Mountain Family Health Centers sent a letter Wednesday speaking out against racism and discrimination against people of color after the death of George Floyd sparked protests across the country, and in the Roaring Fork Valley.
"As the United States, Colorado and our local communities reel from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the historic discrimination against people of color, Mountain Family Health Centers stands as an advocate for affordable healthcare access to all," Mountain Family officials said in the letter.
Ross Brooks, Mountain Family Health Centers' CEO, said their physicians in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties see the inequalities minorities face each day when it comes to access to healthcare.
"The Hispanic community has higher rates of diabetes, worse maternal health outcomes, worse mental health outcomes and much higher rates of being uninsured compared to the non-Hispanic community," Brooks said.
He said that is why Mountain Family Health Centers was created back in the 1960s during the civil rights era: to tackle racial injustice in healthcare.
"So it's not only a part of who we are historically, but it's a part of who we are today," Brooks said.
Brooks said including minority voices has been critical to his organization. He said 60% of Mountain Family Health Centers' board of directors are active patients of the health center and 50% are local Hispanic leaders.
"We are governed by the people from our communities," Brooks said. "I think that's been a really important part for us to intentionally elevate leaders from our local communities."