El Paso County Public Health Receives Grant from Colorado Health Foundation: Award hailed as ‘tangible validation’ of link between PHAB accreditation and funding
El Paso County Public Health in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was recently awarded funding for the first phase of a potential $1 million grant from The Colorado Health Foundation. The funds will be used to activate Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado, focused in the Southeast Colorado Springs community, where the social determinants of health are being addressed through an active resident-led coalition.
The two-part grant includes an initial investment of $20,000 from The Colorado Health Foundation to strategize an impactful, upstream approach for residents of the area to be active in the places where they live, work and play. The community-led process will initially include working with the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Technical Advisory Panel to refine recommended strategies from a number of existing local plans. The second part of the grant involves an investment up to $1 million dollars from the Colorado Health Foundation to assist with capital improvements in Southeast Colorado Springs.
Public health department leaders view the award as a “tangible validation” of the link between PHAB accreditation and the receipt of funding.
“When The Colorado Health Foundation reviewed our proposal, they noticed that we were the first accredited public health agency in the state of Colorado,” said Public Health Planner and coordinator of accreditation, Mina Liebert. “At that time, the Foundation was not familiar with PHAB accreditation, but they conducted some research and realized that it was not just a rubber stamp designation. The Foundation’s program officers were impressed with the PHAB process and thought it was notable that the agency has a set of standards and measures that we are held accountable to.”
The Healthy Places grant comes on the heels of a December 2016 “Building Healthy Places Workshop.” At that time, more than 30 local stakeholders came together with ULI Colorado to produce a diverse set of recommendations to improve health through the built environment. Ideas focused conceptually on activating vacant and underutilized spaces and fostering community leadership to drive change – concepts that will be expanded upon during the Healthy Places process. The ULI Technical Advisory Panel conducted an in-depth site visit to the area during the week of January 7-12, 2018, to meet with community stakeholders and residents in order to gain a better understanding of the community’s unique values, assets and challenges. Following the visit, the team provided specific recommendations for physical and policy improvements to increase physical activity and improve health in the community. One million dollars in additional funding will be available from the Colorado Health Foundation to implement those recommendations and leverage greater investment.
“This is the first time the Colorado Health Foundation has funded our agency to support the built environment,” Liebert said. “We had led or been a partner in previous funding opportunities for Southeast Colorado Springs, but potentially receiving $1 million dollars from the Colorado Health Foundation is a substantial investment for our community. The Healthy Places funding opportunity is one of the largest investments that the Foundation has awarded to an organization.”
El Paso County Public Health in Colorado Springs, CO, was awarded national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board on August 20, 2013.
About “Accreditation Works”
“Accreditation Works” showcases the benefits national accreditation brings to public health departments and communities while also providing insight into accreditation’s broad impact. To support this feature, PHAB-accredited health departments are invited to contribute 300-to-600-word narratives describing how their health department has changed as a result of going through the accreditation process. Collectively, these stories serve as first-hand testimonies of how PHAB accreditation benefits health departments and their communities. Submissions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.