The Governing Board for the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program provides strategic advice and assistance to ensure the program’s mission is carried out. The Board is composed of individuals who are working on health and/or farmworker issues, particularly in the areas of research, healthcare service delivery, health promotion/disease prevention, and advocacy.
Beatriz (Betty) Rodriguez, MS (Chair) is the NC AgrAbility Partnership Manager. Prior to this role, she worked in economic development projects with farmers and rural entrepreneurs in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. She earned her BS in Agronomy Engineering at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a master’s degree in Agribusiness Management at North Carolina A&T State University. Beatriz has many years of experience in a variety of industries, nationally and internationally, including agriculture, education and insurance. Beatriz is a fervent advocate of the needs of farmers, ranchers and farmworkers with disabilities. She is one of the leaders of the Service Recognition/ Celebrations committee and has served on the NCFHP Board since July 2018.
Chris van Hasselt is an IT Project Manager FHI 360’s Information Technology team and is a founding member of the FHI 360 Analytics for Health work group, a team dedicated to employing technology best practices for public health programs. He is a PMP-certified project manager with over 25 years of experience in the information technology field. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of California Santa Cruz and has a strong interest in both statistics and public health programs. He has completed a certification program in core public health concepts through the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Chris has served on the NCFHP Board since December 2017. He sits on the Proposal Review Committee.
Essie T. Torres, Ph.D., MPH (Vice Chair) is a tenured investigator in the Department of Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. Her training, research expertise, and grants background spans over 16 years and includes intervention and applied research, mixed methods design, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and community-based participatory research with medically underserved populations, with content emphasis on health disparities, health education and promotion, tobacco and cancer control research. Her research spans the continuum of cancer control: 1) Prevention: national and international tobacco control research, HPV vaccination uptake research, health literacy (including eHealth can cancer health literacy), and health education on breast cancer and HPV-related cancers; 2) Early Detection and Diagnosis: navigation for breast cancer screening and follow-up diagnostics; 3) Treatment: medication adherence among cancer patients who are taking oral chemotherapeutic agents; 4) Survivorship: health promotion among breast and cervical cancer survivors. Her research has also focused on expanding our understanding of barriers and facilitators that affect access to and utilization of health care services, and perceived health status among “new growth” Latino communities in eastern North Carolina. Essie served on the NCFHP Board in 2018/2019 and recently returned in April 2020.
Joseph G. L. Lee, Ph.D., MPH, is an assistant professor of health education and promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University. He is also an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Health Disparities, ECU Brody School of Medicine, and an associate member, Cancer Prevention and Control, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Originally from Madison County, NC, Joseph has an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Duke University and an MPH and Ph.D. from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is a former Student Action with Farmworkers “Into the Fields” intern, where he worked in farmworker health outreach for Piedmont Health Services. His research includes work on health and information literacy for farmworkers and their families. Joseph has served on the NCFHP Board since December 2017 and is the current chair of the Proposal Review Committee.
Julia D. Welch, MS currently serves as a Clinical Project Director in Global Health Research at FHI 360. Ms. Welch has worked for over twenty-five years in the field of public health research as a project manager, clinical site monitor, and trainer. She has managed clinical research studies and provided technical expertise to clinical sites in developing countries, working within the local health care systems to implement the highest quality research. She has supported research in emerging infectious diseases, HIV prevention, and contraceptive technology. She has a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Arizona, and a law degree from the University of North Carolina. She has served on the NCFHP Board since January 2019.
Nathan T. Dollar is a former Outreach Worker and Executive Director at Vecinos, Inc. Farmworker Health Program. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at UNC–Chapel Hill and a Pre-Doctoral Trainee in the Population Science Program at the Carolina Population Center. His research lies at the intersection of international migration, labor, and population health. Nathan has served on the NCFHP Board since August 2014.
Shelley Summerlin-Long, RN, BSN, MPH, MSW
Infection Prevention, UNC Hospitals
Trey Webster (Secretary)
Finance and Business Operations, UNC School of Medicine
Eve Portillo is from Elizabeth City, NC, and attends East Carolina University where she is a junior majoring in anthropology and psychology. She is a member of the advisory board of the National Library of Medicine health disparities resources grant at ECU that focuses on health literacy and digital inclusion for farmworkers. During her summer breaks since 2018, she works as a potato grader in Elizabeth City.
CHC Community Coordinator, Access East
Nicandro Mandujano Acevedo, MPH
Research Associate, National Center for Farmworker Health
Dr. Camila A. Pulgar (she/her/ella) is an immigrant from Chile, a wife and dog-mom. She received her master’s in Counseling from NC A&T and her Ph.D. in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a researcher, consultant and Licensed Professional Counselor (LMCHC). She works at Wake Forest University School of Medicine as a research faculty, where her research is focused on Latinx mental health and suicide prevention. She is also the owner of Salud Mental Health (@salud_mentalhealth), an organization dedicated to bringing mental health awareness, connection and resources to the Latinx community. In her clinical work with Latinx individuals, she is trauma-informed, and trained in Brainspotting and EMDR .
She is a former member of both the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-NC Chapter (AFSPNC) and the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA). She is a 2019-2020 NBCC Minority Fellowship Award recipient.