We are thrilled to introduce you to the panel of Women’s Health Champions who will speak at our November event. These local experts will inform us about ways that we can help fight for women’s reproductive rights and health. The event will take place on November 15, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Elk’s Lodge in Boulder. Click here to register!
Karla Gonzalez Garcia
Karla Gonzales Garcia is originally from Iquitos, Peru. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Lima, Peru. While completing her degree, she became an intern for a non-profit organization in Peru that provided crisis counseling for street-children who had been sexually assaulted. After graduating, Karla worked with kindergarten children with learning disabilities for three years. Karla then moved to the United States thirteen years ago, and she initially spent most of her time working with victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence, and immigrant rights advocacy in San Miguel County, Colorado. Her passion for social and racial justice motivated her to pursue her graduate degree in ethnic studies with a certification in women and gender studies at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, CO. While pursuing her graduate degree, Karla worked as an outreach and education specialist providing sexual and reproductive health education programs and access to health services for marginalized populations. She decided to expand her research skills and diligently worked as a research assistant for a partnership between Colorado State University and the Restorative Justice Institute, to address the ethnic and racial disparities on achievement and retention gap of minority students in schools. After finishing her coursework, Karla became the co-interim director for the agency she used to work for in Telluride, CO. Karla continuously works to be grounded in decolonial methodologies, methods of research, and social justice praxis in order to achieve her long-term career goals of influencing policy making and advocacy based on meeting unique community needs.
Karla’s love for nature and people inspires her to spend her free time hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors with friends, or sometimes just sitting on an outdoor patio being silly all together. She describes these things as the necessary ingredients in her life to continue the work of healing herself and the communities she works with.
Molly Swank is PPRM’s Director of Community Engagement, overseeing PPRM’s advocacy and engagement work in Colorado and Nevada. Prior to joining PPRM, Molly worked with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s Public Affairs team for over seven years as an Organizer, Legislative & Advocacy Coordinator, and eventually becoming their Public Policy Associate. Molly holds a Masters of Social Work, with an emphasis in organizing and public policy. Her work to empower Planned Parenthood supporters and activists has ranged from organizing college aged supporters to implementing a statewide community action team program in communities across Wisconsin and Colorado as the only organizing staff. She has worked across the nation to help Planned Parenthood affiliates establish health center advocacy programming and served as the national co-chair of the Planned Parenthood Network of Volunteer Advocates as well.
Karen Middleton is the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, an organization which has led on and advocated for reproductive rights in Colorado since its founding in 1967. Previously, Karen served as the president of Emerge America and as a Colorado State Legislator from Aurora.
Susan Buchanan brings experience as both a former RN and Health Law Attorney to her position as Executive Director of Women’s Health, a role she has held since 2001. This background makes her uniquely qualified to face the demands and challenges of running a health care organization in today’s changing health care marketplace. Susan’s lifelong commitment to social justice and healthcare access provides her energy and vision to lead this mission-driven nonprofit.
Women’s Health works to ensure that all people, particularly those who experience barriers, can access high quality, respectful and comprehensive reproductive, gynecological, and sexual health care services.
Susan is also a leader in the nonprofit community and chairs the Human Services Alliance of Boulder County. She is a member of the Boulder Chamber’s Community Affairs Council, board chair of Bridge to Justice and is active in her faith community. Susan lives in Boulder and has two remarkable daughters.