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

NMHEP trains residents and community groups on how to make a more compelling case when engaging policymakers on issues they care most about. One critical tool that we provide and teach how to use is 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.

Building on our previous HIA efforts, 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.

Yolanda Cruz

Yolanda served as the HEP Health Councils and Community Coordinator from 2013 – 2015 and has served as a HEP HIA Technical Assistance Provider since 2016. Now, as the Santa Fe Community Foundation’s Philanthropy HUB Coordinator, Yolanda oversees the foundations professional development programs from support for boards to leadership cohorts and workshops addressing fundraising, communications, finance, and strategic planning.

Yolanda is a longtime community champion who has collaborated with and learned from Strong Families NM, Tewa Women United, El Valle Community Center and Con Alma Health Foundation. She has served as the Program Coordinator for San Miguel County DWI, Director of the San Miguel County Family & Community Health Council and Community Coordinator for the UNM BA/MD summer practicum. Yolanda has co-hosted a radio show addressing women’s issues and social change, Our Opinion – Let’s Talk About It, and has held many volunteer and community advisory roles in northern New Mexico.

A life-long New Mexican, Yolanda grew up in Gallup before relocating closer to her family’s roots in the Mora/Las Vegas area. She spent 36 years there and raised 3 wonderful children. Yolanda serves as a Getaway family for 12 United World College students from around the world and enjoys her grandchildren at every opportunity. Previously, she has supported HIAs completed by the McKinley Collaborative for Health Equity and Somos Un Pueblo Unido, McKinley Community Health Alliance HIA team focused on housing.

Mahdi Hossaini

Mahdi Hossaini comes from Turkey and was born in Afghanistan. He has been part of nonprofit organizations (Together For Brothers, Making Connections). With Together for Brothers, he worked on a Health Impact Assessment focused on free bus passes for youth. He is a martial artist with national championships. Mahdi serves as a HEP HIA Technical Assistance Provider supporting with special projects and HIA trainings. He supported Global 505 HIA with follow technical support as they created a visual survey.


Christina Morris

Christina is the Health Promotion Specialist, DOH PHD, NW Region. In her seven 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 HEP team and Human Impact Partners, Christina has served as a HIA Technical Assistance Provider since 2015. She has provided support to state and local northwest New Mexico teams, including the McKinley Collaborative for Health Equity, Somos Un Pueblo, Unido, and Global 505. the McKinley Community Health Alliance HIA team focused on housing. 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

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.