[El Paso County Public Health]

Project ACCESS – a Colorado Springs collaboration between the YMCA of Pikes Peak Region, LiveWell Colorado Springs, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, El Paso County Public Health, Colorado Community Center Collaborative, Youth Violence Prevention (YVP) Initiative, Community Care of Central Colorado, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, and Kaiser Permanente – was selected to receive a $75,000 grant for their efforts to improve community health from the BUILD Health Challenge, a national awards program.

Project ACCESS targets barriers including geographic and demographic disparities in access to services, health care, and safe environments.

The partnership will seek opportunities to engage residents and leaders of Southeast Colorado Springs (SECS), an area struggling with rising poverty levels, high unemployment, and violence, to build capacity and channel resources for change. SECS experiences significant disparities in access to services, care, and safe environments; there are no primary care providers and very few organizations serving the community’s needs. As a result, the residents in this area suffer from high rates of chronic illness, pain, substance abuse, obesity, and mental illness.

Project ACCESS seeks to improve neighborhood safety and reduce exposure to violence among youth and young families. Their goals include gathering current and collected data and research, engaging community members, and mobilizing the community.

The BUILD Health Challenge grant will allow Project ACCESS to accelerate its efforts to bring faith-based, health, and recreational organizations together to engage the community, improve neighborhood safety, and reduce exposure to violence.

Project ACCESS partners were honored at the BUILD Health Challenge Award Ceremony on June 9, 2015 in Washington, DC by Karen DeSalvo, MD, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the five funding organizations: the Advisory Board Company, the Kresge Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.