Irma Cota, MPH
President and CEO
As North County Health Services President and CEO since 1997, Irma Cota is an active member in the San Diego County community. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Managers for Integrated Health Partners, Secretary of the Board of Directors for Health Center Partners of Southern California, a board member of the North San Diego Economic Council, a board member for the Elizabeth Hospice, CSUSM University Council and the Palomar College President’s Circle.
Ms. Cota has experience in executive management, strategic program planning, finance, and operational management in both the public and private sector. Under her direction, NCHS has become an organization that serves more than 62,000 individuals annually at eleven clinic locations, employs a staff of more than 700 and has an annual budget of over $60+ million.
With a Master’s Degree in Public Health from San Diego State University, and four certificates in health administration leadership from various institutions, Cota has earned a variety of awards and recognitions including the 2014 UT San Diego’s Latino Healthcare Champion Award, The Bill Uhland Ethics Award in 2012 from the San Marcos Rotary Club, “Women who Mean Business,” by The San Diego Business Journal and finalist for “Most Admired CEO” by The San Diego Business Journal, “50 People to Watch” by North San Diego Lifestyle magazine and “Woman of Distinction” by the Oceanside Soroptimist Club. She has also been a proud recipient of the San Diego County’s Public Health Champion Award and the “Distinguished Alumni” from SDSU School of Public Health.
Corporate Executive Team
Dr. Patrick Tellez, MD, MPH, MSHA
Chief Medical Officer
With over 30 years of healthcare industry experience, Dr. Patrick Tellez serves as the Chief Medical Officer at NCHS and holds a wealth of experience as a practicing physician, but also brings a robust background in Health Care Administration. Dr. Tellez graduated from the University of Minnesota School Of Medicine and is boarded in Pediatrics and Immunology & Allergy. He holds a Masters in Public Health from UCLA and Master of Science in Health Administration from the University of Colorado.
In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Tellez received the 2012 Award for Clinical Quality Improvement, Colorado Primary Care Association and the American Medical Association. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Medical Society, and Delegate to the California Medical Association. In his free time he enjoys hiking, fitness, music and bonsai.
Deizel Sarte, BSN, MAS
Chief Clinical Operations Officer
Deizel Sarte is the Chief Clinical Operations Officer at NCHS and boasts a 26 year-long career as a healthcare professional. True to her motto, ‘once a nurse, always a nurse’ she began her healthcare path as a nurse’s assistant at the early age of 19, and by 21 became an RN for Children’s Hospital. Deizel received her Master’s in Advanced Studies in the Leadership of Healthcare Organizations from UCSD.
After over a decade of serving children and families in the hospital setting she decided to bring her compassion and expertise to NCHS – and has never looked back. In just a few short years Deizel not only earned the honor of Nurse of the Year but in her time at NCHS, she grew from overseeing the health centers to taking a lead role in administration. Under Deizel’s leadership, we adopted the electronic health and dental records, patient centered medical home (PCMH) transformation, the opening of our newest health centers, successful provider recruitment just to name a few. In her spare time Deizel enjoys time with family, traveling, concerts, reading novels and dancing.
Chief Financial Officer
Kathy Martinez is the Chief Financial Officer at NCHS and enjoys a robust 17-year history at NCHS, where she began as a Staff Accountant. Kathy has enjoyed an impressive 30-year career covering a wide range of industries, before calling NCHS ‘home’.
After other experiences in the oil, agriculture management and public accounting industries, she discovered her passion for the non-profit world and the specialty that lies within accounting for a Federally-Qualified Health Center. In addition to helping NCHS earn a stellar financial reputation industry-wide, she has also earned her a CPCA CFO training certificate. When she’s not crunching the numbers, Kathy enjoys spending time with family and friends, relaxing sunny days on the beach with a good book and doing ceramic arts and crafts.
Michelle D. Gonzalez, MPA
Chief Business Development Officer
Michelle Gonzalez is the Chief Business Development Officer at NCHS. Over 13 years ago, she began her career as a Program Coordinator, implementing innovative solutions and strategic planning from the start. In her rapid rise to Executive Management, she has impacted almost every area of the organization including dental, the call center and clinical operations. During this time, she also completed her Master’s Degree in Public Administration as well as the Not-For-Profit Management Development Program through the Harvard Business School, San Diego Chapter.
In her current role as Chief Business Development Officer, she has developed and strategically grown the business in key areas including Communications, Marketing & Outreach, Community Engagement, Planning & Grants and most recently, Patient Engagement & Retention. The success of these key areas is just one testament to how her strategic and forward thinking further NCHS’ competitive edge. When she’s not developing strategic plans, Michelle loves to spend as much time as possible with her husband and their two young children.
Mike De Leon
VP Facilities & Purchasing
Mike De Leon is the Vice President of Facilities & Purchasing at NCHS and has been in healthcare procurement and facilities for over 25 years in the San Diego County area. Mike began his journey at NCHS as a shipping receiving clerk 24 years ago. He was instrumental in a multitude of NCHS projects throughout the years, most recently with the building of Mission Mesa Pediatrics, a $7.7 million project he helped complete on time and under budget.
Because of his dedication to excellence and level of expertise here at NCHS, Mike has been awarded Employee of the Year four times and his department has also received Department of the Year. He has served as an advisory board member at CSUSM for facility safety, is a member of the National Association of Purchasing Managers and is a certified NIMS trainer for disaster preparedness. In his personal time, Mike enjoys classic cars and industrial art.