Come hear from a panel of public health professionals about approaches to vaccine equity in Nevada. Join us Monday, October 18 at 3pm on Zoom to learn more!
Meet the Moderator
José Melendrez | University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Jose Meledrez, executive director for the office of Community Partnerships in the School of Public Health, is responsible for coordinating and building partnerships that support student and faculty initiatives. He works with community-based organizations and public health agencies to support internships, research and educational programming. Melendrez coordinates recruitment strategies to increase the diversity of students in the School of Public Health. Melendrez is a founding member and chair for the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition.
Melendrez has in-depth experience in diversity, equity, and multicultural programming, community organizing, and use of community-based participatory research. He is also experienced in social justice education and advocacy as it pertains to equity initiatives for diverse populations.
Meet the Panelists
Erika Marquez | University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dr. Erika Marquez is an Assistant Professor at UNLV School of Public Health and Co-Director of Health Equity Research for the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition. Her research focus is on examining environmental factors that contribute to health disparities. She is dedicated to translational research that can inform system-level changes to reduce inequities.
She oversees the implementation of the OneCommunity Campaign focused on conducting education and outreach to vulnerable communities in Nevada, hardest hit by COVID-19. In addition, Dr. Marquez, Co-Chairs the Nevada Vaccine Equity Collaborative to help ensure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. She is passionate about using data and research to inform programs, policies, and practices, as well as to advance the field of public health.
Samantha Smith | Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy
Samantha Smith is a Research Analyst for the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy, which is housed in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Public Health. She currently coordinates the #OneCommunity initiative for the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition, which focuses on COVID-19 education and outreach to underserved and underrepresented communities in Nevada. Smith also co-leads, coordinates, and facilitates the Nevada Vaccine Equity Collaborative alongside Immunize Nevada. For both initiatives, she collaborates closely with various community organizations to create culturally engaged educational materials and to promote vaccine equity. Additionally, she assists the prioritization of vaccine-related efforts by preparing, analyzing, and presenting bivariate choropleth maps that compare social vulnerability index and complete COVID-19 vaccine coverage by Zip Code Tabulation Area in Nevada. Smith is passionate about developing and promoting preventative health measures to address social determinants of health and to eliminate health disparities.
Alisa Howard | NV Community Health Worker Association
Alisa Howard is a Public Health Servant Leader. She has worked in public health for a decade on several different levels, state, local government and at the community level in the areas of: Infectious Diseases, Sexual Health, Chronic Diseases, Policy & Procedure Writing, and Community Outreach. All of her work has been focused on bringing health equity and health access to marginalized, and disproportionately affected communities of color. She currently owns a boutique public health firm, Minority Health Consultants (MHC); where she works with community stakeholders and state legislators in the same areas, to also include health policies, and providing trainings to the community. Ms. Howard sits on several health advisory and policy boards and coalitions to ensure representation of minority voices and concerns are heard. She has been an Adjunct Instructor for the College of Southern Nevada’s Community Health Worker Program for the past 3 years; as of June of 2021, she has switched to teach the same program for the Nevada Community Health Worker Association.
David Perez | Immunize Nevada
David rejoined Immunize Nevada in February 2021 and resumed responsibilities for managing and implementing its COVID-19 public relations and communication strategies statewide. He’s worked on the equitable distribution process of the COVID-19 vaccine through various state initiatives and collaborations, which includes assisting with the Nevada Vaccine Equity Collaborative in partnership with the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition. David earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Nevada, Reno.