2023-2024 UTFA Executive Team Members

Chair – Lynette G. Hansen, MS, CPHQ

Lynette HansenLynette Hansen has been employed in Quality Management in the health care field for over 30 years. Her assignments have included Quality Consultant in a behavioral health care setting, Quality Manager, Director of Clinical Outcomes, Manager of Population Health, Wellness, and Prevention, and at Molina Healthcare since 2013 as Director of QI for Utah, Regional Director of QI for NY, NM, TX, OH, WA, CA, and WI, and currently as Associate VP of Quality Improvement and Risk Adjustment for Utah and Idaho.

She served on faculty at the University of Phoenix for 10 years where she taught courses in Business Management, Diversity, Sociology, Marketing, Nursing and Health Administration, and Humanities. She gave up teaching in 2011 when she became a grandmother – one of her greatest accomplishments. She received her Master’s degree in Organizational Behavior and Business Education from Brigham Young University and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). Lynette and her husband served as Guest Service Missionaries on Temple Square for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to the COVID pandemic.

Vice Chair – Kim Bennion MsHS, RRT, CHC, FAARC

Kim BennionKim has worked as a Registered Respiratory Therapist for over 45 years in adult, pediatric and newborn intensive care and as a certified Health Care Senior Compliance Consultant for fourteen years. Kim currently is leading Respiratory Care clinical research studies for Intermountain Health, co-authored a recently submitted manuscript, and is co-leading a remote patient monitoring on an artificial intelligence platform for adult patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. She has authored/co-authored over eighty abstract publications and was awarded the 2014 Charles W. Serby COPD Research Fellowship by the American Respiratory Care Foundation and the AARC’s Specialty Practitioner of the Year in 2018.  Kim was heavily involved in the passing of Utah’s 2018 SCR004 which raised the awareness of the need for post-operative, home monitoring of high-risk patients receiving opioids for pain. She is currently serving on the Utah Division of Professional Licensing Board Chair. She recently completed her roles on the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Board of Directors as the Chair of the Leadership and Management Section. Kim continues to serve on several strategic planning committees for the AARC and was named a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care in 2022.

Secretary – Ashley Linschoten

Ashley LinschotenAshley Linschoten works for the TriCounty Health Department in Vernal, UT as their Health Promotions Supervisor. She received her undergrad in Community Nutrition and graduated with her MPH (Master of Public Health) degree in May 2022, both from Utah State University. She is passionate about helping people prevent chronic disease through lifestyle modifications like diet, exercise, and abstaining from tobacco use. In her spare time she likes to do active things like exploring the outdoors with her husband, two little boys, and her dog Zoey or doing nothing like watching Jazz games. She is excited to work with the Utah Tobacco Free Alliance and help move this great work forward!

Treasurer – Mercedes Rodriguez

Mercedes RodriguezMercedes Rodriguez currently works for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services under the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program as a Program Coordinator. Her main role is the coordination of the Youth Electronic Cigarettes, Marijuana, and Other Drugs Prevention Program (YEMOP). Mercedes has worked in prevention for the last 6 years. She started her work in prevention when she joined the Evidence2Success Kearns Community Coalition as their Coordinator and worked with Salt Lake County Health Department.

Mercedes has a master’s degree in public health from Westminster College and she currently is working on becoming a Certified Public Manager through the UVU Woodbury School of Business, Department of Communication, and UVU College of Health and Public Service. Last year, she became certified to teach the Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training (SAPST) for the State of Utah and she is part of various internal work groups from the Office of Health Promotion and Prevention which include the SHARP Advisory Committee and the Schools Workgroup. Mercedes enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys learning new things, exploring new cultures, and eating yummy food. Mercedes is fluent in Spanish and was born and raised in El Salvador.

Membership Coordinator – OPEN POSITION

Nominate yourself or someone you know by emailing us at utahtfa@gmail.com

At-Large Members:

Garrett Harding

Garrett HardingGarrett Harding is the Associate Director of Community Outreach at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). In this role, he assesses need for, implements, and evaluates cancer prevention education and community outreach efforts across the state of Utah and the Mountain West region. Mr. Harding works in collaboration with internal clinical and research programs and external community partners to build capacity for community engagement and identify collaborative projects that address health equity in targeted populations. In his nine years at HCI, Mr. Harding has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of melanoma and radon gas; expand access to cancer screening and education in rural/frontier areas of Utah; and implement a tobacco-free campus policy at the University of Utah, among other projects.

Jennifer Wadsworth

Jennifer WadsworthJennifer Wadsworth is an accomplished educator, mother of three, and children’s health advocate with over two decades of experience working directly with parents and students. She has held leadership positions at the local and state levels of the PTA, promoting student wellness and forging strong partnerships between lawmakers and community leaders. Her dedication has earned her awards such as the National PTA School of Excellence, the Third Tier Utah PTA LEAP award, and the Utah Blue Shield Award. Jennifer believes in the power of self-care and enjoys reading, hiking, gardening, and exploring the world with her family in her free time.

Workgroup Chairs:

Elizabeth Klc

Co-Chair of the Community Advocacy and Education Workgroup

Elizabeth KlcLiz Klc serves as the Director for the Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council (USAAV+), an advisory council to the Governor's Office. The mission of the USAAV+ Council is to create and coordinate a comprehensive strategy to eliminate substance use and mental health disorders throughout Utah. She works with many different groups to represent the interests and concerns of behavioral health professionals and populations and advises the Governor and Legislature on proposed policy and works with the USAAV+ Council to generate unity for the State's ongoing efforts to best address behavioral health issues. Liz earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Brigham Young University and worked with the Utah Behavioral Healthcare Committee at the Utah Association of Counties. She loves to travel and enjoy the local cuisine, but as a native Utahn, she loves small town rodeos, snow skiing, and fry sauce.

Noah Miterko

Co-Chair of the Community Advocacy and Education Workgroup

Noah MiterkoNoah is the American Heart Association’s Utah Government Relations Director. Raised in Colorado, Noah has called Salt Lake City home since 2014. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Western Colorado University and his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Utah. Prior to joining the American Heart Association, he worked in environmental policy and advocacy to help ensure healthy communities and a thriving natural environment. Noah is thrilled to contribute to the incredible work of helping forge longer, healthier lives for all Utahns. When not going to bat for our communities, you can find Noah on his snowboard, mountain bike, or enjoying the wonderful cultural experiences Salt Lake City has to offer.

Dr. Dixie Harris

Co-Chair of the Clinical and Health Systems Workgroup

Dr. Dixie HarrisDr. Dixie Harris is a pulmonary (lung), critical care and sleep physician at Intermountain Healthcare and a Fellow of American Academy of Chest Physicians. She has a special interest in treating patients with asthma, COPD and tobacco related lung disease. She has been the clinical lead in the investigation of EVALI (electronic cigarette and vaping related lung injury) team at Intermountain Healthcare. The team is currently studying the long-term effects of EVALI. She is interested in prevention efforts ongoing lung disease especially in regard to smoking cigarettes and vaping.

Co-Chair of the Clinical and Health Systems Workgroup – OPEN POSITION

Nominate yourself or someone you know by emailing us at utahtfa@gmail.com

Cassandra Fairclough

Co-Chair of Business Workgroup

Cassandra FaircloughCassandra Fairclough works for the Utah Department of Health in the Environmental Sanitation Program. She holds a BS in Sociology and a Masters degree in Social Work. She has almost 20 years’ experience in the tobacco prevention and control area. She provides technical assistance and educational trainings/presentations to local health departments, the public, managers/owners/landlords and property management companies on the Secondhand Smoke Amendments and promoting voluntary smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing. Her responsibility in the Environmental Sanitation Program include environmental health contracts and contract reporting, is involved with various CLEHA committees, including the Utah Indoor Clean Air committee and helps with writing of the UICAA rule. She currently creates the UEHA newsletter. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Utah and practices at family counseling center. She enjoys hiking, camping, reading, crafting, traveling to visit her three grandchildren and spending time with friends and family.

Jesse Joseph

Co-Chair of Business Workgroup

Jesse JosephJesse Joseph is the Asthma Program Coordinator for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) where he mobilizes and supports partner organizations, like the Asthma Task Force, and leads strategic planning efforts to reduce the burden of asthma in Utah. Prior to his current role, Jesse worked for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at DHHS and as a Health Educator at Bear River Health Department. He previously served as the Secretary and President of the Utah Society of Public Health Educators. Jesse has a bachelor’s in health education and promotion from Utah State University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. When he is not working, he spends time with his family playing soccer, hiking, and eating ice cream.