Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Health Plan (UHP), a network of community health centers located in the South Bronx, Central Harlem and Northwestern Queens. Through her leadership and vision, Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez has built Urban Health Plan into a first class health care organization. From its humble beginning as a one site local community health center, Urban Health Plan is now the largest employer in the 10459 zip code, one of the largest community health centers in New York State, and is considered a significant economic anchor and engine that has contributed to the resurgence in the growth and development of the local Bronx area. Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez has devoted her career to reducing the health disparities in the Bronx community which is located in what has been identified as the poorest congressional district in the country. This commitment is reflected in the many achievements and successes of the organization under her leadership.
With fierce determination, she shepherded the expansion of Urban Health Plan from a one-site facility in the South Bronx, to a network of federally-qualified community health centers that includes ten sites in the Bronx, Central Harlem and Queens; eleven school health programs; a mental health facility; two part-time facilities for at-risk populations; three WIC programs; and multiple other grant-funded programs. In 2001, she coordinated the construction of a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that is Urban Health Plan’s Bronx headquarters with a new, 60,000-square foot extension that opened in January 2014.
Urban Health Plan network is accredited by the Joint Commission, and recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home (2011 standards). Level 3 is the highest recognition awarded by the NCQA. Today, Urban Health Plan serves a volume of close to 400,000 patient visits annually.
Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez’ achievements are testaments to her commitment to continuing the work of her father Dr. Richard Izquierdo, M.D., the founder of Urban Health Plan, and to serving their beloved community. Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez has been recognized nationally for the continuous quality improvement work she spearheads at UHP, and is often requested to speak nationally on best practices she has led to improve the quality of health care for underserved populations.
In 2009, the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School was founded by UHP as a way of addressing the community’s educational gaps and developing a future pipeline of health professionals. In 2017, we had 100% college admission rate and several members of that graduating class became certified emergency medical technicians.
Urban Health Plan has won countless accolades for innovation, including the Nicholas E. Davies Award for Excellence in the use of electronic health records from the Health Information Management Systems Society. Urban Health Plan was one of the first health centers in the country to implement and fully utilize electronic medical records. In 2009, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recognized Urban Health Plan’s asthma management program with the National Exemplary Award for reducing asthma-related hospitalization rates in the South Bronx. The Bureau of Primary Health Care named UHP one of the top twenty community health centers in the country. In 2012, the organization earned the Metro New Market Tax Credit Project of the Year Award from the Novogradac Community Development Foundation and in 2013 UHP was awarded by the Brandon Group for their “on boarding” best practices. UHP also received the Career Stat Frontline Award by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. In 2018, UHP was awarded the Age Smart Employer Award for its diversity in the workplace.
Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez is well respected by her staff for the contagious passion that she has for her organization and its nearly 1000 employees, including 150 providers, most of whom she knows by name. She sets the example that at UHP, people come first. She is a role model for her employees and a true example of consistent and outstanding leadership.
Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez sits on numerous boards, including the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Primary Care Development Corporation, Community Health Care Association of NYS, the NYS Medicaid Evidence Based Benefit Work Group, Affinity Health Plan, Regional Aid for Interim Needs, 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 and is the current Secretary of the National Association of Community Health Centers. She also serves on the New York State Medicaid Evidence-Based Benefit Work Group.
Ms. Izquierdo-Hernandez was raised in the Bronx, NY. She received an undergraduate degree from Boston College, and 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, as well as an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Humane Letters from Metropolitan College of New York.