New Mexico Public Health Association

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Meet Your NMPHA Board of Directors

April 2019 - April 2020

Joseph Hill (Co-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 meet the 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, New Mexico with his wife, four children, and 2 dogs.


Ivy Cervantes (Treasurer) assists in financial oversight for all of NMPHA’s events. She also works with the Association’s hired bookkeeping and accounting agency. With her background spanning the fields of medicine, health services research, and epidemiology, Ivy is currently working on injury and violence prevention research projects with the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center.




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 (2018).

Lissa lives in downtown Albuquerque with her 14-year-old daughter, 7 backyard chickens, 2 dogs, and a cat.

Jessica Reno (Communications Committee Chair) coordinates NMPHA messages on social media and through email. She also assists with website development. Jessica is currently working as a statistician at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, with a focus on clinical translational research and behavioral health.






Judith Seltzer (Membership Committee Chair) has been chair of the NMPHA’s Membership Committee for several years. She is retired from a career in international population policy and evaluation and domestic evaluation of pregnancy prevention programs.








Shelley Mann-Lev, MPH, (Policy Committee Co-Chair) provides leadership to support NMPHA’s legislative advocacy efforts and the annual Health Policy Forum. She recently retired from serving as the Prevention Coordinator for the Santa Fe Public Schools and the Founding Director of the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance. Shelley is the New Mexico Prevention Consultant with the Opioid Response Network and is a Campaign Associate with 24/7 New Mexico, a DOH initiative promoting truly tobacco-free schools. She also serves on the Board of Directors of La Family Medical Center.






Justin Garoutte (Policy Committee Co-Chair) is a former Rosenblatt Scholar and UNM Student Representative to the NMPHA Board. They currently serve 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. Justin currently works as a research associate at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) on the the Reducing LGBTQ+ Adolescent Suicide (RLAS) study. They received their Master of Public Health from the University of New Mexico in May 2019, and their main research focus is sexual and gender minority health.




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; NMSU Public Health Student Association Representative) is a third year dual-degree Masters of Social Work (MSW) and Masters of Public Health (MPH, community health education concentration) student at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He is the NMSU student representative 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.





Gabriel Gaarden (he/him; UNM Public Health Student Organization Co-Representative) is a second-year Master of Public Health (MPH, community health concentration) student at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a UNM student co-representative to the NMPHA. He coordinates student participation in NMPHA events and activities and is excited to collaborate with other NMPHA board members to advance health equity and social justice throughout our great state. Gabriel currently works as a registered dietitian and program coordinator with Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition at New Mexico State University and is passionate about working to create equitable food systems within which all people have access to quality nutrition education and nourishing, affordable and sustainably produced food.



Alexandra Villegas (UNM Public Health Student Organization Co-Representative) is an MPH/MA Latin American Studies graduate student at the University of New Mexico who will be graduating next summer, 2020. She is the 2019-2020 Public Health Student Association President and the UNM Student Representative on the NMPHA Board this year. Alexandra's areas of interest involve US/Mexico border health, Hispanic/Latinx/immigrant health, racial and environmental justice, as well as geography and traditional foods of Latin America and the Southwest. Alexandra was born and raised in San Diego, California and is the daughter of parents who grew up in Tijuana, B.C. Outside of school and work, her passions include playing her jarana (son jarocho music), hiking adventures, plants, cooking, and spending quality time with friends and family.



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 (Social Determinants of Health Representative) has been a member of NMPHA for over 2 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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