Annual Report 2020

Dear friends of CHI,

As the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic begins to dissipate, I find myself wondering how 2020 will be remembered. No doubt our memories will be colored by grief and loss. But I find myself reflecting on the silver linings, such as the incredible ways health care workers, front-line employees, and nonprofits rose to the challenge.

As did the Colorado Health Institute.

Our generous philanthropic supporters stepped up to fund CHI’s work providing real-time data and recommendations to state leaders, local public health agencies, school districts, and community organizations. We built bridges across sectors and ensured that leaders had the data they needed to make informed decisions and better navigate this fast-moving crisis. We also pivoted to support our clients as they delved into uncharted territory, rapidly adapting to telehealth and implementing new technology.

We did this while continuing to provide the analysis and insight that CHI is known for. Because the important work of expanding access to health care, supporting behavioral health, and ensuring that people have access to healthy food and safe housing didn’t go away. In fact, we must focus on these things more than ever if we are to respond to the mental health challenges and other long-term issues caused by months of isolation and economic challenge.

I am immensely proud of the work CHI did to help our community navigate 2020. And I am eager to see that the lessons we have learned guide us toward a better future.


CHI Responds to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged Coloradans like never before. CHI’s experience and connections led to unique opportunities to provide expertise and coordination that were essential to efforts to combat the virus. 

  • Governor’s Response Team Support: When Governor Jared Polis put together the Innovation Response Team to manage the early months of the pandemic, CHI provided research support to identify best practices from around the world.
  • Rapid Analysis: CHI analysts provided near-weekly interpretation and commentary on developments in the pandemic to help Coloradans understand and evaluate what was happening.
  • Regional Coordination: The Metro Denver Partnership for Health — which CHI facilitates — provided a coordinated response from the area’s local public health agencies. Health departments around the state used the partnership’s guidance for testing programs, school operations, and identification of priority populations.
  • Innovative Mapping: CHI’s mapping experts identified neighborhoods at higher risk for COVID-19 transmission in our Social Distancing Index
  • The New Better: Working with The Denver Foundation, CHI convened a group of community leaders to discuss ethical leadership and address long-neglected needs for equity and fairness as we emerge from the pandemic. The New Better
  • Speaking up for Public Health: CHI President Michele Lueck wrote an opinion piece in The Colorado Sun to defend besieged public health workers and refocus criticism on the system, rather than individuals. Colorado Sun Article
  • Telehealth Analysis: CHI identified strategies for providers to deliver telehealth services and provided one of the country’s first quantitative assessments of the shift to telehealth — using data from the CHORDS network.
  • Community Convening: CHI's popular Hot Issues in Health conference in December shifted to an online format for 2020 and attracted its highest attendance ever, with more than 640 registrants. It was the first opportunity of the year for a large part of Colorado's health policy community to come together to look back at the pandemic and look ahead to better days.

Pulse of Colorado: CHI’s 2020 Publications


CHI’s team provided incisive analysis on perennial health issues affecting Coloradans in 2020. 

We examined the state of Colorado’s health care safety net and how forces ranging from the pandemic to immigration policies meant more Coloradans were falling through the cracks. 
Stretching the Safety Net  |  Troubling Trends

We spotlighted the direct care workers and informal caregivers who were often overlooked, even as they provided vital care to many Coloradans. 
An Overlooked Workforce  |  Closing the Care Gap

As social distancing measures and closures changed Coloradans’ access to care for substance use, CHI tracked the ongoing drug overdose epidemic. 
Going Without

We used the Colorado Health Access Survey to underscore the connection between food security, housing security, and health. 
Making a Home for Health  |  An Uneven Burden

We showed how health care is still out of reach for many Coloradans — and offered a primer for employers looking to reduce the cost of health care.
Generation Debt

We examined the role health care organizations can play in promoting environmental sustainability. 
Sustainability in Health Care

Our legislative preview and review reports tracked this unprecedented session. 
2020 Legislative Preview  |  2020 Legislation in Review

CHI believes that good health policy leads to a healthier Colorado. Every day we bring research, insight, and expertise to leaders across the state because informed decisions lead to better health for all.


Statements of Activities: Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019