Awards Program Recognizes 12 Emerging Leaders in Community Health

February 12, 2024

12 emerging health leaders with their awards

WASHINGTON (Monday, February 12, 2024) – Each year, in collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) recognizes and celebrates young leaders whose work and dedication have helped further the health center mission of health care and better health for medically underserved people.

The Emerging Leader Award was established in 2007 to showcase the accomplishments of a new generation of health center leaders. Candidates for the awards are nominated by the leaders of their health center, primary care association or network, and awardees are selected by a committee drawn from senior health center movement leadership. 

From a highly competitive field of nominees from across the country, 12 individuals have been awarded this year’s Emerging Leader distinction for their accomplishments that exemplify the health center mission and the vision of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers for community health and human rights.

“The professionals recognized as Emerging Leaders truly are the future of America’s health center program. We are delighted to recognize their achievements as clinicians, managers, educators, policy advocates, and public health experts, and anticipate their exceptional contributions in the years ahead.” Feygele Jacobs, Director of the Geiger Gibson Program at the GW Milken Institute SPH, said.

The community health center movement has grown tremendously over a half-century, from just two centers in the late 1960s to more than 1,400 health centers operating in over 15,000  urban and rural locations across the country today. Community health centers are a vital source of health care in medically underserved communities and provide culturally competent, community-based care regardless of a patient’s insurance status or ability to pay. The Emerging Leaders provide essential contributions at their organizations to improve the health and well-being of more than 31 million people who receive care at health centers annually. 

“From pediatricians to dentists to community health workers and more, these skilled Emerging Leaders represent the wide range of services that Community Health Centers offer to the 31.5 million patients they serve,” said Dr. Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, President and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers. “What these leaders have each achieved so far in their careers fills me with optimism for the future of the Health Center Movement. Honoring them is truly a highlight of this week’s 2024 NACHC Policy & Issues Forum.”

2024  Emerging Leader Award Recipients

Dr. Alona Sukhina
El Rio Health

Courtney Buys
Director of Quality
Montana Primary Care Association

Daniel Martinez Tovar
Dental Senior Manager
Multnomah County Community Health Centers

Daniella Rocha
Integrated Behavioral Health/Substance Treatment Consultant
Denver Health and Hospital Authority

Jazmine Cardenas
Center Director
Salud Family Health

Kelly Chacon
Director of Care Navigation and Health Promotion
Urban Health Plan
New York

Lucia Camacho
Patient Benefits Navigator Manager
Esperanza Health Centers

Samantha Pinard
Community Health Worker Supervisor - Quality
Greater Portland Health

Samantha Stacks
Advanced Practice Provider
Fourth Street Clinic

Scott Stewart
Chief Strategy Officer
Honor Community Health

Suely Ribeiro
Assistant Director of Practice Management
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center

Dr. Zainab Wilson
Dental Director
TCA Health, Inc.