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The Community of Aurora

The City of Aurora is home to the finest medical facility and the most skilled health care providers in Colorado at the Anschutz Medical Campus. The campus is responsible for over 36,000 jobs. Given the richness of these resources Aurora should be among the healthiest communities in the state. On the contrary, needs assessments from Aurora Health Access, University of Colorado Hospital, and Colorado School of Public Health demonstrate sobering health and social welfare measures in the Original Aurora citizenship compared to the state as a whole:

Original Aurora is a community characterized by the multi-cultural hues of the world, poverty, grit and resiliency. Aurora’s greatest unidentified natural resource is its children, making up 30% of the total population. Given the above indicators, their zip code represents the single most important determinant of health. Those children growing up in zip codes 80010 and 80011 of North Aurora are more likely to live in poverty, not attend preschool, drop out high school, or have a child before completing high school. Children grow up assuming that they are the kind of person that their physical environment tells them they are. They see their environment as a portrait of themselves. This is fine while the built environment conveys positive values; but for those growing up in poverty stricken communities the journey can be tortuous to navigate. Furthermore, their young parents, raised in these same neighborhoods, have faced these same challenges in years past. Many lack the skills, structure, and health literacy to confidently lead their children out of this cycle of poverty and unhealthy living. Indeed, according to the Children’s Campaign Annual Report Colorado has the second fastest growing rate of child poverty in the nation. In North Aurora specifically 83% of the student population qualifies for free and/or reduced lunch.

The literature has never demonstrated reliable quick fixes to reduce these disparities. Traditional policies and programs have used a largely siloed approach towards a narrow range of factors. Individual programs often operate for only a few years and lack rigorous evaluation. Given the refractory nature of generational poverty, the Fields Foundation offers a sustainable, long-term community-owned intervention which empowers young families to overcome the interwoven consequences of social, economic, political, historical and cultural realities to achieve improved health outcomes.

This will be achieved via a multi-tiered community hub offering support for and connection to existing community programs, new health promotion activities, and finally longitudinal community care coordination to help families efficiently navigate Aurora’s health and social welfare system.