Public Health Champions

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, our agency has taken on many new duties, from hiring countless contract tracers to help us track the virus and limit its spread, to setting up clinics to make it easier for citizens get their vaccines. While Public Health has led these response efforts, we have not done it alone. Other county agencies, community organizations, partners, and individuals have been the key to making our efforts successful.

The Public Health Champion Awards, presented at El Paso County Board of Health meetings, are intended to honor some of these heroic people and agencies. We also want to thank every El Paso County resident who has helped us work to end the pandemic and heal our community. Thank you, El Paso County!

— MARCH 2022 —

Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management

As a dedicated partner, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPROEM) has provided invaluable support to El Paso County Public Health and other agencies in the region during the past two years of COVID-19 pandemic response. Our region utilized an innovative approach to pandemic response in forming a unified command structure between EPCPH and PPROEM. This unified model is not typical, and it has served El Paso County well in COVID-19 response. Pairing the tactical and operational emergency management principles of PPROEM with the subject matter expertise and technical knowledge of public health has led to increased ability to respond to the evolving needs of the pandemic. The partnership and support from PPROEM were critical in mounting and sustaining a strong local response. 

Since the start of the unified command structure in 2020, they have provided support across the county in numerous areas, which is especially notable with this being the first major response as a unified regional office of emergency management. PPROEM provided critical support for: 

  • Provided staffing for critical roles within the Emergency Coordination Center structure  
  • Mobilization of testing and vaccination sites, including ongoing support from the Hazmat team  
  • Setting up and operationalizing the homeless isolation center 
  • Helping set up the mass vaccination site at the Broadmoor World Arena 
  • Staff support for the regional Joint Information Center  
  • Supporting financial reconciliation with federal grants 
  • Securing and distributing critical personal protective equipment 
  • Volunteer and staffing coordination for vaccine points of dispensing with the Community Emergency Response Team 
  • Centralized scheduling for seniors early in the vaccine distribution 
  • Coordination of scheduling for Operation House Call for homebound individuals 
  • Resiliency support for weekends and after hours to give staff reprieve from having to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week 

PPROEM has done this work while also balancing the other emergency needs of the county in the last two years, like multiple wildfires and weather events, and maintaining the county’s readiness for future events. 

Sgt. Steve Brown is pictured with the Board of Health, El Paso County Public Health administration, and his Public Health Champions Award.
Sgt. Steve Brown is honored.

— JANUARY 2022 —

Sgt. Steve Brown

Sgt. Brown began working at the Citizens Service Center in March of 2018 and was charged with supervising the county’s security officers. Sgt. Brown has more than 23 years of service with EPSO including previous experience as a patrol sergeant as well as specialized training and experience as a crisis negotiator. A dedicated public servant, Sgt. Brown’s been a tremendous asset to Public Health, from helping us assess our security needs, ensuring an officer was always present in our lobby for staff and client safety, training staff on how to respond during critical incidents, providing support to our staff who were going to work with clients who may be upset, planning and coordinating additional security for Board of Health meetings, and going out of his way to help with the COVID response. As our COVID-19 response needs exceed typically operating hours, Sgt. Brown has always been responsive to Public Health, no matter the issue.  Sgt. Brown has also provided expert assistance and support to Public Health’s satellite locations, working to ensure the safety and security of staff and clients. Thank you, Sgt. Brown!

— OCTOBER 2021 —

Leticia "Leti" Aranda

Photo of Leticia "Leti" Aranda with Susan Wheelan and the Board of Health.
Leticia "Leti" Aranda pictured with the Public Health Champions Award.

We are recognizing Leti Aranda for her willingness to volunteer at many of the points of dispensing (PODs) we held at our south building. Leti first started as a promotora, working with partners in our southeastern El Paso County community, to hold an equity POD that was designed specifically for our Spanish-speaking community members. She saw the need to continue to support our PODs by providing bilingual services. We even tried to have Leti register with Goodwill Staffing, a staffing agency who was supplying many of our POD support staff, so we could pay her for her time, but she declined. Her support in our vaccination efforts and to the entire community is very much appreciated, and she is a true public health champion.

— JUNE 2021 —

Photo shows: Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago is presented with her Public Health Heroes Award.
Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago is presented with her Public Health Champions Award.

Lori Seago, El Paso County Attorney’s Office

Senior Assistant County Attorney Lori Seago has served as Public Health’s representative from the County Attorney’s Office for more than six years. She has represented Public Health in matters related to the Board of Health, as well as rabies and other communicable disease outbreaks, and the purchase of a new building.  Lori has also been instrumental in helping Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing countless late-night and weekend hours to help interpret public health orders and guidance. 

Thank you, Lori, for your tireless service to our agency.

Photo shows: El Paso County Attorney Diana May is presented with her Public Health Heroes Award.
El Paso County Attorney Diana May is presented with her Public Health Champions Award.

El Paso County Attorney Diana May

El Paso County Attorney Diana May has given generously of her time to help Public Health navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She has dedicated endless hours to ensuring Public Health staff are able to provide businesses and residents with the most accurate and up-to-date information about safety protocols, capacity restrictions and other rapidly changing guidelines.

Thank you, Diana, for your leadership.

Photo shows: Emergency Incident Support (EIS) with their Public Health Heroes Award.
Emergency Incident Support (EIS) with their Public Health Champions Award.

Emergency Incident Support (EIS) 

Emergency Incident Support (EIS) is a group of volunteers organized through the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management. EIS supports community organizations responding to disasters or other emergency situations. Most recently, EIS fed all the staff working at 20 COVID-19 vaccine clinics from February 19 to May 14, 2021. During this time, 126 EIS volunteers worked 1,083 hours to serve Public Health and its partner agencies. EIS volunteers always had smiles on their faces as they prepared and personally served homemade lunches to a total of 1,916 clinic workers. The delicious food and hospitality were bright spots for clinic workers, who put in long hours serving our community. Thank you, EIS!  We are extremely grateful for your volunteers’ support.

— MAY 2021 —

Daniel Garcia, Pikes Peak Workforce Center

Photo features Daniel Garcia, PPWFC leadership, Board of Health members, and EPCPH Director Susan Wheelan
Daniel Garcia is honored.

In early summer 2020, El Paso County Public Health vitally needed additional staffing capacity to respond to the pandemic. To facilitate more hiring, Public Health signed an agreement with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWFC) and Goodwill Staffing. PPWFC Job Coach Daniel Garcia was assigned to help Public Health. After just a few conversations, Daniel understood the public health role of Case Investigator and exactly what skills successful candidates would embody. He used a “skills-based” hiring approach to review hundreds of resumes and conduct interviews to assess candidates’ skills and gauge their potential rates of success on the job. Daniel was even able to assess the Spanish-speaking skills of bilingual candidates, a high priority early in the pandemic.

As of May 2021, Daniel has helped identify over 50 people who were hired as Case Investigators for Public Health, plus numerous other hires for the roles of front desk receptionist, data entry and administrative support. In addition to providing excellent candidate assessments and recommendations, Daniel ensured new hires were properly trained and onboarded. Because of the time he spent and his commitment to our agency, Public Health was able to quickly (and continually) build capacity for contact tracing while being able to focus on the pandemic, and not on the intricacies of the hiring process. We are extremely grateful to Daniel — and also to Erica Romero, Daniel’s supervisor, and Traci Marques, Executive Director of PPWFC — for your continued help to our agency.

Brigadier General Scott Sherman, Colorado National Guard

Brigadier General Scott Sherman serves as the Director of Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters, Colorado. In this role, he directly supervises the Joint Staff and is the commander of the standing Joint Task Force-Centennial, responsible for leading the Colorado National Guard’s response to domestic events. As a member of the El Paso County Vaccine Consortium, General Sherman has been instrumental in the County’s successful vaccine campaign to date. In particular, General Sherman was an important advocate for El Paso County receiving its share of the vaccine supply from the state in the early phases of the vaccine campaign (a share that was calculated based on the population and size of the county). He has also played a critical role with the Vaccine Consortium in implementing a "triple-action vaccine plan" focused on utilizing existing health care and pharmacy infrastructure, expanding large-scale clinics and mass vaccination sites, and increasing equitable access to vaccines by moving from low-barrier clinics to no-barrier clinics.

Chief James Maxon, Fountain Fire Department

Photo features Chief James Maxon, the Board of Health and EPCPH Director Susan Wheelan.
Chief James Maxon is honored.

When COVID-19 vaccines became available, El Paso County Public Health began running clinics to ensure the community had access to the vaccines. Fountain Fire Chief James Maxon and his department provided voluntary support to many of our clinics. EMS support is critical to oversee the observation area of a clinic, where those who receive vaccines wait for 15-30 minutes after receiving the shot to ensure they don’t have an adverse reaction or other medical event. Even though Fountain Fire Department was not always fully staffed, Chief Maxon assigned teams to support our clinics, often with little notice, from February 2021 to April 2021, when we were able to contract for the service. We are extremely grateful for Fountain Fire Department's support when we needed it most.