Professional Bio

  • Master of Science, Regis University, 2012
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Colorado State University, 2002

Melissa has acquired over 16 years of healthcare experience in a variety of settings, and holds seven years in leadership positions for membership associations.  Her previous employment included four years at the Colorado State Office of Rural Health (SORH) where her director position advanced from workforce, to outreach, business development and strategic partnerships.  She facilitated rural hospitals’ community health needs assessments and strategic planning development.  Additionally, Melissa spent six years as an executive overseeing long-term care services for 200 adults with developmental disabilities and two years acting as an Executive Director for independently incorporated dental safety net programs in 20 states who worked through a larger national organization.  She holds experience successfully writing policy and lobbying in multiple states.  This experience as a developed leader demonstrates her abilities to manage conflict and plan at organizational and tactical levels.

Melissa is the Principal of Vertical Strategies, an organization dedicated to increasing the capacity and strategic development of nonprofits, specifically in the healthcare sector.  One of her strengths is to engage in long-term projects where nonprofits are launched and sustainability is established.  In addition to her work as Principal, Melissa is an assistant professor at Regis University teaching seven courses, accompanied with curricula development and advising.  In 2016 she was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation three-year fellowship in the first cohort of their Culture of Health Leaders program.

Certifications and Expertise

  • Board certified music therapist
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certification
  • Medical Ethics Certification
  • Health Informatics Certificate
  • Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Graduate Certificate

Professional Memberships

  • Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
  • Colorado Medical Group Management Association
  • Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • National Organization for Women
  • American College of Healthcare Executives

Research and Scholarship

Research Interests
  • Corporate resilience
  • Social determinants of health
  • Physician retention
  • Rural health

Recent Presentations

Capital Change Funding Strategy, Lincoln Health, Hugo, CO, August 2017

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Willamette Partnership, Portland, OR, July 2017

Strategic Planning Principles, The Logan School, Denver, CO, February 2017

Community Health Needs Assessment, Estes Park Medical Center, Estes Park, CO, December 2017

Strategic Planning Principles, Melissa Memorial Hospital, Holyoke, CO, December 2016

Rural Workforce Trends, Colorado Hospital Association, Denver, OC October 2016

Rural Residency Training Tracks, National Organization for State Offices of Rural Health,Portland, OR, 
September 2016

Community Health Needs Assessment, San Luis Valley, CO, August 2016

Community Health Needs Assessment, Wray Community Hospital, Wray, CO, June 2016

Community Health Needs Assessment, Mt. San Rafael, Trinidad, CO, December 2015

Rural Workforce Trends, Colorado Medical Board, Department of Regulatory Affairs, Denver, CO, October 2015

Rural Workforce Trends, Colorado Telehealth Network, Denver, CO, September 2015

Rural Workforce Trends, Colorado Association of Family Medicine Residencies, Denver, CO, May 2015

Community Health Needs Assessment, Melissa Memorial Hospital, Holyoke, CO, July 2014

Rural Physician Retention and Population Health Outcomes, National Rural Health Association, Las Vegas, NV, June 2014

Rural Physician Retention and Population Health Outcomes, The Rural Recruitment and Retention Network, St. Louis, MO, June 2014

Awards and Recognition

  • Rural geriatric telemedicine, Next50, $400,000, 2018
  • Rural dental program, Delta Dental Foundation, $200,000, 2018
  • Rural Hospital Consortium, Caring for Colorado, $50,000, 2018
  • Food security and education program, The Kresge Foundation, $500,000, 2018
  • Culture of Health Leaders Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $60,000, 2017
  • Rural Hospital Consortium, The Colorado Health Foundation, $297,000, 2017
  • Change Capital Funding, The Colorado Health Foundation, $600,000, 2017
  • Technical assistance support, National Rural Health Association, $38,000, annually until 2016
  • Workforce retention pipeline, The Kresge Foundation, $600,000, 2015
  • Health information technology workforce placement program, $900,000, 2015
  • Workforce recruitment support, Caring for Colorado, $50,000, 2014
  • Workforce recruitment support, COPIC Foundation, $25,000, 2014
  • Workforce recruitment support, El Pomar Foundation, $75,000, 2013


  • Culture of Health Leaders Fellowship, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016


  • Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, 2015

Community Involvement and Service

Service to Profession
  • Prime Healthcare, Advisory Board Member, since 2018
  • Colorado Association for Family Medicine Residencies, Advisory Board Member, until 2017
  • Health Resources and Services Administration, Veterans Workforce Taskforce Committee Member, until 2016
  • Colorado Preceptor Roundtable, Convening Chair, until 2016
  • Payment & delivery system models, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, until 2015

Service to Community

  • Colorado Workforce Development Council, Advisory Board Member, since 2018
  • The Logan School for Creative Learning, Board Trustee, since 2016
  • Colorado Welcome Back, Advisory Board Member, until 2016
  • Colorado Health Service Corps, Governor Appointed Board Member, until 2016
  • Colorado Alliance for Health and Independence, Board Director, until 2013

Service to Students

  • Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges, Scholarship Committee Member, until 2015