Keynote Speakers


HEALTH PRIORTIES Conference 2024 speakers


Meet our Keynote speakers
Christina Cruz Keynote speaker for IHPC
Day One Keynote
Dr. Christina Crow Cruz is a dedicated social worker and public health advocate with 20 years of experience working to close the healthcare gap through leadership, policy development, and social programs. Christina holds a bachelor’s in science in Sports Medicine from Guilford College, a master’s degree in social work from Boise State University (BSU), a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Christina worked at St. Luke’s Healthcare System in Idaho for nine years as a Clinical Social worker prior to joining the DEI team as a Program Manager for Health Equity in 2021. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor for BSU’s MSW program and for Simmons University’s DSW program.

Christina brings over seven years of international program development experience, including community health initiatives, infrastructure development, education, community outreach, and microfinance. She also currently serves on a traveling team for an international non-profit and was selected as an Inclusion Panelist for NASA’s Astrophysics Database of IDEA Practitioners. Christina is also an approved bilingual provider for St. Luke’s (English/Spanish), a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and a Certified Diversity Executive.
Keynote Traci Berreth
Day One Keynote
Traci holds her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Adult Learning and a Master of Public Health degree. She serves as the Deputy Division Administrator for the Division of Public Health where she leads the division’s strategic and cross-cutting initiatives including policy and communication strategy, strategic partnerships, performance management, public health accreditation and health improvement planning, strategic planning, and population health data. Traci has been with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since 2000.
Keynote Matt McCullough
Day One Keynote
Mac McCullough is an associate professor and Associate Director for Community Engagement and Impact at the Boise State University School of Public and Population Health, a new role working to ensure that the School is closely connected to the needs and aspirations of the communities we serve.
Mac’s teaching and research work centers on public health finance, policy, and economics, including quantifying how much we spend on public health, how many of us are working in the field, and the downstream impacts of our work. Mac has worked at or with local health agencies in four states, including nearly a decade as a health economist at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
Keynote Diana Schow
Day Two Keynote
For more than 30 years, Dr. Schow has engaged in a combination of direct services, administration, teaching/training; and qualitative, community-based research for social service and public health programs. Her primary focus in recent years includes health workforce development in Idaho's rural and underserved communities. She has also worked on projects that addressed domestic violence prevention, child abuse prevention, women’s health, migrant health, COVID-19 vaccination, and physical activity promotion.

Her work has regularly involved building and maintaining partnerships between social services, public health, and clinical practitioners. This approach has resulted in the implementation of programs like clinic-based, interdisciplinary learning experiences for Spanish-speaking health promoters. These types of programs result in improved access to healthcare.

Dr. Schow is an Assistant Professor in Idaho State University's (ISU) Department of Community and Public Health. She is also the coordinator for ISU's Graduate Certificate in Rural Health and the Director of the Idaho AHEC Program Office in the Department of Nursing at ISU. She sits on the board of the Idaho Rural Health Association. She was recognized as one of Idaho's Rural Health Heroes in 2022, and she was awarded 2023 Educator of the Year by the National Rural Health Association. In 2024, she was recognized as one of Idaho's Unsung Heroes of Health Care on the Idaho Business Review's Power List. She was born and raised in her beloved Rocky Mountain West and has worked in Idaho, Montana, Peru, and several European countries.
Keynote Speaker Ruday Soto
Day Two Keynote
Rudy Soto is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs (EIA). In this position, Rudy is responsible for maintaining key relationships with state, county, and local elected and appointed officials, and external organizations (trade associations, philanthropic organizations, and faith-based organizations) throughout the nation to advance USDA and the Secretary’s priorities. EIA serves as the hub for local, state, and federal agency partners and external organizations to communicate with the Secretary of Agriculture and to engage with USDA officials, programs, and services.

Prior to this, Rudy served as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Idaho. In January 2021, Rudy was appointed by the President of the United States to serve as the USDA Rural Development State Director of Idaho. As State Director, Rudy was instrumental in improving the lives of rural Idahoans through the administration of USDA’s programs and operations in the state. He has been successful in furthering meaningful economic development, increasing access to healthcare, and improving infrastructure in Idaho’s rural communities.

Before that, Soto served as a legislative staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives, covering energy, environment, agriculture, and tribal affairs. Previously, he worked for Western Leaders Network, a nonprofit organization of local and tribal elected officials across the Interior West focused on protecting public lands, water, and air. Soto was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, and is a proud member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation and a veteran of the United States Army National Guard. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University.