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Metro Public Health Coalition Announces New Leadership, Priorities for 2021

Press Release


February 16, 2021

The Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH) has entered 2021 with new leadership and an expanded agenda that will ensure its continued role as a leader in shaping the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while prioritizing other critically important public health issues.

Led by the six public health agencies that represent the seven-county metro region and including representation from health systems, human services, and regional health alliances, MDPH has served as a unified voice for the metro Denver public health community. It has provided coordinated response and guidance on COVID-19 testing and containment protocols, school reopening guidance, vaccine prioritization, and other key issues.

MDPH recently appointed Jason Vahling, Director of the Broomfield Public Health Department, as co-chair. He joins John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department serving Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, who is entering his second term as co-chair. The two will provide leadership and guidance as MDPH continues its COVID-19 response while adapting many of the systems it has created to tackle other public health priorities in our communities.

“COVID-19 will remain a key focus for MDPH as we continue to navigate this challenge while ensuring that equity remains at the forefront of our response, but we also want to adapt the lessons and processes we have learned so that we can advance other important health priorities,” Vahling said.

MDPH’s COVID-specific priorities for the year will include:

  • Limiting the spread of COVID-19 and promoting regional recovery through cross-sector collaboration;
  • Providing leadership and guidance on key community issues including vaccine planning and rollout and supporting schools with evidence-based guidance for reopening;
  • Ensuring that that all response efforts are equity centered; and
  • Providing thought leadership and a unified voice on critical community issues.

“COVID-19 has taught us many important lessons, especially as it relates to equity in our communities,” Douglas said. “We are eager to apply these lessons to other key health priorities to ensure that our all members of our communities are as healthy as they can be.”

While COVID-19 will remain at the forefront of MDPH’s 2021 priorities, the group will also adapt the successes of its COVID work to advance other community health priorities. These include:

  • Strategic alignment on shared priorities including climate change, early childhood, healthy beverages, and health equity;
  • Strengthened collaboration with health system and human services partners;
  • Increased focus on behavioral health, including promoting activities to reduce stigma and promote trauma-informed approaches in public health and health systems programs; and
  • Promoting development and implementation of a social-health information exchange.

“MDPH has proven we can accomplish more when we work regionally and we will continue this approach to address the work that is ahead of us in 2021,” said Bill Burman, MD, Executive Director of Denver Public Health and former MDPH co-chair.

MDPH is led by six public health agencies serving the seven-county Denver metro area: Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health Department, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, and Tri-County Health Department, serving Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties. MDPH’s work impacts nearly 3 million Coloradans — 60% of the state’s population — who live in this region. MDPH is supported and staffed by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI).


Contact for the Colorado Health Institute: Kristi Arellano, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications | | 720.382.7080 

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