The Community Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Con Alma Health Foundation Board of Trustees concerning the performance of the Foundation in achieving its Charitable Purpose and Mission and to identify and assess the health needs of all New Mexicans.
Beverly has a passion for social justice in healthcare and is an advocate for health disparities to be addressed in New Mexico. She has many years experience working in community health and has a degree in social justice.
“I have always been drawn to the mission of Con Alma Health Foundation, which gets resources to those in New Mexico that are doing the work to address social change and health disparities in our state.”
Joaquin is a COMMUNITY, clinical, youth, EARLY CHILDHOOD and family Social Worker WORKING THROUGHOUT ALBUQUERQUE AND NORTHERN NM schools. He has experience in working with community based programs throughout the state for over 25 years; and he has provided program development, supervision and direct services in efforts to sustain integral internal and external accountability. He is a Native Northern New Mexican AND AFRO-INDIGENOUS CARIBBEAN. He FOCUSES ON positive cultural male mentorship to youth and families, program development and service provision focused on family centered philosophy. His goals are to support organizations that are focused on INTEGRAL COMMUNITY leadership and capacity building FOR local youth and family support services and resources.
Leigh Caswell is the Vice President for Community Health with Presbyterian Healthcare Services (PHS). Leigh coordinates and directs initiatives, strategy, and operations that support the community health priorities of the largest non-profit health system in New Mexico. This work includes convening cross sector partnerships and leveraging grant and private funds for greater collective impact on barriers to health in communities across the state. The Food Farmacy, Accountable Health Communities, the Healthy Here Wellness Referral Center, Mobile Farmers’ Market, and FreshRX, are a few of the current initiatives Leigh has helped developed to support PHS to promote prevention, increase health equity, and to enhance the quality and effectiveness of clinical interventions.
Leigh and the community health program were awarded the Spirit of New Mexico Award; she was recognized as an Albuquerque Business First Woman of Influence and 40 under 40; she is also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader. Leigh has a B.S. in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of New Mexico.
Jim is a planner with the Town of Silver City. He currently serves as Chair of the Community Advisory Committee, of which he has been a member since 2003. He sees Con Alma as the best hope to find solutions to the state’s health and wellness issues through collaborative community action and best use of scarce resources.
“I’m proud to serve on the Community Advisory Committee, described by a former board trustee as the Foundation’s conscience.”
Community Advisory CommitteeLea County
Patty is currently working with the State of New Mexico with the Healthy Kids initiative and the UNM BA/MD program. She is also the Executive Director for a local nonprofit, Faith In Action, Inc. Ms. Collins retired from the City of Hobbs in 2003, where she served as the Community Services Director.
“As a member of the Community Advisory Committee, I look forward to serving our New Mexico communities in my newest role with the Con Alma Health Foundation. I hope that I can not only help to continue promoting the mission of the foundation in southeastern New Mexico, but show what the very southeastern part of our state has to offer in return.”
Yolanda B. Cruz
San Miguel County
Yolanda is the co-host of the radio program, “Our Opinion – Let’s Talk About it” since 2016. This all-female show focuses on women’s issues and social change. She also currently works at the Santa Fe Community Foundation as the Philanthropy HUB Coordinator overseeing the foundations professional development programs. Yolanda served as the Health Equity Partnership (HEP) Health Councils and Community Coordinator from 2013 – 2015 and as the HEP Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Technical Assistance Provider.
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.
A life-long New Mexican, Yolanda serves as a Getaway family for 12 United World College students from around the world.
Linda Dodd is the Executive Director of United Way of Carlsbad and South Eddy, an organization focused on helping the community’s most vulnerable through access to adequate shelter, food, health care and other basic necessities of life. Linda works closely with business leaders to acquire funding for United Way and with city and county governments to advocate for the underserved. While her focus has been on improving the lives of individuals in South Eddy County, she would like to expand her skills to the entire state. Linda currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities of NM, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Carlsbad Main Street, and volunteers with the Eddy County Health Council.
Doña Ana County
Melanie recently joined U.S. Sen. Tom Udall’s state staff after 6 ½ years working as a field representative for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman in his Las Cruces office. She advances Sen. Udall’s education and health policy agendas at the community level and reaches out to constituent groups and elected officials in southwest New Mexico. She has a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and a master’s in public health.
“It’s an honor to serve as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for Con Alma Health Foundation. Each member brings deep connections and perspectives of the needs and strengths of our state’s many diverse communities. I feel I am part of a truly unique and valuable partnership with the staff and the Board in helping to carry out the core values and mission of Con Alma.”
Donna House (Diné)
Community Advisory CommitteeMcKinley County & Alcalde, Rio Arriba County
Donna currently assists Native American community-based organizations in protecting traditional eco-cultural assets from adverse development. Donna is a botanical consultant and specializes in ethnobotany of indigenous peoples, and traditional ecological knowledge research and environmental policy.
Sonlatsa is Navajo-Modoc enrolled in the Navajo Nation. She is of the Sleeping Rock Clan and born for the Modoc Tribe. Her maternal grandfather is of the Salt Clan. She was raised on and lives on the Navajo Reservation in Tohlakai, NM. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado College and is working on a Master’s in Public Administration. She is the Policy Analyst for the COPE Project after serving as the Program Manager for the CDC REACH grant. She is a leadership coach for the Navajo Community Health Outreach Youth Leadership Program, and an advocate for social justice in public education and environmental justice. She is leading food justice efforts through Navajo Food Policy advocacy and drinking water access on the Navajo Nation. Sonlatsa is a Native American Consultant, wife, mother of four children, a traditional food grower, and an indigenous activist and advocate.
Nelson has 10 years of experience working in Albuquerque’s nonprofit sector, focusing primarily on homelessness and hunger. Currently he is the program manager of the Grants Collective, which helps nonprofits compete for and secure federal and philanthropic investment. His volunteer work includes serving on the boards of both the New Mexico and national Young Nonprofit Professionals.
“Authentic engagement and representation is so critical, and it’s a lot of challenging work, but it’s something I love in working with community every day. That’s the biggest reason I joined Con Alma’s Community Advisory Committee,” said Nelson, who works with neighborhoods to establish community-driven, equitable economic development.
Wanda Ross Padilla
Community Advisory CommitteeSanta Fe County
Wanda is a holistic life coach, spiritual teacher and mystic for more than 15 years. She is president of her Santa Fe-based consulting firm, A Better Life Now. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s in counseling and a doctorate degree in public administration. She and her spouse divide their time between their home in Santa Fe and their ranch in Tajique, New Mexico.
“The Community Advisory Committee is one of the most important groups I have chosen to be a part of. Our health system is in crisis, and our people are suffering. Con Alma is doing some amazing work to help end the suffering of all people in New Mexico. Its great staff and passionate volunteers is why I stay involved.
Twila has been a member of Con Alma’s Community Advisory Committee since 2005. She currently holds the position of General Manager with Interim HealthCare and Hospice in Clovis. Previously, she was the Special Projects coordinator with the Curry County Administration, and adjunct faculty at Wayland Baptist University. In addition to her participation with the Community Advisory Committee, Ms. Rutter is the President of New Mexico Health Resources, Inc., Secretary of the Clovis branch of the Salvation Army, and a member of Curry County Public Library Board. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Texas Tech University, and an M.B.A. from Eastern New Mexico University.
Susie, a native of Silver City, has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. She has been happily married for 40 years and is proud of her three children and four grandchildren. She has worked at Gila Regional Medical Center for 21 years in the Community Health and Wellness/Community Outreach field. She is a past member of the Health Policy Commission and the Behavioral Health Planning Council.
“I am proud to serve on the Con Alma Community Advisory Committee because I feel that is where I can best advocate for rural community voices.”
San Juan County
Helen Tso is the Director of the NW-Navajo Nation Health Extension Regional Office. Her education and work in program management and administration of public health initiatives has been in the public sector in education, research, contracting and procurement, and community health, in the northwest part of the state as well as throughout the state. In local communities she serves as a community preceptor for pre-med students and provides technical assistance and consultative services, addressing the varied elements, of the social determinants of health in collaboration with local organizations, community coalitions, and community colleges. She has served on the statewide advisory committee, specifically the resource committee, for the GRADS Program which is a student retention service, supporting adolescent parents to complete high school, and to prevent teenage pregnancies.