Islara Souto, CHW, MPH

President & CEO
Ydeas, Inc.

Islara Souto is the President & CEO of Ydeas, Inc., a nonprofit company for community health promotion and advocacy based in Miami, Florida and with national and international clients. She has 30 years of experience in medicine and public health with specialties in advocacy and parity for minorities, elders, and persons with disabilities. Her expertise includes community health assessments, strategic planning, health and the built environment, and health education and promotion to maximize personal health and wellness. She is skilled in building stakeholder consensus and creating partnerships to identify and resolve public health and social issues via collaborative processes. With extensive local, regional, and national networks in academia, government, non-profit organizations, and large/small businesses, she has held numerous leadership positions in public and community health.

Ms. Souto currently serves at the Lead Health Coach for 30,000 employees of Miami-Dade County government, ensuring employee wellbeing and productivity. Previously, she was the Regional Director for Equity and Multicultural Initiatives at the American Heart Association. High rates of hypertension in minority communities led her to help develop a self-management program designed to raise awareness and train individuals on managing and tracking their own blood pressures using 500 trained volunteers at worksites, colleges, community-based organizations, municipalities, and churches in underserved communities throughout South Florida. She also trained thousands of people in compression-only CPR and helped them reduce their consumption of sugar and salt.

Ms. Souto has been involved in promoting Community Health Workers since the 1970’s when she joined the United Farmworkers’ movement started by Cesar Chavez. Recently, she helped to develop the curriculum for Community Health Worker Certification in the State of Florida, and established it through Miami Dade College’s Medical Campus, where she taught, mentored – and graduated 428 – newly-certified CHWs currently placed throughout the state.

Ms. Souto is a published writer with an extensive portfolio in grants and publications. She is well recognized in policy and public-speaking arenas, as well as in regional academic and nonprofit circles. She is a member of several community-based boards and has been an American Red Cross volunteer for over 40 years. She is originally from Spain, and was raised and educated in East Tennessee. She attended medical school in Puerto Rico and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is multicultural and multi-lingual and has lived in Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and Florida. She and her husband live in Little Havana in a 1926 home surrounded by avocados, mangos, dogs, and a rambunctious 5-year old grandson.