Full Press Release:
Seasoned Health Care Executive & Santa Cruz Resident Chosen as New CEO of Santa Cruz Community Health
Anita Aguirre, MPH, to succeed longtime SCCH leader Leslie Conner
SANTA CRUZ, CA (Dec. 1, 2023) – Santa Cruz Community Health (SCCH), a leading nonprofit provider of high-quality, affordable, and comprehensive health services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, today announced its Board of Directors has selected Anita Aguirre, MPH, as its new CEO.
Aguirre starts in the position on Jan. 8, 2024.
Aguirre, an experienced healthcare executive, began her career as a volunteer at SCCH, then known as Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center. She returns to lead the organization as CEO, as SCCH marks its 50th anniversary.
“I have spent my career in community health, upholding my feminist values of social, political and economic equality,” said Aguirre, a Santa Cruz resident. “I welcome the opportunity to guide SCCH’s next chapter with a commitment to quality of care and serving diverse communities.”
Prior to joining SCCH, Aguirre served for 10 years as an executive team member at Salud Para La Gente, a Federally Qualified Health Center based in Watsonville that serves low-income and uninsured in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. At Salud, Aguirre held the positions of Deputy Director & Chief Compliance Officer, as well as Chief of Clinic Operations and Director of Patient Services.
“Anita places a high value on SCCH’s culture of respect, justice, equity, diversity and belonging, as well as its feminist roots,” said SCCH Board Chair Julio Porro, MD. “Her depth of experience in community health, especially the operations and regulations governing Federally Qualified Health Centers like SCCH, will be a strength as SCCH continues to grow its locations, services and community partnerships.”
Previously, Aguirre worked for the MayView Community Health Center in Palo Alto and the California Family Health Council, Inc. She holds a Master of Public Health from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Aguirre succeeds Leslie Conner, who has guided SCCH through pivotal moments, ensuring its expansion and adaptability in response to national, state and local changes in healthcare delivery. Conner’s tenure established SCCH as a Federally Qualified Health Center, expanded its services into Live Oak and the San Lorenzo Valley, navigated the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and lead SCCH and the people the organization serves through the pandemic.
About Santa Cruz Community Health:
Through the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center, Santa Cruz Mountain Health Center and our new Live Oak Health Center, Santa Cruz Community Health (a Federally Qualified Health Center) provides comprehensive primary care services in English and Spanish to all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientation, regardless of their ability to pay. Seeded by the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center in 1974, SCCH has maintained a 49-year commitment to its mission: to improve the health of its patients and the community and advocate the feminist goals of social, political, and economic equality. SCCH’s health centers serve over 13,000 patients through a dedicated staff of medical providers, nurses, licensed clinical social workers, health educators, and administrative personnel.