Campus: University of Northern Colorado | Class of 2007
Employer: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Improving Colorado’s public health plan
Public health begins with a plan. Without a plan gaps in community health go unnoticed, standards are broken and partnerships dissipate. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Office of Planning and Partnerships is working to create and strengthen that plan, a Statewide Public Health Improvement Plan; but it cannot without public health planners and collaboration with key stakeholders.
“Public Health is an organized effort to improve the community's health,” Corrina explains. That organized effort to strengthen the plan begins with her role at CDPHE.
Since February 2009, alumna Corrina Lucero, a CDPHE public health planner, has been working closely with the Public Health Act through communicating processes and opportunities to stakeholders regarding the statewide public health improvement plan. The Public Health Reauthorization Act requires identified boards, agencies, and public officials to collaboratively develop state and local public health plans that set priorities for the public health system in Colorado. The primary purpose of the Act is to assure that core public health services are available to every person in Colorado with a consistent standard of quality.
“Working on the Public Health Act has helped me understand the history of public health in Colorado, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of how it will look in the future,” says Corrina.
Like many, Corrina did not start her career knowing that public health was the place for her. She was first introduced to public health at Colorado State University Pueblo in an introduction to health class. After one class, she changed her undergraduate degree to health promotion and her career in public health took off from there, she says.
With a solid education in public health and working knowledge of community-based organizations, Corrina professional skills are continuing to grow. In 2007, Corrina graduated from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Northern Colorado with a MPH in Community Health Education and a handful of professional experiences needed to jumpstart her career.
“The most valuable tools I gained from my graduate program was exposure to the "real public health world" through guest speakers and hands-on experience at the Department of Public Health,” she says. She was impressed by the required field contact hours in many of her classes that helped her engage with community based organizations and network with public health professionals.
“The best advice for students I have is to build a network of public health professionals,” she explains. “This is so valuable for your future. Those relationships can be developed with classmates, co-workers, professors, organizations or associations.”
During her graduate studies Corrina also worked as a counselor with the Colorado Quit line at National Jewish Health. Upon graduation she was hired by the Office of Health Disparities within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment where she worked as a contract monitor and program coordinator, a position she held prior to her position with the Office of Planning and Partnerships.
“Public health has so much to offer! It can be challenging to find your niche but there's a place and need for a wide range of skills and great opportunities to experience a variety of areas.”