On Thursday, September 15, 2016, Dr. Vincent Atchity, Equitas Foundation Executive Director, was awarded the prestigious Excellence in the Promotion of Health Equity Award at the 2016 Public Health in the Rockies Conference Ignite & Awards event. This award, presented by the Colorado Public Health Association, the Colorado Society of Public Health Education and the Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado, acknowledges and celebrates individuals, organizations and/or teams engaged in efforts to advance the understanding of health equity, health disparities, social determinants of health and greater access and opportunities for communities throughout Colorado. Despite Colorado’s status as one of the healthiest states, we still have a long way to go to ensure that all Coloradans have access to the resources needed to lead a healthy life.
An excerpt from the award presentation reads:
“Vincent has been an emphatic and compelling voice for advocacy in his work with Equitas Foundation, a Colorado-based non-profit committed to bringing attention and powerful problem-solving to the troubling over-incarceration of individuals with behavioral health challenges. Promoting equity and increasing access to wellness takes leadership, innovation, accountability, and conviction. Vincent Atchity’s embodiment of these values, along with his ability to inspire communities to do more and better for one another, are just a few of the reasons he was nominated.”
Dr. Atchity is an experienced public health professional, serving first as an educator, then as Chief Operating Officer of North Colorado Health Alliance (NCHA), and now as Equitas Foundation’s Executive Director. Every step of the way Dr. Atchity has worked to advance meaningful awareness of existing disparities and to expand access to health and wellbeing to the entire community. As a professor of Community Health at UC Berkeley, Vincent promoted the understanding of health equity issues among future advocates of public health. At NCHA in Weld County, Dr. Atchity helped coordinate multi-partner efforts to identify areas for improvement in population health and set goals to address them. Finally, in his current position, Dr. Atchity supports and develops partnership networks across the state of Colorado and the nation to help address the needs of arguably the most forgotten and vulnerable population: those with mental illness or behavioral health issues engaged with the criminal justice system.