Barbara Kennedy, MHA, FACHE
President and CEO
Barbara’s long-standing commitment to improve the health status of diverse communities and her focus on ensuring an exceptional patient care experience, along with comprehensive and integrated services and innovative approaches to clinical care, patient service, and business operations, Barbara has demonstrated to the Board that she is poised to lead North County Health Services successfully into the future.
With more than 20 years of senior healthcare executive experience, Barbara brings extensive experience in healthcare management to her new role. Most recently, Barbara served as President and CEO of Northern Arizona Healthcare Verde Valley Medical Center in Arizona.
Barbara an Arizona native born and raised in Tucson, has an appreciation for diverse cultural backgrounds. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and her Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from California College of Health Sciences in San Diego. She is a Lean Six-Sigma Green Belt, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is also serving as Chairman of the Board for Integrated Health Partners.
Barbara is happily married to her husband, Michael Kennedy, who grew up in San Diego. They have five adult children that they are very proud of and are excited to be joining extensive family in the area and a network of supportive friends and colleagues. When not working, Barbara enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, hiking, bicycling, traveling, beach time, and taking long walks with Michael and their two dogs, Teddy, a Golden Retriever and Makena, a Maltese.
Senior Leadership 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, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt.
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.
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, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt. 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 Strategy and Development Officer
Michelle Gonzalez is the Chief Strategy and Development Officer at NCHS. Nearly 15 years ago, she began her career as a Program Coordinator, implementing innovative solutions and key development strategies from the start. Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, a certificate in the Not-For-Profit Management Development Program through the Harvard Business School, San Diego Chapter, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt. In her rapid rise to Executive Management, Michelle has impacted significant areas of the organization including program planning, workforce development, clinical operations, as well as community relations and strategic planning. Some of her most impactful and shining achievements include the creation and centralization of the patient call center, planning and expansion of new clinic locations, multi-million dollar grant oversight and award-winning marketing programs, all of which served to grow both revenue and market share.
In her current role as Chief Strategy and Development Officer, she continues to champion the “Building Great Relationships” cultural and customer service initiative she brought to life, which the organization operates by daily. In addition, she is most known for developing organizational strategies that have exploded business growth in critical areas including Communications, Marketing & Outreach, Community Engagement, Planning & Grants and Patient Engagement & Retention. The success of these key areas illustrates her strategic and forward thinking to 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.
Ivan Coziahr, MBA
Chief Operations Officer
Ivan Coziahr is the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at NCHS. Ivan brings over ten years of experience in executive healthcare leadership. With a strong background in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s), he specializes and has a passion for improving the patient experience. In addition, his belief in collaboration, building teams, and helping individuals reach their full potential, is a reflection of why he has been successful in his career. One of his many achievements includes turning around one of his organizations from a $2.5 million loss to a $2.6 million positive margin in only 3 years.
Ivan served as the Chairman of the Office of Community & Public Health’s (OCPH) Health Center Controlled Network from 2016-2019. This organization’s purpose is to bring health centers together in order to make a bigger impact on improving patient care, from identifying ways to enhance the quality of care to achieving cost efficiencies.
Ivan holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine, Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management from Western Illinois University, as well as a certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt from University of California, Irvine.
In his free time, Ivan enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters exploring all of California’s natural attractions. He also loves playing golf, slow smoking meats, baking breads and barbequing on the weekends.
Chief Human Resources Officer
With over 17 years in the human resources field, Andrea Lewiston serves as the Executive Vice President of Human Resources at NCHS. In her current role, Andrea oversees employee relations and engagement, talent acquisition, benefits and compensation, and credentialing. She began her experience in human resources while working part-time as a human resources representative at a local hospital in El Centro, CA, which sparked her passion for human resources and the underserved community. Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in communication and media management from SDSU and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Andrea believes that each NCHS employee has a story, much like her own, that resonates with the NCHS mission and is honored to support and advocate for such caring and dedicated staff. When Andrea is not helping NCHS employees grow within the organization, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors.
Tracy Elmer, MS, RHIA
Chief Innovation Officer (CIO)
Tracy Elmer is the Chief Innovation Officer at NCHS. As a local leader in Health Informatics, her vast experience in health information technology (HIT) and the role it plays in supporting care of our patients motivates her to continue to improve care for patients through coordinated efforts on behalf of the NCHS Business Intelligence and Information Technology departments. Tracy received her Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration from Loma Linda University and her Master of Science in Health Care Informatics from University of San Diego, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt.
In addition to her work, Tracy has a passion to serve. As an active volunteer for the past 15 years, she is proud to have served as Past President of the California Health Information Association (CHIA) and Chair of the National Advocacy & Public Policy Council for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Giving back to her community and profession is a deeply rewarding experience for Tracy, as she credits it as being instrumental in her professional growth and career development.
In Tracy’s free time, she enjoys spending it with family and friends while cooking, traveling, or watching movies. Tracy also loves the opportunity to cheer on her son at his ice hockey games and while practicing martial arts.
Chief Philanthropy Officer
Rich Talmo is the Chief Philanthropy Officer at NCHS. Rich brings over 35-years of experience in a variety of senior management positions. From the beginning of his career in the barrios of south San Diego, Rich has demonstrated the ability to work in multi-cultural settings.
With Youth for Progress, Rich organized a grassroots fundraising program in support of disadvantaged youth. With the American Cancer Society he established pacesetting revenue standards supporting research and patient services. With San Diego State University he set records for alumni giving. With the Chabot College over a five-year period, Rich established the Foundation, positioned the college with the business community, and developed needed funding to open a satellite campus.
In 2007, Talmo joined the Palomar College Foundation as Executive Director. He enjoyed a 10-year relationship with North San Diego County and was credited with raising over $25 million during his tenure. Most recently, Rich has managed Ascend Partners Group, a consulting practice providing support to local and international non-profits. During his career, Rich has led efforts that has raised over $75 million, impacting thousands of lives. Rich holds an Associate of Arts degree from El Camino College and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from San Diego State University.
When not working, Rich enjoys volunteer work with the Rotary Club of San Marcos, where has served as President. He also enjoys his blended family, which includes 5 adult children, a rescue dog named Remy and his wife Linda.
Briana Cardoza, MPH
Vice President of Business Development
Briana Cardoza is a North County native and the Vice President of Business Development at NCHS. With nearly ten years of experience in community health, she is a key member of the Corporate Executive Team, executing strategic and emerging business initiatives for NCHS. Briana began her career at NCHS as a grant writer, and now oversees multiple branches of the organization, including grant writing and management, enrollment services, project planning and development, and patient engagement and retention. She successfully secured a $5,000,000 capital grant, which led to the construction of the new NCHS Mission Mesa Pediatrics Health Center. Briana holds a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in community health from UCLA, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt.
Briana received the 2012 NCHS Chief of the Year award for her advocacy on behalf of the Outreach and Enrollment teams. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three young boys.
Teresa Therieau, MPH
Vice President of Operations
Teresa Therieau is the Vice President of Operations at NCHS and has been a part of the NCHS family for over seven years. Throughout her time at NCHS as the Senior Health Center Director and now the VP of Operations, she has helped the organization expand and grow to better meet our patients’ needs. A few of Teresa’s most significant achievements include the creation and expansion of NCHS Quick Care, the integration of behavioral health into NCHS’ primary care services, and the development of behavioral health as a specialty service offered at NCHS. Teresa has spent a total of 15 years in various clinical leadership roles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from UC Riverside and a master’s degree in public health from San Diego State University.
Teresa helps fulfill NCHS’ mission by ensuring that all NCHS health centers have everything they need to continue to run smoothly and provide exceptional care to our patients. In her spare time, Teresa enjoys cooking, entertaining, and spending time with her husband and two dogs, Petey and Mocha.
Vice President of Finance
Deidre Elliot (Dee) is the Vice President of Finance at NCHS and has been a part of the NCHS family for seven years. She started her journey with NCHS as an accounting manager and rapidly rose to her current position through her hard work and dedication to the NCHS mission. Prior to calling NCHS home, Dee enjoyed a remarkable 31-year career in public accounting for the public, private, and non-private sectors. Dee received her bachelor’s degree in business administration management and accounting from California State University Long Beach, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt.
Dee is proud to work at NCHS and to be a part of a team that is making a difference in their community. In her spare time, Dee enjoys listening to music, camping, and participating in community service.
Cathy A. Sakansky, RN, BSN
Vice President of Quality, Risk Management and Case Management
Cathy is honored to serve the NCHS mission as Vice President of Quality, Risk Management and Case Management and has been a part of the NCHS family for over six years. Since beginning her career in Women’s Health, her professional experience and education have prepared her for the challenges facing the healthcare industry today. Her commitment and sense of responsibility to patient care is reflected in NCHS’ high performing clinical outcomes and her mentoring of others in pursuit of exceeding organizational objectives and innovation.
With more than 30 years of health care experience, Cathy’s most recent 12 years includes an expertise and focus in leading clinical quality performance, assuring sustainability of the annual core performance as a NCQA recognized Patient Centered Medical Home, assuring continuity and cohesiveness with all relevant and important population health performance, overseeing prevention and mitigation efforts in patient and staff clinical practice risk management, clinical and operational patient satisfaction/experience, and malpractice claims management.
Cathy received her Registered Nursing degree from William Rainey Harper College, her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University, attended DePaul University, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green belt. In 2018, she was recognized by the NCHS Executive Team with a Leadership Award. Cathy’s desire to lead a balanced and healthy life includes spending time with family and friends, attending a variety of concerts, hiking, and enjoys outdoor activities.
Dr. Denise Gomez, MD, PharmD
Associate Medical Director
Dr. Denise Gomez is the Associate Medical Director at NCHS and has been a key clinician and administrator since 2000. Originally trained as a pharmacist at University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy, Dr. Gomez spent many volunteer hours in the community working in Senior Centers and delivering food to homebound AIDS patients. Through her experience, Dr. Gomez saw a need for primary care providers to improve access to quality care in the community. She returned to school and attained her Medical Degree from University of California, Irvine College of Medicine and was awarded a full scholarship based on her work in the community. Consistent with the NCHS mission, Dr. Gomez’s focus is to provide high quality patient care, assist providers in attaining high performance goals, and maintain high patient satisfaction. Dr. Gomez has spearheaded the expansion of pharmacy services to improve patient’s understanding of medications, improve compliance, reduce side effects, and help patients attain clinical goals. She is proud to work for a mission driven organization that aligns with her own life mission. In her free time, Dr. Gomez enjoys traveling with her husband and is an avid reader.
Corporate Compliance Officer
With over 25 years of experience in Community Health, Robin Bradley serves as NCHS’ Corporate Compliance Officer. Under the direction of the CEO, Robin provides oversight of all elements of compliance as related to regulatory requirements and enterprise risk. With a strong background in management of Federal and State programs, her experience allows for insight and awareness of the ongoing changes within the regulatory environments and the legal requirements with which it must comply. Robin received her bachelor’s degree from SDSU, is an alumna of the Blue Shield Foundation’s Clinic Leadership Institution, and is a member of the national Health Care Compliance Association.