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Governor’s NM Distinguished Public Service Awards winners announced

Dr. Sanjeev Arora, founder and director of Project ECHO, announces the receipt of 20 million in grants in this January file photo at the UNM Health Sciences Center Business and Communications Center in Albuquerque. STEVE KNIGHT/JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Governor’s New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards has selected 10 winners including a Lifetime Achievement winner, the local founder of an international model to deliver and extend quality heath care and other critical resources to the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Dr. Sanjeev Arora with UNMH created Project ECHO in 2003, launched initially to reach thousands of New Mexicans with hepatitis C unable to get care.

Today Echo has expanded worldwide to cover more than 60 disease areas and complex issues with 256 academic hubs and around 600 projects ongoing in 34 countries. The ECHO “hub-and-spoke” model links expert specialist teams at an academic hub with primary care clinicians in local communities though “teleECHO” programs, according to Arora.

The project goal is to reach 1 billion lives around the world.

This year’s other award winners, alphabetically, are:

David Campbell of Rio Rancho

John Heaton of Carlsbad

Joe Mauderly of Albuquerque

Tammie Moe of Gallup

Debbie Moore of Las Cruces

Alicia Ortega of Pojoaque Pueblo

Kyle Rhodes of Farmington/Bloomfield

Eliseo “Cheo” Torres of Albuquerque

Pat Vincent-Collawn of Albuquerque.

The awardees will be celebrated during a gala banquet in Nov. 13 at Marriot Pyramid Albuquerque. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to attend and say a few words. Tickets are $75 each of $750 for a table to 10. Visit to purchase.

The annual awards program, in its 50th year, seeks out individuals to recognize not only for notable contributions to public service and the improvement of government at all levels, but also exceptional contributions to their respective communities.

Dr. Albert Rosenthal, professor and director emeritus in Public Administration at the University of New Mexico in the 1960s, developed the program. It has raised thousands of dollars in scholarships at three New Mexico universities over the decades.


Campbell, currently Rio Rancho city manager, has served on countless boards, advisory groups and chambers including United Way, Explora and Supreme Court Disciplinary. He has been an adjunct professor in administrative law and is a previous winner of the State Bar Courageous Advocacy Award. He has served as pro bono appellate counsel, and been a Peach Corps volunteer high school teacher and previously served in West Africa with the Peace Corps.

Heaton a longtime former state representative for Eddy County and current president of a nonprofit dedicated to projects that promote practical solutions to issues that affect both human health and the environment. He also works with the City of Carlsbad as Energy Development Coordinator and the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance. He received a B.S. in pharmacy from the University of New Mexico and subsequently became a Fellow in the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.

Mauderly is a retired scientist with Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute and has played a role in numerous international policy decisions on air quality and human health on everything from radioactive aerosols from nuclear accidents to power plant and auto emissions. He has published hundreds of international research papers on related subjects, and served as an advisor the World Health Organization, and has played a continuing leadership role with the UNM Medical School.

Moe is the director of the Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, who has developed and implemented noted professional development and mentorship programs among her team members. She has played a key role in local tourism campaigns, been instrumental in bringing members of the community to participate in programs at the library, and credited with taking the library to the people of the community. She also serves as the vice chair of the NM Social Justice and Equity Institute and as a trustee for the NM Library Foundation.

Moore, president and CEO of the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, has served on numerous boards and commissions, many dealing with assisting small businesses grow. She also is a previous winner of the SBA New Mexico Legacy Award, has served as chair of the CNM Governing Board, executive director of the Rio Ranch Community Foundation, and worked with the American Diabetes Association.

Ortega, the executive director of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, grew up in Santa Clara Pueblo and is an enrolled member of Pojoaque Pueblo. She is a graduate of UNM and Anderson School with multiple degrees. She has used those talents working with a variety of pueblo organizations and businesses. She also is an artist and has been involved with Native Guitars Tour, American Indian Chamber, and various native elder and youth initiatives.

Rhodes is president and CEO of Process Equipment and Service Co. from the Farmington/Bloomfiled area, which also is one of San Juan County’s largest employers. He and family company are noted for their leadership training programs. He is credited for assisting the state and San Juan College in developing local job training programs. A former school board president, he is considered a champion of education at all levels in the area.

“Cheo” Torres is Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of New Mexico, tasked with providing leadership to 26 student support departments and programs. He serves director of UNM’s Center for Continuing Education. He regularly lectures on the history and lore of curanderismo and teaches Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico. He is a past winner of the Pillar of the Profession from student affairs professional.

Vincent-Collawn has served in multiple roles local and statewide to improve education, increase economic development, and support organizations that make meaningful impacts in local communities. She is a previous chair of the United Way and helped launch Mission: Graduate which is a cradle-to-career education partnership that brings together those who are committed to the success of students in our state.

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