State health department executive director appoints four members to Environmental Justice Advisory Board

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REMOTE (Nov. 19, 2021): Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has appointed four new members to the department’s new Environmental Justice Advisory Board.

The four appointed to the board are:

  • Jorge Figueroa, Community Partnerships Administrator, City & County of Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency; to serve for four years.

  • Rupal Shah, senior grants manager at the Colorado Health Foundation; to serve for two years.

  • Jonathan Skinner-Thompson, an associate clinical professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder School of Law and Director of the Getches-Green Natural Resources & Environmental Law Clinic; to serve for two years.

  • Dr. David Rojas Rueda, an assistant professor of environmental epidemiology at Colorado State University; to serve for four years.

Governor Polis created the Environmental Justice Advisory Board by signing the Environmental Justice Act (HB21-1266) into law earlier this year. Governor Polis appointed seven other members to the board on Nov. 1:

  • Steven Arauza, Environmental Protection Specialist, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.

  • Bianka Emerson, Founder, Political DirectHer.

  • Josette Jaramillo, President, Colorado AFL-CIO.

  • Philip Lopez, Director, Fairfield & Woods P.C.

  • Aaron Martinez, Program Manager, Pueblo Department of Public Health & Environment.

  • Jason Swann, Land Policy Analyst, Western Resource Advocates.

  • Christina Yebuah, Health Research & Policy Analyst, Colorado Center on Law & Policy.

The first Environmental Justice Advisory Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for early January of 2022, with meetings held on a quarterly basis thereafter. CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan or her designee will also serve on the board in a non-voting capacity.

“I am thrilled Colorado will have the opportunity to benefit from the service of these exceptional individuals,” said CDPHE executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. “Environmental justice is a priority for CDPHE and must inform everything we do. The Environmental Justice Advisory Board is going to play a crucial role in our work to establish Colorado as a national leader on questions of environmental justice. Disproportionately impacted communities across Colorado will benefit from the new Environmental Justice Grant program that the Advisory Board will create and administer.”