Participants at Community-Campus Partnership forum
Participants at Community-Campus Partnership Forum

One of the most impressive examples of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’s growing engagement in the Aurora community is Hire Local.

Hire Local is a career-building initiative in which members of the community apply for and are often placed in entry level positions at the university and the hospitals. The program leads to the university and hospitals filling vacant positions with people who live nearby. Those neighbors find much-appreciated work.

“We found that the community needed jobs, and members of the community wanted to contribute to building great hospitals as well as a great university,” said Lisa Jensen, the director of Hire Local.  “This is the value of the Hire Local program.”

Celebrating Community-Campus Partnership

Hire Local is just one of 30 Aurora-oriented community initiatives at CU Anschutz, many of which fall under the umbrella of the CU Anschutz Community-Campus Partnership. Now in its fourth year, the Community-Campus Partnership (CCP) is led by Robert McGranaghan, MPH. The partnership held a community engagement forum on April 5 to highlight the exciting work implemented by the CCP and by CU Anschutz faculty, staff and students in the Aurora community.

Lily Marks
Lilly Marks presents opening remarks at Community-Campus Partnership Forum

“We can’t change the community through clinics alone,” said Lilly Marks, the Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of Colorado in her opening remarks. “The physical health of a community is deeply intertwined with social determinants such as employment, access to education, nutrition and safe housing.  CU Anschutz has a moral imperative to address these concerns, and thus the Community-Campus Partnership was born.”

CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman added that the campus is “lucky” to be based in North Aurora.  “As we progress as a campus, we cannot lose sight of our commitment to our neighbors,” he said.

The goal of the forum was to not only celebrate the community outreach achievements, but to also increase interest in and awareness of these engagement activities.

“This gathering has been years in the making, to celebrate the wonderful outreach work that’s done by our students, faculty, staff, and community partners,” said Neil Krauss, director of Initiatives and Outreach at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Success stories

Participants at Community-Campus Partnership Forum
Participants at Community-Campus Partnership Forum

In addition to connecting the university with entry level workers, Hire Local has partnered with the Spring Institute, an intercultural learning initiative. A program within the Spring Institute, Colorado Welcome Back, helps internationally trained health care professionals get relicensed in the United States and back into health care careers.

“Hire Local is a win-win,” said Ben Jutson, the program manager of Colorado Welcome Back. “These community members have unique linguistic and cultural competence. They’re given the opportunity to help others in their community.”

To raise awareness about all the work being done within the community, the forum featured 15 of these mutually beneficial community-campus partnerships in rotating roundtable discussions with members of the CU Anschutz Campus including:

In his remarks,  Elliman also highlighted the Comitis Crisis Center, Aurora’s only homeless shelter, which is steps away from campus. From donating essential items like coats and food to volunteering specialized services like free health screenings, members of CU Anschutz continue to positively impact Comitis and those it serves.

“Every day there are extraordinary students, staff, faculty and community members working together in extraordinary ways,” Elliman said. “We’re proud that we’re lifting our arms and voices. We need to be active participants in our community to make it a better place to live.”