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2017 Denver Healthy Communities Awards Finalists Announced

Six finalists chosen among a record 39 nominations

Today, Denver Environmental Health announced the six finalists for the 2017 Denver Healthy Communities Awards. First launched in 2015, the Healthy Communities Awards (HCA) are intended to recognize individuals, as well as public, private, and community organizations working to promote public health and environmental sustainability.

Public and private organizations were among those chosen as the top two finalists in three categories: Innovation, Compliance and Good Neighbor. 

The 2017 Healthy Communities Awards finalists include:

Innovation Award Finalists - Designed to recognize individuals and organizations that employ innovative strategies, processes, or technologies to improve public health and/or the environment in Denver.

  • Denver Food Rescue – Denver Food Rescue (DFR) is focused on improving health equity outcomes for low-income families and individuals by increasing access to healthy food in a resident-driven and culturally appropriate way. DFR partners with community-based organizations and residents of low-income neighborhoods to enhance their ability to distribute healthy food. Using this approach, programs can be tailored by the community to meet the specific needs of an area.
  • The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization - The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) works to protect the Interior West by bringing about climate action, and by building support for that action in the area and across the nation. As part of this, RMCO analyzes climate data for information on local impacts to help communities develop actions and solutions. They also work to engage and supporting local governments, by convening representatives to discuss what actions can be taken to prepare for and address climate change. Their work has served as the basis for numerous local actions, including Denver’s goal to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below the level of 2005 by the year 2050.

Compliance Award Finalists - Designed to encourage, recognize and reward local individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations that have consistently met or exceeded applicable standards established through recognized best practices, regulation or certification.

  • Springhill Suites HLC – Denver Downtown at MSU – Springhill Suites approaches long-term compliance as ongoing training and practice it every day so it becomes second nature. SAGE Hospitality Management coaches staff to reinforce food safety standards and how those are important to guests and their own safety. Included in this coaching are daily teaching moments, efficient stocking and receiving practices, and daily regimen of testing coolers, sanitation fluids, and machine temperatures. The efforts have earned them the recognition of Denver’s Partners in Food Safety certification.   
  • Work Options for Women – Work Options for Women (WOW)  assists people who have barriers to employment by providing individualized culinary training, building confidence and removing obstacles to sustained employment. WOW’s primary training kitchen is the cafeteria in the Denver Human Service building. All the WOW Chefs are certified ServSafe Managers with upper management also certified ServSafe Manager Instructors and proctors. Each day WOW’s professional chefs teach student how to safely prepare, serve and store all the food for the café. Students complete the ServSafe Food Handlers course within the first week and apply their knowledge in the kitchen for the next 8 weeks. Last year WOW was proud to became a Partner in Food Safety.

Good Neighbor Award Finalists - Designed to recognize individuals and organizations that have a longstanding commitment to protecting and/or improving the environment in Denver (clean air, land, and water), or promoting healthy people through improved access to healthy food, healthy built environments, or promoting healthy pets through activities at the animal shelter or in the community at-large.

  • A Little Help – A Little Help works to connect neighbors to help seniors thrive by volunteering to help with transportation, yard and home chores, technology troubleshooting, handiwork, friendly walk and visits, and more. Through the work of the volunteers, senior who participate experience physical, social and psychological health is improvements. A Little Help offers seniors and their neighbors the opportunity to remain safe, connected and supported while aging in our community. In 2015, almost 800 individuals volunteered over 6 thousand hours to fulfill senior requests for assistance.
  • Metro Caring – As one of Denver’s most trusted frontline hunger-prevention organizations, Metro Caring meets people’s immediate need for nutritious food while also sustainably addressing the root cause of hunger – poverty. Through its Fresh-Foods Market, nearly two million pounds of free, healthful food is distributed to low-income residents annually. Metro Caring also provides complementary cooking and nutrition classes, including Kidz in the Kitchen, Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Prevention programming, and mini-nutrition classes with educators and healthy samples. Last year Metro Caring educated 7,464 participants, and will double its impact this year. 

Finalists were chosen by a panel of experts in public and environmental health. Mayor Michael B. Hancock will recognize finalists and announce the winners on April 4 at the Healthy Communities Awards recognition breakfast at the McNichols Civic Center Building.

Special thanks to Certifiably Green Denver, for ensuring the HCA will be a certified green event.

To RSVP to the awards, visit For more information about the Denver Healthy Communities Awards, visit

Denver’s Department of Environmental Health (DEH) is dedicated to advancing Denver’s environmental and public health goals. DEH includes Animal Protection, Community Health, Environmental Quality, Office of the Medical Examiner, and Public Health Inspections. 

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