Elba Gonzalez-Mares, Executive Director graduated from the University of California in Davis in 2005 with a degree in International Relations. Ms. Gonzalez-Mares was employed by the Community Health Initiative ten years ago as one of the first certified application assistants in Napa County. Highly skilled and motivated, she advanced to the position of Health Services Manager, coordinating program operations and carrying out community relations and staff training, supervision, and support responsibilities. She is also trained, licensed and certified as an insurance agent in California. Ms. Gonzalez-Mares oversaw the expansion of CHI’s assistance services from exclusively children to include adults and seniors as well. As management staff, she developed many of the operational procedures that the Community Health Initiative’s Health Access staff function under to this day. She was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Community Health Initiative in May 2015.
Maria Torres-Almanza, Program Director, graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and an emphasis in Health and Human Performance. Ms. Almanza was first employed by CHI Napa County in 2012 as a Health Access Specialist. In this position, she assisted clients one-on-one to enroll and maintain comprehensive no-cost and affordable health insurance. She also provided trouble-shooting assistance and follow-up to ensure that clients understood their insurance benefits and how to access and use health services. Shortly thereafter, she was advanced to Senior Health Access Specialist. In this position, Maria recruited, hired, and trained ten bi-lingual, bi-cultural interns for CHI’s local health insurance Benefit Call Center, a program component that was created to handle the high volume of requests for coverage information that occur during Covered California’s Open Enrollment periods. In 2017, Ms. Almanza was promoted to Health Services Manager and as of September, 2020 was promoted to Program Director.