Building a Health Equity Advocacy Field in Colorado

In recognition of persistent health inequities facing Colorado’s diverse populations, in 2013 the Colorado Trust launched the Health Equity Advocacy (HEA) Strategy, a multi-year investment supporting health equity advocacy through a field-building approach. This approach was also predicated on a belief about the power and potential to build the long-term capacity of a field of diverse partners who can shape and capitalize on critical health equity policy opportunities, and ultimately influence change that leads to equitable outcomes from the state’s diverse populations. The HEA Strategy is made up of a cohort of 18 direct service, community organizing, and policy advocacy organizations (the HEA Cohort).

Social Policy Research Associates has the honor of serving as the strategic learning and evaluation partner in the HEA Strategy. The evaluation documents and assesses the progress made toward the creation of a robust health advocacy field, identify challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned to support further progress, and provides ongoing learning opportunities for grantees as a means to reflect on and refine activities, tactics, and strategies.

HEA Field Scans

State of the Field: Findings from a 2020 Scan of Colorado’s Emerging Health Equity Advocacy Field

Cover of State of the Field 2020 scanA bookend to the health equity advocacy field scan conducted in 2017, this 2020 iteration formally assesses and benchmarks the growth of the health equity advocacy field taking place in Colorado.

Download the 2020 HEA Field Scan

State of the Field: Findings from a 2017 Scan of Colorado’s Emerging Health Equity Advocacy Field

Cover of State of the Field scanThis field scan report describes the composition of the health equity advocacy field in Colorado; examines connections within the field; discusses the current state of the field; and offers considerations and reflections for the continued growth of the field.

Download the 2017 HEA Field Scan

Evaluation Reports

Phase 3 – Leveraging Collective Capacity for Health Equity Advocacy Field Building

Cover of Phase 3 – Leveraging Collective Capacity for Health Equity Advocacy Field BuildingThis evaluation report details how the HEA Cohort has worked together over the course of Phase 3 (2017 – 2019) to nurture a field capable of dismantling structural and racial inequities, and building equitable systems that allow all Coloradans achieve their highest possible level of health.

Download the Phase 3 Report

Phase 2 – Progress and Lessons Learned in Health Equity Advocacy Field Building

Cover of HEAS Phase II ReportThis report summarizes the Phase 2 journey (2015 – 2016), reports outcomes at the organizational, cohort, and field-levels, and closes with initiative-level lessons learned and considerations going forward.

Download the Phase 2 Report

Phase 1 – Building Foundations for Change

Cover of HEAS Phase I ReportThe paper documents the key efforts and outcomes during the Phase 1 (a 2014 six-month planning phase) where 34 organizations—selected to represent the diversity of stakeholders involved in advancing health equity in Colorado—convened to co-create the Health Equity Advocacy (HEA) Strategy.

Download the Phase 1 Report

Learning Papers

Centering Race in Health Equity Advocacy

Cover of Centering Race in Health Equity

This learning paper details how the HEA Cohort built individual, organizational, and collective capacity to recognize and combat the role that structural racism plays in health inequities. It also includes recommendations for others who may be interested in centering race in social change efforts.

Download the Learning Paper Addendum in English

Download the Learning Paper Addendum in Spanish

Centering Race in Health Equity Advocacy: 2020 Addendum

Cover of Centering Race in Health Equity 2020 AddendumThe HEA Cohort’s racial equity capacity-building efforts—which included race-based caucusing sessions for Cohort members, consulting for HEA Cohort organizations to support organizational transformation for racial equity, and community gatherings to practice communicating across difference—continued through 2019. This addendum to the original learning paper details participation in, and outcomes of, these continued efforts. It also includes a rearticulation of the HEA Cohort’s vision and a description of the multilevel framework that guided this work.

Download the Learning Paper Addendum in English

Download the Learning Paper Addendum in Spanish

Shifting the Advocacy Paradigm in Colorado: The Health Equity Advocacy Journey

Cover of Shifting the Advocacy Paradigm in Colorado: The Health Equity Advocacy Journey This learning paper tells the story of how the HEA Cohort experimented with ways to align their health equity advocacy efforts and take collective action. It provides some of the tools that the Cohort developed to invite the involvement of individuals and organizations with various levels of advocacy capacity. It also shares core lessons that have been learned from the efforts to build advocacy capacity to advance health equity.

Download the Learning Paper in English

Download the Learning Paper in Spanish

Engaging Affected Populations in Health Equity: An Emerging Framework in Colorado

Cover of HEAS Phase I ReportThis learning paper presents a framework developed by SPR in collaboration with the HEA cohort to assure authentic engagement of affected communities at multiple points in their health equity advocacy—including at the front end of surfacing issues, developing change agendas, bringing community stories to the fore in advocacy campaigns and assuring that on-the-ground implementation of successfully passed policy is faithful to its intentions.

Download the Learning Paper

Evaluation Framework & Case Studies

Health Equity Advocacy Strategy: What is the Evaluation Framework?

Cover of Health Equity Advocacy Strategy: What is the Evaluation Framework? ReportThe HEA evaluation is guided by an evaluation framework designed to do justice to the innovative nature of the field-building work, while still maintaining flexibility to capture the unexpected and respond to any emerging needs that might arise within the cohort. The framework builds upon key concepts in field building and community-driven change research, and integrates shared understanding generated from the HEA cohort.

Download the Health Equity Advocacy Strategy: What is the Evaluation Framework? Report

Seeds of the Field: Case Studies of HEA Cohort Organizations

These case studies highlight the health equity advocacy work of the 18 HEA cohort organizations and illustrate growth in both individual and collective capacity to “seed” an emerging health equity advocacy field in Colorado.