Albuquerque Business First
Posted: Jul
By Sal Christ

How Sandoval County’s business community can thread together health, education and workforce development initiatives to strengthen the economy in Rio Rancho was the conversation du jour at NAIOP-New Mexico’s Rio Rancho Roundtable meeting Thursday.

Held at the Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, the meeting served as the formal introduction to the Sandoval County Health Collaborative — an initiative co-chaired by Jamie Silva-Steele, president and CEO of UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, and Angela Ward, interim campus administrator at Presbyterian Rust.

Joining in the conversation were officials from Central New Mexico Community College, UNM West and the Sandoval Economic Alliance. Much of the discussion revolved around how each stakeholder in the collaborative could help increase health and wellness literacy, improve eduction and contribute to the job market. Three initiatives being leveraged to reach the goal include providing telehealth services for intensive care patients at Presbyterian; non-credit-producing education at UNM West; and using the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants received by 11 state community colleges.

“It’s not a top-down initiative. We didn’t come into it thinking we had all of the answers. There’s been a lot of research done to make sure that the path we go down with each of these three initiatives within the collaborative are the right way direction to go,” said Ward.

The notion of building a collaborative began last year between Silva-Steele and the SCHC’s program manager, Richard Draper. The SCHC joins stakeholders from both hospital systems, Lovelace Health System, the city of Rio Rancho and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

“When we came together with this idea of how can we leverage this $500 million [SCHC investment], it was ‘How can we maximize it to its full potential and really think about getting our businesses moving again? How can we get the entire community moving again?’ This is what we want to do,” said Silva-Steele.

The intended outcome of the collaborative is both higher quality health care and health literacy, as well as increased economic development in a variety of sectors throughout the county.

Click here for the original article in Albuquerque Business First.

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