Hartford, CT, October 2020 — The Hispanic Health Council is delighted to announce that Kenneth A. Barela has been named the organization’s next chief executive officer.

Barela, a native of Colorado with extensive experience in non-profit management and fundraising, succeeds Jose Ortiz, who retired in September.

A proven leader, Barela’s  experience includes executive positions with Pikes Peak Behavioral Health, a $50 million non-profit behavioral healthcare provider, time as a regional vice president for development at the American Heart Association, and most recently as executive director of Avanza Latino, a national educational internet media organization dedicated to promoting the Latino community with a focus on five core pillars: financial viability, health, education, cultural heritage, and civic engagement. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army/Army Reserves as an infantry officer and served four terms as the mayor of Fountain, Colorado.

“Ken is the exactly the leader we need to bring the Hispanic Health Council to the next level,’’ said Dr. Luis Dies-Morales, chairman of the Hispanic Health Council Board of Directors. “During his tenure, Jose Ortiz expanded the Hispanic Health Council’s reach. The next step is a national presence, and Ken is the person we need to lead us into the future.’’

In addition to its reputation for excellence in delivery of a wide range of community health, clinical, and other services, the Hispanic Health Council is distinguished by its use of community-based research, policy and system advocacy, and provider training to promote health equity and change systems aimed at improving healthcare for all.

Barela said he was impressed by the Hispanic Health Council’s history of improving the health and social well-being of Latinos and other diverse groups and looks forward to bringing his creative approach to non-profit management and development to spread the council’s unique understanding of what works in Latino communities to improve lives on a broader scale.

“I feel my Latino heritage deeply,’’ Barela said. “There is no justification for the persistence of systemic racism and inequality. I firmly believe that everyone has a right to excellent healthcare, and the right to living conditions that support health. The Hispanic Health Council not only supports these ideals, it makes them happen. I want to thank the Board of Directors for this incredible opportunity.”

Ken is expected to begin his new role on November 1. Events to welcome him to the community will be planned as soon as it is safe.


The Hispanic Health Council’s executive search was conducted by TSNE MissionWorks consultant, Cathy J. Cohen.