Vail Daily column: Healthy economy, healthy Colorado |

Vail Daily column: Healthy economy, healthy Colorado

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

The importance of diversifying our economy here in Eagle County has long been recognized as an important effort. It’s also been a long time challenge and will likely continue to be a focus area for years to come.

Health and wellness is a key component of both our current and future economy. Vail Valley Partnership is engaged locally on various efforts related to health and wellness. These include sector partnerships designed to bring employers together across competitive lines to produce better outcomes and help grow the industry, as well as workplace wellness efforts via the Healthy Communities Coalition.

Health and Wellness Hub

From a business standpoint the central mountain region, including Eagle County, is home to the second highest concentration of health and wellness related businesses per capita in the state of Colorado. Regionally, we are home to 405 business establishments, employing 5,176 people.

We’re not alone in this our focus on health and wellness and its importance to our economy; health and wellness is also an important effort and economic driver from a state level.

The Colorado Health Institute, in partnership with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, unveiled a statewide strategic plan to create jobs and economic growth in the health and wellness industry in late 2013.

The report, titled “Healthy Economy, Healthy Colorado: A Strategic Action Plan for Colorado’s Health and Wellness Industry,” was the result of a statewide collaboration as part of the Colorado Blueprint, the state-wide economic development program.

The report reveals that the industry accounts for $40 billion-plus in annual economic activity, makes up 15.3 percent of the gross state product and employs more than 360,000 workers. Additionally, the report details that a changing marketplace, new health care policy and demographic shifts spell good news for the industry’s ability to grow in the coming years.

Vail Valley Partnership and the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments invite you to learn more at our upcoming education seminar: “Healthy Economy, Healthy Colorado: A Strategic Action Plan for Colorado’s Health and Wellness Industry.”

This event will be held on Wednesday at Manor Vail Lodge from 3:15 to 5 p.m. and will feature speaker Michele Lueck, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Institute. A regional industry panel will follow and includes; Jeff Morgan, Vail Vitality Center, Lili Tenney, Colorado School for Public Health, Linda Venturoni, Augustana Care, and Rhonda Koehn, High Country Healthcare, PC.

We’re happy to bring this state-level business development discussion to the Vail Valley, and we are pleased to have a regional panel to discuss how we can leverage these efforts and apply them within our local health and wellness sector to encourage local growth (i.e. job and income growth, improved local services, etc.).

This discussion will serve to increase our understanding of the Colorado Health and Wellness industry, how it impacts our economy locally and will give attendees a better picture of what it looks like in practice in our area. Lueck and the panel will be available for attendees to ask questions, provide criticisms to the report and share the perspective of those working in the industry outside of the Denver metro region.

If you are a local health or wellness-related business, you’ll hear from people and organizations in Eagle and surrounding counties who are addressing the same key issues you may be facing. This will expand your knowledge base and your ability to compete. You’ll also gain insight into the experiences of other businesses who are facing challenges similar to yours, learn what your peers are doing and what new trends are developing in the industry.

If your business services the local health and wellness industry, then this discussion will give you an edge by helping you to smartly position your business to address their changing needs. Our panelists come from four different segments of the industry: traditional medical care, integrative wellness, elder care and corporate wellness. Learning the opportunities and challenges as they see them can give you a leg up in servicing their needs.

It is required that you RSVP for this event. Please RSVP to Jennifer Weintraub at or 970-477-4001. Registration is free to Northwest Colorado Council of Government members, Vail Valley Health and Wellness Initiative participants and Healthy Communities Coalition partners, Otherwise, there is a nominal fee of $10 for Vail Valley Partnership members and $25 for all others.

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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