Milken Institute School of Public Health Names 2016 Geiger Gibson Program Distinguished Visitor

WASHINGTON, DC — The Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University has named Paloma Izquierdo- Hernandez as the 2016 Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor.

The Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor Program honors individuals whose lifetime careers in community health and achievements on behalf of health centers and medically underserved communities serve as an inspiration in public health policy and practice. Drawn from across the country, Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitors represent the nation’s most talented health center leaders.

Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Health Plan, Inc. (UHP), a network of community health centers located in the South Bronx and Queens and serving what has been identified as the poorest congressional district in the US.  The original health center was an outgrowth of the vision of Izquierdo-Hernandez’ father, Dr. Richard Izquierdo, a legendary physician working in one of the nation’s most impoverished urban communities.  Through her leadership and vision, Izquierdo-Hernandez has built Urban Health Plan into one of the nation’s leading community health centers.  Urban Health Plan is not only a leader in health care but also the largest employer in its principal service area; considered a significant economic anchor and engine, UHP has contributed to the resurgence in community economic growth and development.

Under Izquierdo-Hernandez’ leadership, UHP was transformed from a one-site facility in the South Bronx into a community health center network spanning nine sites in the Bronx and Queens.  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.  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, its first graduating class will also have met all requirements to become certified emergency medical technicians.

Accredited by the Joint Commission, recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home, and one of the first health centers in the US to utilize electronic medical records, UHP has won numerous awards for its high quality initiatives aimed at the community’s most urgent health needs such as asthma and a strengthened health workforce.

Izquierdo-Hernandez received an undergraduate degree from Boston College, holds a master’s degree in speech pathology from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Social Sciences from Boston College.  She serves on numerous boards, including the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Primary Care Development Corporation, Community Health Care Association of New York State, the New York State Medicaid Evidence Based Benefit Work Group, Affinity Health Plan, the Bronx Regional Health Information Organization, Corbin Hills Farm, and the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Charter School for Health and Sciences.  She has served as the chairperson of the board of directors of the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) and as a board of director of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC).

The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy is a special initiative of Milken Institute SPH, which was established to honor Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in community health practice and tireless advocates for civil and human rights. The Geiger Gibson Program has worked since 2004 to help eliminate medical underservice and disparities in population health through education, training and research projects.

About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University:

Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.