SANTA FE ― Con Alma Health Foundation announced Wednesday that this year’s hero of health is Trinidad de jesus Arguello, PhD, RN, co-founder and administrator of Compostela Community and Family Cultural Institute in Taos County.
Arguello is a nurse, administrator, social worker and advocate who volunteers on numerous national and state boards to help people who need mental health care and domestic violence services.
“Dr. Arguello’s work in New Mexico goes far beyond providing social work and psychiatric health care to those most in need in rural Northern New Mexico; she has forged strong relationships with local and state entities to address systemic barriers to culturally relevant services for people of color,” said Dolores E. Roybal, Con Alma’s executive director. “We are honored to recognize someone who embodies Con Alma’s spirit and mission – working to ensure everyone has the same opportunities to live a healthy life.”
For more than 10 years Con Alma, the state’s largest private foundation dedicated solely to health, has recognized people who make incredible contributions to improve the health of New Mexicans and contributed to the nonprofit of their choice. This year Con Alma will donate $1,000 to the Compostela Community and Family Cultural Institute on behalf of Arguello.
Arguello and her husband founded Compostela Community and Family Cultural Institute in 2014 to provide quality, culturally appropriate behavioral health and substance abuse services primarily for people of color in Taos County and surrounding rural communities. Its innovative model provides those suffering from addiction and chronic illness with both treatment and job training as part of their recovery process.
Arguello moved to the Spanish Harlem of Manhattan from Puerto Rico when she was seven. “My experience in the cultural cocoon of my neighborhoods exposed me to the indigenous cultural practices of healing,” she said.
Having mentors who encouraged her to overcome linguistic and academic challenges as well as her experience working with intellectually challenged children propelled her into an extensive health and advocacy career, which started in 1973 in New Mexico. According to nominator David Fermin Arguello, co-founder of Compostela: “She has directly contributed to the well-being of Latino citizens as provider, community activist and adjunct faculty in New Mexico, Wash., Utah and Calif.”
This year people across New Mexico nominated almost 50 individuals as possible heroes, including volunteers, doctors, nurses, a teacher, a chaplain, nonprofit directors, health workers, community organizers and advocates for minority and underserved populations. Past heroes include Dr. Tom Faber of Zuni Pueblo; Ophelia Reeder, facilitator of the McKinley County Health Council; Mary Stoecker, retired health promotion specialist for the New Mexico Department of Health in Silver City; Doug Meiklejohn, director of New Mexico Environmental Law Center in Santa Fe and Lauren Reichelt, director of Rio Arriba County’s Health and Human Services Department. Con Alma honored this year’s heroes at its annual grantee recognition event Nov. 14.