Leaders bring expertise and commitment to rural communities, health equity, criminal justice reform and social investing
Los Angeles (December 9, 2020) – The Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation announced today the election of three new members: Irma Cota, Virginia Q. Hedrick and Katherine Katcher. Their board service will begin in January of 2021. Simultaneously, Cal Wellness has selected two new investment committee advisors: Jackie Khor and Neville Rhone.
“We’re excited to elect Irma, Virginia, and Katherine to the board, three dynamic leaders who bring deep expertise informed by their personal experiences,” said Joe Lumarda, Cal Wellness’ Board chair. “We know that they come to the board ready to listen, ready to challenge and ready to help us reimagine how Cal Wellness innovates and partners with the organizations and movements that will help to make California truly equitable and healthy.”
A resident of San Diego, Cota has dedicated her 42-year career to public health primarily in the community health center sector in San Diego County. For 21 years, Cota was the CEO of North County Health Project and grew NCHS from five clinics with a budget of $12 million to a system of 10 comprehensive health centers with a $74 million budget serving more than 66,000 patients. During that time, NCHS expanded its primary care services, dental services, behavioral health and specialty care. Cota serves on several boards, including the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and the San Diego State University School of Public Health Advisory Board. Through her involvement with Cal Wellness, she is looking forward to contributing in a manner that optimizes policies and services addressing socioeconomic inequities.
“I’m glad to join Cal Wellness because there’s huge alignment with my personal beliefs in the importance of providing the types of services that are critical for a healthy human race, whether that be in California, or in the US as a whole,” said Cota. “I’m looking forward to helping to determine the best areas of focused investment that will yield the greatest social gain that compounds year over year, similar to what happens when making investments in the financial markets. In that way, we can be part of creating a synergism in which the organizations on the ground doing the work have the resources they need to be more successful.”
To read Cota’s full biography, click here.
A Sacramento resident, Virginia Q. Hedrick is the executive director for the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health. Prior to that, she was CCUIH’s Director of Policy and Planning. Before CCUIH, she worked with the California Rural Indian Health Board addressing chronic disease prevention, implementation and policy impacts of the Affordable Care Act for California tribes. She has dedicated her career to elevating the needs and raising awareness about American Indians and Alaska Natives living in California and the largest cities. She is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe of California and is looking forward to bringing her lived experience as a California Indian person who lives in an Urban area and who grew up in a rural area to her board service with Cal Wellness.
“For Indian people, wellness has never been about just the health of the body. Wellness has always been a balance of physical health, mental health, spiritual health and environmental health,” said Hedrick. “And I want to bring that awareness to Cal Wellness so that we can amplify the work that Cal Wellness is doing in the area of Native communities. But not just for Native communities. In this era where we need unity, we must ask ourselves how we can make sure our work is supporting allyship between Native communities and other communities of color. We must specifically think about mutually beneficial support between Native communities and the Black Lives Matter movement. And we must never let ourselves forget the importance of making sure that every policy be considered for its impact on health.”
To read Hedrick’s full biography, click here.
Katherine Katcher resides in Berkeley. A civil rights attorney and advocate, she is the founder and executive director of Root & Rebound, a national organization that strives to restore power and resources to the families and communities harmed by mass incarceration. Root & Rebound, a Cal Wellness grantee, provides legal advocacy, advances public education, and engages in policy reform and litigation. Katherine has more than 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including teaching adult education, working with survivors of trauma and violence, and advocating in the criminal justice sector. When asked why she does the work she does, Katherine refers to her Jewish heritage and history, which has taught her how discrimination, access – and lack of access – functions in society. Katcher appreciates Cal Wellness’ holistic and intersectional approach toward wellness.
“People don’t encounter issues or live their lives in silos, so the fact that Cal Wellness works on issues like immigration through the lens of access to healthcare and access to family wellness is exciting to me. Cal Wellness understands different strategies and doesn’t choose one at the expense of the other, which resonates with my experience as a criminal justice and re-entry attorney. The way that I see problems occurring for families and communities is the way they need to be solved.” said Katcher. “I’m a big believer in thinking big and thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to designing public policy and making public investments in a state like California. So I hope to bring an idealistic and bold imaginative perspective to solving problems. After all, each of the systems we live with today were once just imagined, so we can reimagine and redesign them.”
To read Katcher’s full biography, click here.
Cota, Hedrick and Katcher join Cal Wellness’ Board Chair Joseph M. Lumarda, Board Treasurer Pamela Simms-Mackey, M.D., and Board members Judy Belk, Xóchitl Castañeda, Terence Mulligan, Debra Nakatomi, Arnold Perkins, Angelica Salas, Ernest J. Wilson III, and Geri Yang-Johnson.
After serving 12 years, Isabel Becerra and Elisabeth Hallman will be leaving the board at the end of December.
For more information about Cal Wellness’ trustees, please visit CalWellness.org’s Board of Directors page.
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