On November 17, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize individuals who are making a bold difference right here in the Central Valley. We will highlight the ten honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

hero22_jprado_smName: Joe Prado 

Occupation: Assistant Director, Fresno County Department of Public Health

Nominated by: Central Valley Health Policy Institute

Early in his public health career, Joe Prado showed great dedication to advancing and promoting health equity in the Central Valley. That same passion is still evident nearly two decades later. As the assistant director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health, Prado helps lead the charge of over one million individuals in Fresno County. He says it is a privilege to be in a position to make a great impact on the community he serves. 

“What I enjoy most about public health is that it encompasses so many potential impacts,” Prado said. “In my current role, I get to learn all the different areas and assess where these different areas overlap and evaluate opportunities for collaboration.”

Before becoming assistant director at the Fresno County Department of Public Health, Prado served as division manager where he supervised 23 programs and a more than $9 million dollar budget. During this time, he led innovation and multidisciplinary workgroups that worked toward making his aspirations of health equity in Fresno a reality. This includes serving as co-chair of the Fresno County Council of Governments Regional Transportation Plan workgroup that will guide transit and multimodal transportation investments and services in the Fresno region through 2050. He was also co-chair of the Cradle to Career workgroup, which created authentic collaboration and collective impact toward equitable systems and inclusive economic mobility for children and families. 

Prado is a proud Fresno State graduate, having earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1999. His pathway in behavioral health was a seamless transition to his current role in public health, and he makes it a point to stay connected to the university, especially the Central Valley Health Policy Institute. Most recently, he worked with the institute on the Fresno County COVID Equity Project, helping to enhance healthcare access to underserved populations in Fresno’s rural and metropolitan areas through community health workers, COVID testing and vaccinations and outreach. 

Prior to this, he also worked closely with the institute to develop and modify the Health Priority Index, a tool used to identify vulnerable communities at risk for adverse birth outcomes, heart disease, low socioeconomic conditions and other needs within the local area. 

Prado intends to continue this collaboration with the institute, in hopes of developing public health research projects that advance health equity for all. 

You have to consistently be okay with being uncomfortable and learning about new issues and developing new partnerships to effectively make change in the community,” Prado said. 

Prado with his family. Photo credit: Joe Prado

The 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held virtually this year. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.