About Us

The Rio Grande Prevention Program:

  • Is an active community coalition whose members include: community leaders, organizations, schools, law enforcement and youth from Rio Grande County.
  • Goals are to reduce and prevent childhood and underage drinking, substance abuse and other related issues in our community.
  • Utilize multiple strategies across multiple sectors for a community-wide approach to: 1. Increase protective factors and decrease risk factors and 2. Change the environment which promotes high risk drinking and other drug use.
  • Use current research, collect data and evaluate annually to reassess our results to determine progress and what more can be done to achieve the goal over the long term.
  • Focus is on preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among middle and high school students and deterring drinking and driving with special emphasis on educating the young driver.

Our History

Rio Grande County has received funding since February 2003 from the Persistent Drunk Driving (PDD) Cash Fund, through the Colorado Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) known today as the Division of Behavioral Health.  In receiving this funding, interested key leaders began forming a coalition in March 2003 to address the serious problem of underage drinking in our county.  Due to the high rate of juvenile DUIs and underage drinking related arrests, the Coalition began to address the conditions that allow and promote high-risk underage drinking.

Beginning with the 2004-2005 funding year, the PDD Project Coordinator began working with residents of Mineral County regarding the dangers and risks of drinking and driving.  Our funding increased as a result of this collaboration.  After the invitation to the county to apply for the Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant in early 2006, the Rio Grande County Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking became the membership foundation of the Rio Grande Prevention Program representing both counties.

Coalition members consist of representatives of the local and state law enforcement agencies, youth, parents, grandparents, Monte Vista and  Del Norte (Upper Rio Grande)  school districts,  Rio Grande County Public Health Agency, Monte Vista Kids Connection, High Valley Community Center, San Luis Valley Behavioral Health, Rio Grande County Commissioners, Monte Vista Journal, Calvary Baptist Church, Early Steps for Childhood Success and CSU Extension.  The Coalition’s members provide alcohol and drug prevention information to the community, such as at health fairs, presentations to organizations, school boards and faculty, and local government. The Coalition organizes workshops, and collaborates with schools and agencies at special functions such as pre-prom activities, Red Ribbon Week, and during Alcohol Awareness Month.  The activities of the coalition are designed as a deterrent to underage drinking and other drugs and to increase the perceived risk of the short term and long term affects of using alcohol and other drugs.

The Rio Grande Prevention Program is committed to reducing underage drinking behaviors, related issues and positively influencing local social norms.  The Coalition meets monthly.  If you are interested in becoming a member, a sponsor or would like to assist in individual activities, please contact Chelsea McNerney-Martinez, at chelseamm@riograndecounty.org or by phone at (719)657-3352.


Prevention Coordinator

Chelsea McNerney-Martinez

Chelsea has worked for Rio Grande County Public Health since February of 2024 and was a previous Key Leader Board Member, Coalition Member, Community Board Member and Workgroup Member of Rio Grande Prevention Partners. Chelsea has work experience from the substance abuse field, media field and legal field and is eager to implement evidence-based practices to bettering the health of our community.

Brandi Hazard - Health Equity Specialist

Health Equity Specialist

Dolores Atencio

Dolores joined Rio Grande Public Health in April 2023 as a Health Equity Specialist. Dolores is eager to learn and is passionate about helping people. With some background in health care, Dolores is excited to apply her skills and knowledge toward reducing health disparities and promoting health equity. Dolores hopes to make positive impacts on improving health outcomes for all members of our community. When Dolores isn’t at work, she loves spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys gardening and being outdoors.

Brandi Hazard - Health Equity Specialist

Health Equity Specialist

Roberta Marquez

Roberta has worked with Rio Grande County Public Health since April 2023 as a Health Equity Specialist. Roberta enjoys helping people in need. When she is not working, she enjoys riding her motorcycle and spending time with family at BBQs, and enjoys the outdoors.

Ida White - Tobacco Program

Tobacco Program

Ida White

Ida has worked with Rio Grande County Public Health for 9 years.  She started as a Supervisor for the Healthy Communities Program and then became the  COVID Response Coordinator.  She has now taken on the Regional Tobacco program and helps with other programs for the County.  She loves the outdoors and spending time with her family.

Dianne Koshak BSN

Public Health Nurse

Dianne Koshak, BSN

Dianne, BSN, has worked at Rio Grande Public Health for 16 years. As a Public Health Nurse, she concentrates on public health activities that keep our community healthy. She has been a resident of the San Luis Valley since 1996.

Kaleigh White


Kaleigh White

Kaleigh has worked at Rio Grande County Public Health for seven years. She has grown with the department over those years and is currently the Accountant for Public Health. Kaleigh is a go-getter and will stop at nothing to make sure the task is accomplished with the utmost confidence. When she is not working, you can find her with her family and friends enjoying the outdoors or traveling to new places.

Max Garcia - Office Assistant Rio Grande Public Health

Office Assistant

Sherry Valdez

Sherry has over 20 years in the medical field. She is an EMT Basic-IV as well as a CNA. Sherry has been with Public Health since April of 2023. Her biggest passion in life is her family.

Rio Grande Public Health Director

Dr. Kolawole Bankole

For the past two and half decades, as an altruist physician and municipal government health director and health officer, I have exercised successful and effective healthcare leadership. Through direct and efficient facilitative/collaborative leadership, I have strategically implemented successful city/county-wide programs with innovative approaches, secured needed funding, effective organizational change and workforce development. I have also led proactive health policies locally, nationally, and internationally.

My priority goal is entangled with the welfare of the people, agencies, organizations and governments I interact with directly and indirectly. This means I lead and collaborate with others to implement health policies, initiatives and programs that improve access to quality and affordable healthcare, social services and wellness programs. It is my overall objective to continue to provide leadership on health policy and management leadership on public policy-related healthcare services, education and programs and improve access to those in need so everyone can live a life of optimized wellbeing. 

Strengthening Families Rio Grande County Prevention Program
Prosper Partnerships Rio Grande Prevention Partners