Board of Directors


The five publicly elected officials and two appointed officials bring a wealth of business experience and expertise, healthcare background, and community involvement to the board. Contact Our Board

Jennifer_Wortham_

Jennifer Wortham, DrPH - President - jwortham@dhcd.org

  • Elected in 2016 

Jennifer Wortham, DrPH, currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for University Preferred Health Partners. She has served as a healthcare executive and consultant for over 25 years, implementing quality improvement programs for several world-class health care delivery systems including the University of California San Diego, Health System; The UCLA, Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center; and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She served as the Vice President, Transformation for Eisenhower Medical Center; President, Institute for Performance Excellence, a division of the Hospital Association of Southern California; National Director, Transformation and Program Management Capability Development for Kaiser Permanente; and Administrative Director for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Wortham holds an MPH and a Dr.PH in Health Services Administration from UCLA. She teaches courses at the UCLA, School of Public Health, and lectures through trade and professional associations. Dr. Wortham specializes in Lean, a management approach based on lessons learned from Toyota that helps organizations deliver higher quality products and services, and she is currently managing a multi-site study with the Hospital Association of Southern California’s, Nursing Advisory Council focused on improving nursing workflow in hospitals in Southern California. Dr. Wortham serves on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley, leading the organization's strategic planning.

Dr._Zendle

Les Zendle MD - Vice-President/Secretary - lzendle@dhcd.org

  • Elected in 2016

Dr. Les Zendle is a physician specializing in internal medicine and geriatrics.  He did his undergraduate degree at Occidental College in Los Angeles and his medical degree and post-graduate training at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  He was a partner physician in the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) - Kaiser Permanente) from 1980 to 2010, serving as the Southern California Region Associate Medical Director for Clinical Services from 1993 to 2003.  After retiring from Kaiser Permanente in 2010, he became a volunteer physician, board member, and the medical director of the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine (CVVIM) in Indio - the only no-charge clinic in the Coachella Valley offering primary medical and dental services to low-income residents without health insurance.  He continues to volunteer his time with CVVIM in seeing patients and on the board of directors; he stepped down as medical director in January 2018 to focus his attention toward the District/Foundation.

In the past, he has also served on the Board of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism,  the Occidental College Alumni Board of Governors, the Medicare Coverage Advisory Board for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission and the Palm Springs Task Force on Ethics, Transparency and Government Reform. 

mark_matthews

Mark Matthews - Treasurer - mmatthews@dhcd.org

  • Appointed in Lieu of Election November 2000
  • Appointed In Lieu of Election December 2004
  • Elected in November 2012
  • Elected in November 2016

Mark Matthews owns Wiefels and Sons Funeral Directors and manages several facilities in the desert and neighboring communities. He served Desert Hospital/ Desert Regional Medical Center in various capacities since 1988, including participation at the board level, and was instrumental in negotiating the lease of the hospital to Tenet Health System in 1997. Mr. Matthews was a long-time board member of the Association of California Healthcare Districts. In our local area, he is a member of the City of Palm Springs Planning Commission, Past President of Mizell Senior Center, and has served as a board member of several other key organizations in the valley.

Carole Rogers

Carole Rogers, RN, MPH - Director - crogers@dhcd.org

  • Elected in November 2014
  • Elected in November 2018

Carole Rogers RN, MPH, is a licensed registered nurse with more than 40 years of experience in the healthcare field. She was publicly elected twice to four-year terms to the Eden Township Healthcare District (Castro Valley CA) where she served as Director and then Chair of the Board for five years.

She was educated in San Francisco Bay Area schools including San Francisco State University and U.C. Berkeley with a Masters Degree in Public Health. She received a post-graduate fellowship in HMO Management from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Georgetown University.

Carole's first assignment as an independent consultant right out of college was to obtain approval from the Federal government for Contra Costa County Health Services to be licensed as a federally approved HMO, and marketed services to County patients, employees and eventually the community where it still stands as a successful model. (Contra Costa Health Plan.) Carole had other successful consultant assignments: North East Medical Services, San Francisco (for an HMO license); Bridgeway Plan for Health, San Francisco (for a HMO expansion license); California Academy of Ophthalmologists, San Francisco (for a national stand alone Vision Plan): Readicare, Sunnyvale (for a WCHPO – Workers Compensation Healthcare Organization license); Alameda Health Systems, Oakland (for a County Sponsored EPO); Alameda-Contra Costa Foundation for Medical Care IPA– Interim Executive Director; Camino Real Medical Group, San Mateo CA. She taught HMO Management as an instructor – UC Berkeley Extension.

Carole's employment history includes: Executive Director, Mercy Health Plan – Mercy Medical Center, San Diego; Director of Health Financing Systems, Seton Medical Center, Pacifica; Executive Director, Contra Costa Health Providers, Walnut Creek; Executive Director, Diablo Valley IPA/PPO, Concord; Executive Director, Contra Costa Health Plan, Martinez; 

As a registered nurse, Carole was employed for the past 12 years with Alameda Health Systems, Oakland, CA, Oncology-Hematology Dept.; San Leandro Hospital, San Leandro, CA, Transitional Care Unit; and Med-Staff Nurses Registry, Oakland.

Carole's volunteer work includes the Davis Street Family Resource Center, San Leandro, volunteer nurse, Rotacare Free Clinic;  Volunteer Nurse, Houston Astrodome, Charge Nurse – Triage, Hurricane Katrina Victims; Zimbabwe Rotary Health Project team leader for a large medical team of primary care physicians, dentists, surgeons, optometrists, nurses and ancillary staff for a three-year Rotary 3H grant; Water Wells for Ghana – awarded a three-year- 3H grant to drill 80 water wells in the Ho District of Ghana Africa. Team Leader; and Guatemala Village Bank and Medical-Dental grant from Rotary Foundation, team leader.

Carole holds a lifetime Community College teaching credential, Certificates in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Oncology Infusion Therapy, and Post Operative Recovery. She has an AED (Automatic Electronic Defibrillator) in the back seat of her car.


Evett_PerezGil

Evett PerezGil - Director - eperezgil@dhcd.org

  • Elected in November 2018

A proud 40-year resident of Cathedral City, Evett PerezGil was employed as a community health worker for more than a year in the city’s Dream Homes neighborhood. The experience provided her with the tools to uplift, advocate for and inspire Dream Homes residents. Through the Dream Homes Initiative, she also honed her philanthropy skills.

In addition, PerezGil has been a long-term volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City, supporting the indoor soccer league and other programs for participating youths. Helping and serving the underserved are principles she strives to live by.

During the Desert Healthcare District’s efforts to educate the pubic on expansion, PerezGil was often in attendance. She’s been committed to encouraging and supporting health and wellness issues that affect communities the District serves.

Karen_Borja

Karen Borja - Director - kborja@dhcd.org

  • Appointed in Lieu of Election January 2019 

Eastern Coachella Valley native Karen Borja brings to the Desert Healthcare District and Desert Healthcare Foundation Board more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit management and grassroots organizing to improve community access to health, transportation, democracy and education.

A self-described “translator” between community needs and government’s ability, Borja has directed projects and managed staff, volunteers and board members. “I have trained and mentored leaders, conducted program evaluations, created complex reporting systems, and led a variety of campaigns all while adhering to budgetary policies.”

Highlights of her organizational experience include helping to secure an annual $250,000+ commitment for a bus line to one of the eastern valley’s most isolated communities, North Shore; helping to build successful “Sanctuary City” campaigns in Cathedral City and Coachella that won bipartisan support locally and at the state level; leading 75 volunteers to identify and educate more than 3,000 east valley voters on the importance and potential impact of the District’s expansion measure; and helping to secure $36 million for a much-needed elementary school in North Shore.

Borja’s community leadership efforts range from organizer of the 2019 Coachella Valley’s Women’s March and co-manager of an election campaign, to board member with the Health Assessment and Research for Communities and member of the Women United of the Desert.

She’s currently employed as the Riverside County Community Affairs Director with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. From 2012 to 2017, she worked as an associate director and community organizer with Inland Congregations United for Change.

LDeLaraFirst_5_Dec._2017

Leticia De Lara, MPA - Director - ldelara@dhcd.org

  • Appointed in Lieu of Election January 2019

Leticia De Lara currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Access Project Foundation (RAP). She brings to the job extensive experience and a deep understanding of the government arena. Prior to joining RAP in 2014, she spent five years as the district director for Fourth District Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit. That followed almost 11 years as the chief of staff for Benoit’s predecessor, Supervisor Roy Wilson. “During the time with the Fourth District Supervisor’s office, I specialized in areas of social service, mental health, public health, affordable housing and homelessness,” her resume states.

De Lara’s academic credentials include a master’s degree in public administration from Cal State University San Bernardino, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration also from CSUSB.

A lifelong Coachella Valley resident who’s made public service a priority, De Lara spent the early part of her life as a migrant worker with her family. She recounts following the migrant season of work north from the desert to the Pacific Northwest.

Her public service experience includes vice-chairwoman of the Continuum of Care Board of Governance, board director with Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Lift to Rise and Riverside County First 5 Commission.


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