GS2 - Unleashing the Power of Policy

Wednesday, July 11
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Carondelet/Bissonet

Policy is one of the most powerful tools to improve people’s lives, and local health departments (LHD) are often incubators for innovative and effective local policy initiatives. Indeed, policy is an invaluable asset for LHDs who aim to unleash the power of public health.

In this plenary, presenters will describe their efforts to adopt evidence-based policies endorsed by the CityHealth initiative. An initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, CityHealth aims to promote evidence-based policies that provide an equal opportunity for all city residents to live the healthiest lives possible. CityHealth fundamentally believes in the power and role of the health department as the Chief Health Strategist, and is actively supporting local leaders who are embracing this approach. While CityHealth focuses on the 40 largest cities in the US, the HEAL Cities Campaign provides resources and support to small and medium sized cities who are utilizing the power of policy to address healthy eating and active living in their communities.

Drawing upon their experience as local public health leaders and city leaders, presenters will identify the process by which they are employing evidence-based policy in order to address health equity and reduce disparities. Using specific local examples from Kansas City, MO, San Antonio, TX and El Monte, CA, presenters will outline the steps they have taken to educate local leaders and champion policies that address the social determinants of health. Specific policies to be discussed include Tobacco 21, Complete Streets, accessing health food, land use, and high quality, universal pre-kindergarten.

Presenters will conclude the session by providing resources, tips, and strategies for local leaders and advocates to use who are interested in pursuing evidence-based policy changes at the municipal level.

Colleen Bridger, MPP

Health Director
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

Colleen Bridger was named director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District in March 2017. Dr. Bridger is responsible for implementing policies aimed at improving the health of the population in San Antonio and Bexar County and managing nearly two dozen programs, including WIC, vector control, air quality, STD/HIV prevention and Tuberculosis control and prevention. She has oversight of a $44,000,000 budget and a staff of nearly 400 public health professionals.
Prior to joining Metro Health, Dr. Bridger was director of the Stokes County (1997-2002), Gaston County (2002 – 2010) and Orange County (2011 – 2017) Health Departments in North Carolina. As Health Director, she tackled tough issues like poverty, transportation and access to care and exceeded community goals for reductions in teen pregnancy and infant mortality rates. Under her leadership, the Health Departments won numerous awards including multiple Ralph Ketner awards for Innovation in Government, and multiple GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition awards.
Prior to becoming a local health director she worked as a social worker for Spanish-only speaking pregnant women and as a health systems researcher for the state of North Carolina and international development organizations.
A nationally recognized speaker, trainer and innovations expert, Dr. Bridger has over 20 years of experience in community development and improvement.


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Andre Quintero

El Monte, CA

Mayor Quintero was elected Mayor of the City of El Monte in November 2009 for a two-year term.

Andre Quintero was elected to serve his hometown as Mayor of El Monte on November 3, 2009 with 67.54% of the vote. He previously served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the Rio Hondo Community College District.

During his term on the Board, he fought against student fee increases and worked to make Rio Hondo College a larger part of the community. Quintero supported holding Board of Trustee meetings in locations throughout the cities served by Rio Hondo College. He has also been an advocate for student outreach programs that encourage students to enroll in college after high school graduation. He is especially proud of the College’s efforts to aggressively pursue grants for outreach programs.

Quintero also advocated for the creation of higher paying jobs for the local workforce. During Quintero’s tenure, the Board of Trustees adopted a Project Labor Agreement to provide a skilled workforce for construction projects during the college’s modernization and expansion program. The Board also approved sustainable building design standards so that the construction is friendly to the environment.

Quintero currently works for the City Attorney of Los Angeles as a Deputy City Attorney in the Criminal Branch as the Neighborhood Prosecutor for the Central Bureau. He previously worked in a law firm that specialized in municipal and education law. He also worked as an Applicant’s Attorney representing injured workers.

During law school at UCLA, Quintero was selected to participate in the California Senate Fellows Program. During his year in Sacramento, Quintero worked on veteran and senior issues for Senator Joe Dunn. He was a key staff person to the Senator on legislation that resulted in a $50 million bond act to build group and retirement homes for veterans.

A graduate of the University of California Riverside, Quintero received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While at U.C. Riverside, he served as Student Body President for one year and also served as President of the statewide U.C. Student Association representing more than 160,000 students at California’s nine U.C. campuses. Quintero fought against increased college fees proposed by Governor Wilson and has continued to fight fee increases during both Governor Davis’ and Governor Schwarzenegger’s terms in office.

Quintero grew up and attended schools in El Monte, Monterey Park and Rosemead. He is the eldest son of immigrant parents Gustavo and Marlene Quintero. He is married to Deborah Murguia and father to Emma Olivia Quintero.


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Sarah Martin, PhD, MPP, MPH

Deputy Director
City of Kansas City, MO Health Department

Dr. Sarah Martin is a Deputy Director at the City of Kansas City, MO Health Department where she manages Government Relations, Communications, Marketing, Policy, Performance Management and Analytics. Dr. Martin is also an adjunct professor of Health Services Research at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Dr. Martin received her PhD in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She also received a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Public Health degree from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Art History from California State University. Prior to relocating to Kansas City, Dr. Martin was part of a research collaborative focusing on the health outcomes of extremely premature infants in an urban Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was also a policy analyst at the Alameda County Department of Public Health in Oakland, CA and a Communications specialist for political campaigns in California.


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Bechara Choucair, MD

SVP & Chief Community Health Officer
Kaiser Permanente

Bechara Choucair, MD, is senior vice president and chief community health officer at Kaiser Permanente. He oversees the organization’s national community health efforts and philanthropic giving activities aimed at improving the health of its 12.2 million members and the 68 million people within the communities it serves. Prior to joining KP, Dr. Choucair was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health for five years before serving as senior vice president, Safety Net Transformation and Community Health at Trinity Health. In 2018, Dr. Choucair was named #10 on Modern Healthcare’s list of the 50 Most Influential Health Executives in the U.S.


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Catherine Patterson, MPP

Senior Program Officer
de Beaumont Foundation

Catherine Patterson, MPP, joined the de Beaumont Foundation as a Program Officer in April 2014. In this capacity, Patterson is responsible for the administration and management of the Foundation’s grant portfolio. In June of 2015, Patterson helped launch the BUILD Health Challenge, a funding collaborative that leverages the funding dollars and support services of a dozen organizations. BUILD offers over $8 million in funds in order to stimulate and support innovative partnerships between hospitals, public health, and communities to improve opportunities for health across the United States.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Patterson worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts. As a part of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, Patterson led efforts in several states to help expand access to preventive oral health services, such as dental sealants and fluoridated water. While at Pew, Patterson led a successful campaign to secure a regulatory change that expanded access to fluoridated water for over 4 million people. Prior to working at Pew, Patterson taught preschool for five years, leading classrooms for both Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Patterson holds a bachelors degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a master of public policy from the University of Maryland.


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GS2 - Unleashing the Power of Policy

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