Author Archive

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.

Breaking News! NEW Leadership Program

Primary Care Movers and Changers (PCMAC)

In 2018 RIHEL will launch PCMAC with a long list of primary health care partners. Check back with us in December for details.

This comprehensive leadership development program is for licensed health care providers who want to improve the delivery of primary care in their communities. It is designed for safety net providers in urban and suburban areas of Colorado, and the costs of training and travel are fully subsidized. Participants in the Colorado Health Service Corp can earn additional loan repayment funds for successfully completing the program.

RIHEL Open House

This event has already occurred. Thank you to all who were able to join us!

Have you heard? RIHEL has a new home, only a few blocks from our previous office. We occupy a cozy converted 1954 bungalow, now office space, and it already feels like home.

Please join us at our Open House Celebration

Wednesday November 29th

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.

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

Senior Community Health Specialist
Arts Integrated Resources
Term ends: 12-31-18

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 recently transitioned to the Arts Integrated Resources department as a Senior Community Health Specialist. This position is the first of its kind among all the Kaiser Permanente regions. Her hope is to establish a foundation in integrating the arts with public health and generate further interest in exploring that intersection. As a Senior Community Health Specialist, Carmen is involved in grounding the Arts Integrated Resources programs with strong evidence-based content and methodologies. Carmen continues to play a role in Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit philanthropic investments team.

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

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

Leigh Caswell is the Director of the Center for Community Health at Presbyterian Healthcare Services (PHS). In this position, Leigh supports the PHS community health priorities of healthy eating, active living, and prevention of unhealthy substance use; this includes partnering with community to develop community health needs assessments and implementation plans for eight hospitals. Previously, Leigh managed the UNM Health Sciences Center Vision 2020 – “partnering with communities to improve health and health equity” and was the Coordinator of the Bernalillo County Community Health Council where she supported community-based health assessment and planning. Leigh is adjunct faculty at the University of New Mexico EMS Academy where she has helped to build and teach their Community Paramedic curriculum.

Leigh has a B.S. in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of New Mexico (UNM). She has served on several community Boards including Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, is the Chair of the Bernalillo County Community Health Council, is past President of the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council, and past President and current Policy Co-Chair of the New Mexico Public Health Association.

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.

Connie Sorell

RIHEL – Program Coordinator

jen stachelskiConnie Sorell is the Program Coordinator for the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL). After completing a successful corporate career, she has turned her attention to serving her community and pursuing a second calling in non-profit development. Some of her expertise includes fundraising, community outreach, and data management. A long time Colorado resident, she is an avid gardener and lover of books.
Contact Me
Give me a call at 303-871-4252 or send me a message through the contact form below.

Jen Stachelski, MPH

RIHEL – Senior Program Manager, Advanced Leadership Training Program and Primary Care Movers and Changers

jen stachelskiJen Stachelski, MPH, is the Program Manager for the Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP), and the Primary Care Movers and Changers program for the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL).

Jen earned her Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina (1992) in Health Promotion and Education. Jen worked closely with Judy Baxter at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center and the Colorado School of Public Health as the coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC) Workshop for 13 years, as well as providing administrative and management support for other programs and projects at the University.

In addition to the EBHC Workshop, Jen has coordinated teacher training institutes for an environmental education non-profit, been part of the project management team for a large quality improvement project, and most recently has branched out into managing Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs.

Outside of work, Jen volunteers with a Colorado-based breast cancer non-profit, and serves on the planning commission for her town.


Contact Me
Give me a call at 303-871-2097 or send me a message through the contact form below.

Curt Drennen, PsyD, RN

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Healthcare Operations and Response Branch Supervisor; HPP Program Manager, CO BH Disaster Coordinator

image of curt drennenDr. Curt Drennen is a psychologist working for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response as the Health and Safety program manager. Curt has led the Colorado behavioral health response to over 10 events of significance including natural disasters, public health crisis and major community violence. He now leads the Healthcare/Hospital Preparedness Program and the Ebola Preparedness Program. He has in excess of 20 years of experience in the fields of mental health and psychology with an emphasis in Disaster Management and Community Recovery, Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Servant Leadership, and Systems Conflict Management. Curt is also a graduate of the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program Class of 2006.


Armando Herald, CMC

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – Drinking Water Local Assistance Unit Manager

Armando graduated from the RIHEL Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP) in 2010, and believes coaching to be one of the most valuable skills he has ever learned. He completed Certified Master Coach training with the Center for Coaching Certification in 2018 and is working towards his Associate Certified Coach credential with the International Coaching Federation. Armando graduated in 1997 from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. His experience includes environment, health and safety in oil and gas drilling, power transmission and distribution design, telecommunications, air quality, and drinking water. He manages the Safe Drinking Water Local Assistance Unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and coaches privately with his coaching business Mondo Coaching Results. Armando is a very happy husband, father, grandfather and avid outdoorsman.


Franco Marini, MA, CNL

Daniels College of Business, University of Denver – Adjunct Professor

francomariniFranco Marini is president and creator of The NeuroTransology Institute which is dedicated to supporting individuals and organizations in enhancing their success. He is also Affiliated Executive Faculty at the Daniel’s College of Business at the University of Denver where he is involved with several educational experiential projects. He is the owner and director of Peak Empowerment, an organization committed to empowering individuals and organizations through exciting programs, activities and unique group challenges. He also created and operates Global Journeys Inc., a travel-based company providing personal and professional growth through specialized travel offerings.

One of Marini’s strongest attributes is his ability and knowledge of how to empower human development as it impacts the productivity and results of an organization. One of his primary focal points is working with the strengths and contributions of individuals and empowering each participant to effectively communicate and powerfully work with each other in ways that support highly productive and healthy organizations. Franco is also a certified Yoga instructor in the Sampoorna tradition, a ceremonialist, a wellness coach, a massage therapist, a drum-maker, and a consultant.

As director and president of Peak Empowerment for the past fifteen years, Marini has a distinguished record of providing quality training to thousands of individuals. Some of the clients he has worked with include: Phillips Petroleum, McREL, BP, Kaiser Permanente, Novartis, Intermountain Health, Colgate Palmolive, F.M.I., Daniels College of Business, the U.S. Air Force and Army, DeVry University, BNP Paribas, South Pole Expedition Team, Spectrum Health, Rocky Mountain Orthodontists, Castlewood Fire Department, Vital Yoga and others.