Environmental Justice Advisory Board


The Environmental Justice Advisory Board is a volunteer board. The Governor and Executive Director of CDPHE appoint its twelve members.

The Board serves Colorado by:

  • Coordinating with the Environmental Justice Ombudsperson.
  • Advising CDPHE on best practices for engaging disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Responding to environmental justice policy matters referred by the Governor’s Office or CDPHE.
  • Creating and overseeing an environmental justice grants program.

Read this fact sheet to learn more about the Environmental Justice Advisory Board.


Submit a comment to the Environmental Justice Advisory Board

Please email your comments to cdphe_ej@state.co.us with “EJAB” in the subject line.

Environmental Justice Advisory Board Meeting

You can provide public comment to the Environmental Justice Advisory Board and the Environmental Justice Ombudsperson on October 12, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can provide comments in English or Spanish.

Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available.

You can join the public comment period both in-person and virtually via Zoom. The in-person event will take place at:

2001 San Juan Ave.

La Junta, CO


Register here to attend.

Jonathan Skinner-Thompson Headshot (Circle Crop)
Jonathan Skinner-Thompson


CDPHE Executive Director appointee

Jonathan is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Law School and Director of the Getches-Green Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Clinic. Jonathan also teaches Environmental Law and Climate Change Law & Policy, and he writes on administrative and environmental law issues. His scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the Washington Law Review, and the environmental journals at Duke, Stanford, Vermont, and Virginia law schools, American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment magazine.

Before joining University of Colorado Law School, Jonathan was an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—first in the Office of General Counsel and then with the Office of Regional Counsel in Denver. Jonathan also has served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Defense Section and was an environmental associate with firms in New York and Seattle. For his federal service, Jonathan received the Administrator’s Award for Excellence, a Special General Counsel’s Award, and the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Excellence, among others.

Jonathan graduated cum laude from Duke University School of Law and with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley.

David Rojas Rueda Headshot (Circle Crop)
Dr. David Rojas Rueda

Fort Collins

CDPHE Executive Director appointee

David is an assistant professor at Colorado State University in environmental epidemiology. David's work focuses on assessing the health impacts of environmental and climate policies with an equity vision. He is the author of more than 90 scientific publications. David specializes in methods such as risk assessment and health impact assessment. His research actively involves residents, stakeholders, and authorities. He collaborates with international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, World Bank, and national and local authorities on environmental health and equity issues.

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Bianka Emerson


Representative of a nongovernmental organization that represents statewide interests to advance racial justice

Bianka is a Campaign Strategist and has spent most of her professional career in electoral politics and the public & non-profit sector. She worked on several political campaigns, presidential and gubernatorial. She was the Coalitions Director for the Biden Harris campaign in Colorado, hosting the highest number of events for the Mid Western Region. Due to the pandemic, ninety percent of events were held virtually, which was a historic undertaking. Bianka was the Deputy Political Director for Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ campaign and Campaign Coordinator for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. 

She worked as a graduate fellow for the Democratic National Convention Committee in Denver, Colorado, which led to her work on President Barack Obama’s 2007 campaign as a Field Organizer. 

Bianka was the Program Manager for the Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable, where her role was to provide resources and organizational development for Progressive non-profit organizations throughout the state. She provides strategy regarding legislation in healthcare public options, financial equity, and education services in her consulting capacity. Bianka has a master's in social science and a law degree. Recently appointed by Governor Polis to the Environment Justice Advisory Board, she serves on many community and civic boards, including, Blue Flower, an organization that raises money for women running for public office, and Colorado Black Women for Political Action as President-Elect.

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Darci Martinez

Commerce City

Current or former resident of a disproportionately impacted community

Dr. Darci Martinez is the current President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses – Denver Chapter. As president, she supports nurses with the knowledge, skills, and tools to promote health equity. She has over 15 years of nurse leadership experience in ambulatory and hospital settings. 

As a member of the Environmental Policy Advisory Committee for Commerce City, she advises the local city government on sustainability and climate issues, including awareness of the health effects on residents. She recently completed training at the Environmental Health Research Institute for Nurse and Clinician Scientists and will begin to study environmental justice in disproportionately impacted communities.  

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Steven Arauza


Current or former resident of a disproportionately impacted community

Steven Arauza was appointed to the CDPHE Environmental Justice Advisory Board by the Governor and Executive Director of CDPHE in November 2021. He is serving in the capacity of a current or former resident of a disproportionately impacted community. Steven is an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission with over a decade of experience in environmental stewardship and oil and gas regulation. Steven is based in Rifle, Colorado and his current areas of responsibility include Garfield, Rio Blanco, and Mesa counties. Steven also serves as district chair and board member for the state employees union, Colorado WINS Local 1876. Steven earned a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Outside of work, you can find Steven and his family hiking and biking the trails throughout the Colorado River and Roaring Fork valleys.

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Christina Yebuah


Current or former resident of a disproportionately impacted community

Christina Yebuah started off her academic career with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Emory University. After college, she went on to get her Master’s in Public Health and Master’s of Public Administration, with a concentration in Community-Informed Policy. During her graduate program, she worked for the Eugene S Farley Health Policy Center, where she would engage in health policy research, mostly regarding behavioral health and primary care integration. She also worked for the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, where she assisted in creating training for public health and medical professionals around health equity topics. She went on to work as the Health Research and Policy Analyst for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, where she led work ranging from birth equity, alternative payment models, behavioral health delivery, Medicaid waiver services, and the creation of community-informed policy initiatives and anti-poverty networks across the state. Christina now serves as the Maternal Health Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, working to prevent maternal mortality. Additionally, she serves on the board for the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, where she also co-chair’s a woman’s health program titled, HerHealth | HerTruth, which works to provide reproductive and maternal health resources, create space for community building, and give opportunities for storytelling for black women across the state of Colorado.

Jason Swann Headshot (Circle Crop)
Jason Swann


Representative of a nongovernmental organization that represents statewide interests to advance environmental justice

Jason Swann is a serial entrepreneur, Land Policy Analyst, and advocate. At Western Resource Advocates he focuses on making sure westerners have equal access to land, wildlife, and water. Specifically, his area of expertise includes analyses on the privatization of access and blocked access to public lands and water, equitable access to public open spaces, access to decision-making, and managing and limiting access in a fair manner for natural resource protection. He helped usher the Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Program into law in 2021 and launched Rising Routes to work with diverse communities to educate, empower, and transform individuals to act towards mental health and wellness, social and environmental justice, and environmental stewardship of our public lands for a better quality of life for all. He’s leading campaigns for federal policy to ensure long-term investments in programs to serve all youth with opportunities to explore the great outdoors with the Outdoor FUTURE Initiative and amplifying BIPOC voices in the creation, designation, funding, and conservation of national monuments through Monumental SHIFT. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Highline Canal Conservancy, a 71-mile-long canal, whose mission is to preserve, protect and enhance the canal in partnership with the public. In addition, he’s a member of the Community Adaptation, Resiliency, and Environmental Justice Committee (CARE-J) to identify concerns and solutions that fit the unique needs of Denver’s communities and assist CASR in defining its role in facilitating systemic change to address environmental justice. Most of all, Jason is a servant leader of humanity reimagining a system that ensures the needs of present and future generations.

Aaron Martinez Headshot (Circle Crop)
Aaron Martinez


Current or former resident of a disproportionately impacted community

Born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, Aaron began working at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment in 2011 as an Environmental Health Specialist. Currently, as a Program Manager in

Environmental Health, he supervises several programs under Solid Waste, Residential Housing, and Air Quality. Prior to public health, Aaron worked in health care and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Having a lifelong love for the Arkansas River, the high prairies, and Wet Mountains, he believes we are stewards of this land. Aaron is interested in responsible growth while preserving our natural resources. Aaron has deep family roots in Southern Colorado that can be traced to the mid 1800s. Aaron is also the proud son, grandson, and nephew of Pueblo Steel Workers. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Jorge Figueroa Headshot (Circle Crop)
Jorge Figueroa


CDPHE Executive Director appointee

Jorge has worked as a river advocate and Colorado water policy analyst for 8 years with Western Resource Advocates. Shortly after Hurricane Maria devastated his homeland of Puerto Rico (September 20, 2017) Jorge co-founded El Laboratorio with Paul Cawood Hellmund and Nita Gonzales -- a social justice and environmental innovation laboratory incubated in partnership with Americas for Conservation + Arts. He worked for 3 years at El Laboratorio designing and facilitating co-creative processes whereby individuals and groups that are typically underrepresented in environmental decision- and solution-making collaborate with agencies, organizations, and subject matter experts to develop real and meaningful, placed-based climate change solutions for people and nature. Jorge recently started a new position as the Community Partnerships Administrator for the City and County of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) and the Climate Protection Fund (CPF.) He is a Trustee with Water Education Colorado; served as Project Associate/Research Faculty Member for the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force at CU Law School; was a Fulbright Scholar in India with the India Institute of Science on Climate Change Innovation and Community Forestry; and graduated from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law's Environmental Law Program and the Yale School of the Environment.

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Josette Jaramillo


Representative of worker interests in disproportionately impacted communities

Josette Jaramillo was born and raised in the East Side of Pueblo Colorado.  She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University Pueblo and completed her graduate studies at Adams State College in 2007.  Josette is the granddaughter of Henry Jaramillo, who was a long-time member of United Steel Workers Local 2102 in Pueblo, Colorado.  Her parents, Jake Jaramillo (mechanic) and Josie Simms (barber) are both self-employed with her father being retired. 

Josette began working for the Pueblo County Department of Human Services in 2005 and became a member of AFSCME Local 1335 in August.  She has risen through the leadership ranks of her own local union, the state council, and the Colorado AFLCIO.  In October of 2017, she was elected to her first four year term as president of the Colorado AFL-CIO making her the first woman of color, the first person from outside the Metro area, and the first LGBTQ person to hold the office of President.  She was elected to her second two year term in October of 2021.  Josette currently serves on the National Executive Board of Pride at Work, COLOR Action Fund,  AFSCME Council 18, and is a delegate to the Southern Colorado Labor Council.  In addition to her volunteer roles with organized labor, Josette continues to work for Pueblo County as a Casework Supervisor overseeing the foster care and kinship program for the county.

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Phuonglan Nguyen


CDPHE Executive Director's designee (non-voting member)

Phuonglan Nguyen joined the Office of Health Equity in March 2022 as Deputy Director. Many at CDPHE have come to know her from her work in the Prevention Services Division for the past seven years, leading public health strategic projects aimed at reducing health disparities among Colorado children and people of reproductive age. She is a long-standing leader in the Health Equity & Environmental Justice Collaborative and is a fierce advocate for building dialogues and strengthening the capacity of CDPHE staff across the divisions to embed and operationalize equity, justice, and community inclusion into programming, services, and policies in ways that are responsive and accountable to Coloradans.

In her role, Phuonglan works to ensure the success of SB 21-181 implementation, including monitoring and reporting on the state of Colorado’s health equity, engaging the communities most impacted by health disparities in the development of solutions, and aligning state agency work on equity to achieve meaningful impact. Phuonglan continues to be committed to supporting the growth and efficacy of the Office of Health Equity (as part of the Office of Culture, Strategy, Equity, and Innovation), CDPHE staff across the divisions, and community partners across our great state. 

Phuonglan received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver with a focus on organizational development and leadership for community action. She has worked as a classroom teacher, economic analyst, state legislative affairs specialist, community organizer, evaluation researcher, professional interpreter and translator, and artist. She can’t imagine ever moving away from Colorado where she has lived for more than 30 years and the only place she’s called home after having left the homeland land of Vietnam as a teenager. She also can’t imagine life without cats, family, comfort food, or music and art, and looks forward to learning how an electric manual transmission actually works.

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Lesly Fajardo-Feaux


For more than two decades, Lesly Fajardo-Feaux has garnered a broad range of experience working in governmental, nonprofit and academic roles in both her home country of Peru and in Boulder, Colorado. This includes experience as a contractor for the World Bank during her time in government work in Peru’s capital, Lima.

Lesly has a diverse background of working in child and adolescent development, community engagement, project management, and facilitation.

Most recently, she served as a community engagement specialist for Boulder County’s immunization program in addition to being a facilitator for The Raising of America Partnership, which is committed to engaging the community in supporting families and young children. Ultimately, Lesly worked to engage community members through family-friendly practices and collected data to surface gaps in how families identify and use meaningful support systems and resources available to them. Lesly is passionate in her belief that all Coloradan families must have access to resources that create more opportunities in their lives – now and in the future.

In Lesly’s role at the Colorado Health Foundation, she works in southeast Colorado to support her team with grant management, reports, and the implementation of funding initiatives. She appreciates the opportunities she has in this work to build relationships with communities, grantees, health systems, and future partners in an effort to achieve a healthier Colorado. For Lethe sly, the equity should be at the core of community life regardless of where someone comes from, what language they, speak, or who they are.

A Colorado resident for 17 years, Lesly loves going for hikes and bike rides, particularly when she’s joined by her husband and two children. Their family gets most excited about adventures that involve mountain lakes and scenic landscapes. Lesly's children are her greatest passion. She hopes that all children may have the opportunities life has presented to each of her two boys. When asked about her healthiest habit, Lesly loves to dance and cook, both of which keep her calm and centered.

A first-generation college student, Lesly believes life is at its best when she’s helping to instill values of equity and justice in her children and the people she surrounds herself with inside and outside of work.