Meet Gallatin City-County Health Department’s, Health Program Specialist, Elizabeth Aghbashian

March 26, 2018 | General, Health, Healthy Living

As a Health Program Specialist, I coordinate the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program for low-income, un-insured and under-insured individuals. I also, coordinate a staff of Spanish-speaking community health workers.  In Spanish, they are called “Promotoras.”  I have been in Public Health for more than 20 years, working at both the local and state levels.  I have worked at local community health centers serving diverse populations and at the state level administering programs for millions of people.

Why Does Your Work Matter?

Knowledge and prevention are the key to good health for everyone. No matter your social or economic situation, knowledge of good health practices and prevention of health problems will contribute to a better life.


What do you like most about your work?

I appreciate the opportunity to educate people on how and why to access health services and to assist them in navigating their way through the system. It is surprising to me that this essential element in staying well and being a productive member of society is not a primary focus in healthcare.  Access is frequently for acute, trauma care or for a health issue that has been ignored.  Health care should be preventive screening and early treatment to prevent illness and disability.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have a superpower, it would be to cure cancer. The reason is obvious as this disease negatively impacts almost everyone.  Great strides have been made to treat cancer as a manageable, chronic disease.  However, it would be a tremendous accomplishment to cure it.


What is the most important thing you have worked on at the health department?

I am currently working to bring together health and social service providers who serve the Spanish-speaking communities in Gallatin County. We are beginning to recognize that there is a significant presence of Spanish-speaking in our area and we need to identify health issues, develop and implement solutions with their input.


If you were not a Health Program Specialist, what would you be doing?

If I were not working in public health, I would be a dog trainer. I have done this in the past and would do it again.  It is very much like what I do as a Health Promotion Specialist in that I train people to train their dogs.  I train them to understand what acceptable canine behavior is and what is not acceptable.  I t is very gratifying to see participants bring in their untrained, difficult dogs and walk out with a happy companion at their side.