Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
The Community Advisory Council of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement creates a feedback loop designed to close the gap in health disparities and reduce the incidence and mortality rates from cancer and other diseases. We engage with community members across the state to improve knowledge and awareness of cancer risk factors, screening services and treatment options. By engaging with members of underrepresented communities, we discover where inequities exist, helping scientists and clinicians develop and apply new knowledge to help these at-risk communities. The more knowledge we gain, the better we are able to address the needs of different communities, further reducing health disparities.
Caleb has extensive ministry experience in a wide range of ages and cultures. He is a fourth-generation minister and has been serving in ministry since he was a teenager. Caleb has served in various roles with Youth Summer Camps, Youth Alive and Adult Ministries. While completing his B.A. in Church Ministries from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Caleb was hired as a Student Pastor and served in that role until he left to go plant The Link Church in Boston MA. He served as the Lead Pastor of the Link Church overseeing its inception and steady growth for five years before joining the Highpoint team as the Associate Pastor and member of the preaching team.
Caleb began serving as the Lead Pastor at Highpoint Church in July of 2019. He and Morgan McNaughton met while Caleb was preaching at Morgan’s college in early 2012. They fell in love, and a year and a half later, they were married and working in full-time ministry together. They have little boys Micah, Judah, and Levi and enjoy working out, sports and exploring the outdoors.
Colorado Cancer Coalition
Christi Cahill has dedicated her professional career to working with cancer related nonprofits and organizations. Christi has been involved with the Colorado Cancer Coalition in a variety of capacities since 2009 and is now the Executive Director. In addition to her work with the Colorado Cancer Coalition, Christi also facilitates Leading Effective Coalition ECHOs and Managing Effective Coalitions Community of Practice.
Prior to becoming the Executive Director, she was the Cancer Outreach Specialist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and before that the Director of Program Services at MyLifeLine.org. Christi received a B.A. in Kinesiology from Rice University in Houston, TX and a Nonprofit Management Certificate from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Dallas, TX.
State of Colorado
Dianne Primavera is a leading patient advocate who has spent three decades fighting for every Coloradan's access to quality, affordable health care.
As a young mom in 1988, Dianne was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor told her that she had, at most, five years to live. Since her first diagnosis, Dianne has fought cancer four times and survived. Her personal battle with cancer inspired her to make it her life's work to ensure every Coloradan has access to the health care they need when they need it.
In 1990, Dianne joined the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury Center, where her work focused on helping individuals dealing with serious injuries recover and resume dignified, fulfilling lives. Since then, she's held many prominent positions throughout the public and nonprofit sectors devoted to furthering life-saving medical research and connecting Coloradans who experience illness with the treatment they need to recover.
In 2006, Dianne was elected to the first of four terms in the State Legislature, representing Broomfield, Superior, and parts of Erie. Throughout her service, Dianne was highly regarded for her success working across the aisle to promote Colorado small businesses, lower prescription drug costs, and expand access to affordable health care.
Most recently, Dianne served as the CEO of Susan G. Komen Colorado, one of the largest organizations in the country dedicated to breast cancer prevention, treatment, research, and education.
Dianne is a lifelong Coloradan and a Broomfield resident. She has two adult daughters and a one-year-old granddaughter, Kailani. Dianne is also an avid country dancer - taking after her dad, who was a dedicated ballroom dancer throughout his life, even on his 95th birthday.
President AMR Consulting
Ed was treated for Head and Neck Cancer and Melanoma at Anschutz during late 2014 early 2015. Following his treatments, he organized a Head and Neck Cancer support group in northern Colorado which continues with members from not only northern Colorado healthcare institutions but individuals who were treated in other states.
Professionally he is a member of a Canadian company, SpectraDigital Corporation, which develops infectious disease diagnostics for both humans and dairy cattle. They are currently involved with malaria projects in Southeast Asia, a virus-related cancer project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a dairy project headquartered in Buffalo New York.
Prior to SpectraDigital, he was the Director of Government, Trade and Community Relations at Walgreens for 27 years, and preceding that he was the Chief Legislative Assistant for a United States Senator and the Executive Director of a Council of Governments.
Currently, he is the Secretary for the C R Walgreen III and Kathleen B Walgreen Foundation, a board member of The First Ladies Health Initiative, and the Walgreens Historical Foundation. He is also a member of the Windsor Rotary Club
His wife and he have three adult children. Two of whom live in northern Colorado and the other residing in Southern California.
Ed holds a BA From the University of Tulsa, and a JD from the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Immigrant Health Campaign Coordinator
Center for Health Progress
Erika Escalera is committed to helping those who have been excluded by social structures and institutions become leaders in their community. Both of Erika's parents are immigrants from Mexico. As the oldest, and being bilingual, Erika was usually the one translating and advocating for herself and her family. She understood from a young age that she wanted to continue positively connecting the people she loved and cared about to the world around them.
Erika began her professional career as an English as a Second Language Teacher at a 5th-6th Grade School in Fort Morgan. During this time, she was able to connect with immigrant students and their families. With a clear vision in mind of helping others while dismantling systemic oppression, she moved her work to the Fort Morgan High School where she served as a Collegiate Advisor. There she created trusting relationships and guided first-generation and low-income students academically and helped them gain access to higher education. Erika has also served as a community organizer in Morgan County dedicating her time to build leadership and power in the immigrant community to pass laws and policies based on the community's collective health needs. Erika graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in Spanish and TESL K-12 Education, and later received her master's in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Adams State University. Erika believes her story and background will mobilize others to take action and live a healthier life.
Program Manager for the LGBTQ Health and Wellness Collaborative Center for Public Health Practice Colorado School of Public Health, Anschutz Medical Campus
Jennifer Woodard brings over 15 years of experience working to alleviate tobacco-related health disparities experienced by lower-income people especially those in Communities of Color and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) communities.
Currently, Jennifer is the Program Manager for the LGBTQ Health and Wellness Collaborative funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to address the high tobacco/nicotine use rates in LGBTQ populations. This three
year project funds six LGBTQ+ serving organizations to educate their communities, engage community leaders as tobacco control champions, adopt tobacco/nicotine-free organizational policies and offer peer support to promote cessation in LGBTQ+ populations across Colorado.
Jennifer holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver and has completed post-graduate certification in Organizational Development with emphasis on group facilitation, program development, management coaching, strategic planning and team building. Jennifer spent 10 years as an Independent Organizational Development Consultant and Management Coach specializing in work with non-profits, government, education and philanthropic groups. This work provided opportunities to consult in organizations to improve work cultures, efficiency and performance.
Regional Director for Clinical Research Operations – CO Western Slope
St. Mary’s Saccomanno
Dr. Marty Jacobson is the SCL Health Western Slope Regional Director for Clinical Research Operations at SCL Health’s St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center in Grand Junction, CO where since 2009 he has worked with Physicians to provide clinical trial opportunities, the most cutting-edge and innovative treatments available to patients, close to home. Dr. Jacobson also serves as the Director and Principal Investigator for St. Mary’s Saccomanno Research Institute which houses the Saccomanno Uranium Miner Archive: a tissue collection consisting of sputum cytology slide samples and tissue blocks from a cohort of over 17,000 uranium miners primarily from the Colorado Plateau (Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah), assembled over an approx. 45 year period by Dr. Geno Saccomanno. In 2016, Dr. Jacobson was one of three Colorado researchers invited by Colorado Public Radio to discuss/gauge ongoing efforts in Colorado in the search for a cure for cancer; The ‘Moonshot’ Against Cancer, Where Does Colorado Stand?
With a background in molecular/cell biology, Dr. Jacobson first joined St. Mary’s in 2006 as a Scientist/Principal Investigator to oversee and continue the cancer research legacy of the Saccomanno Research Institute. Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, Dr. Jacobson spent nearly 20 years conducting molecular and cellular biology research in academic, non-profit and biotech research organizations. Dr. Jacobson received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia-Vancouver, BC and his B.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Rica has over 17 years in the Case Management and Advocacy field working with individuals from all diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Rica is a fierce activist who sits on many Community Advisory Boards, Board of Directors, Peer Recovery Coach Trainer and Grassroots Organizer in the Denver area.
As a part-time Promotora De Salud Rica provides culturally relevant STD/STI education, women’s health, family planning and teen sexuality to individuals within community correction populations and general community organizations.
As a full-time Prevention Specialist at Vivent Health formerly Rocky Mountain CARES, Rica provides educational presentations on HIV/AIDS and HCV prevention and is a certified tester for both HIV/AIDS & HCV. She is the lead representative on the mobile syringe access program and meets individuals where they are at in the community, she proactively links them to the proper care that they may need.
Rica aims to provide quality care with compassion and empathy and with the firm belief that one person’s lived experience can be crucial to another’s journey in recovery and assisting in overcoming barriers to care. Her lived experience is a gift that keeps giving.
Selena L. Dunham is the Principal of Classique, LLC, a full-service company. As a professional Corporate/ Human Resources Executive, Selena has a long record of promoting equality and excellence among countless groups, excelling in staff development, service, etiquette, international diversity, protocol training, entrepreneurial growth, and human rights. She is a dedicated champion of diversity in the workplace and community with demonstrated strong cultural awareness. Selena has a history of community involvement, having served on numerous not-for-profit, State, local, and federal boards and political campaigns. As a breast cancer survivor, Selena is proud to participate in improving the patient-centeredness of research and contribute to giving more patients in Colorado a voice and a role in the research process.
Selena is the Immediate Past co-chair of the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank National Community Advisory Board, a member of the Center for Excellence in Cancer and Genomics Patient Advisory Board, is a member of Colorado Patient Partners in Research Community Advisory Board, a member of Denver Health’s Community Advisory Panel and serves as a member of the Colorado Judicial Institute Board. Selena is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer for the Colorado National Council of Jewish Women and is also on the Board of Directors for the Aspen Theological Seminary. She prides herself on cultural awareness and continues her daily promotion of diversity in the workplace and the community. In 2016, Selena, with her colleagues, Charlene Barrientos Ortiz, Tammy Bellofatto, Selena L. Dunham and Leslie Wright, was published for the first time for the Colorado Patient Partners in Research: Engaging at multiple intersections inpatient health poster, which was presented to the 2016 Engaging Communities in Education and Research (ECER) Cultivating Campus-Community Partnership for a Health Colorado Conference. In 2017 Selena received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Service from the Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College.
“As a breast cancer survivor, I want to give back to Kaiser and my community. I am dedicated to KPBR NCAB because I want to encourage and promote positive research, especially in communities of diversity.”
Director of Community Engagement
Mile High Health Alliance
Stephanie is a second generation native of Denver from a mixed Latino and Native American familial background and is bilingual. She has over 25 years’ experience working in high needs and under-resourced communities to effectively address social and economic barriers to health, education and health equities. She also has extensive experience in grant writing, grant reviewing, providing training and technical assistance (TTA) and capacity building for nonprofit and early childhood education organizations. Stephanie possesses a Master’s in Public Health (Leadership Concentration) from CU Anschutz and a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Currently Stephanie is the Director of Community Engagement/Regional Health Connector for Denver County, at the Mile High Health Alliance.
One of Stephanie’s primary roles is to connect primary care providers with community resources and connect community members to primary care providers, which is designed to improve overall health outcomes. The three priority areas of work are chronic diseases, behavioral health and polysubstance misuse. Prior to this, Stephanie was as a Program Manager for a Promotores de Salud Program and has worked extensively with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), providing education, enrollment assistance and health literacy and has over 15 years’ experience, working in family and community and engagement, in early childhood education.
Stephanie is extremely active in the local community to promote authentic community engagement and serves on the Denver Health Community Advisory Panel (CAP), Denver Foundation, Basic Human Needs Committee, Colorado Public Health Association-Health Equity Committee, Trailhead Institute, Administrative Equity Co-Facilitator, Patient Navigator Community Health Worker/Promotores de Salud (PN CHW PdS) Alliance and Klein Buendel, Caminemos Community Advisory Board (CAB). In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Spirit of the Sun
Shannon Francis, is a Hopi and Dineh from the Southwest homelands of Arizona and New Mexico. She is Towering House clan born for Red Running into the Water clan. Her Hopi clans are Massau’, Bear Sand, and Snake Clan. Shannon comes from twelve generations of earth caretakers, ethnobotanists, and seed keepers. A certified Permaculture Design Instructor, Shannon weaves TEK Traditional Ecological Knowledge with innovative science. She loves to educate on caretaking of land, water, and soil resources; preserving Native heirloom GMO-free seeds, zero-waste philosophy, and how to live more harmoniously with nature. Shannon is the Executive Director for Spirit of the Sun, Inc. in Denver. Spirit of the Sun received the 2020 Human Rights Award from Youth Celebrate Diversity. Shannon co-created and led an Indigenous Permaculture Community Garden Project with the Four Winds American Indian Council. Shannon has received the Justin B. Willie humanitarian award (2014) on the Navajo Nation as well as the Cesar E. Chavez female leadership award (2015) for her work with Indigenous gardening, food justice, and community building projects. Shannon co-created the Indigenous agricultural project at Woodbine Ecology Center in Sedalia, CO. She taught Indigenous gardening workshops Native communities at the Denver Indian Center. She has presented at the Front Range Bioneers, the Star School, Indigenous Farming Conference White Earth, MN, The Denver Green Festivals, Dartmouth College, Haskell Indian Nations College, Fort Lewis College AISES Conference, and the Teaching Outside the Box Environmental Education Conference. Shannon has six wonderful children and three amazing grandchildren that are her inspiration to make this a better world for all future generations to come.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Valley-Wide Health Systems
Jania Arnoldi is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Valley-Wide Health Systems, a community health center that serves people from over 11 counties in rural communities of southern Colorado. As the President and CEO at Valley-Wide, Jania is responsible for strategic and operational leadership, relationship building internally and externally, as well as creating strategic partnerships at the national, state and local levels. She is ultimately responsible for all high-level decision-making at Valley-Wide. Jania has been a leader in Community Health for over 23 years. Prior to her current role, Jania was the Chief Financial Officer at two community health centers in Arizona. Throughout her career, Jania’s passion for participating with and working for organizations that focus on impacting the health and well-being of individuals and families has led her to various leadership positions and roles.
Jania attained her doctorate degree in Healthcare Administration in 2021 from AT Still University, her Master of Business Administration from The University of Phoenix in 2006 and her Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona in 2002.
Jania currently resides in Alamosa, Colorado, a rural community in the southern part of the state with her husband and six children. Jania enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors anywhere in beautiful Colorado.
Colorado Black Health Collaborative
Dr. Richardson was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Northeast Denver. She attended Stanford University where she received a BS in biology. She received her M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. After completing her residency, she worked at Eastside Health Center, Denver Health for 17 years. She worked another 17 years at Kaiser Permanente Colorado. She retired from clinical practice June 30,2021.
Dr. Richardson has over 34 years of experience as a clinician, health educator, mentor and volunteer in the health arena. She considers herself a “community doctor” and is passionate about the health of the Black community. She remains active in health-related community endeavors. She enjoys serving the community in this way.
Dr. Richardson is a member of several volunteer boards. She currently is the Vice Chair of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) and chair of CBHC’s Health Access Committee. She is an active member of the Mile High Medical Society. She also serves as an informal mentor to students at various levels.
Chief Operations Officer
High Plains Community Health Center
Shae has worked at High Plains Community Health Center for 19 years. Shae started at High Plains as a medical assistant went through RN school while working full time and held multiple titles that include: Medical Operations Supervisor, Quality Improvement Coordinator, Vice President of Operations and Interim CEO. Shae has three children who are very active in school and sporting events. Shae has owned a Mexican Food Restaurant in Lamar called Las Brisas for 5 years. Shae likes to golf, water ski, snow ski, and work her families cattle ranch south of Lamar.
CEO and Executive Director
Center for African American Health
Deidre Johnson is the CEO and Executive Director of The Center for African-American Health, a community-based organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Black/African Americans. The Center works toward health equity through community engagement, research and advocacy and by offering culturally responsive health education and outreach that empowers community members to overcome the root causes of health problems, maximize their own individual health and access health and support services.
Johnson is an ASCEND Aspen Institute Fellow, a Transformative Leadership for Change Fellow, a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow, and an Adjunct Professor in the University of Denver, University College Nonprofit Leadership Program.
A results-oriented executive, Johnson has an extensive background in strategic planning, grant making, grants management, fund raising, program development, project management, strategic learning and systems evaluation. She has been recognized among peers as an exceptionally creative, innovative, collaborative, adaptive leader who consistently achieves professional and organizational goals.
Johnson currently serves on the following boards and steering committees: Rose Community Foundation Community Grantmaking Committee, Colorado School of Public Health Advisory Board, Transition Advisory Group (TAG) for the new Colorado Department of Early Childhood, Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force,Mile High Health Alliance, Yale Philanthropy Conference Advisory Board, Ascend at the Aspen Institute 2Gen Prenatal – 3 Learning and Action Community (2Gen P3 LAC) and Colorado State Senator James Coleman’s Health Care Policy Cabinet.
A Denver native, Johnson graduated from St. Mary’s Academy, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Cancer Systems Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Ian Kahn leads the Colorectal Cancer Control and Comprehensive Cancer Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Ian’s work and these programs focus on cancer prevention through preventive screening, building community-clinical linkages and promoting cancer prevention across Colorado. Previously, Ian worked with health plans, state departments of health, local health departments and quality improvement organizations to reduce the burden of cancer in Colorado through improving cancer screening and HPV vaccinations rates with provider trainings and other evidence based interventions at the American Cancer Society. Ian is an active member of the Colorado Cancer Coalition and co-chair of the Colorectal Cancer Task Force. In his free time Ian enjoys tending to his yard, hiking, camping and spending time with his wife and three dogs.