplaces, the aging population, and health care.