Meet Our Team
Gail Emrick MPH
An Arizona native, Ms. Emrick has been SEAHEC’s Executive Director since 2008.
She also serves as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona, College of Public Health. Ms. Emrick is an International Health and Development Specialist with a joint Master’s Degree in Public Health and International Affairs from Columbia University, with a concentration in Latin American Economic and Political Development.
Ms. Emrick has dedicated her professional life to promote the well-being of individuals, families, and communities in Central America and the U.S.-Mexico border regions. Under her vision SEAHEC has forged strategic alliances throughout Arizona for improving Arizona’s health care workforce development programming and has become a leader in AHEC program evaluation and quality assurance. When not at SEAHEC Gail can be found playing with her newest family addition – grandbaby Keira, playing tennis or hiking in Arizona’s rugged mountains or desert landscape.
Brenda Olivia Sanchez, B.S., Public Health, B.A.
Brenda Sánchez, a Tucson native joined the SEAHEC team in May, 2019 as the Border-Binational Program Manager. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish Translation and Interpretation and her Bachelors of Science in Public Health from the University of Arizona in 2018. In 2018, Ms. Sanchez did a year-long Public Health undergraduate internship with SEAHEC prior to being employed with the organization. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health degree from the University of Arizona. She serves as the Arizona co-chair for the Ambos Nogales Binational Health Council. Brenda oversees SEAHEC programs related to health issues and services along the borderlands and rural/underserved Arizona. Her work is focused around farmworker health, migrant health, rural health, health education and promotion, Community Health Workers and binational collaborations with México. She is passionate about health equity, language justice and providing a space for other first generation students to succeed in higher education. In her free time she enjoys exploring local coffee shops and spending time with her family and friends.
HR Manager, CHW, DEI Specialist
Pablo Albelais was born in Tucson, Arizona, but was raised in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. Pablo obtained his bachelor’s degree from Universidad de Sonora. He practiced family and civil law in Sonora, for a couple of years. In 2015 he relocated to Tucson and began working for a company that focused in assisting people with disabilities, developing a compassion for those in need for good health care and the needs they face because of their vulnerability. Pablo joined SEAHEC in June of 2022 as a Project Manager for Health Equity and CHW, where he alongside Mariana Gonzalez have developed a training for the National CLAS Standards for Cochise County; this program will advance health equity, improve quality, and eliminate health disparities. He also serves as a community health worker connecting community members to resources with a particular focus on elders, those with disabilities and other underserved populations.
CHW, Mental Health Specialist
Lupita Gonzalez was born in Obregon, Sonora and raised in Ambos Nogales. Ms. Gonzalez has been working at SEAHEC since 2017. She started as a program data specialist/program assistant and now is Office Manager and Program Coordinator for SEAHEC’s Youth Health Leader Club where she expands the knowledge of health related careers, financial aid and other resources to high school students. She also serves as a bilingual/bicultural Community Health Worker in Santa Cruz, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Pima and Pinal counties.
“My work at SEAHEC has inspired me to learn more about migrant health, mental health and health care along the US/Mexico border .”
CHW, Behavioral Health Specialist
Ms. Sol has worked at SEAHEC since 2008. She plans and coordinates service-learning immersions for a diverse group of health professions students and institutions throughout the year, including with Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and the University of Arizona – FRONTERA, BLAISER programs. Ms. Sol is a dedicated community health worker providing COVID education and outreach in Santa Cruz, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Pima and Pinal counties.
“For many years I have been connecting health professions students to our underserved and rural communities and now I’m happy that as a CHW I can connect our communities with the resources and services they need.”
Elia Medina-Felix, a Southern California native, joined the SEAHEC team in January of 2022 as an office assistant. Elia comes with eighteen years of experience with administrative functions. Prior to joining SEAHEC, Elia worked alongside her father in the trucking industry. She assured the administrating side of the business was in working order. Elia brings to SEAHEC a prosperous experience to navigate the clerical duties around the office. She also received her medical assistant certification from Pima Medical Institute which will accommodate the health care aspect that SEAHEC offers the community. Elia is well organized, and detail oriented. She is always looking for ways to improve herself to better help and support the staff. When Elia is not in the office, she enjoys being in the outdoors, alongside her husband, riding their rzr. As a mom, Elia loves spending time with her 3 kids. The eldest daughter is in cheerleading, the middle daughter keeps her on her toes being her unique self, and her toddler son is always on the move!
Migrant Healthcare Coordinator
Amy Pacheco was born and raised in Tucson, Az. She a first-generation Mexican American student finishing up her undergraduate degree in May 2022. Amy is receiving her degree in Nutritional Sciences with an Emphasis in Dietetics. Amy enjoys volunteering at the border with the University of Arizona College of Public Health Mobile Health Unit (MHU) that promotes the well-being of Latinos and Immigrants in border towns. She provides health screenings, nutrition education, and scribing services with the MHU. Amy will continue her devotion of helping others at the border as a CHW. Amy is passionate about women’s health, reproductive health and aspires to pursue PA or Medical school to provide her service as a healthcare provider in her underserved community. Amy values her community and works toward being a voice for others in the medical field. She is excited for joining the SEAHEC team in this new chapter as a CHW contributing to make positive impacts across Arizona.
CDFC Vacunas para Todos Program Coordinator
Mariana Gonzalez is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, with a degree in public health. After understanding the inequities people face due to the challenges in the healthcare system, she focused her studies on ‘ Health Systems Theory and Practice.’ She has taken various courses including health economics and policy, public health law and ethics, marketing, and strategic planning.
As a Community Health Worker (CHW) at Southeast Arizona Health Education Center (SEAHEC), she promotes wellness through education to families in vulnerable situations. She promotes vaccination and addresses vaccine hesitancy in rural communities in Southern AZ. She also provides COVID-19 prevention, vaccine and booster information, mental health in relation to COVID-19, and other topics that community members request.
As a Program Manager for Health Equity, she has joined the Salud para Nuestra Gente team, as a leader for the CLAS assessments, training, and capacity building in Southern AZ.
Community Health Worker
Taylor Leigh is originally from upstate New York and spent 5 years traveling and working in Latin America in order to learn the Spanish language. In 2020, Taylor moved back to the US, living in Tucson, Arizona so that she could become involved in border issues and attend the University of Arizona. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies. In her free time, she is an active volunteer on the border, helping those coming to the United States, supplying food and basic necessities in rural desert areas, acting as interpreter and translator in shelters and searching for those who have gone missing. As a Community Health Worker at SEAHEC, Taylor continues working to better the lives of rural and migrant communities in the border region by providing health education and connecting individuals to the resources they need.
Community Health Worker
My name is Hector Cha, originally born in California and proudly raised in Mexico. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a specialization in Health Systems Theory and Practice from the University of Arizona. Throughout my academic journey, I had the privilege of
interning at Southeast Arizona Health Education Center (SEAHEC) during my undergraduate Public Health program. This experience aimed to deepen my understanding of migrant health and border-related issues. As an intern, I actively participated in various activities, collaborating on supplementary initiatives such as asylum overview training and assisting with screening and vital sign measurements. Additionally, I managed data entry in the electronic medical records (EMR) system and provided interpretation and translation services to ensure patients received the best care possible.
Following this impactful internship, I transitioned into employment within the SEAHEC organization as a program coordinator for service learning and Community Health Worker (CHW). In this role, I actively contribute to health education, promotion, facilitation, and outreach initiatives. My goal is to disseminate crucial information to diverse populations, address the unique health needs of communities, and become a trusted member of the community.
SEAHEC Governing Board
Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital
Social Worker/Case Management
Advocate and Activist for migrant’s rights
Wanda J. Larson, PhD, MEd, RN, CEN
Lisa Kiser, DNP, CNM, WHNP
University of Arizona Faculty
College of Nursing Tucson
Centro de Salud Urbano
Secretaria de Salud Publica
University of Arizona
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Professional Senior
College of Nursing
Chief Nursing Officer at
Canyon Vista Medical Center