National Center for Farmworker Health
Call for Health
1770 FM 967 • Buda, TX 78610
(512) 312-2700
(800) 531-5120
fax (512) 312-2600
March 2015
Feb Apr

NCFH Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the National Center for Farmworker Health provides direction and oversight in order to assure compliance with mission and fiduciary well-being of the corporation. The Board is comprised of 11 members who are dedicated to the development of the strategic direction of NCFH in pursuit of its mission of improving the health status of farmworker families. Board members may serve as Migrant Health Center (MHC) Representatives or as a Member at Large. In order to qualify as a MHC Representative, nominees must be currently employed by a federally funded MHC in either a clinical, administrative, or governance position and must function at a high level of responsibility within the center. Members at Large are individuals whose career accomplishments demonstrate a broad base of experience and expertise in a specific area such as research, population advocacy, government, public relations, public health, fundraising, etc. Members at Large also have a demonstrated history of that expertise in the field of Migrant Health.

Current NCFH Board Members are:


Board Chair

Velma Hendershott
InterCare Community Health Network
Bangor, Michigan

Velma Hendershott is the President and CEO of InterCare Community Health, a large multi site network of Community/ Migrant Health Centers located in Southwestern Michigan. Velma has a long history of work in migrant health, and carries the torch passed on to her by a prior administrator of note, Vera Martinez who is her mother. Originally from Texas, Velma's family migrated to Michigan where she was raised, completed her undergraduate degree and studies towards a Master's in Public Administration at Western Michigan University. Velma's role as a leader among C/MHCs on the state and national levels is well known and she has been recognized by the National Association of Community Health Centers as the recipient of the Louis Garcia Award, and served as President of NACHC in 2000-01. Among Velma's accomplishments are the growing of InterCare Community Health from a small migrant only grantee, established in 1973, to a large, multi site, multi disciplinary corporation serving more than 40,000 patients in a 6 county area. Her contributions to the NCFH Board of Directors include input on policy and management issues and an ability to articulate the needs of C/MHCs and help to frame NCFH strategies in response to that need.

Vice Chair

Sandra Leal
Director of Clinical Pharmacy
El Rio Community Health Center
Tucson, Arizona

Sandra Leal is the Clinical Director of Pharmacy and the Broadway Clinic, which serves special populations at El Rio Health Center in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Leal is a practicing clinician and in her administrative capacity is leading the integration of clinical pharmacy services in a large Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Her work has been to develop the role of pharmacists in new models of health care including Patient Centered Medical Home and an Accountable Care Organizations.

Dr. Leal received her BS in Pharmacy and her PharmD from the University of Colorado and her MPH in Public Heath Practice from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Leal completed residency at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System. She currently serves as the National Chair for the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC) to promote clinical pharmacy integration to improve both health outcomes and patient safety.




Karen Watt
Watt Farms
Albion, New York


Karen Watt has been involved in agricultural and farmworker issues for many years. Along with her husband, Christopher, she owns and operates approximately 250 acres of orchards and the Watt Farms Country Market in New York. She served on the Orleans County Farm Bureau from 1992 to 2000 and was elected Bureau President in 1995. As a member and Chair of the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health, she advised the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues related to the health of migrant farmworkers.

In addition to being elected to the Board of Directors for the National Center for Farmworker Health, she serves as Chair of the Oak Orchard Community Health Center Board of Directors. She is a former member of the Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council Board and the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association Board.

In addition to advocating for farmworkers in the United States, she has volunteered her time and expertise to projects at the international level. In 1996, she traveled to the Republic of Guinea, West Africa to focus on marketing of traditional agricultural produce, diversification of products grown, and value –added products. In April 1997, she worked with the Citizens Development Corps/MBA Enterprise Corps in Calabar, Nigeria to develop and promote agriculture and agritourism in the Ikom regional area. Karen counts being a breast cancer survivor among her most important achievements. Since 2005, Karen has sponsored the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Watt Farms.



Steve Weinman
Vice President, Finance and Information Systems
Collier Health Services, Inc.
Immokalee, Florida

Steve is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Collier Health Services, a large C/MHC serving SW Florida. He has been with CHS since 1984 when he designed and produced a CHC practice management system. Since then, he has served as Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer. In addition, he was the founding CEO of a CHC in Broward County, Florida. He was the first CEO of the Community Health Centers Alliance, a large statewide CHC network in Florida. Steve earned a BS in Telecommunications, and an MBA in information systems/accounting from the University of Florida.


Feygele Jacobs
RCHN Community Health Foundation
 Feygele Jacobs is the EVP and Chief Operating Officer of the RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF) and has primary responsibility for developing the Foundation’s operating policies, recommending program initiatives consistent with the mission and programmatic focus of the Foundation, and providing oversight of all program-related investments and grants.
She came to RCHN CHF at its inception in 2005 after serving as executive vice president and chief of staff of the Ryan Community Health Network and CenterCare, Inc., a New York state licensed not-for-profit managed care plan providing comprehensive health coverage to more than 80, 000 low-income individuals. Before joining the Ryan Community Health Network (RCHN) in 1997, Ms. Jacobs spent more than fifteen years in health care administration, during which time she held increasingly responsible positions in strategic planning, business and program development, operations and ambulatory care. Ms. Jacobs worked at the St. Luke’s –Roosevelt Hospital Center, where her positions included vice president of program development, vice president of ambulatory care development, assistant vice president of operations, and assistant vice president of planning.
She is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.P.H., M.S.U.P.) and pursed post-graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a certificate in Public Health Informatics from the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health, where she is a candidate for the DrPH. Ms. Jacobs has served as field preceptor and adjunct lecturer at the City University of New York, Baruch College and Queens College campuses. She presently serves on the board of directors of Care for the Homeless, a federally qualified Community Health Center in NYC.

Lucy Ramirez
Executive Director
Nuestra Clinica del Valle
Rio Grande Valley, Texas

     Lucy Ramirez is the Executive Director of Nuestra Clinica del Valle, Inc. (NCDV), a large multi site community health center located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, serving Hidalgo and Starr Counties for over 39 years.  Ms. Ramirez graduated with a BBA in Accounting and began her tenure with NCDV as a Staff Accountant.  In 1993 ,she was promoted to Finance Director, and subsequently appointed as Executive Director in 1997.  As Executive Director, Ms. Ramirez has taken the Center from a total budget of $10M to the current budget of $22M, and from four (4) clinics to ten (10) clinics with plans for future expansion.  The Center provides comprehensive services to approximately 40,000 clients and generates over 180,000 encounters per year.  Ms. Ramirez also serves on various local boards and collaborates with many agencies for the well being of the community.

Greg Brandenburg
CEO at Columbia Basin Health Association
Othello, Washington

Greg Brandenburg joined CBHA in February of 1997 as its Chief Financial Officer and has served as Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Basin Health Association since October of 1998.  During this time, CBHA has grown to 4 sites and increased its operating budget from $4 million in 1997 to over $36 million in 2010, providing care to 30,000 patients in rural eastern Washington State.   CBHA has been selected several times by the Washington CEO Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Best Companies to Work for in Washington State”.  CBHA received the Cecilia B. Abhold Award for Excellence from Farmworker Health Services, Inc. in 2007 and 2010.  CBHA was selected as the recipient because of its exemplary service and avowed dedication and innovation to improve the quality of life of our nation’s farmworkers.  In 2008, CBHA was awarded the 2008 HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Community Health Award of Excellence for their achievement in the implementation and use of health information technology, specifically electronic health records to predominantly underserved populations. In 2009, A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona presented CBHA with the 4th Annual Faculty Advance Clinical Quality Award in recognition for teaching quality to the students of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.  In 2011, CBHA was recognized by the National Association of Community Health Centers and received their Migrant Health Center Award.  This award recognizes the health centers outstanding achievements and contributions to the migrant health center mission and to community-based health care overall.

Antonio Alatorre
Chief Operations Officer
Clinicas Del Camino Real, Incorporated
Ventura, California

Antonio Alatorre is the Chief Operations Officer of Clinicas Del Camino Real, Incorporated, serving Ventura County residents in the Central Coast of California.  Clinicas is a large multi site network of eleven Community/ Migrant Health Centers, three mobile units (1 dental and 2 medical), and provides services in 21 schools that serves over 50,000 patients per year and over 230,000 encounters in 2009.  Mr. Alatorre has been with Clinicas for 25 years and has seen the growth from two health center sites in 1985 to providing services in 35 sites in 2010.  He earned a BS degree in Management at Cal State University Northridge and has served in his current position as COO since 2002. 

The target population of Clinicas has always been the Farmworker population although everyone is welcomed.  Mr. Alatorre’s passion in serving the Farmworker population started at home since he comes from a Farmworker family and he himself worked in the fields to help his family during the school summer breaks.  He serves on several State PCA/NACHC committees and is very involved in advocating for the patient population that Clinicas serves at a local, State and Federal level. 


V. Nelly Salgado de Snyder, PhD
Coordinadora General
Programa de Salud Global, CISS
Cuernavaca, Morelos. México

 V. Nelly Salgado de Snyder is a senior professor and researcher at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico (INSP), where she also directs the Global Health Program. Over the last 30 years she has conducted numerous research projects, and participated as international consultant for government and non-governmental institutions as well as national and international organizations. She has published over 100 journal articles, books and book chapters on topics such as Mexico-US migration, aging, poverty and social determinants of health. She has received funding from diverse sources for her research projects and has graduated more than 30 students at master’s and doctorate levels. She has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses on migration health and mental health issues, both in Mexico and the United States. She is a Level III member of the  Sistema Nacional de Investigadores de Mexico, a member of Mexican Academy of Sciences, a Fulbright Fellow, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a New Century Scholar of the Fulbright Program “Health in a Borderless World”. She has a BA and MA in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her areas of interest are health and mental health among immigrants and their families in origin, transit, destination and return; quality of life and health among the elderly poor; and health problems associated with social inequities generated by the process of globalization.

 Honorary Members



Hilda Dávila
Director General of
International Relations
Ministry of Health
Mexico D.F.

 Hilda Dávila is the Director General of International Relations for the Ministry of Health. She holds a B.A. in international Relations at El Colegio de Mexico and a Msc. in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has been a public servant for the Government of Mexico at different posts such as the Office of the President, the Secretariat of Public Education and the Secretariat of Health during the last 20 years. In 1993 and 1994, she lived in Chicago working at the Consulate General of Mexico as Press Secretary. There she acquired firsthand experience of how Mexican migrants live in the United States. This experience also helped her recognized the importance of culturally competent health access. She became Chief of Staff of the Secretary of Public Education from 1995 to 2000, and she was involved in binational projects on migrant education. From 2001 to 2006 she served at the Secretariat of Health, holding the post of Deputy Director for Migrant Health, where the Binational Health Weeks and the Ventanillas de Salud were launched and became Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Health, Julio Frenk.

Members Emeritus


Gil Walter
Community Health Care, Inc.
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Gil Walter is currently President and CEO of Community Health Care. Following graduation from Indiana University with a BA in English, Gil served in the US Peace Corps in Brazil. As a young man, he worked as a manager of inner-city youth employment and training programs in Chicago. Later he completed a Master's Degree in Anthropology at the University of the Americas in Mexico and began his career in health care as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Migrant Health Program. He completed an MPH in Health Care Administration at the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill and has served for 30 years in leadership roles in Migrant/Community Health Center organizations in Wisconsin, Florida, California, and New Jersey. He has been President and CEO of Community Health Care, Inc. since August 2000. He is a Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer and presently serves as the Chairperson for the Mayor's Campaign for Healthier Bridgeton and on the boards of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, the National Migrant Health Advisory Council, NACHC (National Association of Community Health Centers), the National Center for Farmworker Health, the Bridgeton Main Street Association, and the Bridgeton PAL as well as a member of the Bridgeton Rotary Club. In 2004, Gil was awarded a National Health Center Leadership Award for distinguished health services to migrant farmworkers and was named the Big Brother of the Year for the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.


James Laughlin
La Porte, Indiana

 For more than 30 years James (Jim) Laughlin was Executive Director of the Community Health Partnership of Illinois, a state wide migrant health program providing primary care primarily through a nurse managed "voucher" model.  Jim served as member and officer on various boards addressing migrant farmworker issues including being President of NCFH, President of the Midwest Migrant Health Consortium, and Treasurer of the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Jim is currently semi retired (emphasis on semi) and is developing real estate in LaPorte, Indiana.  His "for the fun of it" job has been guiding bike tours in Spain and Portugal, being tour leader for rafting trips through the Grand Canyon and tour leader for a trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru.  Passions include (but not limited to) biking, horses, hiking, travel and gardening.

Jim lives in Indiana with John, his partner of 30 years, has 3 married daughters and 7 grandchildren.


Rafael Martinez
San Marcos, California
The Reverend Dr. Rafael Martinez (1924-2008) came out of retirement at least three times to exercise his commitment to the farmworker community, after a lifetime of servant leadership in the fields of academics and ministry. He was most noted for his proactive advocacy in the canyons of southern California where holes in the ground and cardboard boxes serve as "home" to workers who live in the shadows of multi million dollar homes. Rafael's health services achievements include establishment of clinics and outreach programs, with a special focus on the needs of pregnant women for whom prenatal and delivery care is often a matter of life and death. Those of us who have had the privilege of working with Rafael Martinez know him to have been "un verdadero caballero", a true gentleman, and a passionate advocate for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.  He truly fought the good fight; the fight for farmworkers' rights and a forced march in a three year long battle with esophageal cancer, which ended on March 6, 2008. Rafael served on the NCFH Board of Directors as a Board Member from 1993 to 1997 and returned in 2000 as a Member Emeritus.  Rafael will be remembered as a dear colleague, role model, and great friend.

NCFH solicits nominations for the NCFH Board of Directors on a year round basis, with elections held in the spring of each year. NCFH seeks nominees who have demonstrated through professional achievement, their understanding of and commitment to provision of health services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Board members serve a term of office of three years. After their first term, they may be reappointed or re-elected to a second and third consecutive term.

The NCFH board meets on a quarterly basis, three to four times a year. One meeting per year is scheduled in Austin, Texas with the others being held in conjunction with other national meetings.

Candidates may nominate themselves or may be nominated by their peers. For consideration, candidates should submit the following documents as their formal application:

  • Letter of interest
  • Current CV or resume
  • Contact information for at least two references

Nominations received by November of each year will be considered for spring elections.

For more information on the nomination process, please contact Bobbi Ryder, CEO, at (512) 312-5453 or