Dear Health Community Colleague,

Welcome to the second edition this month of the Navigator. In this issue, we’re including some health equity information that may be of interest. You’ll also find information about our work in the community, and information related to COVID-19. This month’s Provider Partnership story is about Russ Urritia and his practice, Adelante Familias, also known as Forward Families Denver.

If you want to learn more about anything in this issue of the Navigator or just have a question, please contact us. You can also follow us on any of our social media channels using the links below.

In good health,
Colorado Access


Russ Urritia’s work has always been about giving back and lifting others up. A licensed clinical social worker and therapist, Russ is the owner, operator, and chief clinician of Adelante Familias, also known as Forward Families Denver, located in the heart of Denver. He sees patients of all backgrounds and walks of life and is always striving to eliminate barriers to care. Russ is fluent in Spanish, and his office, which is wheelchair accessible, is located near a bus stop and light rail station. To Russ, language and access are but a few barriers he erases for his clients.

Russ has made it his mission to provide professional, high-quality, culturally and linguistically inclusive family, individual, and couples therapy for Spanish speakers and for those culturally or uniquely different. As a seasoned, licensed mental health clinician, he strives to deliver therapy in a caring fashion. Though he specializes in treating the Latino community, his doors are open to anyone in need of services.

“I’ve always had a focus on issues of difference.”

The Latino communities in Colorado are different within themselves, Russ explains. “We have Latinos from Mexico, Latinos from Argentina, Chicanos who have been here born in the southwest, and we have those who have immigrated and who have had an acculturation experience themselves. So even when I sit with another Latino, there’s difference between us right there. Understanding that difference is important.”

Russ is an acculturated second-generation American himself who understands difference. In fact, he went back to Mexico to learn Spanish and understand the experience of living in another country as a foreigner. Russ has brought these experiences – and more importantly, the kindness he received in Mexico as a foreigner – into his work every day.  

But anyone with a difference can come to Russ for care. It could be a differently-abled person, someone who experiences racism or oppression, or who just feels that they are not part of the mainstream culture. Difference can also be due to gender or sexual orientation. Russ focuses on how the person can access power and resources, or not able to, and what barriers come up for them because of their difference. And then, he looks at how that affects the therapy, the goals, their sense of empowerment, and their identity.

“For Latinos, we are our families.”

Offering family therapy services is one of the biggest ways that Russ delivers on his mission to provide culturally-responsive care. In his experience working with people who are disenfranchised in some way from their community due to race, language, culture, or issues of difference, he has witnessed the importance of the family unit for both protection and care. That interdependence and the disenfranchisement associated with cultural, language, and access barriers drives Russ’ desire to provide couples and family therapy, so that the benefits are sustained overtime.

Family therapy sessions allow multiple generations to be present in a single session. It is often the preferred form of therapy for communities of color, and is especially important in Latino communities, where family units tend to be more interconnected and interdependent.

Family therapy also helps break down language and stigma barriers, increasing overall understanding of treatment plans and medication needs, and raising awareness of the importance of therapy overall. Unfortunately, family therapy is hard to come by. Aside from Russ, few private practices that accept Medicaid offer this service.
Part of Russ’ success, he says, is due to the strong relationship he has built with the provider relations team at Colorado Access, and the support and creative problem solving that they, and the company at large, have provided him over the years. Issues with coding, billing, and payment are always solved with a quick phone call and a conversation.

“It is because Colorado Access has the heart in the right place, that I choose to be a single provider for them only,” says Russ. “I can reach you when I need help. We are partners in getting the work done.”
Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Please email us at
Free Webinar on Identifying and Addressing Health-Related Social Needs Through Primary Care Innovation in Medicaid Managed Care
Join The Center for Health Care Strategies on Wednesday, September 29th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for a free webinar that will explore how state Medicaid agencies and health plans can partner with primary care teams to identify and address health-related social needs for the individuals and communities they serve. Click here to learn more and to register.
Free Hypertension Management Program – Share With Your Patients
The Center for African American Health has a free, evidence-based hypertension management program that utilizes blood pressure self-monitoring to empower participants to take ownership of their cardiovascular health. Virtual classes are held Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and are free to participants who commit to seven classes plus graduation. For more information and to register, email
Why Health Equity Matters
Join The Center for Health Care Strategies on Wednesday, September 29th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for a free webinar that will explore how state Medicaid agencies and health plans can partner with primary care teams to identify and address health-related social needs for the individuals and communities they serve. Click here to learn more and to register.

Colorado Access in the Community
“I’m a proud native of Denver, Colorado and have worked at Colorado Access for the past eight years. My current work details are community and member engagement. I am super honored to work with members in communities that I grew up in, and live. From the historic 5 Points neighborhood, Montbello to Green Valley Ranch and parts of Aurora. It’s such a blessing to go back to these neighborhoods and listen to what’s on the hearts and minds of many. With that I’m able to identify barriers and have trusted relationships with a multitude of community members. Those stories then translate into data and hopefully sustainable programs for years to come. From our partnership with Little Big Fridge and Jessica’s Laundry, where we were able to place a refrigerator for those who were experiencing food insecurities, along with outreach that we do at community events. It’s not only important to drive COA’s mission, but to ensure that members walk away with resources if needed, but more importantly let them know that we are listening and that we see them. My work never stops, and when I’m out and about, I’m approached as ‘the resource or the community lady.’ I wear those titles proudly and my heart is truly filled.”

– Shawnette Gillespie, health programs community engagement specialist

Community Events

Invitation to Apply for Funding Summer/Fall 2021: Youth Engagement Pop-Up Event Series
The Youth Violence Prevention Program is a newly funded initiative to implement a public health approach and intervention level efforts that are based on national models and best practices to prevent and address the youth violence crisis occurring in the City of Aurora. Both intervention and prevention level strategies will be implemented through a multi-disciplinary approach to include community-based efforts such as youth engagement pop-up events to increase neighborhood protective factors. The grant period is from June 20, 2021 to October 31, 2021. Learn more here.

The City of Aurora has created a new economic development program to connect people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity with free meals at local restaurants. If you work with people or groups that could benefit from this program, please contact Frank for more information at 303-739-7272 or email

If you have an upcoming community event that you'd like us to share, please email us.
COVID-19 Resources

For COVID-19 utilization management information, click here.

For COVID-19 pharmacy information, click here.

For COVID-19 administrative information, click here.

For COVID-19 training information, click here.

For COVID-19 practice support information, click here.


  • Hospitalization increase: COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased substantially since late July due to how easily the delta variant spreads. Click here to see more data from Tri-County Health Department.

  • Additional dose of COVID-19 vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend an additional dose for moderately to severely immunocompromised people and has expanded this recommendation for everyone eight months after they receive their second dose of an mRNA vaccine. The state is advising providers to provide this additional dose to moderately to severely immunocompromised Coloradans. Click here to read more.

  • First COVID-19 vaccine approved: On August 23rd, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, which will now be marketed as Comirnaty. Click here to read more.

  • Barriers in getting teens vaccinated: A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found significant barriers to increasing vaccination among children ages 12 to 17. Click here to read more.

We've also put together a webpage of COVID-19 resources and information. Visit for the most current information. If you have any questions, please contact your provider relations representative directly, or send an email to
11100 E. Bethany Dr.
Aurora, CO 80014

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