The diverse patients and community board members that make up any community health center help to center its unique role in any healthy community. Today’s blog, written by Ross Brooks, CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers, Glenwood, CO, celebrates the many names and faces that work to ensure health centers are truly community-focused.
National Health Center Week is August 8-14, 2021, and this year we honor the diverse individuals and families who choose Community Health Centers nationwide for their integrated medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare needs. We honor Community Health Center Boards of Directors nationwide, which by law, are comprised of at least 51% consumers of the Community Health Center’s services.
We honor patients like Monica Perez-Rhodes, Chair of the Board of Directors for Mountain Family Health Centers (MFHC) in Western Colorado. Monica was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. In 1994, she began working as a dishwasher at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado. Over more than 25 years, Monica has grown from the dishwasher position, to reception, to the business office, to today serving as the Controller for the local day/boarding school for high school students. In 2001, Monica became a citizen of the United States, holding dual citizenship with Mexico.
Monica has served on several community boards, including the Mountain Family Health Centers Board of Directors since 2014. Monica is the organization’s first Latina Board Chair and has strategically guided the organization’s growth into becoming the integrated medical, dental, and behavioral healthcare home for more than 22,000 patients in Western Colorado. According to Monica: “Health care should be a human right to us all, not a privilege for just the few who can afford it.”
We honor patients like Karyn Renae Anderson, MFHC Board member since 2014. At the age of 27, Karyn was an artist and graphic designer and lost her sight due to complications with medication she was taking. Karyn took what could have been a debilitating prognosis and created a force for good, becoming a patient rights advocate for the needs of the visually impaired in Eagle County, statewide, and nationally. Today, Karyn serves as the National Federation for the Blind Chapter President, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition Advisory Council Member, and patient advocate on the MFHC Board of Directors. According to Karyn, while being blind has changed her approach to some of life’s challenges, “I just do all things that anyone else would do. I do what I love. There is nothing I can’t do unless I choose not to do it.”
We honor patients like Jon Fox-Rubin, MFHC Board member since 2014. Jon was a self-described “gearhead” in high school, holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is the co-founder of two advanced technology companies: Fiberforge Corporation and Hyper-Car, Inc. Jon helped launch Mountain Voices Project and Valley Settlement, a non-profit focused on improving the lives of immigrant families in rural Western Colorado. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon led local efforts to reduced evictions by supporting both tenants and landlords through an innovative “Landlord-Tenant Fund.” As Treasurer for the MFHC Board of Directors, Jon has helped the organization rebound from a financial turnaround position in 2019 to becoming a financially healthy organization in 2021. As Jon puts it simply: “I’ve found my last primary care provider at Mountain Family Health Centers.”
We honor patients like Rob Stein, Superintendent of the Roaring Fork School District, and MFHC Board member since 2013. Rob has worked on the front lines of education reform for over 30 years, as a teacher, administrator, university professor and educational consultant. Rob holds a Master’s degree from Stanford University and a PhD from Harvard University, and has been a leading visionary for expanding access to School-Based Health Centers in Western Colorado. “We want every student to have access to affordable, comprehensive, integrated health care services; regardless of their legal status, family circumstance, place of residence, or economic means,” according to Rob. “Offering health services in school where our students spend most of their time, is a convenient and safe means of removing barriers to access and ensuring our students receive the care they need to be healthy and successful in school and life.”
Please join us in celebrating the more than 30 million patients that choose to receive their care at a Community Health Centers nationwide and the all-volunteer, patient-majority Boards of Directors that guide our strategic vision, firmly rooted in our first name: Community.
For more on National Health Center Week 2021, visit: https://healthcenterweek.org/.
For more on the Mountain Family Health Centers Board of Directors, visit: https://www.mountainfamily.org/board-of-directors/.