In May, Kaysie Schmidt of La Junta took over as Director of Physical Health Operations at Southeast Health Group (SHG), following the retirement of Jackie Brown, who held the title of Chief of Physical Health Operations. Schmidt’s educational background includes a Master of Public Health in Leadership and Public Health Practice from the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, a Bachelor of Science in Health & Exercise Science with a concentration in Health Promotion from Colorado State University, and an Associate of Science from Otero Junior College.
Schmidt heard about the position at SHG from her predecessor. She and Brown have worked together in some capacity over the past few years, including their time as local public health directors in adjacent counties, and as partners on a health innovation grant that launched the health navigation services at SHG. For her part, Schmidt served as the lead faculty for OJC’s Health Navigator Program.
“I am excited to work for a company that is innovative and proactive in reducing barriers to healthcare access, and continually seeking to provide exceptional care in our rural communities,” Schmidt said. “In addition, SHG values and invests in its staff, and will provide me with a platform to satisfy my passion for eliminating health inequities in our region of the state.”
Aside from her work at OJC, she has served as the Executive Director of Bent County Public Health (BPCH) and as a program director at Otero County Health Department (OCHD). In both roles, she had many experiences with public health and all-hazards preparedness and response, which she finds particularly relevant to her newly-acquired position during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kaysie was born and raised in La Junta, and returned to her hometown after finishing college. She and her husband Bill have been married 19 years. Bill is a teacher and coach at La Junta High School, as well as a Senior Master Sergeant in the Colorado Air National Guard. The couple has experienced seven overseas deployments while together. They have four very active kids, two daughters and two sons: Shealie (16), Rylan (13), Peyton (10), and Brylie (7) and live on 40-acres just outside of La Junta where they have dogs, cats, horses, cattle, goats, and chickens.
Schmidt’s time outside of work is largely spent supporting her children at their various activities. She is a co-leader of Fort Bent 4-H Club, where her children are active participants all while playing sports and staying active in theatre to name a few. When she has time to herself, Kaysie enjoys being outdoors horseback riding, fishing, gardening, and reading.
“Kaysie is such a joy to be around, and I know she will be great in this position,” Jackie Brown said of her replacement. “I know I am leaving the SHG team in great hands with her in charge, and I can’t wait to see what all they can accomplish.”