May 17, 2022

Meet the New Chair of the HPRC Community Advisory Board

Rachel Seymour

The University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (UW HPRC) is proud to announce Mariel Torres Mehdipour as its newest Community Advisory Board chair. The board includes representatives from many of our community partner organizations. Board members provide a practical perspective on community priorities and program implementation, while UW HPRC research provides a scientific base for the programs and policies developed with community organizations.

Mariel has always had an enthusiasm for working with communities. She is currently the deputy equity officer of Public Health – Seattle and King County. By working in tandem with both internal and external partners, her role is to assure the explicit incorporation of equity into the department’s operational structure.

“HPRC is honored to have someone as dedicated and knowledgeable as Mariel chairing our Community Advisory Board,” said Peggy Hannon, director of UW HPRC. “Her insight and real-world expertise in public health equity will help guide our work as a center.”
Previously, Mariel was the county’s Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Unit Manager for five years where she was responsible for overseeing its community outreach and planning programs. In that position, she was closely involved with the county’s efforts to prevent chronic disease and injuries where the team uses innovative public health practices that address the affects of where people live, work, and play on their health and quality of life.

Originally from Los Angeles, Mariel is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and is the first in her family to attend college and graduate with an advanced degree. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Italian from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Later, she earned her master’s in public health from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina where she focused on health promotion and education. During her time in South Carolina, she also interned with Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, an organization that supports people diagnosed with or at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections by providing free services — testing, education, case management, transportation, food access, and clinical services.

After living in Philadelphia for three years where she was a clinical research coordinator, Mariel returned to her home state where she worked at the UCLA School of Public Health. During late 2000, she went to work at the Kern County Public Health Services Department based in Bakersfield, California. There she served as a health educator for the Injury Prevention Program and later as a public health planner, director of health promotion and public information, and director of community wellness.
She eventually came to Public Health – Seattle and King County in September 2016.

Mariel also currently serves as a community advisory board member for the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. In addition to her advisory board work, she is an executive committee member for the Washington Latinx Health Board. She also serves on the City of Kenmore Planning Commission.
Mariel is married with two daughters and two very spoiled dogs who think they run the Mehdipour household. One of the family dogs is named Princess Buttercup after the main protagonist in her family’s favorite movie, “The Princess Bride.”

Editor’s Note: UW HPRC uses Associated Press (AP) style where last names are used on second and future references. Mariel Torres Mehdipour requested that we use her first name after first reference, and we wanted to honor that request.