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Special Election Candidates:

Rural Frontier Seat (3-year Term Commitment)

Name: Rebecca Doughty

What areas of public health are you currently engaged?

I am very involved in Healthy Archuleta.  Archuleta County had their health fair this year after years of not having an event.  I was able to help AXIS coordinate the lab draw stations and provided financial support as well for our organization to have representation.  I participate in the education of communities that are impacted my overdoses.  AXIS provides training to individuals and organizations in the distribution and use of Kloxxado to prevent opioid overdoses.  I manage our Title X Reproductive Health department and we provide education to all staff and the community on reproductive equality for all.

What interests you about joining the CPHA board?

My current role at AXIS is Director of Primary Care Operations and we are a FQHC. Colorado Public Health Association works on initiatives that are at the heart of what I believe in- Health Equity for all.  I embrace recruitment, training and sustainability of our workforce in Colorado and so does CPHA. We support the development, education, and outreach capabilities of Colorado's incredible workforce. As the largest and oldest public health association in the state, we uplift our dedicated and talented members, who continuously contribute to the Colorado's nationally-recognized public health.

What skills and experiences make you a strong candidate for this board position?

I have been in the healthcare field for over 25 years. I worked in a psychiatric hospital as the Director of Business Development and launched PHP and IOP programs in my tenure there.  My current role allows me to help patients navigate their health journey through empowering staff to provide the best service that they can.  I support integrated care- medical, dental and behavioral health.  This allows AXIS to treat the whole person regardless of ability to pay.  I am skilled with front to back of the house operations and processes.  I review data points daily to help affect change within the organization.  I support our primary care team with training and onboarding needs and am a liaison between the provider and our executive teams.  I am a visionary and a forward thinker.  I am very comfortable speaking in public and like to attend community events that work to address disparity in our rural communities.

Level of Experience: 

0 No Knowledge or experience
1 Some Knowledge around the skillset but no experience putting it into action
2 Moderate knowledge and experience applying the skillset
3 Extensive knowledge and experience applying the skillset

 

Budget and Financial Management: 2
Cross-sectoral partnerships: 3
JEDI: 3
Financial Literacy: 3                                                                                                               

Fundraising: 3
Grant Writing: 2
Non-Profit Governance: 2
Effective Communication: 3
Policy: 2
Data Skills: 3
Programmatic Expertise: 2
Systems and strategic thinking: 3

Community Engagement: 3

Leadership Experience: 3

What do racial justice and health equity mean to you?

I am committed to embedding racial justice, advancing health equity and partnering with others to identify, prevent and eliminate racism in our health systems. Health equity means that everyone has an opportunity to increase their full health potential.  Racial justice looks at the root cause of inequities, and focuses on policy restructure, cultural beliefs and practices.  Both racial justice and health equity are closely related.

Please tell us about your experience and/or commitment to growth in racial justice and health equity.

I have personally taken trainings on advancing DEI- (diversity, equity and inclusion). In the past, I partnered with the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence and all of us attended their 2-year program which assisted our organization address bias in ourselves and to fully understand what diversity and inclusion truly mean organizationally. I have taken the Implicit Association test to help me recognize the biases that I still need to address.  This year, I took part in a two day course on gender and diversity in Montrose, CO and have asked that AXIS support this organization to bring this training to our organization.  This training was titled "We Don't Know What We Don't Know: Developing Cultural Awareness for More LGBTQ+ Affirmative Environments".

In what areas of racial justice and health equity work within CPHA do you think you'd contribute the most, and in what work area(s) do you feel you may need more support?

I believe that there is a lot of work to do in our rural communities.  Bringing awareness is one thing, but helping individuals and organizations affect change will take time.  I would love to have the opportunity to present on issues that support CPHA's overall goals and initiatives.  I would need support from CPHA in the form of materials and financial support in the way of travel and hotel if I am able to work with an organization face to face.

Name: James Kuemmerle

What areas of public health are you currently engaged?

With my current position, I am active in disaster management, community health, health education, and behavioral health. I have a Masters Degree in Emergency Management and am a retired first responder. I have worked in emergency preparedness with vulnerable populations and assisted with drills and exercises to prepare a variety of communities for disasters. In my current position, I have been working to identify and implement different initiatives that will improve the overall behavioral health of my region and the state. With these efforts, it has also included the improvement of physical health needs. Much of the work has involved addressing health equity needs across Northeast Colorado. Multiple collaborative efforts have been created to start address this issue.

What interests you about joining the CPHA board?

Joining the Colorado Public Health Association (COPHA) Board of Directors would be an exciting and fulfilling opportunity for several reasons: Community Impact: Serving on the board allows me to actively contribute to the betterment of public health in Colorado. I will have the chance to influence policies, programs, and initiatives that will positively impact the health and well-being of communities across the state. Professional Development: Being a part of the board provides unique opportunities for professional growth. I will have the chance to collaborate with diverse professionals in the public health field, building valuable networks and gaining insights into the latest developments and challenges in the industry. Leadership Experience: Board membership offers a platform to hone my leadership skills. I will be involved in decision-making, strategic planning, and governance, which will enhance my leadership abilities and make a significant impact on the direction of public health efforts in Colorado. Learning Opportunities: Serving on the board exposes me to a wide range of public health issues, policies, and practices. This firsthand experience will deepen my understanding of the field, broaden my perspective, and keep me informed about current trends and best practices. Advocacy and Collaboration: As a board member, I will have the chance to advocate for public health policies and collaborate with various stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups. This collaborative approach will lead to more effective and comprehensive public health strategies. Personal Satisfaction: Contributing to the community and making a positive impact on public health will be personally fulfilling. Knowing that my efforts are contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities will bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Networking Opportunities: Serving on the board provides a unique platform to connect with like-minded professionals, influencers, and decision-makers in the public health sector. These connections will be valuable for my career and personal growth. Influence and Advocacy: Board membership provides a platform to advocate for public health policies and practices that align with my values. I would use my position to influence positive changes and contribute to the advancement of public health initiatives. Staying Informed: Being part of the board keeps me informed about the latest developments, challenges, and innovations in public health. This continuous learning will be intellectually stimulating and help me stay at the forefront of the field. Contributing to a Vision: Being on the board allows me to contribute to the overall vision and mission of the Colorado Public Health Association. My input and efforts will help shape the organization's goals and contribute to its long-term success.

What skills and experiences make you a strong candidate for this board position?

Here are some skills and experiences that would make me a strong candidate: Public Health Expertise: I have worked and collaborated with public health professionals my entire career. I have worked with creating initiatives and collaborations to address the needs of the community in which I am employed. I have jointly worked with public health professions in the areas of disaster management, community health, health education, and health equity. I have been involved with mentoring public health students and young professionals. I will have an MPH intern this semester and again over this upcoming summer semester. Leadership Skills:  I have been involved with a variety of non-profit organizations and their boards of directors. Based on my years of experience with volunteering, serving, and advocating, I have the mix of skills and experiences that would be a benefit to CPHA. Strategic Thinking: One of the greatest assets that I can bring to CPHA is my ability to be an analytical thinker. Having this skill and ability would allow me to be a resource on the board of directors. Much of the work that needs to be done at this level involves strategic thinking and again, I would be an asset to my fellow board members. Collaboration and Teamwork: Collaboration amongst board members is necessary to have a highly functioning board of directors. I would bring this skill and talent to the board of directors to ensure that we are meeting our goals and objectives. Policy Development and Analysis: Throughout my career, I have always been involved with policy development and analysis. It has been an area of work that I have consistently enjoyed. Being able to analyze and report back is essential to be able to address and respond to the opportunities and challenges we will face each year. Community Engagement: Being able to engage community stakeholders is one of the skills that I use daily in my professional role. This would be another skill that would be essential to be an effective board member. Networking Skills: Being trained as a social worker, I have utilized my skills to network to create different initiatives and collaborations. This will be a vital skill as a board member as we continue to thrive to make changes across Colorado that will benefit all our residents. Financial Acumen:  I also have an MBA in administration. I do possess the skill and ability to manage financial resources. I have the opportunity to manage program and agency budgets as well as those of non-profit organizations where I was on the board of directors.

Level of Experience: 

0 No Knowledge or experience
1 Some Knowledge around the skillset but no experience putting it into action
2 Moderate knowledge and experience applying the skillset
3 Extensive knowledge and experience applying the skillset

 

Budget and Financial Management: 3
Cross-sectoral partnerships: 3

JEDI: 2
Financial Literacy: 3                                                                                                               

Fundraising: 3
Grant Writing: 3
Non-Profit Governance: 3
Effective Communication: 3
Policy: 3
Data Skills: 3
Programmatic Expertise: 3
Systems and strategic thinking: 3

Community Engagement: 3

Leadership Experience: 3

What do racial justice and health equity mean to you?

Racial justice: Achieving fairness and equality for all people, regardless of their race or ethnicity. Addressing and dismantling systems of oppression that have resulted in unequal outcomes for different racial groups. Recognizing and valuing the diversity of human experiences and perspectives. Health equity: Ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their full health potential, regardless of their social or economic background. Eliminating disparities in health outcomes between different groups of people. Creating conditions that allow everyone to live healthy lives. The link between these two concepts is crucial: Racism is a major social determinant of health: It can lead to stress, discrimination, and limited access to resources, all of which can negatively impact health outcomes. Achieving health equity requires addressing racial justice: We can't have one without the other. Here are some examples of how this connection plays out in real life: African Americans are more likely than white Americans to die from heart disease, even when controlling for other factors. This disparity is partly due to the stress of living in a racist society. Latinx children are more likely than white children to have asthma, partly due to environmental racism and exposure to pollution. Native Americans have much higher rates of diabetes than white Americans, in part due to the historical trauma they have experienced.

Please tell us about your experience and/or commitment to growth in racial justice and health equity.

Efforts to address racial justice and health equity involve promoting fairness and impartiality in various aspects of society, including healthcare. This includes addressing disparities in access to healthcare services, improving health outcomes for marginalized communities, and dismantling systemic barriers that contribute to inequalities. To promote racial justice and health equity, it is crucial to: Recognize and Acknowledge Disparities: Understanding and acknowledging existing racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes is the first step toward addressing them. Cultural Competence: Healthcare providers and institutions should strive to be culturally competent, recognizing and respecting the diverse backgrounds and needs of their patients. Advocacy for Policy Changes: Advocating for policy changes that address systemic issues contributing to health disparities is essential. This includes policies related to education, housing, employment, and healthcare access. Community Engagement: Engaging with and involving communities in the decision-making processes related to healthcare is vital. This ensures that solutions are culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of different populations. Data Collection and Analysis: Comprehensive data collection, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, is crucial for understanding and addressing health disparities. This data can inform evidence-based interventions. Education and Training: Providing education and training to healthcare professionals on issues of racial and cultural sensitivity can enhance the quality of care provided to diverse patient populations. Promotion of Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce: Encouraging diversity in the healthcare workforce helps ensure that healthcare providers better reflect the communities they serve, fostering trust and understanding. Individuals, organizations, and governments need to work collaboratively to create a more just and equitable healthcare system. This has always been an area of work and focus, regardless of what rural or frontier community I have worked in across the country. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with and serve different populations that have been adversely impacted by bias, politics, and discrimination. I have always attempted to make a difference in the lives of those I am working with. This is what motivated me as a young social worker and 30 years later, continues to motivate me.

In what areas of racial justice and health equity work within CPHA do you think you'd contribute the most, and in what work area(s) do you feel you may need more support?

Areas where you might contribute the most: Policy Advocacy: Engaging in policy initiatives that address systemic issues contributing to health disparities. This could involve advocating for inclusive policies, access to healthcare, and social determinants of health. Community Engagement: Building partnerships with communities affected by health disparities, listening to their needs, and working collaboratively to develop and implement solutions. Education and Training: Contributing to educational programs within the association, such as workshops or seminars, to increase awareness and understanding of racial justice and health equity issues among public health professionals. Research and Data Analysis: Conducting or supporting research that identifies health disparities, analyzes root causes, and informs evidence-based interventions. Program Development: Designing and implementing programs that address specific health disparities and promote equity in healthcare access and outcomes. Areas where you may need more support: Intersectionality: Deepening your understanding of how various social determinants of health intersect and contribute to disparities, considering factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, and more. Cultural Competence: Continuously improving cultural competence to ensure that programs and policies are sensitive to the diverse needs and perspectives of the communities being served. Data Collection and Analysis: Enhancing skills in collecting and analyzing data specific to health disparities, ensuring that findings are accurate and can guide effective interventions. Collaboration and Partnerships: Strengthening collaborative efforts with other organizations, community groups, and stakeholders to maximize the impact of initiatives and avoid duplication of efforts. Policy Advocacy Strategies: Learning effective strategies for influencing policy change, including legislative advocacy and community mobilization.

Name: Navin Kumar Balagopal

What areas of public health are you currently engaged?

My current engagement in public health spans across several key areas, primarily focusing on epidemiological research, public health education, and community outreach. As a student pursuing an MPH in Epidemiology, I am deeply involved in research that aims to understand health patterns and disease spread, particularly in diverse populations. My role as a Research Assistant has enabled me to work on projects that examine public health challenges at both local and global levels. Additionally, as a Teaching Assistant and Lab Instructor, I am actively engaged in educating future public health professionals, emphasizing evidence-based practices and critical thinking. My involvement in student organizations, such as the South Asian Graduate Association, reflects my commitment to community outreach and health education, focusing on culturally sensitive approaches to public health issues.

What interests you about joining the CPHA board?

I am thrilled about the opportunity to join the CPHA board as it aligns perfectly with my passion for public health and my commitment to serving diverse communities. The prospect of contributing to an organization that is actively working towards becoming an anti-racist entity and promoting health equity excites me. I am particularly drawn to the challenge of addressing the unique health needs of rural/frontier communities in Colorado. Being part of a team that is dedicated to transforming the public health paradigm and disrupting the status quo offers a fulfilling avenue to apply my skills and experiences. Moreover, the chance to engage in high-impact decision-making and advocate for underrepresented communities in the public health sector is deeply motivating.

What skills and experiences make you a strong candidate for this board position?

My candidacy for the CPHA board is strengthened by a diverse set of skills and experiences. Academically, my MPH in Epidemiology equips me with a deep understanding of public health principles and data analysis. Professionally, my roles in research and education have honed my abilities in project management, data interpretation, and health communication. My leadership experience, evidenced by my position as Vice President of a graduate student association, showcases my capability to lead initiatives and work collaboratively. I bring a unique perspective as an aspiring public health leader who understands the challenges and opportunities in the field. My exposure to diverse cultures and health systems through my academic and professional journey has ingrained in me a deep appreciation for inclusive and equitable health practices. These experiences, combined with my technical expertise and passion for public health, make me a strong candidate for this position.

Level of Experience: 

0 No Knowledge or experience
1 Some Knowledge around the skillset but no experience putting it into action
2 Moderate knowledge and experience applying the skillset
3 Extensive knowledge and experience applying the skillset

 

Budget and Financial Management: 1
Cross-sectoral partnerships: 2

JEDI: 2
Financial Literacy: 2                                                                                                               

Fundraising: 1
Grant Writing: 2
Non-Profit Governance: 1
Effective Communication: 3
Policy: 2
Data Skills: 3
Programmatic Expertise: 2
Systems and strategic thinking: 2

Community Engagement: 3

Leadership Experience: 3

What do racial justice and health equity mean to you?

Racial justice and health equity represent fundamental principles that should guide every aspect of public health. To me, racial justice means actively acknowledging and addressing the systemic inequalities that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. It involves striving to dismantle barriers and creating an inclusive environment where everyone has equal access to health resources and opportunities. Health equity, similarly, is about ensuring that all individuals, irrespective of their racial, socioeconomic, or geographical background, can attain their highest level of health. It means recognizing and addressing the social determinants of health that contribute to health disparities. My commitment to these principles is not just professional; it's personal, stemming from a deep-seated belief in fairness and the right to health for all.

Please tell us about your experience and/or commitment to growth in racial justice and health equity.

While I am still growing in my understanding and experience in racial justice and health equity, I am committed to continuous learning and action in these areas. My academic pursuits have provided a foundational understanding of the social determinants of health and their impact on diverse populations. I have actively engaged in discussions and initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion within my educational and professional settings. Additionally, my involvement in community outreach has allowed me to witness firsthand the disparities in health access and outcomes. I am dedicated to expanding my knowledge and skills in this area, and I am eager to learn from and contribute to CPHA's ongoing efforts in promoting racial justice and health equity.

In what areas of racial justice and health equity work within CPHA do you think you'd contribute the most, and in what work area(s) do you feel you may need more support?

I believe I can contribute most effectively to CPHA's work in data analysis and community engagement. My background in epidemiology provides me with the tools to understand and interpret health data, which is crucial in identifying and addressing health disparities. My experience in community outreach will be valuable in engaging with diverse communities and understanding their unique health needs. As for areas where I may need more support, I am keen to learn more about policy engagement and non-profit governance, particularly as they relate to advancing racial justice and health equity. I am eager to work with and learn from the experienced members of CPHA to strengthen my skills in these areas.

Name: Gina Graham

What areas of public health are you currently engaged?

I presently work remotely as Director of Strategic Partnerships for a national professional healthcare workforce association. In a role that liaisons with the organization's associated Foundation, I work to ensure sustainable strength in the profession through the development of renewed and new collaborative relationships between stakeholder organizations with a shared mission, midwifery. Grant writing is my specific area of expertise from many years of experience at the health care delivery level, in non-profits involved in community health promotion and social services, in global health medical technology, and now healthcare workforce development. I have served as a grant reviewer for multiple grant cycles at both the state (Wisconsin Partnership Program and DATCP) and federal (PCORI) levels. In addition, for the last 8 years I have written grants in the healthcare and social services arena as a freelancer. Consistent themes and areas of work in my professional and freelance career have been maternal and infant health, mental health, geriatrics, and the integration of health care delivery and social services. Finally, I have experience serving on non-profit boards, including my current position as a Director on the Board of a local community foundation that provides funding for small and large non-profits and healthcare organizations serving Custer County.

What interests you about joining the CPHA board?

My excitement in joining the CPHA board is the opportunity to finally contribute professionally to my beloved home state, bringing my deep experience in program planning grant writing, and innovation in health care delivery and community health.  I am a Colorado native and graduate of the University of Denver with a BA in Sociology. I received my MPH in the inaugural cohort of University of Minnesota's Executive Public Health and Policy program.  My professional career for many years was in a Midwestern state that is largely rural, Wisconsin. After working many years for an integrated health care delivery system there and later, a global multi-national providing medical technology in maternal and infant health for rural and under-resourced countries, I returned to my home state of Colorado. I now live, work, recreate and am involved locally in beautiful Custer County, a designated frontier county in the south-central Rockies.

What skills and experiences make you a strong candidate for this board position?

Representing the unique issues faced in the rural and frontier areas of our beautiful state is a role for which I am well-experienced and will approach seriously and strategically.  My candidacy for this position is motivated by my strong desire to finally contribute professionally to my home state. I left Colorado after graduating from DU. My early career was in social services in rural Wyoming, but the bulk of my subsequent career was in Wisconsin, where the "rub" of urban vs. rural issues is intense. The integrated health system I worked for was headquartered in urban Milwaukee but served eastern and central Wisconsin which is decidedly rural. I lived in a rural area and experienced firsthand its unique access issues. I now live, work, recreate and volunteer in frontier-designated Custer County. My career fostered the development of strong skills in systems and strategic thinking, program planning, and administration. Grant writing is my strong suit. I particularly enjoy working on cross-sectoral partnerships. I am a strong written and verbal communicator. I have experience in nonprofit governance, both in my employed role with a national health foundation and in my current volunteer position on the Board for the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation.

Level of Experience: 

0 No Knowledge or experience
1 Some Knowledge around the skillset but no experience putting it into action
2 Moderate knowledge and experience applying the skillset
3 Extensive knowledge and experience applying the skillset

 

Budget and Financial Management: 2
Cross-sectoral partnerships: 3

JEDI: 3
Financial Literacy: 3                                                                                                               

Fundraising: 3
Grant Writing: 3
Non-Profit Governance: 3
Effective Communication: 3
Policy: 2
Data Skills: 2
Programmatic Expertise: 2
Systems and strategic thinking: 3

Community Engagement: 2

Leadership Experience: 3

What do racial justice and health equity mean to you?

I work in the arena of big picture thinking, and solutions thinking. I have studied public health and throughout my career have written grants that propose and when funded, activate solutions -- many if not all using a racial justice and health equity lens in their development. Yet I live in the real world, and I carry with me and am influenced by my background and personal history, as well as my genetic, cultural, and family history. To me, racial justice and health equity means creating innovative, equitable and inclusive solutions to hugely impactful big picture problems. Simultaneously, racial justice and health equity means to me honoring my personal commitment to growing deeper and deeper awareness of my own biases and how the privileges I was born into and the life experiences I've had affect how I show up in this world.

Please tell us about your experience and/or commitment to growth in racial justice and health equity.

I am white. I turned 65 on my last birthday-a data point is only relevant to provide the context of the times in which I grew up! I went to high school in the mid-1970's in Aurora, Colorado, which at the time was a quiet small town just east of Denver. I was raised in a progressive but socially isolated family that was fully entrenched in white suburban life. At some point, what was known then as "busing" started. Every day, 3-4 school buses would unload Black students from Denver in front of my predominantly white suburban high school. By virtue of busing, the school was "integrated" but my entire experience of high school was social segregation-in my personal friendships and academic life, and in what I observed around me. I eventually chose to go to the University of Denver. On the day the dorms opened, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my roommate. I knew her name, Anita, and the city she came from, Chicago. I will never forget my surprise to see that Anita was Black. I had zero experience in knowing how to "be with" this difference even in broad social settings, never mind the close quarters of a freshman dorm room. I did not ask for nor was I, or were we, offered any support. In essence, I "handled it" by recreating my high school experience of social segregation. I spent every weekend at home and chose to leave the dorms at the end of the first quarter. Sadly, it occurs to me that Anita was probably not at all surprised to see that her new roommate was White, and she was no doubt very much more prepared to carry the weight of the impact of our racial difference than I was. I was woefully unprepared. To this day, I regret missing the extraordinary opportunity for personal growth and expansion that could have resulted from that experience but that didn't because of my fear and ignorance, and our shared lack of support. I will fast forward to 40+ years later. My career has provided continuous opportunity to work on issues of health equity. I worked for 14 years for a health care delivery system serving one of, if not the most, racially segregated cities in the country“ Milwaukee, Wisconsin “also a city with abysmal health outcomes for Black moms and babies. Health equity was on everyone's minds. As I started writing grants in the early 2000's, it came as another shock to realize that because of the issues and inadequacies of so-called systems to collect race and ethnicity data at the health care system level where care is provided, we were unable to (a) legitimately account for the populations we actually served (versus using Census data), nor could we (b) ever understand if our own services had the impact we intended for every population we served, nor would we (c) ever know where or how to improve. At the time, I was pursuing an MA in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and I took this topic on as a research project. I planned and accomplished a preliminary mixed methods study that later became my Master's Paper for my MPH at the University of Minnesota, entitled "The Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data at the Healthcare System Level, 15 Years Later." Today, I am on a multi-racial and multi-ethnic management team serving a healthcare professional association that has DEI as a core part of its mission. We have been grant-funded to improve health equity education for midwives and to grow the numbers of midwives of color entering the profession. We know racial concordance in the provision of midwifery services would have an impact on reducing racial health inequities in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality across the country, and we are committed to do what we can to make steady, if incremental, change towards that goal. Other areas of life experience with health equity is in mental illness. I have an adult son who suffers from schizophrenia. I could write a book about our personal attempts and failures in getting my son the care he deserves. There is an horrific lapse in true health equity for people with serious mental illness. I bristle at the reality that people want to talk about mental health, but not about mental illness and particularly not about serious mental illness. Incarceration, homelessness, and suicide are not acceptable solutions to the lack of a health care system that works for people with mental illness. Lastly, I identify as LGBTQ and served in Wisconsin on a community foundation board that works on justice and equity issues for LGBTQ people.

In what areas of racial justice and health equity work within CPHA do you think you'd contribute the most, and in what work area(s) do you feel you may need more support?

I believe I can contribute to the racial justice and health equity work within CPHA by consistently showing up, by demonstrating courage, transparency and vulnerability, and by offering my solid big picture, solution-oriented strategic thinking skills at every turn. I could use support in reconciling my personal history “such as the early experience I shared in this application and other pivotal experiences“ with my deeply seated intention to grow in this area. I personally appreciate the goal stated on the CPHA Health Equity Coalition page:“ To practice equity work with each other through intentional design in our work and practice. That is the opportunity I seek."

Name: Patrick Fiore

What areas of public health are you currently engaged?

I have been an employee of the Custer County Public Health Agency for four years. My primary role and responsibilities are to improve the health conditions of and increase resources/services for people who use drugs in my frontier community. My work frequently extends outside of Custer County into neighboring rural counties and regions (Chaffee, Fremont, Lake, Park, and sometimes Huerfano). While working to address the opioid epidemic and other substance misuse issues through prevention, treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and criminal justice, I also have the flexibility to work with various other populations and health issues. These include suicide prevention, tobacco cessation, and mental health promotion for older adults. I have been a graduate student at the Colorado School of Public Health since June 2022 and attend classes remotely through the Anschutz Medical Campus. I will graduate in May 2024 with a Master of Public Health degree concentrating in Population Mental Health and Wellbeing.

What interests you about joining the CPHA board?

Public health is something I have been passionate about for many years and I believe health is a public right that everyone is entitled to. I have worked hard to improve my community's health both personally and professionally. To be part of a statewide nonprofit association that has the ability to improve the health of all Coloradans excites me and has motivated me to apply for this important position. Although I have worked in public health indirectly most of my life, I have recently chosen public health to be a lifetime career choice and personal path.

What skills and experiences make you a strong candidate for this board position?

In addition to my experience in and dedication to public health, I have lived in rural and frontier communities in Colorado for over 20 years, I have been and still am involved in several nonprofit boards, and I plan to continue to be engaged with public health in rural Colorado for many years to come. I have been an active participant in all of my boards and often times an officer and/or committee lead. For example, I am entering my ninth year on my local Custer County Search and Rescue board of directors and sixth year as Treasurer, sixth year on the Southern Colorado RETAC board, and third year on the Opioid Settlement Region 15 Council (also Treasurer). Please see my resume for additional boards, councils, and committees (if I am able to attach it to this app). I have taken many courses on nonprofit organizational leadership including the Colorado Secretary of State Nonprofit Board of Directors course.

Level of Experience: 

0 No Knowledge or experience
1 Some Knowledge around the skillset but no experience putting it into action
2 Moderate knowledge and experience applying the skillset
3 Extensive knowledge and experience applying the skillset

 

Budget and Financial Management: 2
Cross-sectoral partnerships: 2

JEDI: 2
Financial Literacy: 2                                                                                                               

Fundraising: 2
Grant Writing: 2
Non-Profit Governance: 2
Effective Communication: 2
Policy: 2
Data Skills: 2
Programmatic Expertise: 2
Systems and strategic thinking: 2

Community Engagement: 2

Leadership Experience: 2

What do racial justice and health equity mean to you?

Racial justice means treating all people, regardless of their race, with the dignity, fairness, and equality they deserve. This includes holding people (and businesses, governments, organizations, etc.) accountable when injustices are committed and being honest with one's own judgments and biases no matter how large or small. Health equity means ensuring that health (psychological and physiological) is a human right, not a privilege, and should not be withheld from anyone for any reason. The opportunity of a healthy life must be accessible to everyone with the highest quality.

Please tell us about your experience and/or commitment to growth in racial justice and health equity.

As a public health servant, it is my duty to provide the greatest services I can to everyone. I take a moral oath to serve everyone equally, especially the most vulnerable populations. Throughout my personal and professional life, I have focused most of my efforts on trying to improve the lives of people who may be considered as having more challenges and obstacles than others. The populations I enjoy working with, advocating for, and promoting healthy opportunities for are the elderly, veterans, people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, people with mental health challenges, people living in poverty, people living in significantly underserved and under-resourced areas, and many others.

In what areas of racial justice and health equity work within CPHA do you think you'd contribute the most, and in what work area(s) do you feel you may need more support?

I believe I will be able to contribute a unique perspective as a public health professional who is also in recovery from substance abuse, experiences mental health challenges, and lives in a very rural community that lacks quality health care, access to healthy and affordable foods, and exposed to other risk factors that contribute to health inequities. I have a large public health network in several other rural and frontier Colorado counties and will be able to include for those perspectives as well. As someone who is new to the work that the CPHA does, I will need some support in learning how I can contribute to the association and provide quality input. Whether it be policy briefs, needs assessments, or other forms of advocacy for racial justice and health equity, I want to be an active participant and offer actionable steps towards a healthier Colorado.

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