Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Technical Assistance (TA) Providers

NMHEP trains residents and community groups on how to make a more compelling and impactful case when engaging policymakers on issues they care most about. One critical tool that we provide and teach how to use is a tool called the Health Impact Assessment (HIA). Through the HIA, advocates and residents learn how to collect and utilize data that can drive and influence policy change, and hold legislators more accountable. The HIA has proven to be an effective means to give voice to and empower community members, and produced the following results:

  • HIA has helped build leadership. Community members learn how to navigate the political system. They become more knowledgeable about decision making processes, and become more comfortable with speaking before decision makers.
  • HIA has led to community demands and recommendations being adopted by decision makers.
  • HIA has helped bring different groups together that previously did not have good relationships.

A forthcoming report, by New Stories to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, highlights HIA as a best practice. The NMHEP members are noted as STARS as communities coming together to inform policies to improve health via HIA. The report notes that what is particularly relevant in New Mexico is that HIA’s are being used by enough people in enough communities that they are creating a common vocabulary for action and learning.

Building on our previous HIA efforts, in 2015, the NMHEP team in partnership with Human Impact Partners implemented a HIA Train the Trainers Program to build the capacity of New Mexico community members to serve as HIA TA providers. Therefore, knowledge and expertise will be more sustainable and can be passed onto more advocates at the local level well into the future. To our knowledge, this is the first HIA Train the Trainer Program in the country. A cohort of three New Mexico HIA technical assistance providers from Dona Ana, San Miguel, and San Juan counties will continue to provide technical assistance to three HIA teams in 2017.

Yolanda Cruz

Yolanda Cruz is thankful to be able to continue doing work with the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, Human Impact Partners, and communities throughout New Mexico. Yolanda has been involved in many initiatives, mainly in Las Vegas NM, to help create positive changes related to health and community. She lives in the Sangre de Cristo mountains with her family and an ever-growing assortment of pets and can usually be found enjoying the curiosity and energy of her granddaughter.

As a young adult, planning out her career, Yolanda was an accounting major – working for a CPA and on track to crunch numbers and crank out financial reports. Life led her down a different path, however, and her adventures directed her towards raising her hand, volunteering, speaking out, and asking the never ending question of “but why?”, as well as realizing the best way to make a difference is to get involved. Many of you may remember Yolanda as part of the HEP team, although she has returned to work in her hometown, Yolanda has enthusiastically joined other volunteers to help build HIA capacity in New Mexico.

“I have chosen to do work that helps improve my community and the world around us, because we are all connected, we are all related. I love to listen to people, and helping to bring their stories to the forefront can help us to better understand one another and to stand together to change our world so that it is better for everyone.”

 Estefany González Mendoza

Estefany González Mendoza is an immigrant from Chihuahua, Mexico who has lived in the South Valley of Albuquerque, NM for most of her life. She holds a Dual Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. As a community organizer her interest has always been in making sure the community are always at the center of her work, being a resource for her community, and furthermore developing the leadership skills of the community themselves. Estefany has been involved in many initiatives both locally and nationally. She is interested in obtaining her Masters Degree in Public Health in order to be able to further help underprivileged, immigrant, communities of color have greater access to resources and health. Being a part of the HIA as a Technical Assistant is a great opportunity because it will further help her develop her knowledge in how she can partake in addressing the social determinants of health which impact underprivileged communities throughout New Mexico.

Christina Morris

My interest in a HIA TA provider stems from the many opportunities to educate rural and frontier organizations on the benefits of a Health Impact Assessment, including empowering and mobilizing partnerships to bring forward positive outcomes It has been my objective to bring understanding to communities in the foundations of the Social Determinants of Health, Health in All Policies, and Health Impact Assessments; provide leadership high-quality data collected on interventions; economic and equity evaluations; and findings shared with the public community.

As a result, the approaches benefit many marginalized populations on the social hierarchy while leaders are better informed and can mobilize policy to benefit all people where they live and age.

“Although my experience with HIAs have been scarce, the information has been invaluable and I am excited to learning the detailed process.”

Richard Wright

I am interested in being a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Technical Assistant because I believe that it is a great opportunity to collaborate with organizations interested in incorporating health into policy. Previously I worked as a technical assistant on the Dona Ana PLACE MATTERS HIA focusing on access to parks and multi-use trails throughout the County.

“I do the work that I do to contribute to my community so that more people may live fulfilling lives with access to equitable opportunities.”