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.”
My name is Mahdi Hossaini, I come from Turkey but I was born in Afghanistan. I’ve been part of non profit organizations (Together For Brothers, Making Connections). With Together for Brothers I worked on a health impact assessment focused on free bus passes for youth. I am a martial artist and I have national championship and etc…I am senior at Highland high school. it’s my last year and I’m planning to go to college and study medicine.
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.
Health Promotion Specialist, DOH PHD, NW Region – In hers six years as Health Promotion Specialist in San Juan County and interim for McKinley County. Christina works closely with local, inter-sectoral, and tribal organizations to empower communities and leverage health outcomes affected by programs and policies. Christina served two consecutive terms as the NMPHA Northwest representative. Supported by the NMHEP team and Human Impact Partners, Christina is in her third year as a Health Impact Assessment Technical Assistance Provider to state and local northwest New Mexico teams. Prior to Public Health, Christina’s experience stems from eleven years in research in Diabetes Intervention models with the National Institutes of Health. Christina enjoys the outdoors and traveling.
Valerie Rangel earned a Master of Community Regional Planning (MCRP) degree that carried an emphasis in Natural Resources & Environmental Planning with concentrated coursework in Public Health, and Indigenous Planning. Her education involved Environmental Science, Southwest History, Native American Studies, and Cultural Anthropology.
During her graduate professional project/thesis, she worked with university scholars and faculty, tribal, and U.S. government officials in an investigation of environmental land use, ethnographic history, and future planning of the repatriated Fort Wingate Army Depot Activity Area, located near Gallup, New Mexico. The Professional Project report that resulted recommended planning policy changes, tribal self-determination, environmental restoration implementation strategies, natural alternatives to contamination clean-up, and public health education curriculum for the immediate health threats posed by the legacy of contamination in the area.
Valerie’s work experience started as an intern entomologist at the former Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission’s Water Quality- Clean Rivers Program. During her years studying at the University of New Mexico she worked at the Center for Southwest Research as an archivist for the Digital Western Waters Digital Library. Post-graduation, she worked for environmental consulting firms where she gained experience assisting with stakeholder meetings, strategic planning initiatives, research and writing of environmental impact assessments. She then went on to work as an archivist for the New Mexico Records Center and Archives, preserving fragile documents, physically processing, digital archiving, creating metadata, for the state’s collections. She also conducted research and contributed historical essays, and digitally archiving Spanish land grants, oversized maps, and civil war muster rolls or the New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Valerie also facilitated Earth Science courses as a contributing faculty member at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
In April, 2018 Valerie presented selections from her book at the National Environmental Justice conference in Washington, D.C. In 2016, she was a research assistant and author of a Santa Fe County Health Impact Assessment, “Indian Health Services Budget and Urban Indian Budgeting Decisions”. She presently works as an environmental planning and public health assessment consultant and Community Program Manager for the state’s non-profit community foundation and volunteers as a river steward and social justice activist.
Jinelle Scully was once upon a time, a HEPster but took a break to finish Nursing School. Now that’s she’s a Registered Nurse, she is excited to be back at HEP as a Technical Assistance Provider.
Though born and raised in Michigan, she spent a decade working in community health in Alaska. It was here that she learned about inequity and the true challenges and gifts of rural healthcare. After hopping bush planes, coordinating children’s health in remote villages she decided it was time to give up the big wild life of Alaska and landed in the sunny southwest. Jinelle’s dream includes eventually delivering primary care in rural underserved areas through an integrative lens. Her own experience with loss has propelled her to help others especially in the fight against epidemics like obesity and addiction in rural America. In addition to her studies at the University of New Mexico, she earned a Certificate in Nutrition and trained as a yoga teacher. Jinelle is passionate about holistic wellness, and knows first hand that small lifestyle changes can add up to significant health outcomes. She knows that our best interventions for health do not get implemented in a hospital. They happen at home with our families and friends as our caregivers. She hopes to lead by example on her own health journey. Jinelle exemplifies this by staying active, being of service, getting creative with nutritious recipes, and just being outside with her rescue dog Frida.
Terry is a local public health ninja who believes in the common good and assists programs to fill vital community needs. He believes vibrant, healthy communities reflect and create empowered people. Terry promotes people power for health equity via quantitative, qualitative, public health, and video methods to help governmental, nonprofit, and coalitions tell their stories. Stories bridge civic, artistic, academic, and policy divides in the service of insight, representation, liberation, and collaboration. Terry holds an MPH from the University of New Mexico where he teaches Undergrads in the College of Population Health. You can reach Terry here.