Jason Salzman, Colorado Times Recorder

The Community Voices for Health project, which helps with community-based training to advocate for better health outcomes, will give over $600,000 to organizations in Colorado as part of a six-state, $4 million grant award.

“The current data regarding the disproportionate COVID-19 fatalities within the African-American community is just one example of the entrenched health and socio-economic racial inequities we already knew existed,” said Deidre Johnson, the CEO and executive director of the Center for African American Health, one of the Colorado recipients. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is the other. The nonprofit health advocacy groups Public Agenda and Altarum sponsor Community Voices, and the grant uses funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Colorado Politics reported that black residents were up to 75% more likely during the COVID-19 pandemic to be infected or die compared to white residents, a finding that applies to other parts of the country. A higher rate of underlying health conditions, less access to care, and more hazardous housing conditions are some of the reasons for the disparity.

A guide for Community Voices detailed multiple strategies for improving healthcare access locally, including by redesigning traditional sources of information, improving interactions between providers and patients, and relying on existing relationships with community leaders. However, the pandemic may also limit the ability to engage providers broadly.

The Colorado Community Health Network, whose centers tend to treat people from communities of color and who are closer to the federal poverty level, warned on Tuesday about furloughs and reduced revenue from people forgoing care to stay at home.

“More help is needed for CHCs to continue to care for their communities through this public health crisis and to continue to meet preventive and primary health care needs now and into the future,” the association of community health centers announced.

The national group representing CHCs has asked Congress for $7.6 billion in emergency funding over the next six months to allow the clinics to stay open and aid with COVID-19 response.

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