In partnership with the Resident Leadership Council (RLC), the Aurora grassroots organization supported and guided by the CU Anschutz Community Connector program, three community academies were held in 2022 that focused on community-driven priorities. Several hundred community members, community and institutional leaders and university staff attended discussions that focused on community-driven priorities of gun and youth violence, youth mental health and access to health care.
The largest academy brought an overflow crowd to discuss gun and youth violence. Here, representatives from the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Public Schools, the Resident Leadership Council and the community discussed systemic approaches to curtailing youth and gun violence. These were difficult conversations, but resulted in stronger connections between the campus, its North Aurora neighbors and the Aurora Police.
Other academies were also well-attended. More than 60 community members met for the youth mental health discussion, which connected Aurora Public Schools and community mental health providers with parents and students to identify gaps of knowledge about available resources. Participants received an introduction about how to handle complex mental health situations.
The final academy focused on access to healthcare. At this meeting, the Resident Leadership Council and community came together with a number of different healthcare providers in the area to identify gaps in access.
Following these three academies, Community Action Meetings were held in 2023 to identify next steps. The first Community Action Meeting brought City of Aurora elected leaders, Aurora police leadership, APS leadership and Colorado State Board of Education leadership together with more than 50 community representatives to develop an action plan to address gun and youth violence concerns. The second Action meeting, scheduled for August 2023, will focus on youth mental health.
The purpose of the Supplier Diversity Initiative is to connect local businesses in North Aurora and Northeast Denver with CU Anschutz Medical Campus departments. CU Anschutz's goal is to establish and maintain strong relationships with local businesses that can meet some of the university's needs for goods and services. Through CU's Anschutz Medical Campus Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, this initiative is being created to benefit both the campus and the nearby community. By including and supporting diverse businesses in our supply chain, we create opportunity, promote innovation and stimulate growth that enriches our community as a whole.
The initiative is being created in partnership with the City of Aurora – Small Business Development Center,
On Havana Street, the Center for Community Wealth Building and the University of Colorado System Procurement Service Center. The initiative follows suit with the mission of CU Anschutz's Small Business Program to maximize opportunities for small business concerns to participate in the university's business of procuring goods and services at all dollar levels
and regardless of funding source.
In 2021, CU Anschutz was named an Age-Friendly University for its leadership in research, education, and care for older adults. It is the first academic medical campus in Colorado to become a member of the Age-Friendly University Global Network. In response, An Age-Friendly University Task Force has been convened by the Multidisciplinary Center on Aging. In 2023, this task force initiated a strategic planning process to identify priority areas on which to focus its work to promote Age-Friendly University principles. The built environment emerged as a top priority as an antecedent condition for achieving Age-Friendly University principles. As a result, task force members paired with older adults from the community to conduct a Physical Accessible and Campus Navigation Assessment and submitted recommendations for improvement to senior leaders.
Visit the Office of Community Engagement to learn more about Community Academies, the Supplier Diversity Initiative, the Resident Leadership Council and the Community Advisory Board. You can find ways to get involved and sign up for the Community and Campus Connections email newsletter.