Colorado's 10 Winnable Battles

·         Clean Air

·         Clean Water

·         Infectious Disease Prevention

·         Injury Prevention

·         Mental Health and Substance Abuse

·         Obesity

·         Oral Health

·         Safe Food

·         Tobacco

·         Unintended Pregnancy


Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Winnable Battle?

Colorado’s Winnable Battles are key public health and environmental issues where progress can be made in the next five years.  These 10 Winnable Battles were selected because they provide Colorado’s greatest opportunities for ensuring the health of our citizens and visitors and the improvement and protection of our environment.  Many of Colorado’s Winnable Battles align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Winnable Battles or are consistent with the Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future, while others reflect Colorado’s own unique priorities. These broad topic areas can be customized by counties and cities based on local priorities and authorities, or by agencies and other organizations whose missions overlap. All partners and stakeholders are needed and welcomed in helping address these Winnable Battles.  With collective efforts, we can make a difference!


Why has Colorado chosen to focus on these particular areas when there are so many pressing health and environmental issues?

These Winnable Battles were chosen for these reasons:

1.      They are important:

    • Many people are affected or at risk (mortality and morbidity rates, disability, etc.).
    • They involve a large degree of health disparities.
    • They impose a large economic burden or risk on quality of life or the environment.
    • They are consistent with state and federally mandated programs designed to improve and protect the environment and public health.

2.      We have an ability to impact these areas:

·         Evidence-based strategies, best practices or programs exist.

·         There is community-level readiness and support for change.

·         We can have an impact on a large percentage of the target population.

·         We can improve and protect critical areas of the environment.

3.      There is capacity to improve these areas:

·         There is political will and there are champions to support these issues.

·         There are organizations prepared to take the lead and to move forward.

·         There are sufficient resources available, and funding is available or obtainable.


Colorado’s Winnable Battles were chosen with consideration of national and local goals (CDC’s Winnable Battles, the Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future and local public health and environmental priorities). Alignment of national, state and local efforts allow for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. To make a difference, we need our schools/universities; workplaces/businesses/industries; state health care, human services, natural resources and transportation agencies; conservation/environmental groups; foundations; faith-based organizations; elected officials; and nonprofit organizations to be active participants in the Winnable Battles.


What about other important health and environmental issues not reflected in this list of Winnable Battles?

The mission of public health and environmental quality remains the same – to protect and improve the health of Colorado’s people and the quality of its environment. Within all of the Winnable Battles are other critical issues such as addressing health equity or access to care, or maximizing funding for critical infrastructure, which will be included as strategies. Public health and environmental workers will continue their important work across a wide range of public health and environmental issues and programs beyond Colorado’s Winnable Battles with a focus on achieving broad health impacts, eliminating health disparities, and improving and protecting the environment.


What does Colorado propose to do to address these issues?

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), along with its many system partners, will develop and implement measurable strategies to address these Winnable Battles to improve public health and to protect and improve the environment. This will include the following approaches:

·         Aligning with CDC’s Winnable Battles

·         Aligning with the Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future where required or beneficial

·         Incorporating the Winnable Battles into the department’s strategic plan and the work plans of its divisions

·         Coordinating, collaborating and aligning with local public health agencies and their partners

·         Providing a framework and structure to offer assistance at the local level

·         Focusing on the elements of Colorado’s Public Health Improvement Plan

·         Using health equity and social determinants models as frameworks

·         Developing strong data collection and analysis systems

·         Engaging other agencies, organizations, foundations and other stakeholders in the development and promotion of the measurable strategies

·         Engaging the public through educational opportunities and participation in the Winnable Battles


How will Colorado know if progress is made?

By measuring the health outcomes, environmental improvement and other strategies associated with each appropriate Winnable Battle, we will know where progress has been made and where more needs to be done.  Many of Colorado’s Winnable Battles were first identified through current health data measurements– and the state will continue to track this data, as well as other important data, as we move ahead with strategies for improvement.


How will focusing on these Winnable Battles affect budgets for public health and environmental activities?

Funding opportunities for these areas likely will continue to be available, and in many cases, expanded, given that these are key areas for improving the public’s health and the environment. Making a difference can be more than funding – it can result from doing things differently and doings things collectively.


Will Colorado identify new Winnable Battles in the future?

As we make progress in the improvement of our identified key public health and environmental issues, new areas of focus may emerge.  By ensuring a consistent and sound system for collecting health and environmental data, by identifying and analyzing new program requirements, and by working with our system partners and stakeholders, we will be able to develop priorities and strategies early on as new areas of focus emerge.

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Colorado Health Institute
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Health Statistics and Evaluation Branch
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S
Denver,CO 80246
(303) 692-2160
    Colorado Health Data
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