Healthcare Hero a Champion for the Community’s Women and Children

Valerie L. Healthcare Hero

Valerie Luevano is Renown Health’s director of the Center for Social Justice, Child Health Institute. Her work with Renown, as well as in healthcare for 16 years, has affected many, and she was recently recognized with the Nevada Healthcare Heroes Humanitarian Award.

With a career where the needs of women and children are at the center, Valerie Luevano has been able to affect the lives of many residents while working for the last five years at Renown Health. Now, Luevano has been honored for her work as the Humanitarian Award winner for Nevada Healthcare Heroes.

Luevano is currently the director of the Center for Social Justice, Child Health Institute, at Renown. She’s the first director for this new institute, which focuses on providing better health equity for children and addresses what negatively impacts child health and welfare in our community.

She began at Renown as the supervisor of Social Services in July 2011, but her 16 years in healthcare in the community have also been impactful.

“Her professional career is evidenced by the lasting impact she has on the community,” wrote Karen Latham-Evans, director of Utilization Management Services, Accountable Care, who nominated Luevano. “As a pioneer working diligently on behalf of women and children, she added five new programs to our community in five years to ensure comprehensive services are available to pregnant and parenting teens in northern Nevada.”

From Latham-Evans’ nomination, here’s what Luevano has done in the community:

Developed Mental Health Telemedicine Service:

Luevano implemented Nevada’s only telemedicine consultation service, which allows patients to attend mental health court while hospitalized, resulting in better use of resources and less disruption to the patient’s environment and care.

Expanded Services for Pregnant and Parenting Teens:

As executive director of Casa De Vida, a local nonprofit providing housing and supportive services for pregnant and parenting teens, she expanded agency programs and services to include:

  • An on-site adult education classroom in partnership with the Washoe County School District for any woman in the community in need of a high school diploma or GED
  • A transitional living home for parenting teens offering housing for up to three years
  • A childbirth support program funded through grants
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation
  • Basic skills training for residents
  • A licensed foster care facility

Launched Nonprofit Behavioral Healthcare Practice for Children:

She was founder and executive director of Kid’s First Family Services, a local nonprofit outpatient behavioral healthcare practice serving uninsured and underinsured children who have been exposed to trauma. She served as a faculty member for the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno and as a social worker at the Center for Cognitive Aging at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

First Director of the Center for Social Justice:

Luevano is currently rising to the challenge of improving the lives of the area’s more than 100,000 young people. Her work will have a huge impact on the future health of our region.

“Valerie is respected by both her peers and the community as a leader who brings a caring and compassionate perspective, ensuring a positive outcome for those she assists,” Latham-Evans writes. “She provides support and respect to staff, allowing the difficult tasks of social work to be performed with grace and honor.”

Tony Slonin, MD, president and CEO of Renown Health, was also honored as Administrator of the Year.