They say every person has a story to tell and it just so happens Colorado HealthStory wants to hear yours. Modeled after NPR’s StoryCorps program, Colorado HealthStory has collected narratives on health from communities throughout Colorado since early 2011.
Stories range from the birth of a baby to sitting with a dying parent to living with diabetes. And the telling not only provides an outlet for people to discuss their health-related joys and challenges, but it paints a collective picture of health neighborhood by neighborhood.
Owetta McNeil, for example, is a long-time resident of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. She has battled chronic disease — lupus and MS — for the better part of her life, and has suffered multiple heart attacks. Her story joins others from the Park Hill neighborhood, creating a unique mosaic that in itself tells a story of the issues confronting the area in which she lives.
Colorado HealthStory has already visited Aurora, Summit County, and Rocky Ford. In each place they go, they record conversations with family members, friends, care providers, and colleagues. Participants are given a CD of their recording and a second copy is kept in the Colorado HealthStory archive. Stories are available to the public on the Colorado HealthStory website, Facebook, and Twitter.
A forum is then organized in each community, allowing local residents to listen to their neighbors’ stories and discuss any local trends and health data that become apparent. The next one will be in Park Hill, 5:30–7:30 p.m. April 3, at the Hope Community Center, 3475 Holly St.
“We’ve seen the power of collective story sharing in each community we’ve visited,” says Joe Campe, Community Partnerships Coordinator for the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, one of three partner organizations — including ClinicNET and the Colorado Rural Health Center — who run the project.
The hope is to really engage people around health and meet them where they’re at. The ultimate goal is action, where people and communities link into existing local programs, for example, or influence policy decisions on the city and state level.
In many communities, those who face the most health hurdles are underserved populations: Latinos, low-income residents, moms, and young Coloradans. Colorado HealthStory looks to give them a voice and lend an ear.
It’s true everybody has a story. But change only begins to happen when enough people tell it. That’s when the masses start to listen.
Park Hill Community Forum
- 5:30–7:30 p.m. April 3, Hope Community Center, 3475 Holly St., Denver
Colorado Health Stories
Colorado HealthStory Background
Colorado HealthStory is a three-year project of the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, the Colorado Rural Health Center and ClinicNET. It was made possible through funding from The Colorado Trust and the Colorado Health Foundation.
Over the next three years, Colorado HealthStory will record 250 stories in communities across the state. Personal health stories will be audio-recorded with a family member, friend, care provider, mentor, or a HealthStory staff person. Each storyteller will be given a CD of their story recording and a second copy will be retained in the Colorado HealthStory archive.
When a number of stories have been collected in a community, Colorado HealthStory will gather with community members for a local forum and listening session. At these forums, community members will be able to listen to collected stories and speak about shared health issues in their community. Community health profiles will also be presented at each forum that highlight recorded stories and local health data.