The ECHO. Fueled by passion and vision.

We are ECHO Colorado, a team of clinical and public health professionals who realize the power of sharing knowledge across miles and across disciplines. We exist to improve health and wellness throughout our state and beyond. We bring health professionals with a diversity of viewpoints together to share ideas and learn from one another.

ECHO Colorado is where treatment, prevention, wellness, technology, sharing and learning converge, and this is the team that helps make it happen.

John F. “Fred” Thomas, PhD, is a healthcare/health policy educator, system designer and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in public health advocacy, eHealth innovation and model development. He is currently the director of ECHO Colorado as well as the director of Telehealth Services for Children’s Hospital Colorado. He has academic appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Family Medicine in the Colorado School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. Prior to this role, he served as the director of Community-Based Mental Health Services and Policy at the University of Texas Medical Branch. During these tenures, he has conceptualized, funded and implemented numerous health innovations along with research protocols to investigate their effectiveness. He received his BBA in finance from Texas State University, his MSSW in services with children and families and his PhD in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is involved in numerous organizations and societies and is recognized as a national thought leader in telehealth, systems of care and population health. His wife, Stephanie, is a clay artist and they have four children.

Duane Pearson, MD

Associate Director

Duane Pearson, MD, is an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Medicine. He currently serves as the practice director for the CU School of Medicine’s Rheumatology practice and the associate director for ECHO Colorado. After completing his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in rheumatology at the CU School of Medicine, he moved to Ventura, Calif., to further explore health care delivery models in medically underserved populations. At the Ventura County Health Care Agency, he served as the medical director for specialty services, where his main focus was the coordination of care transitions between primary and specialty care. Currently, he is partnering with CORHIO and HCPF for an e-Consult pilot project to improve specialty care access for Medicaid participants, participating in the Aurora Health Care Access Specialty Task Force.

Kory Thomas, MPH

Program Manager

Kory Thomas has been with ECHO Colorado from its inception and believes in the collective strength and influence of diverse entities to identify challenges and embrace opportunities to end inequalities. She earned her MPH degree in health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to the UMSPH, she received a BS in health and exercise science, concentrating in health promotion, from Colorado State University. Before joining the ECHO Colorado Program Center, she was responsible for the coordination of ECHO activities in the Center for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) and Children’s Hospital Colorado. In addition, she provided evaluation technical assistance to health promotion programs with the Community Epidemiology and Program Evaluation Group at the ColoradoSPH. Kory also has experience in various settings including corporate wellness, geriatric rehabilitation, health promotion programming and international development. Kory is a graduate of the Regional Institute on Health and Environmental Leadership’s Advanced Leadership Training Program. A native of Colorado, Kory loves her home state and everything it has to offer.

Melodie Proffitt

Fiscal Administrative Manager

Melodie joined the ECHO team after providing administrative support to the epidemiology department chairs and faculty at the Colorado School of Public Health for nearly four years. Melodie brings more than 20 years of executive support experience, which includes 10 years serving the soldiers and families in the United States Army. She studied business management at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. Melodie is very active in events supporting our military veterans and is an advocate for helping to provide women with the knowledge and tools that will enable them to have better labor and birth experiences.

Michael Kazanjian, PhD

Educational Specialist

Michael spent the last two years working as an instructional designer for the all-online PharmD program at the University of Colorado Denver while finishing his MA degree in Information and Learning Technologies at CU Denver. His prior life was split between a deep exploration of the 17th-century French literary milieu and modern library work at the intersection of technology and teaching. He’s a flexible coordinator, an effective teacher and communicator, and a process geek who can both focus on detail and step back to view the broader picture. Most at home in an environment that requires multiple methods of interpersonal communication, he thrives when given the opportunity to collaborate and creatively solve problems. He’s thrilled to be a part of an innovative team that is pushing the boundaries of health care education.

Erin Bishop, MPH

Coordinator

Erin earned a bachelor of science in human nutrition from Colorado State University and received her MPH with a concentration in community behavioral health from the Colorado School of Public Health. Prior to joining the ECHO team, Erin worked in a variety of settings including clinical, public health research, and program evaluation. Her areas of interest are in program evaluation and building evaluation capacity, improving health equity by increasing access for underserved populations, and tackling complex health issues through collaborative approaches.

Marisa Faye, MPH

Coordinator

Marisa is interested in improving access and equity in health through education and community collaboration. She is passionate about the use of technology to elevate practice and establish relationships to solve complex health issues reaching across disciplines and sectors for a shared goal. Marisa holds a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Arizona and a master’s in public health with a concentration in community health sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. With a background in health care management, communications and nonprofit administration, she brings a comprehensive skillset and natural curiosity to her role as an ECHO coordinator.

Suzuho Shimasaki, DrPH, MPH

Evaluation Manager

Suzuho Shimasaki is recognized across Colorado as a public health leader with vast experiences in health equity strategies and programming, transformational organizational and community change, workforce development through peer-to-peer learning, and collaborative community engagement. Outside of ECHO Colorado, Suzuho serves as the Principal of Catalysts for Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity (CARE Equity) and President-Elect of the Colorado Public Health Association (CPHA). Suzuho has previously served as the Suicide Prevention Project Coordinator for the University of Denver Health and Counseling Center and Co-Director of The Colorado Trust’s Equality in Health Initiative at The Partnership for Families & Children. Personally invested in public health and health equity, Suzuho’s volunteer experiences have included serving on the Inclusiveness Project and Basic Human Needs Committees of The Denver Foundation, the Health Equity Commission of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Boards of Directors for the Asian Pacific Development Center and the Mile High Japanese American Citizens League. Suzuho earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, a Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Doctor of Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health from the Colorado School of Public Health. Additionally, Suzuho is a graduate of the Advanced Leaderships Training Program of the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership. 

The ECHO Colorado board

The ECHO Colorado Board of Directors is an 11‐member board that functions as an independent group with authority over ECHO Colorado. Board membership represents the wide and diverse constituencies of ECHO Colorado, including community‐based clinicians, state health agency leadership, and patient‐care organizations.

Jeff Bontrager, MSPH

Director of Research on Coverage and Access
Colorado Health Institute

Kate Kiefert

HIT and SIM Coordinator
Office of the National Coordinator

Gretchen McGinnis, MSPH

SVP Public Programs
Colorado Access

Laurie Schneider, MPH

Deputy Chief, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

Ricardo Velasquez, MD

Clinical Adviser (VWHS), Medical Director (ICHP)
Valley Wide Health Systems, ICHP

Denise Denton, MSHRM

Executive Director
Aurora Health Access

Lilly Marks

Vice President for Health Affairs
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Kathleen McInnis, RN, MS

Executive Director
Southwestern Colorado AHEC

Jessica Sanchez

Chief Quality and Development Officer
Colorado Community Health Network

Lisa VanRaemdonck, MSW, MPH

Executive Director
University of Colorado - Denver School of Public Affairs Institute

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