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 » Dream Makers graduates New Mexico’s future health professionals

Dream Makers graduates New Mexico’s future health professionals


Friday, March 31, 2023; Silver City, NM: Cobre High School student Bella Norero dreams of a career in the medical field, so she joined the Dream Makers Health Careers Program – an extra-curricular program designed to introduce students to the wide-array of possible careers available to them in healthcare.

   Last week, Bella graduated from the year-long program along with 41 other Grant County students ­to make their dreams of a future career in healthcare take one-step closer to becoming a reality.

The graduating 2023 Dream Makers Club members completed a year-long exploration of health care careers. (From left to right) (front row) Eraldo Giovanni Arriaga, Yesenia Arriaga, Sheridan Lynch, Phoebe Franzblau, Back row Julian Chaney, and Dakota (Lucy) Montenegro; (back row) Iris Cottingham, Roma Subedi, Kalia Cabrera, Jocelyn Abril, Sofia Lira, Jayden Flores, back row Aidan Quintana, Bella Norero, Alyssa Verdugo, and Keana Huerta.
Not pictured: Joshua Estrada, Mariah Granadino, Inocencia Casaus, Makayla Anaya, Matthew Chavez, Micaela Roacho, Davasia Sifuentes, Nikolas Trujillo, Nicolas Bobo, Xavier Castillo, Brianna Clark, Caren Dietz, Xolymar Granco, Kaelyn Housley, Adin Laney, Sofia Lira-Diaz, Mari Madrid, Adri Mondello, Mateo Montoya, Alina Ortiz, Alissa Rios, Jessie Rogers, Celeste Romero, Luis Tagle, Iliana Smolik, Neela Vasquez, and Joshua Villegas.

      “I’m thinking of becoming a physician’s assistant,” Bella said during the graduation ceremony held last Monday in the Western New Mexico University’s historic Graham Gym. “The club was a good opportunity to be introduced to the field. My favorite part was talking to the doctors and learning about the diversity of medical specialties.”

   Along the Dream Makers’ way to graduating, the teens learned about ethical treatment of animals at the High Desert Humane Society, stitched up wounds with a Silver High School’s teacher Anne McMillian, climbed into a cabin of a Native Air medical helicopter with a piolet, and cast a broken bone with Southwest Bone and Joint Institute’s radiologist technician Evelyn Vasquez.

   Bella’s mother, Mary Lou Norero saw the club as a prospect to further Bella’s options in life. “It’s a chance for her to learn what’s out there in health care and hear from experienced professionals in a program tailored to a small group of students, real one-on-one time. This is not an opportunity we have often in a small town.”

   Alyssa Danielle Verdugo recognized the opportunity when she heard about the club. “I saw the club as a chance to broaden my ideas about health care. We learned CPR and visited with fighter fighters on ways to stay safe in our homes.”  She plans to enroll in dual-enrolment classes in psychology during her senior year of high school.

   The Frontier and Rural Workforce Development New Mexico Area Health Education Center (FORWARD NM AHEC) coordinates the club at Aldo Leopold Charter School, Cobre High School, and Silver High School. Part of a national network of educational centers, FORWARD NM AHEC works to spark interest in the field of health care in Southwest New Mexico.

   University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Health Sciences Center Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion developed The Dream Makers Health Careers program and partners with community sponsors – like FORWARD NM AHEC – to offer the program to students throughout the state.

   “Each Dream Makers is specific to their local opportunities making them uniquely their own,” said UNM Dream Makers program manager, Stacy Collier. “We are grateful to the teachers and professionals who share their expertise with the students about the benefits of a career in health care.”

   To the graduates, Collier extolled the vast number of jobs available for future physicians and nurses in New Mexico. In the years to come the state will need another 2,118 physicians and over 6,000 nurses, according to an analysis conducted by the Rio Grande Foundation of the New Mexico Health Care Workforce Committee 2022 Annual Report.

  With the tuition-free college available at New Mexico’s public universities, these recent Dream Makers have new options to further their education in the medical field.   

    Aldo Leopold Charter School’s Roma Subedi plans to be one of the future doctors to emerge from the Dream Makers. “Since I was little, I always wanted to be a cancer doctor – an oncologist,” Subedi said. “I want to help, if not cure cancer, the people who have it.”

  Those big dreams many rural students share with Subedi can be a reality with programs like Dream Makers – health care workforce development pipeline program that helps people navigate the intricacies of pursuing such advanced degrees which can take years of study and internships.

   The program also connects with regional colleges and clinics to foster students’ success by offering internships and opportunities like UNM’s baccalaureate degree program that fast-tracks students into their School of Medicine to become a medical doctor. The UNM BA/MD Degree Program goes one step further prioritizing spots for rural New Mexico students – like these Dream Makers.

  Though they celebrated their graduation, these Dream Makers have more to look forward to including a trip to Albuquerque for the UNM Health Professions Symposium and a tour the campus while there.

  Aldo Leopold Charter School Dream Makers graduates include Julian Chaney, Sheridan Lynch, Ino Casaus, Iris Cottingham, Phoebe Franzblau, Roma Subedi, Josh Estrada, Lucy Montenegro, and Makiah Granadino.

   Cobre Consolidated School District’s Dream Makers Club graduates include Aidan Quintana, Micaela Roacho, Davasia  Sifuentes, Keana Huerta, Leilani Marquez, Bella Norero, Makayla Anaya, and Matthew Chavez.

   Graduates from the Silver High School’s Dream Makers are Iliana Smolik, Joelle Valles, Mateo Montoya, Adin Laney, Adri Mondello, Alina Ortiz, Alissa Rios, Alyssa Verdugo, Brianna Clark, Caren Dietz, Celeste Romero, Giovanne Arriaga, Jayden Flores, Joelle Valles, Josh Villegas, Kaelyn Housley, Kalia Cabrera, Luis Tagle, Marisela Madrid, Neela Vasquez, Nicolas Bobo, Sofia Lira, Xavier Castillo, and Yesenia Arriaga.

   For more information on the Dream Makers Clubs contact Tayler Lopez at (575) 597-0040 or email