Back Trainings


We offer a broad range of trainings that support the long-term behavioral health and wellbeing of all New Mexicans. Together we can make things better.
Back Research & Publications

Research & Publications

Back Advocacy


Back About CHI-PHI


As New Mexico's public health institute we believe in – and deeply value – the power of community in creating wellbeing, resilience, diversity, inclusivity and equity. About CHI-PHI
Back Partner with us

Partner with us

Home » Uncategorized » Chris Hudson honored as 2019 CHI Rural Health Star

Chris Hudson honored as 2019 CHI Rural Health Star

CHI’s Rural Health Star Chris Hudson (pictured far right) with members of the Navajo Nation holding “We Take Care Of the Generations To Come” campaign from Strong Families.

Thursday, November 21, 2019; Gallup, NM: On the third Thursday of November every year, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the member organization for each of the 50 State Offices of Rural Health (SORH), leads National Rural Health Day (NRHD), an annual day of recognition, shining a light on those who serve the vital health needs of the estimated 57 million people living in rural America.

As New Mexico’s Public Health Institute, the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) wants to shine a light on one person of the estimated 700,000 New Mexicans living in rural communities. This individual has dedicated his life to the bettering the health and welfare of his neighbors; thus, earning the distinction and honor of being the 2019 CHI Rural Health Star: Chris Hudson of Gallup.

Hudson’s dedication to rural health started, believe it or not, with a cake.

“I was between jobs and had returned to Gallup to decide what to do next with my life and was selling cakes and sweets, like candy apples, to make ends meet,” said Hudson.

“I loved the sense of purpose and self-determination of having my own business but wanted to do more,” Hudson said.

Needing more work, Hudson was part-time notetaker for the McKinley Community Health Alliance (MCHA) and Strong Families New Mexico, a program of Forward Together.

“As I listened and wrote things down for the meetings, I learned how public health intertwines with every aspect of life,” said Hudson.

“I realized these services and programs were diagnosing my community for decades and treating my community. They were treating the people I was getting to know at my baking business.”  

Hudson’s customers would reveal bits of their lives to him while buying cakes and sweets at his micro-bakery. “Cakes always bring the people,” said Hudson.

“One lady was having the worst day, and she seemed exhausted. While buying a cake from me she revealed she was having that kinda bad day where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Her situation had so many parallels to the public health issues we were facing as a community and I was hearing about at meetings so I referred her to a group to add her voice to the efforts and add to the community network,” Hudson said.

From there, Hudson took more of a leadership role and is now coordinator for MCHA.

“McKinley County is a community where ideals are fixed deeply in family connectedness, tradition and culture. While many inhabitants have experienced native lands and environmental resources stripped away from them, they also have been resilient by connecting pride and family honor to strength and heritage,” said Alisha Herrick who nominated Hudson for the award.

“Chris’s positivity, his willingness to speak his mind in the presence of injustice and his connectedness to his community, make him an ideal candidate for the CHI Community Health Star award. With Chris’s insight, we will be a stronger New Mexico together,” Herrick said.

Hudson is a member of the Navajo Nation and uses his position to “advocate for community voice for legislative issues and to carry their stories to the ears of decision-makers so they know that their policies are affecting real lives.”

 “The way I see public health is we help the community work with what’s being done for them. I see our community doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’. The community can solve our problems with self-determination, and we know how best to care for ourselves and our families.” said Hudson of his philosophy of public health and rural communities.

“Our job in public health is to enrich the community to have more resources so they can successfully address those issues,” Hudson said .

That philosophy and dedication to his rural community is why Hudson is the 2019 CHI Rural Health Star.

For more information contact CHI at (575) 597-0035 or visit: