Site Visit

Rocky Mountain Highs and Lows: Efforts to Improve Health and Reduce Costs in Denver
May 31–June 2, 2011


Michele J. Orza, ScD & Jessamy Taylor, MPP


In late May–early June 2011, the Forum sponsored a site visit to Denver, Colorado, to observe innovative efforts to improve the health of Coloradans and reduce the cost of health care. The three-day agenda was designed to convey the breadth and interconnectedness of the efforts underway in Denver and to highlight both successes and challenges. The exploration concentrated on how three themes of national interest are unfolding in Denver: building and sustaining a robust and effective safety net in an evolving health care market; improving the health of people and their communities to prevent and reduce the need for health care; and interprofessional education, training, and practice to foster the development of the teams of health professionals envisioned for the future. The site visit also examined the intersections among and disconnects between these critical aspects of a comprehensive approach to a healthy city. The agenda included visits to several communities in the Denver Metro Area; a variety of health care delivery sites ranging from a small school-based clinic to a large academic medical center under expansion; and the new interprofessional Anschutz Medical Campus which houses the University of Colorado schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and public health.  The agenda also included several panels convened in the hotel and at various other sites.

Related Materials

For details on participants' impressions, see the Site Visit Report, published November 14, 2011.

See also the New Orleans Site Visit, conducted in 2010.

For more on public health and nonmedical strategies to improve community health, see "High Hopes: Public Health Approaches to Reducing the Need for Health Care" (Background Paper No. 78, September 27, 2010), and its related materials.

For more on the primary care safety net and its role post-health reform, see "The Primary Care Safety Net: Strained, Transitioning, Critical" (Background Paper No. 77, September 28, 2010), and its related materials.

And for more on interprofessional medical education and workforce issues, see the entries for "Team-Based Care Takes Training: The Push for Interprofessional Education" (Forum Session, June 17, 2011) and "Graduate Medical Education: Producing the Right Workforce for Tomorrow?" (Forum Session, October 7, 2011).

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