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Welcome to the Mountain West Alliance for Community Engagement on Climate & Health

Welcome to the Mountain West
Climate-Health Engagement Hub

A collaborative partnership to promote climate resilience and health equity for rural and urban communities


Based at the Colorado School of Public Health

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Agreement (OT2HL158287) through the Alliance for Community Engagement for Climate and Health

Engaging Communities

Identifying Opportunities

Sharing Results

Our Work

Our Work

This project seeks to understand how rural and urban communities in the Mountain West are experiencing climate stressors (drought, air quality, and wildfires), and what current and future actions they envision to build climate resilience and advance health equity.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by a Colorado School of Public Health based team, the Mountain West Climate Health Engagement Hub facilitates learning and builds partnerships among community members, scientists, public health practitioners, and policy professionals to work towards climate justice.

Project Geography


The Mountain West Hub is currently focused on two communities in Colorado, one rural and one urban: The San Luis Valley (SLV) and West Denver.

Like much of the US Mountain West, these communities face a number of climate-driven challenges, such as:

  • More frequent wildfires

  • Hotter seasons

  • Persistent droughts

  • Unsafe air quality

While no communities are truly shielded from these threats, the burden is not shared equally. Communities facing historical and current discrimination and under-investment are experiencing climate impacts first and hardest. These communities include urban areas like West Denver, and rural communities like those in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Communities like W Denver & SLV are leading the charge to tackle climate-driven challenges head on and build more resilient systems across the region. Any efforts to chart a healthier future must center the voices and leadership of our most impacted residents and build authentic and reciprocal partnerships across sectors, communities, and areas of expertise.

Below is a map of the San Luis Valley and West Denver featuring county Colorado EnviroScreen Score Percentiles, which reflects the environmental health of an area compared to other counties in Colorado. The higher a percentile, the greater the environmental health burden the county is experiencing relative to other areas. West Denver neighborhoods are circled in green.

You can explore Colorado EnviroScreen here

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West Denver is made up of six neighborhoods: Sun Valley, West Colfax, Villa Park, Barnum, Barnum West, and Valverde. The combined population is about 39,000 residents and, as the name suggests, this area is located in the southwest portion of Denver. West Denver has both natural features, like gulches, the South Platte River, and neighborhood parks, as well as major streets connecting the Denver Metro area and greater regional commerce. West Denver is rich in culture, history, and is home to many local businesses. You can learn more about West Denver neighborhoods in the West Area Plan, created by the City and County of Denver.



The San Luis Valley is a rural intermountain desert valley located in south-central Colorado, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and adjacent to the New Mexico border. The SLV is about the size of Connecticut and has an estimated population of 45,600. The San Luis Valley is known for its agriculture, especially potato and barley farming, as well as Sand Dunes National Park. With the Rio Grande river flowing through the SLV, waterways are central to communities in the valley. You can learn more about the San Luis Valley in this Story Map, created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Year 1 Activities

Image by Markus Winkler


Convene Advisory Boards

We've brought together four advisory boards who are experts in the San Luis Valley, West Denver, Climate Science and/or Public Policy and Practice. Throughout the first year of this project, advisory boards will share their expertise of how climate and air quality impacts the West Denver and San Luis Valley.


Conduct Interviews

The Colorado School of Public team conducted interviews with advisory board members to hear their stories and shape the direction of our work. These interviews, along with regular meetings, help to hold our work accountable to community needs and wants.



Develop "Mountain West Climate-Health Hub: Community Voices, Volume 1"

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