In December 2020, Irma Cota was elected to serve on The California Wellness Foundation’s Board of Directors. Cota has dedicated her 42-year career to public health primarily in the community health center sector in San Diego County.
From 1997 to March of 2018, Cota was the CEO of North County Health Project, also known as North County Health Services (NCHS). Under her leadership, NCHS went from five clinics with a $12 million budget to a system of 10 comprehensive health centers with a $74 million budget serving more than 66,000 patients. She also helped build capacity by expanding its primary care services, dental services, behavioral health and specialty care.
Cota came full circle in her professional career when she was hired at NCHS as its CEO. She began her career at NCHS in 1977 by running a rural clinic and also spent five years from 1982-87 as Maternal and Child Health Director.
In addition, Cota served as Chief Administrative Officer at San Ysidro Health Center from 1987-91 and Chief Administrative Officer at Sharp Healthcare nonprofit The Birth Center and its Physician Affiliate Ob-Gyn Consultants from 1991-97.
She graduated from San Diego State University in 1976 with a bachelor’s of science in community health and received her master’s in public health from San Diego State University. She earned executive healthcare leadership certifications from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and UCSD Extension as well as an executive leadership in nonprofits certificate from Harvard University. She serves on the advisory boards for San Diego State University School of Public Health and Rady Children’s Hospital D. Sanford Behavioral Health, as well as the board of directors of Latino Coalition for Healthy California.