Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network Meet the Team

Meet the H2N Team: Mariana Savela

Mariana Savela
Hispanic Community Coordinator 

Why did you get involved with H2N?
At the beginning it was because I was invited by Dr. Norrbom to help with some reports’ development. Everything has been evolving into helping the Hispanic community in so many other issues and being a voice for them in equity matters. I love to be a part of this project and to help advocate for my people.

What changes have you seen in the type of work H2N does since joining?
We continue growing in so many aspects from expanding our staff to other areas, getting staff trained, shifting staff responsibilities empowering the liaisons to get more involved in leadership aspects. Having staff like me and two Hmong colleagues getting certified as Health Navigators to help specific communities.

What is the most rewarding part of working with H2N? What is the most challenging part?
Rewarding part: Working with a great group of people with so many different skills and professional backgrounds. Along with all the collaboration and the connections made with several community organizations trying to achieve the same goal.  Challenging part: Keeping up with all the changes, information, meetings and webinars available for the work that we do.

What persistent obstacles have you noticed during your work with H2N?
Definitely time. There are so many resources available for the job that we do and there is lack of time to cover more.

If you are still considering a career path, has the work you’ve done with H2N impacted what you want to do in the future?
Yes, indeed. My profession has been mostly in the finance area but I love doing social work and community focus using my bilingual skills.

What role do you see for organizations like H2N in the future of public health in this country?
Organizations like H2N play a vital role in building healthy communities by providing critical services that strengthen communities in important ways. We  are the voice of the people we serve. Thanks to the combination of strong community relationships (trusted messengers=CHW’s) and local knowledge and collaboration with other organizations we understand better than anyone else our communities’ needs and the best ways to meet them.

Anything else you would like to share? 
I am excited about what the future holds for H2N. We have a great work model that has been working well since the project started and we continue evolving. H2N’s paramount concern is the health of the communities that we serve.