Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors ensures CHP stays connected to the heartbeat of the communities we serve.
Patient feedback is a core principle of the community health center model, providing a patient voice at the highest level of decision-making with patients serving on CHP’s Board of Directors. Over half of CHP board members also are patients. This model of community empowerment allows patients to be involved in health center oversight and planning.
Susana Castro, RN, MS, has worked for Northwestern Memorial Hospital since 1989. Currently, she serves as manager of the patient representative department. From 2005 to 2010, Susana was appointed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health (NACMH), where she served as chair from 2009 to 2010. She was recently reappointed to serve once more on this distinguished advisory council. In 2009, Ms. Castro was honored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) with the Outstanding Migrant Health Center Board Member Award. She has been a CHP Board member since 1994.
Board Vice President
Benjamin González has been a member of CHP’s board of directors since 2000. Over the years, Mr. González has been active in his community and church, serving on the Parent Advisory Committee of the Illinois Migrant Head Start Project and as a trainer in the Hombres Unidos project, a peer-led program aimed at reducing intimate partner violence.
Mr. Gaytan joined CHP’s board of directors in 2016 and currently serves as board treasurer. He was born in Mexico but has been living in Chicago since 1979 as a naturalized U.S. citizen.
He worked in different fields until a Catholic Bishop from the St. Thomas of Canterbury Church influenced him to work as a director of the food pantry program located in Uptown, where he worked for approximately two years.
In 1986, Mr. Gaytan started working for the Chicago Uptown Ministry. In this organization he also worked in the food pantry department, mainly serving food for the Latino community. He received training to work with families, victims of domestic violence and the youth community. He was the director of the organization for 12 years until 1998. He was the coordinator of different programs, in charge of personnel, staff-related activities, public relations and fundraiser duties.
In 1999 he started working for the Legal Assistance Foundation as a paralegal in the Migrant Farm Workers program. His main motivation is that he knows firsthand the struggles of the farm workers, since members of his family work in this field.
He’s been working in this position for the last 18 years. His commitment is evident and laudable. He puts it this way: “I consider myself a very lucky person for having the opportunity to help a lot of people when some company or somebody violates their rights. I intend to continue doing this work for the next three years, until the day that I retire.”
Gelacia Leija has been a member of the CHP board of directors since 1996. She works for the Del Valle Migrant Head Start Center in Oswego, Illinois, as the education services coordinator. Ms. Leija recently completed her baccalaureate degree in early childhood education at St. Augustine University in Chicago, Illinois.
Cristina Dávalos joined CHP’s board of directors in 2005. Ms. Dávalos resides in the Kankakee area where she promotes CHP’s healthcare services with coworkers and neighbors who work in area packing houses and farms.
María J. Martínez
Maria Martínez has been a member of the CHP board of directors since CHP was incorporated in 1993. She served as board president for over a decade. The daughter of agricultural workers, Ms. Martínez has dedicated her entire career in service to agricultural worker families as the Migrant Education Program recruiter for the Hoopeston, Illinois, school district. She has been honored with numerous awards for her contributions to agricultural worker families, most recently in April 2014, when she received the Staff Support Award from the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education. After more than four decades of service, Ms. Martínez recently retired from the Hoopeston school district. She continues to volunteer her time assisting agricultural workers and their families to ensure that they receive the healthcare and related services they need.
Ms. Zamarrón joined CHP’s board of directors in 2011, where she contributes her deep knowledge of and connection to the Latino community in our Mendota service area as well as her acumen as a local business owner. A former elementary school teacher in Mexico, Ms. Zamarrón and her family are active in their community and church.