Children's Hospital Colorado

Aurora Partnership Selected to Participate in Nationwide “Build Health Challenge”

Children's Hospital Colorado | October 02, 2017
New born baby with dark hair being held with eyes closed.

BUILD (Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven) Health Aurora has been selected by a coalition of 12 funding organizations to participate in the BUILD Health Challenge, a national program that puts multi-sector community partnerships at the foundation of improving health for everyone. The Aurora-specific project will focus on creating and implementing group-based care models that are being piloted in community settings to determine feasibility, acceptability and utility, and serve WIC families at the Alton and Colfax WIC office. 

BUILD Health Aurora will expand access to the continuum of early childhood mental health services for families with young children in community-based settings through screening, early identification and collaborative efforts to change systems of care,” said Ayelet Talmi, PhD, clinical director of First 1,000 Days at Children’s Colorado and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

BUILD Health Partnership

BUILD Health Aurora is a partnership among Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD), Children’s Colorado and Tri-County Health Department. These organizations will work together, with guidance from BUILD advisors, to identify and implement innovative solutions to community challenges. Matching funds from Children’s Colorado, combined with BUILD’s $250,000 two-year grant, will further extend the partnership’s capacity to help improve lifelong mental and physical health outcomes for the children and families of Aurora and future generations in Aurora.

“Behavioral health across the lifespan—especially in young children and families—is one of the highest priorities of our department,” said John Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director for the Tri-County Health Department. “The BUILD collaboration represents a unique opportunity to take specific steps to address this important public health issue.”

Supporting childhood mental health

The partnership creates a continuum of early childhood mental health supports delivered in a local WIC office, primary care clinics and other community settings to address the upstream needs of families with young children and to enhance social emotional well-being. Community health workers and early childhood mental health specialists collaborate to identify families in need of support and provide them with resources for prevention, health promotion and interventions. The partnership is focused on developing and implementing the necessary agency, community and systems-level changes to provide a continuum of care. 

BUILD Health Aurora is one of 19 communities selected to participate. BUILD awards funding, capacity building support and access to a national peer learning network. The program emphasizes cross-sector collaboration among local non-profit organizations, hospitals and public health departments to address upstream conditions that create opportunities for better health. BUILD selected BUILD Health Aurora because of its ideas to improve the health of its residents.

“For some families we serve, they don’t have food for the next day. They don’t know how to pay the bills. And when we come in and help them, it may take 10 visits to figure it out. But when we tell them, ‘We will help you get through this,’ we see hope,” said Lah Say Wah, community health worker from Children’s Colorado.

Factors affecting health

BUILD Health Aurora seeks to create a new norm in the U.S. by addressing upstream factors affecting health. It is supported by a unique collaborative of local and national funders, which includes the Advisory Board Company, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, The Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, The Kresge Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Telligen Community Initiative and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

“Every community faces its own set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to improving the health of its residents,” said Emily Yu, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge. “With this award, we hope to catalyze the work of BUILD Health Aurora and bring together residents and organizations from across sectors to address the root causes of health issues in Aurora and ultimately transform how we think about health in America.”


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