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CAHEC Board of Directors


David Cessna B.A., M.Ed., Board President


David Cessna has devoted his career to managing programs and assisting
individuals with workforce and career development in higher education,
secondary education, non-profit organizations and counties. Groups with which
he has worked include college students, high school students, the unemployed,
not workforce ready individuals on public assistance, people over 50 years old,
disabled farmers and ranchers and those exiting the criminal justice system. As a
former CAHEC staff member he has worked with youth pipeline programs
throughout the region.



Bruce Cooper, MD, MSPH, Board Treasurer

Bruce Cooper is a family physician who is passionate about the health of his community. He graduated as an MD from the University of Nebraska School of Medicine and received an MSPH from the University of Colorado. He has worked for many years as a Primary Care Physician and Medical Director in Northeast Colorado. He has also worked as an educator at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. 


Brian Lewton, Board Vice President


Brian Lewton is an associate professor of business and economics at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. He is passionate about helping members of rural communities throughout Northeastern Colorado develop the same access to high-quality, affordable healthcare that communities on the Front Range enjoy. As an educator, Brian recognizes the importance that quality education for healthcare professionals in rural areas starts at the community level in high schools and community colleges. Brian is a native rural Coloradoan, and enjoys spending time working in the local agricultural industry and helping students from all walks of life achieve their professional goals.


Bruce Cooper, MD, MSPH, Board Treasurer


Bruce Cooper is a retired family physician who is passionate about the health of his community. He graduated as an MD from the University of Nebraska School of Medicine and received an MSPH from the University of Colorado. He worked for many years as a primary care physician and later as a health district medical director in northern Colorado. He was a clinical preceptor in family medicine and preventive medicine while in practice. 


Lola Fehr, MS, RN, Board Secretary

Lola Fehr is a decorated nurse who has worked in a variety of clinical, administrative, parliamentary, and educator roles. She earned her BSN at the University of Denver and MS at the University of Colorado. She is passionate about continuing education for nurses and has been a supportive ally of CAHEC's NEC conference for many years. In 2023, she received the CU Nursing Alumni Association Lifetime Acheivement Award.



Sadie Fritzler, MA


Sadie is a native of Northeast Colorado with 10 years of experience in Career and Technical Education and Higher Education Student Services. She has provided representation on Banner Health’s Hospital Transformation Program for Sterling Regional Medical Center and served on the Patient Advisory Board for Northeast Colorado Family Medicine. Sadie is trained as a Practice Facilitator, COMET trainer, and SBIRT trainer. Through the High Plains Research Network, Sadie engages in practice-based research projects and engaging the community to better healthcare in the Northeast Plains of Colorado.

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Kaylyn Garza



Michael Hassell,  FACHE


Michael is the Chief Executive Officer of Melissa Memorial Hospital, a 15 bed Critical Access Facility located in rural Northeast Colorado.  He has deep healthcare roots beginning as a Paramedic.  His professional journey saw him rise through the facilities and allied health side of hospital administration working in both big city and small town organizations.  Michael is a Fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and the National Rural Healthcare Association (Fellow-NRHA).  Passionate about the opportunities afforded by higher education, Michael is always eager to help students refine and achieve their professional goals.


Pamela Howes, MSN, MBA, CFRN, CCRN-N, CEN, Board Member


Pamela Howes is an RN Paramedic, currently working in a Local Emergency Department as an educator and as needed in the local ICU. She grew up in Littleton and has lived most of her life in Colorado with her husband of 26 years and two children. Her daughter is an EMT currently and is headed to nursing school in May. Her son graduates this year and is headed to play hockey in Montana. Outside of work, she enjoys all things outside: cycling, hiking, and running. She is also an avid ice hockey player and skier.



Mark Johnson, BS, EMT-P, Board Member


Mark has been working in the emergency services field since 1974, providing emergency response and training to agency personnel and the public in emergency medical services, fire service, law enforcement, communications, and personal safety. Mark is the EMS Program Director at Front Range Community College Boulder campus. 

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Samantha Mahaffey, RN, MSN, CNOR, Board Member


Samantha is a fourth generation resident of Northeastern Colorado. She began her career in medicine as an EMT and then went back to school to become a nurse. She has been a Registered Nurse since 2006 and has worked in various areas including trauma, critical care, surgery, leadership and education. She is an Associate Professor of Nursing at NJC, a Hydration RN at Barnes Pharmacy, as well as a PRN staff at Sterling Regional MedCenter in the OR. Samantha is passionate about rural life and rural health care is excited to bring her experience to CAHEC.


The Centennial Area Health Education Center is seeking Board Members.

Please download the application here, review the Bylaws
and Job Description.

Email the completed application to  

Join our Board of Directors!

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