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Director, Office of Equity and Inclusion
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Michelle Melendez is inaugural Director of the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion, established by Mayor Tim Keller in 2018 with the mission of inspiring and equipping city government to dismantle institutional and structural racism and achieve racial equity and social justice in Albuquerque. The department-level Office of Equity and Inclusion includes the divisions of Native American Affairs and Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The team works with all city departments and partners closely with the Office of Civil Rights to protect and advance rights and remove barriers to the full participation of all people in civic and community life.
Michelle previously was the director of EleValle, a group of community-based organizations that work as a collaborative to improve community health in one of the city’s oldest and most impoverished areas. Before that, she held leadership roles at First Choice Community Healthcare, which is the largest Federally-Qualified Healthcare Center system in New Mexico, and for Catholic Health Initiatives’ St. Joseph’s Children, an operating foundation that came from the sale of one of the state’s first hospitals, established by the Sisters of Charity.
Melendez has served on multiple boards including those of Health Leadership High School, Future Focused Education and Bernalillo County Community Health Council and the Board of Trustees of University of New Mexico Hospitals, the state’s only public hospital.
As a journalist for 12 years, she wrote for major newspapers in New Mexico and Texas and as a freelance reporter in Mexico City.
Michelle holds a BA in Communications and Journalism and an MA in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico.