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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

Voces Unidas joins Governor Polis’ statewide health equity response team

Not all Coloradans are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way. There are factors at play for who gets tested, who gets treatment, and who is able to practice social distancing. During this pandemic, we are likely to see the loss of life from racial disparities, and action must be taken.

Latinos and other people of color are disproportionately likely to be exposed to the virus in low-paying “essential” jobs; are more likely to have limited access to affordable healthcare, childcare, and transportation; are more likely to live in neighborhoods with high air pollution rates; and are more likely to face unsanitary conditions in prisons, jails, and detention centers. Due to these types of inequities, people of color face chronic disease health disparities, leaving them with a higher risk of dying due to COVID-19.

On April 17, Governor Polis established the COVID-19 Health Equity Response Team, headed by the Office of Health Equity. By forming a Health Equity Response Team, Colorado can focus specifically on tackling these inequities to prevent the gaps from widening and ultimately saving lives.

This Response Team will work to:

  • Ensure racial and ethnicity COVID-19 data are accessible, transparent and used in decision-making;

  • Determine proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in specific communities;

  • Work with state teams coordinating resources and logistics to help curb health disparities related to COVID-19;

  • Increase access to testing and care services;

  • Share time-sensitive information about how Colorado communities are experiencing particular challenges related to the COVID-19 response, and,

  • Develop policy recommendations to better assist and prepare communities of color during the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as future state emergencies.

Members include:

  • Adrianne Maddux, Denver Indian Health and Family Services, Denver Metro

  • Alex Sánchez, Roaring Fork Latino Network and Voces Unidas, Roaring Fork Valley

  • Rev. Amanda Henderson, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Denver Metro

  • Carmen Stevens, San Luis Valley Immigrant Rights Center, San Luis Valley

  • Deidre Johnson, Center for African American Health, Denver Metro

  • Denise Maes, ACLU Colorado, Denver Metro

  • Eudelia Contreras, Lake County Build a Generation, Leadville

  • Farduus Ahmed, Hope Communities, Denver Metro

  • Harry Budisidharta, Asian Pacific Development Center, Aurora

  • Joline Dorce, Dawn Clinic, Aurora

  • Jennifer GoodTracks, Southern Ute Tribe, SW CO

  • Kenny Maestas, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Lamar

  • Lizeth Chacon, Colorado People's Alliance, Denver Metro

  • Maggie Gomez, Center for Health Progress, Denver Metro

  • Michelle McHenry-Edrington, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Denver Metro

  • Omar Montgomery, Center for Identity and Inclusion, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora

  • Priscilla Montoya Vitello, Latino Community Foundation, Denver Metro

  • Ricardo Perez, Hispanic Affairs Project, Western Slope

  • Rosemary Lytle, NAACP, Colorado Springs

  • Rosemary McDonnell-Horita, Atlantis Community, Inc., Denver Metro

  • Rudy Gonzales, Servicios de la Raza, Denver Metro 

  • Selwyn Whiteskunk, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, SW CO

  • Congressman Joe Neguse, Congressional Sponsor, U.S. Congressman for Colorado's 2nd district



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