Our Approach

Our Mission

Our mission is to guide and support the leadership of health professionals in Nevada to strengthen the field of public health. The Nevada Public Health Institute (NPHI) is a non-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes. 

Our Story

Our Action Plan

  • Take a leadership role in the practice of public health and policy development in Nevada
  • Advance core public health functions in local and state public health jurisdictions in Nevada
  • Sustain and further develop NPHI as an innovative and high-performing organization

What We Can Do

  • Provide technical assistance to counties, both those that have health authorities and those that do not, to create dashboards of their health issues
  • Continue development in rural and frontier counties to create Boards of Health (BOH)
  • Continue activities to develop and train current BOHs
  • Work with counties on developing departments or districts of health
  • Discuss and develop agreements with counties regarding cross-jurisdictional sharing initiatives
  • Train selected rural county personnel on clinical, environmental, and epidemiology skills
  • Work with counties to develop community health needs assessments and improvement plans
  • Develop and deliver training for capacity building assistance for leadership and public health essentials or a partnering mentorship program
  • Work with the Nevada Association of Local Health Officials (NALHO) to develop agendas and needs assessments for biannual or annual training for county personnel and elected leadership

Meet Our Team

President - Joseph Iser-enlarged

Dr. Joseph Iser


Joe Iser has a medical degree from the University of Kansas and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, General Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and Occupational Medicine, with a broad background in public health, primary care, and medical education. He has a Doctorate in Public Health in Health Policy from the University of Michigan and an MSc in Infectious Diseases from the University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His interests include indigent care, infectious diseases, disaster medicine, environmental health, and international medicine. Retired after 24 years of active duty with the US Public Health Service, he is now the Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. Dr. Iser sits on a number of boards, including the Health Officers Association of California, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Nevada Public Health Foundation, and the School of Community Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Advisory Board. He is an officer for the Nevada Association of Local Health Officials and a former board member of the California Conference of Local Health Officers. He volunteers at several other community-based organizations and is active in county and state medical societies. In his spare time, he skis, canoes and kayaks, fly fishes, and square dances.

Communitte Health Science;



Gerold Dermid, MBA is the Director of the Nevada Public Health Training Center, housed within the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. Mr. Dermid has worked in the field of public health for the past 17 years, focused on accreditation, quality improvement, workforce development, social marketing and community engagement. He has provided leadership and strategic direction to communities throughout the world in communicable disease prevention, with a special focus on HIV/AIDS, chronic disease prevention, substance use services, health equity, social justice, and international development. He currently manages workforce and student training programs locally, nationally, and internationally, with a special focus on the development of trainings within traditionally underserved communities.

Secretary Emily Brown-sized



Emily Brown, MPH, CPH is Director of the Rio Grande County Public Health Department in Southern Colorado. She has a BA in Communications from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MPH from the University of Nevada Reno.  She has research experience through her work with the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center and the Nevada State Office of Rural Health. After obtaining her MPH degree, Emily served as the Performance Improvement Manager for the Nevada Public Health Foundation, managing and coordinating preparation efforts for public health accreditation with local health authorities and then as Accreditation Coordinator for the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Shawn Gerstenberger, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, School of Community Health Sciences on May 29, 2012.    
 / UNLV Photo Services / R. Marsh Starks
Client: Sue DiBella / Research and Graduate Studies

Shawn Gerstenberger

Board Member

Shawn Gerstenberger, Ph.D., is the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research focuses on childhood lead poisoning prevention and the impact of the built environment on human health. He is the founder of the Nevada Healthy Homes Partnership and has multiple collaborative grants with key community partners such as the Southern Nevada Health District, City of Henderson and the Nevada State Health Division. He has received extensive grants from agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency to support his work.

Board Member - Valerie Cauhape

Valerie Cauhape

Board Member

Valerie is passionate about improving public health infrastructure and taking a system-wide approach to population health programming. She now works as the Rural Regional Behavioral Health Coordinator for seven of Nevada's frontier counties. Her background includes health education, community health assessment planning and implementation, community health improvement planning, strategic planning, quality improvement, program planning and evaluation, chronic disease prevention, adolescent reproductive health, and public health accreditation.
Valerie holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from CSU, Chico, an M.A. in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology track) also from CSU, Chico, and an MPH (Social and Behavioral Health track) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys long walks in the mountains and riding horses, or better yet, riding horses in the mountains.