Dr. Stacey Cox brings health equity to nonprofit’s forefront

Thursday, September 29, 2022; Silver City, NM: After conducting a nationwide search for a new chief executive officer, the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Stacey Cox to the position.

“I’m incredibly excited to have Dr. Cox joining the CHI team,” said CHI founder Charlie Alfero. “Her breadth and depth of experience in nonprofit and grants management, health and rural issues in a broader health context including economic impact of social supports and frontier policy, will be invaluable to the organization moving forward. We are extremely fortunate to have her.”

Cox has over two decades of experience in leading nonprofits. Most recently Cox was Executive Director of theNational Center for Frontier Communities, a nonprofit that champions the most remote and hard-to-reach regions of the nation.

“The position taught me more about the inequities and challenges faced by rural communities which directly impact the people who live there,” Cox said. “I want to bring that experience in health equity work to CHI.”

With one in three New Mexicans living in rural areas, Cox’s experience with remote communities will be invaluable to CHI, which is one of only two designated public health institutes in the state – the other is the University of New Mexico’s Center for Native American Health (CNAH).

New Mexico ranks 37th in the nation for health outcomes on the most recent America’s Health Rankings Annual Report by United Health Foundation.

“I want to take a step back to look at individual health from a policy perspective,” Cox said, who was attracted to CHI so she could put her doctoral research from Saybrook University in Pasadena, Calif, on resiliency and recovery from trauma into action.

“I’m very interested in social determinants of health and how they play into individual health outcomes, and CHI has a full spectrum of programs engaging in public health efforts,” Cox noted. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, social determinants of health conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

“How do we work on embedding social determinants into health so New Mexicans can better take care of ourselves and each other from a systemic perspective and an individual perspective? That is the question I want to answer,” Cox said.

With a wide range of programs from health care workforce development to health care professional education to substance use prevention, CHI diverse public health efforts will give Cox the career opportunity of a lifetime to transform the state, along with its residents’ lives.

“I’m honored to take an organization with such a great reputation and step into the shoes of leaders before me like Charlie,” Cox added. “I’m excited to take CHI forward, and we can be a place where interesting ideas come together and become a thinktank for health-related ideas in New Mexico.”

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