Who We Are
Lydia Prado, PhD
Dr. Lydia Prado is the Executive Director of Lifespan Local Change Partnerships, which activates community-driven solutions to collectively identified challenges by partnering across sectors, breaking barriers and elevating community voices. By maximizing sustainable assets within a neighborhood, Lifespan Local is able to reimagine what is possible, creating community spaces where health and wellness thrive.
Dr. Prado approaches her work from a systems and strengths-based perspective, with an emphasis on diversity, equity and community-based leadership. Dr. Prado is a place-maker, convening partners with a shared commitment to healthy living and social change.
Before starting Lifespan Local, Dr. Prado spent 17 years with the Mental Health Center of Denver as the Vice President of Child & Family Services. She is the project visionary behind the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, an innovative community center in Northeast Park Hill that promotes well-being across the lifespan. The site features an inclusive preschool, a full service dental clinic for children, a one acre urban farm, 5,400 sq ft aquaponics greenhouse, horticultural therapy spaces, community gardens, teaching kitchen, community room, gymnasium and a full array of mental health services for all ages.
+ Learn more about Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being
Located in Denver’s Northwest Park Hill, Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being provides a wholistic approach to well-being that supports mind, body and community. This campus is an open space for community members to connect with each other, learn new skills and find the help they need.
Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being began through the act of having conversation — conversations about health, connection, raising children, growing old, hope & despair. As Dr. Lydia Prado dreamed of a new approach to mental health care, she met residents of Denver’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood who were dreaming, too. These conversations centered around words like food, daycare, jobs, and afterschool activities. As these conversations continued, themes began to emerge, people were looking for a way to connect mind, body, and community.
As the Vice President of Child and Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver, Dr. Prado was tasked to meet the growing community need for services in limited therapy space. She sensed an opportunity to meet a pragmatic need through an entirely new and innovative approach to mental health care. Rather than addressing each risk factor one-by-one, why not promote community well-being comprehensively — through the built environment, partnerships, and lifespan programming? Her process of listening the community took years, and her commitment to centering a community’s voice took priority over everything during this process.
Over the last several years, Dr. Prado has served as the Director of Community Partnerships with The Barton Institute for Philanthropy & Social Enterprise at the University of Denver, and in the past has been an adjunct faculty member in DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology and a research associate in DU’s Child Clinical program.
Natalia joined Lifespan Local as a Program Manager supporting Community Partnerships. She brings 8 years of experience in product and project management after previously serving as a program coordinator at the Mental Health Center of Denver and assistant general manager for a local food company.
Natalia adapts to the task at hand, from organizing a 700-person event to rebranding and reformulating an entire food line, with organization, intention, and grace. She believes in the power of community expertise, sees the inter-relatedness of social drivers and how they affect people and neighborhoods, and values collaboration over competition. Natalia is a Denver native who attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary and Ecology Biology.
Nami Thompson is the FLTI Site Coordinator at Lifespan Local in Southwest Denver. She serves on a national team to write a more culturally responsive FLTI curriculum, and she is an FLTI graduate herself. Nami also works with Boulder County Housing and Human Services under the 2GO grant to reduce the rate of mother and infant mortality, and she is a member of the Colorado Public Health Association’s Health Equity Coalition. She has been staging people-led, people-centered protests, celebrations, and community conversations since she was a teenager, and Nami believes joy is an act of revolution. Her educational background is in neurobiology and public policy. Nami writes in her free time and is the recipient of multiple writer’s fellowships. Her book of non-fiction, autobiographical essays is expected to be released in early 2020.