El Paso County and Colorado Springs Vaccine Consortium honored for innovation in public health

Photo shows Vaccine Consortium leaders

Vaccine Consortium is one of 10 nationwide to be selected as the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ “Bronze Innovative Practice Award” in 2022

El Paso County, CO – The El Paso County and Colorado Springs Vaccine Consortium was honored with the 2022 Bronze Innovative Practice Award by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The award celebrates local public health agencies for developing innovative initiatives to meet the needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The designation as a Bronze Innovative Practice demonstrates a high level of innovation and reflects collaborative, adaptable and resilient initiatives.

“Strategic Partnerships: Developing a Unified Approach to Meet Community Needs” was one of 10 local public health department initiatives to receive NACCHO’s Bronze Innovative Practice Award. The award was presented during the 2022 NACCHO 360 Annual Conference in Atlanta on July 20, 2022. A video highlighting the accomplishments of the award can be found here.

“Strategic, multi-sector partnerships are at the core of what we do, and they drive the success of our innovative and community-focused approach,” said El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan, MBA. “We cannot do this work alone, and I am grateful for the support, collaboration, and solution-oriented strategies from our numerous partners across all sectors. Our goal is to create tailored and customized initiatives to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve, and this award demonstrates the direct benefit to our residents when partners come together to use data and collaboration to launch innovative and highly effective models.”

With the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) quickly mobilized partners to develop a coordinated plan and build an extensive infrastructure to serve the most populous county in the state. EPCPH—working closely with El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs—brought together partners across numerous sectors including public health, health care, elected and local government leadership, military, pharmacies, Veterans Affairs, and others to make the vaccines available to all residents who wanted to receive one. This uniquely tailored approach brought a highly coordinated, efficient, and effective service delivery model to El Paso County communities. At its height, there were more than 100 locations across the county and more than 30 providers offering COVID-19 vaccines. To date, the Vaccine Consortium has successfully administered more than 1.1 million doses of the vaccine.

“Local health departments have demonstrated remarkable innovation and resilience to better the health of their communities during the pandemic, and the 2022 Innovative Practice Awards highlight the very best practices,” said NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman. “Winners excelled at various disciplines including promoting health equity, contact tracing, mobile testing, contactless

medication delivery, and many more. NACCHO is very proud to join them in honoring the outstanding work done by local health departments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Innovative Practices are exciting approaches and strategies to local public health issues that were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and were creatively adapted to meet the circumstances of the pandemic. The Innovative Practice honors are awarded to local health departments across the country for implementing initiatives that can demonstrate exemplary, adaptable models with replicable outcomes. “Strategic Partnerships: Developing a Unified Approach to Meet Community Needs” is one of many successful public health practices in a wide variety of areas that range from vaccine distribution to drive-thru testing. Read more about these award-winning practices here.


Photo courtesy of El Paso County Public Health: Bronze Innovative Practice Award being presented at the NACCHO 360 Annual Conference on July 20, 2022. From left to right are Margaret Jahn, NACCHO Board of Directors President, Carolyn Gery, EPCPH Development Officer, Michelle Beyrle, EPCPH Public Health Information Officer, Susan Wheelan, EPCPH Director, DeAnn Ryberg, EPCPH Deputy Director, and Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. 

Michelle Beyrle
Public Health Information Officer
(cell) 719-244-1947
El Paso County, CO