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Home » Uncategorized » Center for Health Innovation appoints new director

Center for Health Innovation appoints new director


Monday, May 18, 2020; Las Cruces, NM: After conducting a national search, the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) has named Joy Gomez as the new Director of Prevention and Community Collaborations.

Joy Gomez

CHI Chief Executive Officer Susan Wilger said of Gomez’s appointment, “We are very excited to have Joy join the CHI team. As a lifelong resident of southern New Mexico, she understands the culture, assets and challenges of the state. Joy’s passion for strengthening families and communities, and her extensive experience in human services and management is perfect fit for the director’s role.”

The new appointment places Gomez at the helm of substance abuse prevention efforts in four counties across New Mexico. She will aid in navigating locally-lead coalitions’ work on environmental policy changes to decrease youth substance misuse and abuse in Cibola, Doña Ana, Grant and Luna Counties. 

“Every county is different and has its strengths and barriers, but all are working towards the one unified goal of decreasing substance abuse in their communities,” Gomez acknowledges.

The four community coalitions Gomez will be aiding are the Cibola County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Luna County Health Council’s Coalition Against Teen Substances, the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County and the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Grant County.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Gomez has spent a majority of her professional career serving the greater area of Doña Ana and El Paso Counties. 

“All my life I’ve worked with community in this region,” Gomez said.

Gomez received her bachelor’s degree in human services then pursued a master’s degree in Family, Marriage and Child Therapy from the University of Phoenix.

Gomez has worked in behavioral health, substance abuse, child welfare and healthcare fields. She has engaged with diverse populations throughout the region including families, children in underserved areas, and incarcerated adults and youth. This experience has given her first-hand knowledge of the greater toll substance abuse has taken on New Mexico families.

“It’s vital to have prevention program in New Mexico counties. After working in Doña Ana County for several years I have seen impact on substance abuse has on our youth and the positive success preventive measures have had on the lives of our youth,” Gomez notes.

Gomez plans “to push the envelope on opening up our coalitions’ ability to continue their prevention efforts and expand opioid prevention and increase funding to address other substances like methamphetamines and heroin which are effecting our communities.”

Gomez also plans to include behavioral health components into the work of the coalitions supported by CHI. “We need to be inclusive and expansive, working with as many sectors of the community we can for greater success. I also want to make people aware of what CHI does for their communities.”

As New Mexico’s designated Public Health Institute, CHI focuses on bettering community health in underserved and underrepresented populations in the state and beyond. The nonprofit’s diverse array of programing spans from substance abuse prevention to health professional education to expanding the health care workforce.

Gomez will be working closely with the Unified Prevention Coalition Doña Ana County’s grant from Drug-Free Community Support Program to address youth substance misuse including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco and alcohol.

“It’s been a bumpy start as I began during the self-isolation, so I’ve only interacted with staff online and over the phone.  I’m looking forward to the future when I can meet my coworkers in person,” Gomez said.

For more information contact CONATCT at (575) 597-0042 or email:

This news release is made available by the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation.