April Rhodes: A Visionary Leader Shaping Arizona’s Healthcare Landscape
Born and raised in El Paso, TX, April Rhodes moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1999, newly married with a two-year-old and a baby on the way. Not long after the birth of her second child, she became a single mother of two. She began working in childcare as a means of gaining access to affordable care for her children so she could work and go to school. Living in a new and expansive city without the support of family or friends was not an easy adjustment. April fell in love with Phoenix and all it had to offer including Major League Baseball, diverse employment opportunities, and public university. Each day, as she rode the Phoenix Metro Bus to and from work, her route took her past Arizona State University Tempe campus. She would watch the students on campus and dream about what it would be like to be a student there, given that higher education did not seem attainable at the time.
Just over a decade later, April would walk across the stage at ASU to receive her second degree from ASU, a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She quickly obtained her first job as a therapist at Arizona’s Children Association, eager to sign up for commercial healthcare benefits. She then set her sights on advancing equitable access to healthcare services for underserved populations, a passion that began taking root years earlier.
In 1998, April’s older brother succumbed to a prolonged struggle with HIV, ultimately passing due to skin cancer related to AIDS. The memory of trying to get doctors to treat him, as well as the stigma and discrimination he faced in the process, remained etched in her mind. April later experienced stigma while seeking healthcare services as a single mother raising two young children, relying on AHCCCS (Arizona’s state Medicaid system) and food stamps to ensure her kids had healthcare coverage and food to eat. These experiences drove her to envision healthcare delivery free of barriers and to redefine the essence of true, equitable access to care.
Today, April stands as a beacon of leadership in the healthcare industry, boasting over two decades of experience and a trail of successes that have left an indelible mark on Arizona’s healthcare landscape. As the President & CEO of Spectrum Healthcare Group, her journey is not just a chronicle of career milestones, but a testament to her vision, innovation, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of the community.
April’s ascent within Spectrum began with her role as Children’s Program Director in 2013. Through determination and hard work, April advanced within the organization quickly, being selected as CEO after completing a professional selection process. She is the fifth CEO of the organization and the only female to hold the role. Fueled by her relentless pursuit to increase timely access to care for Arizona’s most vulnerable populations, she has propelled Spectrum Healthcare Group to new heights, orchestrating strategic growth that has expanded services across the state. Under her guidance, the organization has become a prominent and respected entity in the healthcare landscape, creating multiple award-winning programs, developing initiatives such as Crisis Mobile, New Day Café work adjustment training program, and Anywhere Care Teams.
Using a concept similar to that in the software development field, Spectrum uses stakeholder feedback to bring a minimum viable product that solves for a community problem, then improves and refines based on direct user experience. The Crisis Mobile Team is an example of this concept. With stakeholder input across multiple domains in Yavapai County, Spectrum brought crisis mobile teams to the communities it serves; built by and for law enforcement. These teams aim for community stabilization with individuals during crisis, providing mental health resources and diverting people from jail and the emergency department.
April and her team also developed Anywhere Care, a model reaching all of Arizona, providing healthcare when and where you need it. Spectrum’s teams bring the integrated approach to homes and into the community through diverse training and technology, providing excellent care to those in rural areas and underserved communities. This innovative model of care delivery further expanded access for vulnerable individuals in Arizona.
April’s commitment to innovation is exemplified by the numerous awards she has received on behalf of the organization and alongside the teams providing these services, including; The Arizona Capitol Times Women Achievers of Arizona in 2023, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Leadership Award in 2023, the Mercy Care Rise Award for Innovation in 2021, and numerous other awards for excellence and innovation.
April’s influence extends beyond her role as the CEO of Spectrum. Using this experience and platform to further advance improvements to service delivery, nationally and locally, April serves as the Vice Chair of the Contexture Health Information Exchange, April continues to contribute to cutting-edge developments in healthcare. Her extensive community involvement, as seen through her roles on the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers, Yavapai County Board of Health, National Sheriff’s Association School Safety Committee, MATFORCE, Mental Health Corporation of America, and Yavapai College Foundation Board, reflects her belief in the importance of contributing to the betterment of society.
April Rhodes is not merely a healthcare executive; she is a visionary leader who has helped shape the trajectory of healthcare in Arizona. Her strategic vision, dedication to growth, passion for innovation, and commitment to community service make her a highly respected and deserving figure in the healthcare industry. April’s story is not just a testament to personal success but a narrative of transformative leadership that has left an enduring impact on the well-being of countless individuals in Arizona.