Awards Program Recognizes 14 Emerging Leaders in Community Health

March 8, 2023

Emerging leaders with their award plaques.

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2023) – 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 very competitive field of nominees, 14 Emerging Leaders from across the country have been awarded with the 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 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 nearly 1,400 health centers operating in more than 14,000 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 of more than 30 million people who receive care at health centers annually.

“These Emerging Leaders represent the next generation of the Community Health Center Movement,” Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, Interim President and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers, said. “Their commitment, motivation, and professional achievements have helped strengthen and advance the mission of health centers. We are grateful for their leadership and the opportunity to honor their accomplishments at the 2023 NACHC Policy and Issues Forum.”

HH2023 Emerging Leader Award Recipients


Allyson Pinkhover, MPH
Director of Substance Use Services
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
Brockton, MA

Amanda Hirsch, MPH
COVID Response Program Manager
Neighborhood Health
Alexandria, VA

Brittany Silvestri, MBA
Vice President of Population Health
Hudson Headwaters Health Network
Queensbury, NY

Daniel S. Creitz, JD
Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
Pittsburg, KS

David Poms, MPH
Partnerships Manager
DC Primary Care Association
Washington, DC

Emily Harris, MPH
Manager of Public Health Programs
Chiricahua Community Health Centers
Douglas, AZ

Joe Capetillo, BS, RDA
Director of Compliance and Innovation
Greenville, TX

Juan Gomez, MPH
Outreach Coordinator
Eastern Shore Rural Health System
Onancock, VA

Lynae Picou, MSc, BSN
Women's Health Program Manager
PrimaryOne Health
Columbus, OH

Marie Mongeon, MPH
Senior Director of Policy
Community Health Care Association of New York State
New York, NY

Mario Ochoa-Prieto, MD
Internist and Director of Resident
Education and Development
Fair Haven Community Health Clinic
New Haven, CT

Nataly Diaz, MBA
Director of Health Center Operations
California Primary Care
Sacramento, CA

Samantha Hooper, MBA
Marketing and Communications Director
Mid-State Health Center
Plymouth, NH

Sonia Ayala, MSW, MA, LCSW
Director of Care Management
Esperanza Health Centers
Chicago, IL



Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the leading national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.

About the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health

The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health was established in 2004 and named after  Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in community health practice and tireless advocates for civil and human rights. Located within the Department of Health Policy and Management at GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, the Geiger Gibson Program is the nation’s leading academic program focusing on the history and contributions of community health centers and the major policy issues that affect health centers, their communities, and the patients that they serve. Founded with generous gifts from community health centers and state and regional primary care associations, a major gift from the RCHN Community Health Foundation provides ongoing core support for the Program’s research, scholarship and education.