Q&A with Ginger Williams: Expanded Rural Engagement Improved Health Specialist, Eastern Region
Ginger Williams is one of 14 new Expanded Rural Engagement specialists who recently joined CSU Extension. Williams will be focusing on improving public health in Colorado’s eastern region, which includes 10 counties in the state’s northeast corner covering over 17,000 square miles.
Williams earned her Master’s in healthcare administration and management from Colorado State University Global.
“What we often lack in tangible resources, we make up for in human connection and out of the box thinking and that’s what I love about the growth and learning that occurs in rural areas.”
– Ginger Williams, CSU Extension Improved Health Specialist
Just a few weeks into her new position, Williams shared what excites her about the job, how her background positions her to make an impact in the community, and what community needs she hopes to address through her work.
“I’m most excited about the opportunity to really focus on the health issues that rural areas care about and are challenged with on a daily basis. We have amazing Extension agents in our communities who are doing really important work and the Expanded Rural Engagement Initiative will elevate that work to an unprecedented level. I’m also excited about the opportunity to closely collaborate with Colorado State University experts, like professors and research teams.
I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of this vision and I can’t wait to meet all the wonderful, hard-working people in the eastern region and across the state who are invested in their community’s health! Rural communities pride themselves on tradition and innovation and this project harnesses exactly that enthusiasm.”
“I’m originally from the Thornton area and moved to Wray, Colorado ten years ago with my husband who’s from Burlington, Colorado and has been an educator at the middle/high school level for eleven years.
We did not originally intend to stay more than a year or so. However, it became apparent very early on that we loved this community and its culture, the people and the opportunity to get involved in the community on so many levels, so we’ve stayed and are raising our family here.
I have a Bachelor’s in applied human development with an emphasis in education from Metro State University and a Master’s in healthcare administration, specializing in strategic innovation and change management, from Colorado State University Global.
For the last five years, I served as the executive director of a non-profit, long-term care community serving older adults at the skilled nursing and assisted living care levels, while also building connections in Northeastern Colorado to support long-term care providers. Prior to that, I worked in K-12 education under a shared-leadership superintendent model as the executive director of operations and human resources working with two co-directors.”
“While I enjoy all aspects of human development from maternal health and child development to aging and end of life, I’m most passionate about how to support older adults to live meaningful lives that are fully integrated in the community and how they can contribute their wealth of knowledge to the health and wellness of communities every day.
I’m also really interested in the ways marginalized and underserved populations not only access health care, which is a huge challenge, but also how the healthcare system can support and increase trust with these populations. It’s exciting to have these conversations and see where they take us in the future!”
“Collaboration is everything when it comes to working in communities and solving the most simple of problems, let alone the complexities of health. Rural communities thrive on connection and are so creative because we have to be.
What we often lack in tangible resources, we make up for in human connection and out of the box thinking and that’s what I love about the growth and learning that occurs in rural areas. I’m excited to get into these communities and meet the unique and special people that live there because we are so much more impactful together than we are as any one person.
I’m confident we can meet the challenge of this initiative as we put our heads together and get our hands dirty!”
“It’s important to support rural communities in the area of health because we are the backbone of the state. There is so much critical work going on in these areas and each person matters.
Rural areas often feel left out from the Front Range, or feel their voices are not heard. I hope to take those voices and elevate them across the state to show off all the good work happening every day, as well as highlight critical needs. Rural areas provide so much to the entire state and the more we support the health and wellness in our areas the better chance we have of creating thriving and healthy communities across the state.”