What would it take to make Colorado the best place to have a child and raise a thriving family?
To answer that question, Ascend invested in a cohort of diverse leaders across systems and communities, on the Front Range and along the Western Slope – leaders with big ideas and leverage points to transform Colorado’s health and human services for young children and their families.
The journey began with a funder willing to make a big bet on a tipping point for brighter futures for children. State leaders committed to building a pipeline for innovation and collaboration that would transform how we serve families. And Ascend brought decades of experience in leading change and investing in leaders ready to address the critical issues of our time. Since our founding, Colorado leaders have been well represented in our national Ascend Fellowship and 300+ strong national two-generation learning network. The Children and Families Fellowship builds on that history and Ascend’s work to fuel the two- generation field to invest in some of Colorado’s boldest leaders.
Judge for yourselves. In this anthology, we highlight the strategies and leaders leaving their marks on Colorado’s systems and communities. We think you will agree that Colorado’s children and families are better off. From new approaches to child welfare and expanded efforts to address mental health to creative, practical models that expand quality child care in rural areas and holistic approaches to the housing crisis, these leaders are making a difference.
This cohort of leaders completed their Fellowship in 2018 with big ideas that continue their work. Ascend at the Aspen Institute remains committed to supporting their visions, and we invite you to do the same.
Explore contents of Leadership in Action: An Anthology From the Aspen Institute Colorado Children and Families Fellowship below.
PART I: FAMILY HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
- Getting to the Source: How a Focus on Preventative Care and Social Determinants of Health Strengthens Families and Community
Tista Ghosh, chief medical of cer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Healthy Families Checklist: How Colorado Medicaid Implements a Two-Generation Approach to Support Families
Gretchen Hammer, public leadership consultant, Public Leadership Consulting Group
- Be Heard, Be Healthy Mile High: Working Toward Health Equity for Underserved Coloradans
Deidre Johnson, CEO and executive director, the Center for African American Health
- Trauma Is an Intergenerational Experience; Resilience Can Be Too: An Integrated, Two-Generation Approach to Addressing Trauma
Stephanie Seng, director, Colorado State University Center for Couple and Family Therapy
PART II: RESILIENT, THRIVING CHILDREN
- Expanding Family Engagement in Schools
Verónica Figoli, president and CEO, Denver Public Schools Foundation
- Providing Care and Custody With Dignity and Respect within Colorado Division of Youth Services
Anthony Gherardini, director of operations and cabinet affairs, State of Colorado
- Investing in the Future Means Prioritizing Families with Young Children: Setting a Policy Agenda that Puts Children First to Move Colorado Forward
Bill Jaeger, vice president of early childhood initiatives, the Children’s Campaign
- Building Partnerships in Support of Children’s Welfare
Stephanie Villafuerte, Colorado’s child protection ombudsman, Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman
PART III: STRONG HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SYSTEMS
- Investing in the Human Services Workforce
Matthew Dodson, director, Archuleta County Department of Human Services
- Leadership and Momentum for 2Gen Approaches to Multi-Generational Poverty in the Western States
Nikki Hatch, regional administrator, Administration for Children and Families, Region 8
- Developing an Equity Approach to Emergency Management
Liane Jollon, executive director, San Juan Basin Public Health
- Expanding Quality Child Care in Mesa County, Colorado: A Two-Generation Approach to Bolstering Our Local Economy
Jeff Kuhr, executive director, Mesa County Public Health
- From Outputs to Outcomes: A Human-Centered Approach to Delivering Services with Denver Human Services
Don Mares, executive director, Denver Human Services
- Public Investment for Broad Family Economic Health
Scott Wasserman, president, The Bell Policy Center
PART IV: ALIGNING SYSTEMS AND SERVICES FOR FAMILIES
- Stronger Together: How Better System Coordination Leads to Better Outcomes for Families and Communities
- Aligning Services and Resources for Families
Erin Brown, deputy chief of staff, Office of Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock
- A New Model for Health and Human Services Delivery
Mark Kling, executive director, Family Resource Center Association
- Reimagining Support Service Provision for Families in Need: An Integrated Approach to Interconnected Issues
Michael Niyompong, vice president of strategic community partnerships, Mental Health Center of Denver
- Working Together in the San Luis Valley
Mary Anne Snyder, director of the office of early childhood, Colorado Department of Human Services
- Lifting Families Out of Economic Hardship with One-Stop Shop for Support Services: An Emerging Model for Integrated Support Services
Cheryl Ternes, director, Arapahoe County Department of Human Services
James White is a program associate for leadership and communications at Ascend at the Aspen Institute.