Licona award

Nominations for the 2024 Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award are open. The Dr. Licona award honors on-the-ground changemakers – working both at the systems and community levels – who are tackling significant community health barriers and advancing health equity in Colorado.

Vea el sitio web del Premio Dr. Virgilio Licona al Liderazgo de la Salud Comunitaria en español.

A nationally recognized advocate for social justice and health equity, Dr. Licona – who passed away on March 29, 2016 – contributed to the health of Coloradans as a physician and expert in migrant health and rural health care delivery. His role as a leader at both the systems and community levels brought a critical voice to some of the most important conversations and decisions for bringing health closer in reach for all Coloradans.

In a video showcasing his life’s work, Dr. Licona shares his challenging yet rewarding journey as a community health leader:

“All of this, why? ... I’ve been able to focus my efforts within the health care arena to push forth those ideals that we had of the Chicano movement of improving the living status of our population, our communities and fighting for justice, fighting for equality. Fighting for those things that we think each one of us deserves, just because we are human beings and we breathe air, we’re on this planet and we’re in this together.”

Through the Dr. Virgilio Licona Community Health Leadership Award, The Foundation recognizes one Coloradan annually whose distinguished track record of leadership in the communities they serve and the systems they are working in demonstrates disruption for positive change. 

The annual award recipient is honored in their home community and offered the opportunity to designate a one-time $20,000 donation to support their nonprofit or another nonprofit working to improve the health of Coloradans.

Note: The award donation funds may be distributed to the winner’s Colorado-based charity of choice but “shall be used for such charities that do not enjoy substantial support through taxation.” As a result, The Colorado Health Foundation may only make a grant to a publicly funded organization if the grant supports a specific project that does not receive most of its funding from public dollars.

The award program is designed to:

  • Recognize impactful efforts to advance health and health equity for Coloradans who have historically had less power and privilege.
  • Advance innovative, proven and replicable solutions to address critical health issues in Colorado communities.
  • Recognize the power of community health leadership in driving positive health outcomes. 
  • Inspire others to strive toward Dr. Licona’s standard of excellence and to honor those whose work embodies his spirit of care, compassion, activism and dedication. We encourage all nominators to watch a video on the life and legacy of Dr. Licona for more insight into the types of leaders we recognize through this award program.

A strong nomination will provide evidence of the nominee’s alignment with key eligibility criteria. Specifically, the nominee should:

  • Be a Colorado resident working in and serving Colorado communities.
  • Do work that aligns with the Foundation’s cornerstones that advance our efforts to bring health in reach for all Coloradans.
  • Actively and intentionally work to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for all Coloradans.
  • Significantly influence or contribute to positive systems-level and community-level change, such as implementing better public policies and/or practices in the field.
  • Foster lasting connections and build bridges among people with differing backgrounds or viewpoints.
  • Represent a community-based organization from any field that shows evidence of improving health outcomes in their community (e.g., education, health, public safety, housing, economic development, environment).

Nominations must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Each nominator is allowed one nomination.
  • Potential candidates may be nominated by more than one person.
  • Organizations may nominate more than one person but may only submit one nomination per candidate. We encourage individuals within an organization to collaborate on submitting a single application per candidate.
  • No self-nominations will be considered.
  • No Foundation board member, board committee community member, staff or their immediate family members will be considered.
  • No posthumous nominations will be considered.
  • No standing elected officials will be considered.

Submit a Nomination

Review the program criteria and the sample nomination form. When you are ready, please submit your nomination using our online form in English or Spanish. We will accept applications through March 29, 2024.

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact Brandi Dye, communications officer, at 303-953-3655 or [email protected].

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