About Us

The Collaborative is a county partner of the Colorado-National Collaborative (CNC). The CNC is a partnership between local, state and national scientists and public health professionals, health and social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, academic organizations, and Colorado residents.

The Collaborative uses the Collective Impact to focus on reducing suicides in El Paso County by 20% by 2024. Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of organizations from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific complex problem such as suicide prevention. The Collaborative focuses on collective goals, strategic partnerships, collective and independent action aligned with those goals, shared accountability and a backbone organization to coordinate the efforts. Community Health Partnership (CHP) is the backbone organization.

The Steering Committee of The Collaborative include chairs of the different work groups and a cross section of leaders from different organizations.

You can view the Suicide Prevention Collaborative’s Year 3 Action Plan here: CDPHE Year 3 Action Plan

The Collaborative Steering Committee

Cass Walton
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership
Co-Chair, SP Collaborative of EPC and Postvention Work Group

Liss Smith
Pronouns: They/Them or She/Her
Inside Out Youth Services
Chair, LGBTQIA2+ Advocacy

Katie Blickenderfer, LCSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Diversus Health
Chair, Zero Suicide Work Group

Lee Lehmkuhl, PhD
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Community Member and Veteran
Chair, Lethal Means Safety Work Group

David Galvan
Faith Liaison and Trainer: YMFHA ACES tMHFA QPR SOUL SHOP
Small Business Owner
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Co-Chair, Connectedness Work Group

Jessica Podkulski, LCSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System
Co-Chair Connectedness Work Group

Ann Rush, PhD
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Status Code 4 Inc.
Chair Education and Awareness Work Group

Jarod Murdoch, MD
Pronouns: He/Him/His
El Paso County Coroner’s Office

Robin Schawe, LPC, LAC
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
UC Health

Brittany Riffle, MSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Youth Resilience and Suicide Prevention Planner
El Paso County Public Health

Emily Brady, LCSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

James Gallanos, LCSW
Pronouns: He/Him/His
VA ECHCS Suicide Prevention Team

Joanne Dreher
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Silver Key Senior Services

Z. Benek Altayli, Psy.D
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Jared Harmon
Pronouns: He/Him/His
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
Co-Chair, SP Collaborative of EPC

Eric Gibbs
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Peak View Behavioral Health

Charlene Coffin, LPC
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Centura Health

Equity and Suicide Prevention
“Centering equity is crucial to addressing disparities and reducing suicidal despair, attempts, and fatalities. The Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention recognizes that different people and communities experience these things differently and therefore have different needs. In the effort of pursuing equity, the OSP has identified priority populations within suicide prevention efforts that can be more vulnerable to experiences with suicide:

  • Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color
  • Veterans
  • Older Adults
  • People with Disabilities
  • LBTQIA2+ populations

To learn more about these priority populations and the importance of equity and suicide prevention here: Equity and Suicide Prevention.

To learn more information or how to join the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of El Paso County, you can contact Nicole Johnston (she/her), Project Manager of the Collaborative, at nicole.johnston@ppchp.org.

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