In parts of Denver, physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for the community, particularly among the African-American population. The Denver Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) revealed that 33.9% of African Americans are obese (compared to only 13.5% of white residents), 43.6% of African Americans have high blood pressure, and almost one-quarter (22.2%) admitted they had not participated in physical activity in the last 30 days. This physical inactivity could lead to various preventable chronic illnesses and diseases.

Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach, be well will identify and address policies, systems and environmental characteristics that create barriers to physical activity, especially for low-income African American residents of the community.

be well/be EPIC aims to make healthy living an easy option for these residents that suffer disproportionately from health inequities that lead to health disparities. Members of the partnership include residents, organization leaders, business leaders, school representatives, city officials and other community stakeholders. The project is funded as a cooperative agreement by the Centers for Disease Control’ Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program.ᅠThe ultimate goal of the project to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and assist in controlling health care spending.

A variety of barriers impact health outcomes in the community including local policies and structures. Many of which have made it more difficult for residents with the fewest resources to become and remain physically active.

In the be well Zone, our community members and partners have identified two primary objectives to increase access to physical activity.

1. Support the development of a standard partnership policy that could leverage city resources through collaborations with nonprofit organizations and local businesses to expand access to opportunities for physical activity and lay the groundwork to incorporate health and wellness into the Denver Recreation Center System

2. Inform the transit service plans to make transit use more accessible in underserved communities for which riders are often pedestrians first

Specific Goals of the Healthy Happy Hours are to:

  • Entice organizations to participate in the be well events
  • Build the be well Movement by registering individuals to become be well Connectors
  • Motivate participants to take advantage of free nutrition & fitness sessions at the be well Centers!
  • Engage participants in ongoing Healthy Living dialogues to improve black health

Check out the calendar to find out where a be well Healthy Happy Hour will be held near you! be well will also host a Healthy Happy Hour for your organization!

Health and Wellness Initiative

Healthy Happy Hours

be well Healthy Happy Hours bring residents and community stakeholders together in a fun, informal, networking environment to experience a new approach to healthy living! At the Healthy Happy Hours, participants experience a taste of be well or being well over mocktails, appetizers and dancing. Participants also share stories, make connections and exchange ideas to build a movement to increase healthy living opportunities among African Americans in the be well Zone neighborhood. These neighborhoods include Northeast Park Hill, Greater Park Hill, East Montclair, Stapleton, Montbello and Northwest Aurora.


The be well Healthy Happy Hours are intended to shed light on the health disparities that disproportionately impact the African American Community while  forming a coalition to address these challenges. Ultimately, be well’s goal is to establish a grassroots, on the ground network of residents and community stakeholders that can educate their fellow constituencies on healthy living resources, policies that impact healthy living and opportunities to become involved in community engagement processes to help inform decisions that impact health.

be well/be EPIC in Consideration for Fourth Year of CDC Funding

The be well/be EPIC Exchange of Power to Impact Change initiative is being considered for a fourth year of federal funding based on its successful program platform that work to increase access to health and fitness opportunities among African Americans. For the past three years, be EPIC has been funded as a part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program. To date, the initiative has successfully implemented new programs that have helped inform our citizenry of the benefits associated with a community that is active in learning and engaging in important conversations about health equity. Ultimately, the be well Health and Wellness Initiative’s goal is to establish a network of residents and community stakeholders who can educate their fellow constituencies on healthy living resources and policies that impact the communities in which they reside.

For example, be EPIC created an outreach initiative called be well Healthy Happy Hours which is designed to share vital information about healthy living.  Healthy Happy Hours are also intended to shed light on the health disparities that disproportionately impact the African American community while forming a coalition to address respective challenges. Participants are treated to mocktails, healthy appetizers, and fun physical fitness activities in addition to receiving counsel on healthy lifestyle practices that will improve health – like our recent focus on kidney function.

In the past three years, the be EPIC initiative has also created other unique community engagement activities under its own auspices and in partnership with local organizations. In 2015, be EPIC conducted a very successful End of Summer Tailgate, where young and old residents were invited to take part in physical fitness programming, while indulging in healthy food options in a local city park. Additionally, last summer, be EPIC partnered with the Colorado Black Health Collaborative to conduct the first Family Block Party at the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being.

During year four, be EPIC plans to build upon its success with a focus on the:

  • expansion of the be well Block Captain training program in partnership with local community organizations;
  • furtherance of the Healthy Happy Hours at local recreation centers and other community gathering places; and
  • finalization of the be well be EPIC sustainability plan in partnership with the be well/be EPIC Coalition.

be EPIC has truly made a difference in the lives of our community. The initiative is committed to do so far into the future with the help of engaged citizens who truly believe in the be well tagline that Healthy Communities Start With Us! 

Get Involved!

be well/be EPIC Needs You to join the conversation getting involved in the be EPIC Taskforce! There are several opportunities to get involved in this important initiative!

Join the be EPIC Transportation Taskforce

The Transportation Stakeholder Group consists of individual residents, community organizations or businesses with an interest in enriching Regional Transportation District (RTD) services. These individuals serve as be well key stakeholders in partnership with  Northeast Denver Transportation Connections to help inform transit services in the be well Zone.

Join the be EPIC Recreation Taskforce

Our recreation stakeholder group consist of individuals, business and organizations leaders, city officials and other community stakeholders,  who are passionate about increasing physical activity opportunities in our local recreation centers. Specifically, the group express their views, exchange idea and advance community input to expand healthy living resources in Denver Recreation Centers.