Title: Director of Health and Wellness Ecosystem
Organization: Housing Authority of the City of Austin
Location: Austin, TX
Raised along the US-Mexico border in West Texas, Rodolfo L. Rodriguez witnessed firsthand the effects of educational and economic disparity. This perspective led him to use public policy, the built environment and social services as strategies to create healthy, sustainable and socially equitable communities for marginalized families.
As the founding Director of Health and Wellness Ecosystem for the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, he is partnering with 25,000 economically vulnerable residents to align health and housing systems to improve their own lives. He oversees comprehensive health needs assessments and develops whole-health programs. In this work, he centers the integration of health equity across the affordable housing and infrastructure projects in Central Texas.
Prior to returning to his home state, he spent several years advancing health equity for communities across the US Western region. While in Colorado, he directed strategic priorities for a City Councilwoman in Denver, while dismantling inequitable institutional and systemic policies. He established a permanent fund for affordable housing, memorialized immigrant protections, updated police Use of Force policies, and revised building code to require gender-neutral restrooms. Simultaneously, he led a cultural health assessment on behalf of the Denver Housing Authority resulting in anti-displacement strategies and community planning recommendations for a neighborhood redevelopment project that housed immigrants and refugees. In Southern California, he partnered with a Mayor to assemble a Health and Wellness Commission and founded a national model that confronts an obesity epidemic impacting children across Los Angeles.
Rodolfo is nationally known for his disruptive leadership of the status quo. He has been selected as a Culture of Health Leader by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Design Justice Fellow by the American Institute of Architects, a Pforzheimer Fellow by the National Civic League, a Community Development Fellow by the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, a two-time Design Fellow by HKS Architects, a Randall Lewis Health Mentee by the Urban Land Institute, an Urban Health Fellow by EcoDistricts, a Global Health Equity Fellow by the Smart Cities Council of Australia and New Zealand, a recipient of the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Leadership Award by the University of Colorado at Denver, and a recipient of the Excellence Award for Public Health Practice and Service by the University of Colorado at Anschutz Medical Campus.