Ms. Paloma Izquierdo- Hernandez, MPH, president and CEO of Urban Health Plan, Inc. (UHP), was named a 2016 Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. The Distinguished Visitor Program honors the country’s most talented health center leaders for their careers in community health and achievements on behalf of medically under-served communities. Under Izquierdo-Hernandez’s leadership, Urban Health Plan Inc. — today one of the nation’s leading community health centers — went from a one-site facility in the South Bronx into a community health center network spanning nine sites in the Bronx and Queens, and serves what has been identified as the poorest congressional district in the U.S. In addition to being a leader in health care, Urban Health Plan, Inc. is currently the largest employer in community health center services and contributes significantly to the region’s economic growth and development.
[Photo: Ms. Paloma Izquierdo- Hernandez]
The Urban Health Plan network includes an adolescent Health and Wellness Center, nine school health programs, three part-time facilities for at-risk populations, two large WIC programs, a workforce development center, and multiple other grant-funded programs. One of the first health centers in the country to utilize electronic medical records, UHP has won numerous awards for its initiatives aimed at the community’s most urgent health needs such as asthma and a strengthened health workforce.
The original health center was an outgrowth of the vision of Izquierdo-Hernandez’ father, Dr. Richard Izquierdo, a highly-regarded physician working in one of the country’s poorest urban communities. In 2009, UHP founded the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School in order to address the community’s educational gaps and develop a future pipeline of new health professionals. In 2017, it will graduate its first class of certified emergency medical technicians.
At the Mailman School Izquierdo-Hernandez studied Health Services Management in the Executive Program of the Department of Health Policy and Management. She received an undergraduate degree from Boston College and also holds a Master’s degree in speech pathology from Columbia’s Teachers College, and an Honorary Doctoral degree in Social Sciences from Boston College. She serves on numerous boards, including the National Hispanic Medical Association, Community Health Care Association of New York State, and Affinity Health Plan, among others. She has also served as the chair of the Community Health Care Association of New York State.