Irma Cota started her healthcare leadership career in 1977 upon her completion of a BS in Community Health from San Diego State University with a major concentration in the community health center sector in San Diego County. Throughout the course of her career, Ms. Cota continued to increase her educational level to maximize her impact by obtaining an MPH degree from SDSU and additional Executive Healthcare Leadership certifications from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, UCSD Extension, UCLA Anderson School of Business and Executive Leadership in Non-Profits from Harvard University.
For the first twenty years, Ms. Cota was engaged in healthcare program development addressing maternal and child health issues, behavioral health, and workforce development at non-profit organizations as well as the private sector. In addition to program development, she was engaged in medical practice acquisitions and establishing new primary care centers to address the medical needs of women and children.
From 1997 to March 2018, Ms. Cota was the CEO of North County Health Project, dba North County Health Services (NCHS). Under her leadership, NCHS went from five clinics with a $12 million budget to a system of 10 comprehensive health centers and two specialty centers. She oversaw a $74 million budget serving over 66,000 patients with a staff of over 800. She oversaw the building of new physical capacity by increasing sites from five to twelve. In addition, Ms. Cota increased capacity by expanding primary care services, dental services, behavioral health, and specialty care.
Coming full circle, Ms. Cota started her career at NCHS in 1977 as a clinic manager and health educator. She returned to NCHS in 1983 as Maternal and Child Health Director. For the third and last time, Ms. Cota returned to NCHS when she was hired as its CEO. The main reason Ms. Cota kept returning to NCHS was her connection to a large migrant farmworker. At 16 years of age, she began volunteering with the United Farmworker Union’s free clinics as she came from a farmworker family.
Other executive administrative roles: Served as Chief Administrative Officer at San Ysidro Health Center 1987-91 in south San Diego County and Chief Administrative Officer at Sharp Healthcare non-profit The Birth Center and its Physician Affiliate “Ob-Gyn Consultants” from 1991-97.
Concurrent involvement in Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards
Past Board Experience