"Word of Thanks" Giving Campaign for DAWN Health
University of Colorado- Anschutz Medical Campus is a dominating feature of the landscape in North Aurora. The facility providing world-class care, is surrounded by one of the most economically depressed communities in the state. In partnership with the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Dedicated to Aurora's Wellness and Needs (DAWN) works to combat the disparity in health care for the area’s vulnerable citizens.
DAWN is designed to address the social and medical disparities in the Aurora community through a student-run free clinic. Students design everything from the clinic flow, supply procurement, testing services design, subspecialty referral pathways, and community engagement. The clinic offers specialty nights including diabetes care, behavioral health, cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, occupational and physical therapy, and woman’s health. DAWN also provides other resources for families facing hardship including crops from the community garden, assistance with job search and housing, among others.
The backbone of the program are volunteer providers across disciplines who supervise and mentor interdisciplinary health professional students. The goals of DAWN clinic are: Provide integrated health care access to the medically underserved adult population, and create an opportunity for hands-on experience with integrated, team-based primary care for healthcare students. Our takeaway for the students is the act of providing access, empathy, and support in the face of diseases is meaningful to our diverse patient population, who often feel “outside” the health care system.
DAWN has proven to be an asset to the North Aurora community, bringing together the disparate parts of the population and working toward health equality for all.
A little place with a lot of heart, DAWN Clinic is an example of the power of neighborhood collaboration and innovation.
1. We provide patient centered health services to meet the needs of the diverse underserved population of Aurora.
2. We collaborate with community partners to overcome social barriers to patient health and wellness.
3. We cultivate passion for underserved healthcare and train future healthcare providers through interprofessional teamwork.
4. We foster future leaders who are proponents for health equity.
In the fall of 2013, a group of Aurora community leaders as well as interprofessional learners and faculty from the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus gathered. It was a meeting to launch a local chapter of Primary Care Progress (now Intend Health Strategies) and to discuss what could be done to support primary care on the Anschutz Medical Campus and in the Aurora community.
Many realities emerged, the two most important being:
(1) There was a large unmet need for primary care in the Aurora community, particularly for the uninsured, and this was proven by recent community needs assessments and voiced by community health leaders.
(2) The interprofessional faculty and students were inspired to work together to have the academic community be a part of the solution.
As a result the DAWN clinic was formed with many student and community volunteers. Almost every health profession from the Anschutz Medical Campus joined along with behavior health learners and faculty from Denver University. The movement would not have turned into a reality without the support of partners in the community. The Fields Foundation was a local 501c3 that had been desiring to start providing healthcare services for years. Under sponsorship from the Fields Foundation and in partnership with many other valued community organization supporters, DAWN was opened in March 2015.
DAWN has continued to grow and expand since 2015, incorporating specialty care services, social services navigation, adding educational initiatives and innovating based on input from community. It was incorporated as its own non-profit, 501(c)3 entity in late 2018.