Author Archive

Spotlight: Rick Coffin

What drew you to RIHEL originally?

I was originally drawn to RIHEL for several reasons. I heard stories from colleagues about how rewarding their RIHEL experiences were and I wanted to experience it for myself. I have a strong interest in personal and professional development and the Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP) seemed like a great learning opportunity as I would be exposed to a wealth of resources from the RIHEL faculty. I am also an environmental advocate and I looked forward to meeting my RIHEL cohorts from regional environmental and public health institutions. I am grateful that my employer, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, also sees the value in this opportunity and they are very supportive of sending staff to the ALTP.

What have you gained from your experience (as a fellow, volunteer, or coach) with RIHEL?

As a fellow I gained a deep understanding of myself, including how I react to certain situations and interactions and techniques that I can use to change any behavior that I was unhappy with. This was a powerful insight that had positive impacts in both my professional and personal life. I also gained a greater understanding of many other things, including emotional intelligence, mindfulness, professional communication (e.g., media training), and how to be effective in difficult situations. As a first-year coach I am enhancing my strategic thinking, communication, and development skills.

Spotlight: Stephanie Denning

Discover why Stephanie Denning, a graduate of the 2010 Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP) and a RIHEL Coach continues to choose RIHEL.

What drew you to RIHEL originally?
I was interested in participating in a program with a group of people who also wanted to learn and build their leadership skills. I had heard others talk about RIHEL and how much they enjoyed it, so I thought it would be fun and a great way to get to meet new people, while learning how to be a better “leader.”
Why is RIHEL important to you and the community?
We need leaders in the public and private sectors who are able to think critically about the complex and often divisive issues facing virtually all of our communities. These leaders need to be armed with the right technical, professional, and social/emotional skills to work across and within political, economic, social, cultural and geographic arenas to build policies and programs that create communities where everyone can thrive. RIHEL helps participants to develop these kinds of skills, pushes them to think bigger and go deeper, to challenge their cherished assumptions and be something more. RIHEL helps create the kind of leaders our communities need.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about sponsoring or donating to RIHEL?
Just Do It! I believe I gained tremendous personal and professional value and made amazing, lasting friendships through my experience through the ALTP. That value has grown exponentially as I have stayed connected with RIHEL through the Peer Coaching program. I’ve seen that same value manifested in others who have participated in the program and have supported fellows who I know also benefitted personally and professionally from their RIHEL experiences.

Physicians Encouraged to Shape Their Futures

In his letter published in the January edition of EyeNet, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr. Alan Kimura encourages physicians to shape their futures by shifting their “perception of health care reform and value-based care from externally imposed burdens to internally driven improvements.” He describes autonomy, mastery and meaning as the pillars of engagement with one’s work – all practical applications he derived from his experience in the Physician Leadership Skills Series presented by RIHEL to members of the Colorado Medical Society with funding from the Physicians’ Foundation. Kudos to Dr. Kimura for deriving strong practical and principled applications from the leadership lessons of the workshop, and for inspiring others with this letter!

Click here to read his letter.

RIHEL Gave Me Confidence to Run My First Marathon

Written by Rachel Jervis, Advanced Leadership Training Program Class of 2017

On May 5, 2017, I graduated from RIHEL’s Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP).

On October 15, 2017 I completed my first marathon.

The latter is a direct result of the first.

I’ve been a runner since moving to Colorado in 2007. Over the years I’ve completed numerous short and mid-distance races, including six half marathons. I never planned to run a marathon. I’d joke “I’m such a slow runner that I’d have to stop mid-race for a meal.” I feared injuring myself, abhorred the time commitment, and was dubious that I could physically complete a marathon even if I wanted to. In short, marathons held no appeal to me.

Fast-forward to April 2017, when I was in the homestretch of the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP). Since attending college in Boston, I find myself glued to Boston Marathon results and human-interest stories each Patriot’s Day. Unlike previous years, some part of my brain wondered if I could conquer 26.2 miles. In a row. I confessed this thought to a friend on a long run the following weekend. Having completed multiple marathons and a full ironman, she assured me that with proper training I could finish a marathon. That evening I thought, Maybe I should run a marathon.

RIHEL Alumna Provides Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

Last September, Aimee Voth Siebert (Advanced Leadership Training Program 2014), was deployed to Puerto Rico to lead a team of 11 behavioral health responders who were providing much needed aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Aimee urges others to “please find ways to remind yourself of Puerto Rico now, in six months, in a year, and in five to 10 years

Vision for Superfund Site Comes Alive in Libby, MT

A RIHEL alumna’s vision for stakeholder engagement in the redevelopment of a recently completed Superfund Site comes to life in Libby, Montana.

For 18 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been conducting asbestos cleanups in Libby, Montana as part of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site. In September of 2016, the EPA determined that the 400-acre industrial park owned by the Lincoln County Port Authority was complete. As an EPA Remedial Project Manager assigned to the Libby Site, Dania Zinner chose to focus her RIHEL leadership project on the community planning efforts for this property. Dania’s vision, and the vision shared by her project partners, was to engage all stakeholders in a collaborative event to discuss the economic redevelopment of the Port Authority property, with the intention that these discussions would result in a long-term vision and action plan for the site.

Alumni Receive Awards at 2017 Public Health Conference

Please help us congratulate several members of the RIHEL family on their hard work and recent awards from the 2017 Public Health in the Rockies Conference. The purpose of this conference is to provide an opportunity for education, networking and skill development of the professionals in Colorado, Wyoming and neighboring regions, and to build a more competent public health workforce. The 2017 conference theme highlighted the ongoing importance of promoting health equity.

Spotlight: Carmen Martin

This month meet our Governing Board member Carmen Martin.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women.” -Michelle Obama

Why is RIHEL important to you and the community?

RIHEL is important to me as a woman, as a woman of color, and as someone who lacked connections early in my public health career.

Cate Townley, MURP, MUD

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Built Environment Specialist –

Cate Townley is a Built Environment Specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Her primary role at CDPHE is to work with community organizations and local governments on policy and environmental change efforts to promote active living, reduce ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure, and prevent chronic disease. Cate is a member of Colorado’s Built Environment Strategic Collaborative as well as the Colorado Parks and Public Health Collaborative, bringing together diverse stakeholders from communities across the state working to improve the health of Coloradans through the built environment. As part of her role at CDPHE, Cate is a member of the Colorado Safe Routes to School Advisory Board, the Governor’s 16 Trails in 2016 Inter-Agency council, the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Working Group, and a member of the Colorado Urban Land Institute Building Healthy Places Committee. Prior to CDPHE, Cate worked for the University of Colorado Denver where her primary role was to help communities design, redevelop and program schoolyards to promote healthy eating and active living. Cate has a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning and Masters of Urban Design from the University of Colorado Denver and serves on the City of Englewood, Colorado Planning and Zoning Commission.


Rachel Cleaves Dahlke


Rachel Cleaves Dahlke has twelve years’ experience in community development community engagement, and organizational leadership in the US, Africa, and Latin America. As the Executive Director of Westwood Unidos from 2012 – 2017, Dahlke founded and helped lead a resident-centered movement striving for health equity in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Westwood Unidos’ approach focused on listening for what to do. Westwood Unidos facilitated resident-led action that resulted in new parks, new bus service, a youth-led bicycle library, transformation of blighted areas and abandoned buildings into community gathering spaces, a neighborhood plan, and a new community center.

Dahlke is experienced at creating participatory budgets, fundraising, securing community support, and communicating through media and stakeholder relations. She is an engaging speaker in English and Spanish, with years of experience training and coaching through experiential workshops for diverse audience. She is currently a consultant, speaker, trainer, and coach with clients including the Denver Housing Authority, The Denver Foundation, and YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. Dahlke is a Fellow of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.


Molly Hanson


Molly Hanson has over seventeen years of experience developing, promoting and evaluating population health initiatives to reduce health disparities. Molly was a Community Health Specialist at Boulder County Public Health, promoting tobacco-free workplace policies, youth empowerment approaches to reduce tobacco use, and clinical guideline integration in healthcare settings. She served as a Peer Mentor for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), supporting rural and urban communities as they implemented coalition-driven approaches to address tobacco-free workplace policies. Molly was also a program manager in the network of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in the state of Colorado.

For several years, Molly served as the LiveWell Wheat Ridge Coordinator and Health Promotion Supervisor at Jefferson County Public Health, promoting policies and built environment changes to reduce food insecurity and create vibrant safe places for people to be active. She also served on the Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) Sustainable Community Initiatives Gold Corridor Working Group, the Colorado Food Policy Network, the Colorado Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Network, and was actively involved in the LiveWell Colorado HEAL Cities and Towns initiative.

Molly is passionate about Health in All Policies (HiAP), health equity, and coalition-driven approaches, and now serves as a public health consultant for Safe and Healthy Communities, Center For Research Strategies and Health Team Works. She is a graduate of the Colorado Transit Alliance, the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program, and the University of South Florida School of Public Health Social Marketing Field School. When Molly is not working, she is hiking, camping, backpacking or canoeing with her new dog, Tucker.


Barbara V. O’Kane

Director for Environmental Health & Safety
Colorado School of Mines
Term ends: 12-31-18

Barb O’Kane has been an advocate for worker safety and health for more than 20 years. She is currently the Environmental Health and Safety Director for Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. She earned her Environmental Health, Masters of Science degree from Colorado State University. Throughout her career she has focused on educating workers about hazards in the workplace and helping employers effectively mitigate risk. Barb is a graduate of the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program as a 2011 Fellow and has been a Leadership Coach for the 2012, 2013, and 2016 ALTP classes. Barb is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, Certified Safety Professional and Certified Laser Safety Officer. She is currently an executive board member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Rocky Mountain Section. Barb is married and has two teenage sons. Her cooking avocation is her contribution to the church. She takes every opportunity to get into the Colorado outdoors to enjoy biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and learning to golf.

Kelly McCracken

Public Health Consultant
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
Term ends: 12-31-21

Kelly McCracken has worked as a dietitian, diabetes educator, and a public health practitioner for over 10 years. She started her career in the clinical setting working with families and children with type 1 diabetes at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Aurora, Colorado. From this experience, she gained an interest in prevention which took her to Boulder County Public Health where she managed the Longmont WIC clinic for seven years. This remarkable experience opened her world to systems change which led to her work as the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Unit Supervisor in the Prevention Services Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In that role, Kelly worked with statewide partners to increase reimbursement for and access to evidence-based chronic disease prevention and management programs.

Kelly is a 2014 graduate of the Advanced Leadership Training Program, and she credits her RIHEL project with furthering her work to better coordinate communication between public health and Medicaid. This led to her current position as a Public Health Consultant with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors where she manages a project to establish Medicaid reimbursement for the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

Carmen Rosa Martin

Kaiser Permanente
Term ends: 12-31-20

Carmen Martin received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Colorado State University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude in 1995. In 2000, she completed her master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in public policy and health care law from the University of Denver. Carmen worked in a variety of public health settings, including the Tri-County Health Department, before embarking her career at Kaiser Permanente. You likely know about Carmen’s work in public health as a champion for healthy food access for vulnerable populations.

Carmen leads the food insecurity work for the KP Colorado region, in addition to managing all the school district grants for KP.

Allison Majure

Director of Communications
New Mexico Environment Department
Term ends: 12-31-19

Allison wears many hats within the communications, professional writing and consulting arena. She is a strategic marketing and communications leader with over 10 years of experience developing rewarding relationships with media, business-to-business and business-to-consumer for private and public sector organizations.

Currently she holds the position of Communications Director at the New Mexico Environment Department where she conducts international, national, regional and local media relations, reputation management, and crisis response. She serves as the media spokeswoman working directly with the Cabinet Secretary and Governor’s leadership team.

Previously Majure worked for the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities managing media relations, brand repositioning, digital content involving production of traditional print, radio and TV talk shows, interviews, event coverage & ads. She coordinated special events to enhance reputation for innovation and drive customer engagement through community forums and festivals.

As a founder of Just Write Consulting, Majure provided business consulting services including proposal preparations, product marketing services, strategic research, media relations, and professional writing. She also launched weekly investigative news reporting focusing on the local economic development and politics.

Majure earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and multiple certificates from FEMA Emergency Management Institute at Emmitsburg including NIMS Certification, Advanced Public Information Officer, and National Incident Management System.

L. Charolette (Charlie) Lippolis

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
LCL Wellness, LLC
Term ends: 12-31-19

Dr. Lippolis is board certified in both general and child & adolescent psychiatry and is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). She holds a master’s degree in public health, in addition to completing fellowship in public psychiatry through the APA. She previously served as the medical director of the Psychiatric Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Colorado and later as the medical director for Jefferson Hills, a mental health system providing inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, day treatment and long-term residential levels of care to children and adolescents. More recently, her system work involved virtual integrated health innovation. She worked with Colorado Medicaid programs to develop and pilot services in primary care clinics in which a child psychiatrist provided direct clinical care and pediatric case consultation via telemedicine to primary care providers and their patients in the medical home.

She currently practices as a child and adolescent psychiatrist seeing patients in person or via telemedicine in her private practice. She also works for Colorado’s Medicaid program as an expert consultant to help physicians, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants throughout the state more appropriately prescribe psychotropic medications to children by providing specialized case consultation. Her interest in telehealth, consultation and integrated health programs come out of a larger mission to increase access to care and improve psychiatric treatment for kids and their families on a larger scale. She is a strong advocate for system change in foster care and has been an active volunteer with Camp To Belong, a non-profit organization that reunites siblings separated by foster care, since 1998.

Dr. Lippolis is a member of the Colorado Psychiatric Society’s Executive Council and legislative committee and is a regional representative to the National APA Assembly. She is a member of the Colorado State Psychotropic Medication Steering Committee for Colorado Youth in the Child Welfare System, as well as the Colorado State Task Force on the Collection and Security of Digital Images of Evidence of Child Abuse or Neglect. Most recently, Dr. Lippolis was appointed by the Governor, to the Colorado Medical Services Board, providing guidance for Medicaid Rule-making in Colorado. She is a RHEL alumni from the second Advanced Physician Leadership Program and is delighted to be able to serve RIHEL’s mission as a board member. She lives in Evergreen with her husband and two dogs and loves to trail run in the mountains in her spare time.

Leigh Caswell

Vice President of Community Health
Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Term ends: 12-31-21

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.

Kamran Azad

Associate, Senior EHS Consultant
Golder Associates Inc.
Term ends: 12-31-18

Mr. Kamran Azad is a RIHEL alumni and an environmental, health and safety compliance specialist and practitioner with over 18 years of experience. Currently he is a practicing EHS consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado and previously he worked in the chemical and manufacturing industries. His technical expertise includes enterprise wide risk assessments and auditing, process safety management, machine safeguarding and injury prevention through design, occupational hazard evaluations, accident investigations, and implementation of formal EHS management systems. He has consulting experience in the oil & gas, chemical manufacturing, automotive, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, electronics, mining and government sectors. Kamran obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Engineering degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado and a Certified Safety Professional. Kamran enjoys being active in the professional community. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and served as the first president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter. In 2015, he was the recipient of the chapter’s first Safety Professional of the Year award. He has also served on the executive board for Junior Achievement, Northern Colorado.

Tracy (Trais) Kliphius

Executive Director
New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee
Term ends: 12-31-18

Trais Kliphuis is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee. The New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee ensures that natural resources and the services they provide that are injured or lost because of contamination are restored for the benefit of the environment and the enjoyment of the New Mexico residents and visitors now and in the future. She is also a trained mediator, facilitator and graduate of the New Mexico Public Servant Leadership Program.

Trais received her B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University. She has and over 15 years of experience in environmental regulation at the New Mexico Environment Department including being the Water Protection Division Director, managing an air permit program at the Air Quality Bureau and managing the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) RCRA permit program at the Hazardous Waste Bureau.

Trais enjoys working on her public speaking skills in her local Toastmaster club and using her real estate license to help friends find homes. She has a teenage son who is aspiring to be a surgeon. Together they enjoy making art, traveling, hiking and skiing.

Rebecca L. Almon

Rebecca L. AlmonAttorney
Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC
Term ends: 12-31-18

Rebecca L. Almon is an environmental attorney in the Colorado law firm, Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC.  A shareholder and director, Ms. Almon leads the firm’s Environmental Practice Group.  In her law practice, she represents both public and private entities across the country in all aspects of environmental regulation, including federal, state and local permitting; compliance; enforcement matters; water quality and wetlands protection; and environmental aspects of real estate and corporate transactions.

Ms. Almon advises clients with respect to remediation and mitigation pursuant to CERCLA, Brownfields development and state voluntary clean-up programs; compliance with the Colorado Department of Labor’s Oil and Public Safety regulations; as well as transportation, storage and disposal issues relating to RCRA.  She has represented clients in a variety of industries, including one of the largest paint manufacturers in North America, as well as one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in the U.S.  She regularly advises local businesses, governmental entities, banks, landowners and developers on environmental corporate compliance, due diligence and sustainability issues, providing guidance on various matters relating to corporate mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and indemnification agreements.  Further she negotiates application for and implementation of NEPA compliance documents on behalf of both client applicants and project opponents.  She has represented a governmental entity relating to its environmental and land use issues involving NEPA compliance with one of the state’s largest highway transportation projects; represented a client on NEPA issues surrounding one of Colorado’s largest transmission projects; and has represented several clients with NEPA compliance issues at proposed ski resort projects throughout Colorado.