After much thought and deliberation, I have decided not to renew my contract with the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) and May 31st will be my last day with CPCA. After 24 years in this role, I am excited to see what else life has in store for me. Now feels like the perfect time.
Fundamentally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of us to re-evaluate our priorities in life. For me, this meant realizing that spending time with my husband and family is my number one priority going forward.
The decision to move on from CPCA is also possible for me because I know that I am leaving at a great time for CPCA and community health centers (CHCs).
Importantly, the organization has an extraordinary leadership team and staff in place who can and will be excellent stewards of CPCA and its mission during the transition and into the future. Effective June 1st, I will be passing the baton to Robert Beaudry, CPCA‘s EVP/Chief Operating Officer for the past 14 yeas, who will become the Acting CEO.
Under the Biden/Harris Administration, CHCs are recognized as essential leaders not just in the COVID-19 recovery and response, but also as critical linchpins in efforts to improve the health and well-being of all communities, especially marginalized and underserved communities. Given their leadership and expertise, CHCs will play a central role in supporting our communities through this pandemic and beyond.
So, where am I going? Well….I am going to see what life is like hanging out with my husband, Angel Garcia, who has been patiently waiting for me to have more time for the fun things we like to do together. Angel’s list includes reviving our Chicano old school band Q-VO post-COVID (but taking singing lessons this time) and exploring Highway 1 in our new RV. I also plan to continue my mother’s legacy as President of the Castellano Family Foundation, focused on advocating for more funding and support for LatinX nonprofits and leaders through the Blueprint for Change.
Finally, I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given to lead the community health center movement of California. It has truly been the honor of my life to serve as leader of the amazing family of health care social justice warriors at the California Primary Care Association.
Earlier this summer, in the face of an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the California Legislature took decisive action through the fiscal 2020-21 budget process to guarantee that California’s health care delivery system was not abandoned in the face of bleak fiscal projections.
Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle here.
The group recommends institutionalizing voter mobilization and education as a government function, increasing Latinos’ access to capital to spur business and job creation, universal health coverage, more equitable COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and treatment, a pipeline for Latinos and other underserved workers into clean energy and the green economy, progressive immigration reform, an immediate and indefinite moratorium on deportations and universal access to preschool.
State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, AltaMed CEO Castulo de la Rocha, California Primary Care Association CEO Carmela Castellano-Garcia and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Thomas A. Saenz were also part of the group that put together the agenda.
Read more in the Voice of San Diego here.
Some providers, like those at health centers, have been trying to do more of their own testing, but struggle to get tests, said Carmela Castellano Garcia, the CEO of the California Primary Care Association, which represents the state’s health centers.
While some have adequate supplies, she said, health centers in areas like south central Los Angeles have reported having only 10 tests on hand at a time. “That means they’re getting hundreds of calls from people wanting to be tested who they cannot accommodate,” she said.
Read more in CalMatters