County Employee Aims to Bring Awareness to Underprivileged Communities

Lauren Reichelt of Health and Human Services, has taken the lead in applying for a Pepsi Challenge Grant for the amount of $50,000, which if received, will fund the attendance of members of Communities Joined in Action (CJA), as well as several Rio Arriba County (RAC) employees, to a Netroots Nation convention in June 2012. Netroots Nation is an organization, which uses technology as a tool to exchange and introduce progressive ideas into public debate. According to, the convention is based on an effort to “strengthen community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.”   

“If this grant is awarded, it will present several opportunities within our local communities to use helpful tools and techniques to organize methods which will assist underprivileged and underrepresented groups of individuals in gaining access to affordable healthcare services,” said Reichelt. “By having our own RAC employees attend, it will be especially useful here in Rio Arriba County.”

According to Health Action New Mexico, one out of every four New Mexicans is uninsured. Additionally, a 2010 study done by, has revealed that 27 percent of Rio Arriba County citizens have claimed that they receive no to little social and emotional support, which has been identified as a “powerful predictor of health behaviors, suggesting that individuals without a strong social network are less likely to participate in healthy lifestyle choices.”

“We look forward to promoting community interaction and support concerning this issue,” said Reichelt. “This could help citizens learn how to use several tools to access healthcare as well as assure them that their community does care and support their health.”

In order to vote for this cause, anyone can vote at up to five times a day. The more votes that are accumulated, the better chance CJA will have of receiving the grant. To read Reichelt’s blog on the issue, click here. The blog can also be access through the Rio Arriba Community Health Community Council page at, and clicking on the RACHC Blog link. For daily reminders to vote for this particular cause, please register with Netroots Nation here. 


-Erika Martinez, December 2011