Meet Our Candidates: Jana Lynn Granillo for Special Health Care District 1

The Arizona general election will be held on November 8, 2016. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the election, you must have been registered to vote by October 10. Make your voice heard in 2016!

granillo-scaledIn 1876, a small hospital was built in a dusty new town called Phoenix. After many name and location changes, that hospital became Maricopa Integrated Health System, which has been standing at its current site since 1971 and has been known by its current name since 1991.

As a public hospital, MIHS helps expand health-care access to all county residents — a valuable resource in a county in which nearly 20 percent of the population lacks health insurance, according to 2013 census data. MIHS has historically also served marginalized communities — in 1989, it launched Maricopa County’s first HIV specialty clinic; 2008 saw the opening of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic; and more recently the hospital began offering treatment to transgender patients. As a teaching hospital, MIHS also serves as a training ground for the next generation of health-care providers.


“Each person’s health is complicated and unique.”


Since 2003, Maricopa County has been divided into five Special Health Care Districts, each of which is represented by an elected board member. District 1, which includes Tempe, is located in the southeastern corner of the county, and it is this district that our endorsed candidate, Jana Lynn Granillo, seeks to represent. She will bring her impressive background in public health to the boardroom, and use her experience in public relations to do more effective outreach to Maricopa County residents.

Ms. Granillo was kind enough to answer our questions on October 18, 2016.

Tell us little about your background.

I am a Latina who was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, a graduate of Carl Hayden High School, ASU alum, a U.S. Air Force veteran with two honorable discharges (active duty and Air National Guard), a retiree from the state of Arizona (Department of Economic Security and Arizona Department of Health Services), a public health professional, former board member of Arizona Public Health Association, member of eLatina Voices, school volunteer, an advocate, a mother, a wife, a Tempe resident, and member of the community.

While in the Air Force, I worked in a hospital delivering psychiatric and physical rehabilitative patient services. After active duty Air Force, I attended ASU, joined the Air National Guard, and graduated with a B.S. in a health science and business management degree — human nutrition and dietetic management. I went to work for the state of Arizona and started a career dedicated to the welfare of all residents. I worked on statewide initiatives to include Welfare to Work, State Quality Improvement, Healthy Arizona 2010, Project Public Health Ready (Preparedness), Cultural Competency Training, Minority Health, and worked in ADHS Licensure, Personnel, and WIC.

After retiring from Arizona state service in 2010, I was a professional volunteer on various committees; I was recognized by Arizona Public Health Association in 2011 for diligent health care advocacy and subsequently served on their board. I continued to advocate for child safety, education, health, and the well-being of all residents. In 2016, I decided instead of advocating to elected officials, I would become one. Hence the journey of running for office.

On your website, you say that most Maricopa County voters don’t know about the Special Health Care District, or understand the office for which you’re running. Do you have an “elevator speech” to describe what a board member does and why the board matters to voters?

The Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board of Directors is the governing body for Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS). Each member of the board represents one of the five districts in Maricopa County. The [members of the] Board of Directors are elected in a nonpartisan general election by voters within their district. Each term is four years; members are uncompensated.

The primary mission of MIHS is to provide a safety net of health care and train the health care workforce for our community. It has a role in behavioral health, homeland security, public safety, population health, and more.

How can Maricopa Integrated Health System increase uptake in important childhood vaccinations, such as the hepatitis B birth dose for infants or the HPV vaccine for adolescents?

It is important to know that the governing board can affect policy and lead/direct the health care system; it is in position to be part of the solution. With a hospital, clinics, and providers throughout the county, and with partnerships with organizations like the Arizona Partnership for Immunizations and the [Maricopa] County Health Department, work toward public health solution(s) for a significant population is within reach. There is a potential to leverage the resources/capacity of MIHS to reach the targeted population. Opportunities for prevention should be at the forefront of population health and leveraging resources through proven practices. Opportunities to support research should be bridged. Additionally, given the grants capacity of MIHS, funding opportunities can be explored, as can policies and practices.

Studies show that the LGBTQ community faces barriers to quality medical care. What can Maricopa Integrated Health System do to address these types of health disparities and create a more welcoming environment for patients from marginalized populations?

MIHS has in place, under Ryan White grants, information/linkages for working with at-risk communities. Again, science, logic-based, and promising practices should be part of the practice of MIHS, given work with at-risk communities opportunities abound. Leadership requires that health disparities be a part of the conversation internally and with the community that include opportunities for public input to be continuous. Cultural competency strategies and best practices in health care can be strengthened for quality services using the CLAS standards and/or other practices. Additionally, strategic planning, implementation, and partnership development can be strengthened around this issue and all issues affecting health concerns and disparities.

Antibiotic resistance is causing increasing alarm; for example, antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea has been declared an “urgent threat” by the CDC. How can Maricopa Integrated Health System improve its antibiotic stewardship to help keep antibiotics effective?

Because the governing board can affect policy and lead/direct the health care system, it is in position to be part of the solution. There are linkages with the District Medical Group, public health, and partnership regarding any new/emerging health risk. Given the health risk, again, ensure that prevention is part of the practice and policies of MIHS.

Why do you think it’s important that people to make their own health care decisions?

Each person’s health is complicated and unique. We prioritize, calculate, determine consequences, and weigh risks and options on all fronts of our lives, personal health is just one of those categories where decisions are made.

Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?

Planned Parenthood, a provider for women health, cancer screening, and family planning, is the go-to place where everyone is welcomed. Planned Parenthood has been in the prevention business and addressing disparities for years. Education about sexual health by professionals is provided in a judgment-free zone. We need provider options for everyone that treats the whole person. Planned Parenthood has been at the forefront of working with women and I am sure “we” can learn from the work they do. In order to advance in health, a working relationship and connectivity to this organization is needed.


Find out more about Jana Lynn Granillo at her website! You can also contact us if you’d like to volunteer for an endorsed candidate.

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