Lydia Prado, PhD
Lydia Prado, PhD
Date of Birth
Dr. Lydia Prado has revolutionized mental health care in Colorado and beyond, placing care in the context of community well-being and addressing the connections between mental health, physical health, and most importantly, creating space that enables people to influence the decisions that affect their own lives. A tireless advocate for the most marginalized and underserved members of our community, Dr. Prado has made it her life’s work to create opportunities for engagement, build connections, and cultivate trust based on a genuine respect and care for the lived experiences of the communities she serves.
Dr. Prado spent 17 years with the Mental Health Center of Denver as the Vice President of Child & Family Services. There, she was the project visionary behind the Mental Health Center of Denver’s Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being, an innovative community center in northeast Park Hill that promotes well-being across the lifespan. The Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being’s aim appeared lofty, and its scope is wide, but its vision is stunningly simple — welcome every community member to engage in activities that will help them feel good and live well.
Dr. Prado expanded her health and well-being work in the founding of Lifespan Local, fostering and directing innovative cross-sector community partnerships that address complex social issues, such as affordable housing, social determinants of health, and economic development. In this role, she provides strategic vision and leadership, seeking excellence in research design, program development and evaluation, and practices that promote community well-being, particularly for people in neighborhoods that have not had equitable access to opportunity. She works diligently to transform traditional service models to benefit diverse populations, develop prevention and early intervention strategies, and establish community-based partnerships that yield effective programs for children and families. Informed again by community, Dr. Prado is now building another site that includes a library, an early learning center, a community kitchen, a hydroponic farm, teaching and workspaces, and large multi-purpose spaces for community use in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood. She expects to welcome community members into the space with a grand opening in the winter of 2024.
Dr. Prado approaches her work from a systems and strengths-based perspective. She celebrates the different bodies of knowledge that are abundant in our communities with an emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and community-based leadership. Dr. Prado is a place-maker, convening partners with a shared commitment to healthy living and social change. She has left an enduring legacy in the fields of psychology, diversity, equity and inclusion, community activism, and the non-profit sector.