MCHC Welcomes New Board Member: Mayra Ochoa
MCHC Health Centers (MCHC) is pleased to announce that Mayra Ochoa has accepted an invitation to join its Board of Directors. “Mayra is a great addition because she really cares about our community. She also works in a field related to health care and comes from a background similar to many of our patients and employees, so her input will be extremely valuable” said Chief Operating Officer Jill Damian.
Ochoa is bicultural and bilingual in English and Spanish, having spent the first part of her life in Mexico before arriving in Anderson Valley at age 14. She began high school without speaking any English, and has since graduated from college and earned her master’s degree in public health administration. She married her college sweetheart, Jorge Caratachea, and a year ago, the couple returned to Mendocino County for family reasons.
Caratachea just began his first year as a Spanish teacher at Ukiah High School, and Ochoa currently works as a children’s service coordinator for the Redwood Coast Regional Center, one of 21 such centers in California supported by state and federal funding to assist people with developmental disabilities and their families. Ochoa helps local Spanish and English-speaking families work with local schools and other community organizations to connect disabled children with the programs and resources available to help them. Just like when she was growing up, Ochoa sees many families in which children are bilingual, but parents only speak Spanish, often putting everyone in awkward situations. She enjoys being able to assist parents with disabled children and she really enjoys interacting directly with the children.
“I love it when we can make things happen. Recently, I was able to find funding to send an autistic child to camp, a camp his family would not have been able to pay for otherwise,” she said.
Ochoa sees many parallels between the challenges faced by families she serves and those served by MCHC Health Centers (sometimes the same families). She appreciates the dedication of MCHC board members and employees as they help Spanish-speaking families navigate the complicated world of health care. At MCHC, Spanish-speaking employees provide health care in a culturally competent way, and help patients apply for health insurance if they do not already have it.
Ochoa says, “I’m excited about the opportunity to be part of a board that is so committed to this vulnerable population.”
MCHC Health Centers provides comprehensive health services including primary medical care, pediatrics, dentistry, women’s health, obstetrical care, counseling, psychiatry, and specialty care, and looks forward to growing to meet the ever-expanding needs of the communities it serves. MCHC Health Centers includes Hillside Health Center in Ukiah, Little Lake Health Center in Willits and Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org.