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Home » Uncategorized » New Mexico Community Data Collaborative welcomes new director

New Mexico Community Data Collaborative welcomes new director

Joan Goldsworthy Appel, MD, is the new director of the Department of Information and Special Projects at the Center for Health Innovation – which administers the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative.

Thursday, September 16, 2021; Silver City, NM: A new director is taking charge at New Mexico Community Data Collaborative (NMCDC), according to the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) – the nonprofit which administers the collaborative’s efforts to map and share public health data throughout the state.

Stepping into the role of director is Joan Goldsworthy Appel, MD, a long-time community health advocate who has been with NMCDC since 2016.

Goldsworthy Appel will lead the newly expanded Department of Information and Special Projects – which includes the Collaborative and other ventures of the nonprofit that serves as New Mexico’s Public Health Institute.

Having moved to New Mexico as a toddler, Goldsworthy Appel has made the state her lifetime home.

“I’ve always loved math since I was little and minored in math at college.  I went into medicine, but I love the intersection between medicine and math, and that’s where I became involved with NMCDC,” Goldsworthy Appel said.

After graduating the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine with a medical doctorate, Goldsworthy Appel joined the NMCDC as one of the analysists who compiles public health data then distils the complex statistics down to an easy-to-comprehend visually representative maps through geographic information systems (GIS). These maps are open sourced for public use so community members can utilize the maps for informed decision-making.

Over 100 of the available maps on the NMCDC website were created by Goldsworthy Appel.

“I’ve been working for NMCDC consistently longer than anyone else still with us. I used to sit for hours and listen to the founder Tom Scharmen, talk about his goals and vision for the Collaborative,” Goldsworthy Appel said.  Scharmen unexpectedly passed away last year after the Collaborative moved under the auspice of CHI.

“I want to make Tom’s dream come alive. It’s noble to have free access to data that is supposed to be public. We want to bring data to people and empower them, and it’s important this work continues,” Goldsworthy Appel added.

Special projects the department will be managing include a Rural Health Network Development Planning Program grant of $100,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of a $1.9 million effort to development an integrated health care network, specifically network participants who do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts.

The planning grant pilots in four counties in New Mexico to explore how behavioral health services, with the support of municipal and county governments, can band together to better meet residents’ behavioral health needs. The counties in the initial planning phase include Grant, Luna, Rio Arriba, and Sierra.

Also, the department is working with county and tribal health councils to create easy to monitor dashboards so progress on impacting health indicators can be better tracked with the New Mexico Department of Health as part of a multi-million-dollar effort.

“What an opportunity it is to have Joan in this position,” remarked Holley Hudgins, CHI executive director. “With someone of her caliber and passion, we will most certainly succeed in bringing empowering data to policy makers and communities.”

Goldsworthy Appel is pleased to be continuing on with CHI. “It’s a great nonprofit and a very supportive staff. When you see what the organization is doing, and dedicated and passionate people here, that’s why CHI gets so much done.”

For more information contact Goldsworthy Appel at (575) 597-0347 or or visit: