MJ Jorgensen

MJ Jorgensen
Location: Evans, Colorado Cohort Start Year: 2019 Project Topics: Addiction and Substance Abuse, Behavioral and Mental Health, Community/Civic Engagement, Health Care Access, LGBTQ+ Health, Public, Population and Community Health Populations Served: Adolescents (12-20 years), Adults (21-64 years), LGBTQ+ Communities, Older Adults (65+), People with Addictions
Director of Addiction Response
North Colorado Health Alliance

MJ (they, them, theirs) believes that all people should have equitable access to quality mental health and substance use care, that these systems are centered around populations facing systemic oppression and discrimination, and that systems take accountability and work to positively change their impact. MJ got into this work because they are both personally and professionally invested in changing systems to better meet the needs of the community.

As a non-binary and transgender public health professional, MJ is continuously looking to improve the health of historically under-represented groups. MJ serves as the Director of Addiction Response for the North Colorado Health Alliance in Evans, Colorado and uses this platform to achieve their vision.

MJ works with partners in behavioral health, healthcare, criminal justice, education, and housing to build sustainable community solutions to improve access to respectful and affirming behavioral health care and treatment. It’s MJ’s goal to build more spaces where people go for support that are open to change, equipped to meet the needs and welcoming for all members of our community.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Developing Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Youth Leadership in Northern California
Like other systems, the behavioral health system was built by and for people of dominant identities and has a long, documented history of perpetuating inequity for BIPOC communities. It interacts deeply with other systems that disproportionately impact diverse communities, including the criminal justice, education and healthcare systems, making them work with compounding interest. Behavioral health, as defined and implemented by our current health system, leaves out an opportunity for BIPOC to have agency and autonomy to access and achieve wellness through their own cultural practices. This perpetuates generational trauma and counteracts the goals of the behavioral health system and the BIPOC community. My initiative will build young leaders in the Northern Colorado community by expanding healing and liberation efforts through a curriculum developed for BIPOC youth (ages 7–11) across the gender spectrum. This initiative will create opportunities for these youth to: develop peer networks, celebrate identity, learn their histories and culture, and creatively heal to improve long-term inequities that exist within our behavioral health systems through strength-based prevention approaches. My initiative brings together university, community-based organizations, and behavioral health experts.

MJ Jorgensen, (they, them, theirs) is a white, queer, transgender and non-binary public health professional who is invested in changing health spaces so that all have equitable access to welcoming spaces and positive health outcomes. They accomplish this through their work in the community member, as the Director of Addiction Response with the North Colorado Health Alliance, as a Leader in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders program, an instructor at Colorado State University’s School of Public Health, and Equity Professional with Engage Coaching and Consulting.

In these roles, they apply community organizing, program planning and change management strategies to make organizational and programmatic improvements across systems. MJ has their Masters in Public Health, is a Certified Health Education Specialist and has also completed the National Diversity Council’s Certified Diversity Professional Program.

MJ is a dedicated strategist, relationship builder and educator. MJ’s philosophy centers on harm reduction and community voice and organizing with the goal to restructure and renovate existing systems to better meet the needs of the communities they aim to serve.

Click here to watch MJ’s Legacy Project video.