Meet the team

Phone: 979-436-0849

Email: kparsi@tamu.edu

Kia Parsi, MD

Executive Director
A&M Rural and Community Health Institute

Executive Director for Rural Medicine
Center for Optimizing Rural Health

Dr. Kia Parsi, a board-certified family physician, serves as executive director of the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute which serves in a consultative role with hospitals and communities across the state of Texas to facilitate best practices in patient safety, enhanced quality of care, and physician excellence. Dr. Parsi has 25 years of experience in rural health care, geriatric care, value-based care, and executive physician leadership.

He previously served as the chief medical officer of the CHI St. Joseph Regional Health System, which includes facilities in Bryan, College Station, and three critical access hospitals in surrounding rural communities. Before being chief medical officer, he served as medical director for the Caldwell Family Medicine Center, chair of the board of directors for the Clinically Integrated Network of St. Joseph Health and the Responsible Care Organization and medical director for the senior service line.

He earned his doctor of medicine degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.

Phone: 979-436-0417

Email: alaniz@tamu.edu

Angie Alaniz, BA

Director of Rural Health Access Programs
A&M Rural and Community Health Institute

Associate Director
Center for Optimizing Rural Health

Angie Alaniz currently serves as the director of Rural Health Access Programs for the Texas A&M Rural and Community Health Institute (ARCHI) and as the associate director of the Center for Optimizing Rural Health . Angie has over 20 years of experience working with small and rural communities to identify and address local issues, particularly those related to access to health care and the social determinants of health. Angie is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University.

In her role at ARCHI, Angie leads many of the community engagement activities related to rural hospital projects aimed at “right sizing” and maintaining local access to care. As the executive director of Healthy Texas, Angie works with AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M Health Science Center faculty and staff on the implementation of the legislatively funded initiative that is aimed at improving population health outcomes through the prevention and management of chronic diseases in a 27-county area in south Texas.

Prior to her current role, Angie worked with the Center for Community Health Development at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health leading the development and capacity building of local and regional health coalitions, conducting team-based community health assessments, and overseeing the implementation of community health access projects and other population health interventions.

Phone: 979-436-0390

Email: lackeyrn@tamu.edu

Melissa Lackey, MSN, RN

Project Director
Center for Optimizing Rural Health

Melissa Lackey has been a registered nurse since 1994, and joined the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute in 2018. She currently serves as a Project Specialist in the Center for Optimizing Rural Health. She holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. Melissa has over 25 years of healthcare experience that includes women’s health services, pediatrics, behavioral health, and population and rural health. She works collaboratively with rural hospitals to address the challenges unique to small hospitals and the towns they serve. Melissa is also active in several other ARCHI programs that support quality and performance improvement, and is a member of the KSTAR Communication Team.

Phone: 979-436-0402

Email: cavila@tamu.edu

Cassity Avila, MS

Outreach and Training Manager
Center for Optimizing Rural Health

Cassity Avila is the Outreach and Training Manger at the Center for Optimizing Rural Health with the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute. Ms. Avila holds a Master of Science in Education for Health Care Professionals from Texas A&M University. She has an extensive background in CMS quality initiative programs, including Meaningful Use and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Ms. Avila blends education and experience in marketing and sales to advance the Center’s services and reach and promote the mission of continued access to care in rural communities.