Colorado Health Institute Names New CEO

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Sara Schmitt to Lead Organization Effective Immediately

Sara Schmitt headshot
Sara Schmitt, President and CEO

The Board of Trustees of the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) has appointed Sara Schmitt as President and Chief Executive Officer following a comprehensive national search. Schmitt will lead CHI in its mission of improving the health of all Coloradans through independent research, analysis, and insight that advance sound policies and decisions.

Schmitt, who has led CHI as Interim President and CEO since July 2022, will transition to the formal role effective immediately.

“Sara has been a key driver of CHI’s success, and she has expertly led the organization over the course of the past year,” said CHI Board Chair Angelina Salazar. “Sara has been instrumental in advancing CHI’s mission and building its culture during her 11-year tenure. And she has bold ideas and the strategic vision to chart CHI’s course for the future.”

Prior to taking over as Interim CEO, Schmitt served as CHI’s Managing Director of Research, Evaluation, and Consulting. In that role she served as a strategic advisor to the Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH), where she united public health agencies and other stakeholders in their planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmitt has been deeply involved in CHI’s evaluation and governance work, overseeing assessments in behavioral health, the early childhood mental health workforce, and other areas. In 2021, she directed CHI's work with the Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission to update the Colorado Health Information Technology (IT) Roadmap.

“I’ve been honored to work alongside the CHI team and Colorado’s health community for many years, and I’m excited to lead CHI into the future,” Schmitt said. “CHI has been a leader in advancing health and well-being for all of Colorado’s communities, and I know our team can play a key role in creating the systems that allow all people to thrive.”

Prior to joining CHI in 2012, Schmitt served in roles at the Colorado Rural Health Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center. She has worked in policy advocacy and provided supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Schmitt earned a master’s degree in health administration and policy from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.

“Our interviews with stakeholders and field leaders clarified CHI’s critical role in advancing health equity and well-being in Colorado and highlighted the leadership attributes needed to guide CHI as it embarks on its third decade,” said Rob Kaufold, a CHI Board Member and Chair of the search committee. “Sara’s empathy, passion, and vision for CHI and Colorado meet those lofty expectations. We are excited to work with her to continue to advance this mission.”

The Colorado Health Institute is a nonprofit, mission-driven research and consulting group advancing equity and well-being in our communities through deep expertise and implementational know-how. We simplify the complex, provide context, and advance policies that make a difference.