More than just talk about health

To the editor,

It’s one thing to talk about working with everyone, but it’s another thing to have the skills to do it. I am voting for Marsha Porter-Norton for county commissioner because I’ve seen her in action through our work for better health care for everyone. When she moved here 26 years ago, and for six years, she served as executive director of the nonprofit Operation Healthy Communities. The organization’s mission was to mobilize local communities to create a better quality of life. One of Marsha’s legacies was helping develop a community indicator project, a tool for measuring the health of each county in the region. This work lives on at Region 9 Economic Development Council.

In her work as a professional facilitator over many years, Marsha has led solution-oriented meetings for Mercy Regional Medical Center, San Juan Basin Public Health, Community Connections, Community Health Action Coalition and more. She served on a funding committee for United Way and was on the board of the Community Foundation Serving SW Colorado. She volunteers at the Durango Food Bank. In 2014-15, she was on the board of the La Plata Community Clinic that utilized pro bono medical providers to care for those who couldn’t afford health insurance, mostly people who work. That organization transferred its care when Axis Health System secured federal funding for La Plata Integrated Health Clinic. Now everyone – especially seniors, families and children – in our county has a place to go for physical and behavioral health and dental care even if they lack insurance. Marsha was involved in helping raise awareness about the exorbitant cost of health care for small businesses and individuals on the Western Slope. She testified to the State Legislature for the 2019 Reinsurance Bill and volunteered her time to do community education helping businesses access resources for paying health insurance premiums.   

Marsha is brilliant at helping people with diverse perspectives work together to find solutions; this is critically important, and often missing, these days. These are abilities we need right now because community health, particularly pandemic response and recovery, takes patience. She not only listens, but actually gets things done. This amplifies her broad, deep and relevant experiences and skills.

Please find out more at

– Pattie Adler, Durango