New Mexico Public Health Association

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Meet Your NMPHA Board of Directors

Melissa Toledo-Ontiveros MA, MCJ, MPA (Co-President)

Melissa’s leadership and experience comes from various direct service roles: case manager, school counselor, mental & behavioral therapist, multi-systemic and problem sexual therapist, early intervention and developmental specialist. After receiving a dual Master Degree in Public Administration and Criminal Justice from NMSU, she worked as a director of adult services for a DD Waiver program. She worked as a Health Promotion Program Manager for NM’s Department of Health in the SW Region. Currently she is Director of Thriving Families at Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico. Melissa developed the Thriving Families program; a high bread multi-systemic/generational trauma informed whole family home visiting program that leverages resources to meet families’ needs, strengths, and goals. 

Melissa currently serves as the Co-President of the New Mexico Public Association and LC3 Behavioral Health Coalition in Dona Ana. She serves as Moms Demand Action State Legislative Lead; New Mexico Environmental Public Health Network; American Public Health Association’s Climate Change and Health Equity Board; and many more Committees and Leadership Coalitions. 

Melissa ran for State Senator in District 31 in the 2020 Primary Election. Although, she didn’t take that race she won as she continues to lead through her service to New Mexico.

Joseph Hill (Past President) has spent his entire adult life serving families and communities. He holds undergraduate degrees in human services and ministry and is currently pursuing his MBA. Joseph believes his community leadership experience, and direct work with marginalized and ignored populations, enables him to inspire, educate, learn from, and collaborate with those who long for positive change. Currently, he coordinates and facilitates collaborative efforts among public, private and non-profit groups and organizations to meetthe wellness needs of Southwest NM through the National Center for Frontier Communities and the Southwest Center for Health Innovation. Joseph works directly with the communities to improve access to services, reduce disparities, prevent substance abuse, assist state and local governments in the development of policies, and advocate on behalf of the underserved. Amongst those endeavors he also serves as the pastor of a local church. Joseph happily lives in Lordsburg with his wife, four children, and two dogs.

Lissa Knudsen, MPH, (Representative to the Governing Council of APHA) The Governing Council establishes policies, receives and act upon reports or recommendations from any constituent, elects officers, and establishes sections for the APHA. Lissa is a Health Communication PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where her studies focus on breastfeeding policy and communication. While working on her PhD, she serves as a public health data analyst at the Albuquerque-based National Public Radio affiliate, KUNM-FM radio and as an adjunct instructor at Central New Mexico Community college. In 2007, Lissa won the National Public Health Association Inaugural Trong Nguyen Memorial Award for Student Leadership in recognition of her policy work to get the New Mexico ‘Breastpump Use in the Workplace’ bill signed into law. More recently Lissa has led numerous successful public health policy campaigns including lactation care provider licensure (2017), alternative sentencing for pregnant and lactating inmates (2019), and correctional facility lactation policies (2019). At the local level, she was instrumental in getting paid parental leave passed for City of Albuquerque employees. Lissa lives in downtown Albuquerque with her 14-year-old daughter, 7 chickens, 2 dogs, and a cat.

Shelley Mann-Lev, MPH, (Co-President) recently retired from serving for 20 years as the Prevention Coordinator for the Santa Fe Public Schools. In 2008, she joined with a group of organizations to found the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance and Shelley served as the founding Director until 2018.  Shelley is a Prevention Consultant with the Opioid Response Network providing consultation to stakeholders in the southwest and developing resources for schools. Shelley also serves on the Board of Directors of La Family Medical Center. Shelley lives in Santa Fe with her husband and is a devoted daughter to parents (96 and 90). Shelley loves to hike, sing, read and engage in meaningful conversations. 

Justin Garoutte, MPH, (Policy Committee Co-Chair) is a former Rosenblatt Scholar and UNM Student Representative to the NMPHA Board. They are from Antonito, a small town in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Justin currently serves as Co-Chair of the NMPHA Policy Committee. They help plan the annual Health Policy Forum, as well as policy advocacy efforts centered on annual legislative sessions. Their areas of interest are health equity, Latina/o/x health, LGBTQIA+ health, community building, social determinants of health, and community-based participatory research. Over the years, Justin has worked to advance health equity by building power through policy advocacy at local, state, and national levels, currently serving as the Policy Chair of the LGBTQ Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association. They received their Master of Public Health from the University of New Mexico in May 2019. They reside in rural northern New Mexico with their husband and 14 chickens.

Diana Lopez, SCPS (Northwest Regional Representative) is a 2009 Community Health graduate of New Mexico State University. Diana’s Public Health career started in Las Cruces where she worked with Families & Youth Inc. In 2009 Diana moved with her family to Rio Rancho to work for Sandoval County. She worked for Sandoval County for 9 years, 5 as Certified Prevention Specialist and 4 as Juvenile Services Coordinator. Currently Diana works for the New Mexico Department of Health as a Health Promotion Specialist on the NW Region Health Promotion team. Diana holds a Senior Certified Prevention Specialist certification and sits on the Executive Board for the New Mexico Credentialing Board for Behavioral Health Professionals.

Rufus Greene, Jr., PhD (Metropolitan Regional Representative) is the Director of the Pueblo of San Felipe Health and Wellness Department overseeing clinical and behavioral health programs and activates. He has been actively engaged in public/community health advocacy for 35 plus years. His career in healthcare has extended from working with NMDOH/TUPAC and the United States Air Force. During his tenure in the USAF, he was assigned to the Military Public Health Program located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He currently serves as the Metro Regional New Mexico Public Health Association Board Representative.

Troy Weeldreyer (he/him; Membership Chair) graduated from NMSU with a  dual-degree Masters of Social Work (MSW) and Masters of Public Health (MPH, community health education concentration). He is the Membership Chair to the New Mexico Public Health Association and a member of the Paso del Norte chapter of the SOPHE. His interests include promoting and implementing micro, mezzo, and macro structural interventions aimed at eliminating healthcare disparities for people who use drugs, LGBTQ+, and racial/ethnic minorities. He currently works as a behavioral health counselor at Acoma Pueblo.

Dana Millen's (Universal Access to Health Care Representative) background includes the work of community health development and community organizing in rural southern New Mexico for many years, and the management of the NMDOH Comprehensive Cancer Program in Albuquerque. She holds a PhD in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on public policy and leadership from the Union Institute & University. Dr. Millen has advocated for and served as the education and outreach coordinator for the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign for more than seventeen years.

The NMPHA is a member organization of the Campaign and advocated for the passage of the Health Security Act in the 2019 legislative session. These organizing efforts culminated in a victory for the Campaign, as the legislature has appropriated funds which enabled the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) to hire the expertise needed to conduct what is a complex fiscal analysis of a major health care reform paradigm shift, the Health Security Act. This fiscal analysis is to be completed by October – December, 2020.

Valerie Rangel's (Environmental Justice & Health Representative) mission is to educate and advocate for vulnerable populations in areas experiencing health disparities as a result of environmental toxins. Valerie presently works as a Community Program Manager at the New Mexico Foundation in the fields of Rural Infrastructure, Community Resilience, Healthy Communities, Educational Opportunities and Environmental Adaptability.

Anthony Cook (Southeast Regional Representative) has been a member of NMPHA for over 4 years. He has participated on the policy committee and attends monthly board meetings. Anthony is currently employed as a Health Promotion Coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH), in the SE Region, and has been with DOH since December 2014. He received his bachelor’s degree in Community Health from NMSU and is a Certified Health Education Specialist(CHES). His previous career experience includes working as a WIC nutritionist, peer health educator, swim instructor, and EMT. Anthony is a SE New Mexico native and enjoys serving the region, he hopes to improve community health and connectedness in the region so that everyone has equitable access to quality health care and health education. On his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities, cooking with family and friends, traveling, reading about health and science, and occasionally taking college courses.

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