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Arnold School of Public Health

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Staff Spotlight: Kathia Valverde

April 10, 2024 | Erin Bluvas,

Born to a teenage mother, Kathia Valverde became a caregiver herself at the young age of seven. First her grandmother needed help after surviving two strokes, a coma and blindness. Then she took care of her newborn sister so her mother could work to put food on the table.

“I am a ‘people person,’ and I’ve learned many skills and dexterities from my mother,” the Center for Community Health Alignment Training Specialist says. “I have always been passionate about serving the community and love to connect with people on a personal and professional level.”

Kathia Valverde
Kathia Valverde is a Training Specialist with the Center for Community Health Alignment. 

Though she cared for her sister during the day, Valverde attended high school and later college at night – earning a BA in accounting and business administration in Costa Rica where she grew up. As a first-generation college graduate, she became the main provider for her family of four women – experiencing many social determinants of health and inequities first-hand along the way.

Valverde spent her first six years in the United States in the Northeast before moving to the warmth of South Carolina more than 25 years ago. At USC, she coordinated the HABLA Project at the College of Social Work for eight years – working with DSS to overcome languages barriers and advocate for Latine communities in the state.

In 2017, she joined PASOs as the state project coordinator for Latine participants of reproductive age and then spent another three years focusing on the health of 14- to 24-year-olds. Valverde has certifications in ESL, Early Childhood, Reproductive Health, LGBTQIA Health, and Community Health Work. As a training specialist with CCHA, she provides 80 hours of core competency training for students to achieve community health worker certification with several specialty tracks (e.g., Health and Racial Equity, Oral Health, Lupus, LGBTQ+).

“My passion is to serve in solidarity, advocacy and activism for issues affecting minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ+ community and women rights,” says Valverde, who serves several community councils, committees, boards, and local schools.

She has presented on panels and conferences across the U.S. in other areas she is passionate about, including health racial equity, LGBTQA rights and Latine community rights. Valverde has also used her language skills to interpret and translate for organizations like DSS, family court and several legal and medical entities.

My passion is to serve in solidarity, advocacy and activism for issues affecting minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ+ community and women rights.

Kathia Valverde

"Kathia's intersectionality and lived experience has helped with her community impact," says M. Greg Green, training manager for the Center for Community Health Alignment. "Both her care and connection with community have made her a great CHW as well as an impactful facilitator." 

“I am passionate about being a lifelong learner and sharing knowledge with others,” Valverde says. “My work at CCHA gives me the opportunity to meet and reach out to people – being exposed to beautiful people of so many identities, ethnicities from all corners of the world. People like me have so much intersectionality living in the US; I love to be with like-minded people sharing their hearts to help others.”

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Access and Collective Engagement.

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