In Memory of Elizabeth “Bette” Vierra

June 07, 2021

In Memory of Elizabeth “Bette” Vierra

It is with a heavy but grateful heart that the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) announces the passing of Elizabeth Burroughs Vierra. Bette served as the Executive Director of AUCH from 1988 through her retirement in 2011. During her tenure, Bette implemented numerous innovative programs and projects that expanded access and improved the quality of care for under-represented communities throughout Utah.  

Bette was honored for her work by the National Association of Community Health Centers, receiving the Betsey K. Cooke Grassroots MVP and the Norton Wilson Leadership Awards for excellence in the primary care association arena. In 2018, AUCH created the Elizabeth “Bette” Vierra Grassroots Champion Award in her honor. Bette’s impact on community health in Utah was immeasurable. 

On a personal note, I had the privilege of working side-by-side with Bette for six years as her associate director.  She was strong, demanding, and determined. She constantly pushed me to be or do better. She always kept me focused on our end goal – creating more equity in health care. Whenever I was frustrated or angry, she would remind me to keep my “eyes on the prize”.  She was tough, yet tender. She was exactly what I needed. Her passion toward justice and equity was contagious, often resulting in heated discussions and debates. We fought like an old married couple but also loved and respected each other just the same.

Thank you, Bette, for taking me under your wings and sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and passion.  You will forever remain in the hearts and minds of all who had the opportunity of knowing and working with you. Rest in peace.

Alan Pruhs
Executive Director
Association for Utah Community Health

To celebrate Bette’s life, a funeral Mass will be held at St. Ambrose Parish on Monday, June 14, at 11:00am. Bette’s obituary can be found here.

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Photo (from left): Dr. Carissa Monroy, Midtown Community Health Center, accepts the 2018 Elizabeth “Bette” Vierra Grassroots Champion Award from Bette Vierra and Karrie Galloway, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, at the 2018 AUCH Annual Conference Awards Ceremony.