Health Projects Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established in 1980. We provide exceptional community-based programs that support elders to live and age with dignity at home. We deliver culturally appropriate programs in both English and Spanish for older adults, family caregivers and health workers.
Health Projects Center serves Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. We run the Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center, Multipurpose Senior Services Program and the Central Coast Area Health Education Center. Our programs support over 1,300 families annually to live and age at home at a fraction of the cost of an institution.
Health Projects Center supports people as they age to live safely at home by delivering high quality services and programs in the Monterey Bay Region.
We seek a community where people age at home with dignity and good health. We seek a community where all people receive supportive health and social services in the least restrictive environment possible.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ari Entin is the Chief Information Officer at Natividad. He has over 20 years of healthcare IT leadership experience in areas of acute care, outpatient care, public health and disease management. Ari has received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Health Service Administration from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member in FIU’s College of Business Administration (Masters of Health Informatics Management) and Barry University’s Masters of Health Services Administration program. In his free time, Ari enjoys cycling, hiking and enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two children.
Gwen Yeo, PhD
Gwen Yeo, Ph.D., Secretary is the founding Director of the Stanford Geriatric Education Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, which was funded by the Bureau of Health Professions for 28 years. After teaching sociology and gerontology at Texas Tech University and Chabot College, she joined Stanford University School of Medicine where she directed several geriatric education and research programs. Under her leadership, the multidisciplinary, multiethnic Stanford GEC helped develop the field of Ethno-geriatrics. Her work has focused on the development of resources and curricula for Ethno-geriatric education. She has published widely in the field of Ethno-geriatrics, is senior editor of two editions of the book, Ethnicity and the Dementias and Section Editor for Ethno-geriatrics and Special Populations of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society. She is caregiver for her husband who has dementia.
Cathy Cress, MSW
Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Planning, Administration and Organization in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her book Handbook of Geriatric Care Management 4th edition, 2015 Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management. Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett is one of the few major books on the aging family. She published My Geriatric Care Management Operations Manual in 2012. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult LLC, working with small and national groups who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She has taught geriatric care management at the University of Florida, San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley.
Gary Gray, DO
Dr. Gary Gray, DO, Vice President, has recently retired and is the former Chief Executive Officer at Natividad Medical Center (NMC). His previous roles at NMC were Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Gray formerly was the Assistant Professor and Director of Pre-Doctoral Education for the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He received a Doctoral Degree in Osteopathic Medicine from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa and completed a residency and internship in Family Medicine at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Dr. Gray is certified by the American Board of Family Practice, and was previously a staff physician at the former Fort Ord and in private practice in Denver, Colorado.
Nan Kyung Kim
Nan Kyung Kim is the Chief Finance Officer of ten primary care clinics operated by the Monterey County Health Department Clinic Services Bureau. She has 20 years experiences in health care finance, governmental accounting and public administration and, has strong interest in data driven program evaluations. Nan Kyung was born and raised in Korea and has a BS in Chemical Engineering. In her free time, she loves to visit and hike in national parks.
Julie Edgcomb, MA
Julie Edgcomb, MA has over 40 years of work experience in human services, including criminal justice, secondary and post secondary education, vocational rehabilitation and health. Before retiring in late 2019, she was the Ambulatory Services Administrator for Natividad Medical Center and the Monterey County Health Department, with responsibility for twelve primary care and multi specialty clinics. She earned a BA in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master's Degree in Education at Chapman University. She serves as a Commissioner on the Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced County Managed Care Commission, the governing board for Central California Alliance for Health, the managed care Medi-cal plan for Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced Counties, and is on the Board of Sun Street Centers and the Salinas Senior Center. She is also a member of the Salinas Rotary Club.
JOHN BELEUTZ, MPH
John Beleutz joined Health Projects Center as Executive Director in 2006. John has dedicated his career to delivering quality health and social services for vulnerable people. His work experience includes: Director of the Health Education and Training Center for the Community Health Partnership, Director of US Programs and Romania Country Representative for Population Services International, and Executive Director of the Pitt County AIDS Service Organization.
John was elected by his state-wide peers to serve terms as President of the Association of California Caregiver Resource Centers and President of the Multipurpose Senior Services Program Site Association. John started his career as a Community Health Worker for the US Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. He earned a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
John is a passionate advocate for providing access to health care for all members of our communities. He believes that people should be supported to age at home, with dignity.
Amanda has managed the Finance Department at Health Projects Center since July 2014. Amanda is a versatile accounting and finance professional with over thirty years of experience in the small business and non-profit sectors overseeing compliance, payroll, bookkeeping, forecasting, audits and budgeting.
Prior to joining Health Projects Center, Amanda was the Administrative and Finance Coordinator for Community Television of Santa Cruz County, Mountain Community Resource Center, and We Care Society, Inc. where she managed $2.5-3M annual budgets concentrating on social services. In addition to her responsibilities for finance, accounting, strategic planning and development, she was designated Board Clerk for Community Television and oversaw human resources, communications, data and evaluation at all three non-profits.
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications (Public Relations) and a Minor in Business Marketing & Accounting from San Jose State University, San Jose, CA. In her spare time, she enjoys her crazy pets, gardening, doing crafts and collecting rocks as well as spending time with her son, two stepdaughters and her twin grandsons.
SONDRA BITONTI, MSW, LCSW
MSSP Supervising Care Manager
Sondra Bitonti, MSW, LCSW has been the Supervising Care Manager at the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) in Santa Cruz County since June 2015. She loves working with MSSP seniors to keep them safe in their homes- by providing them services and support that allow them to age in place safely and avoid nursing home placements. Sondra is also passionate about mentoring MSW students and as a Field Placement Supervisor has supervised multiple interns through different educational institutions while at MSSP.
Sondra has worked in several settings with children and adults, including a yearlong fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, an Outpatient Clinic for homeless and dual diagnosis clients, and worked in both educational and home settings with families needing therapeutic behavioral interventions for children with autism and other spectrum disorders. She received her Master of Science from Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City and graduated from the clinical program with a concentration in Health, Mental Health, and Disability.
Sondra was born and raised in Santa Cruz-and is thrilled to be working in her hometown. In her spare time, she enjoys beach combing, travel, watercolor and mosaic artwork, and spending time with her loved ones.
JESSICA MATTILA, MSW, LCSW
Jessica Mattila, MSW, LCSW is a social worker with over fifteen years’ experience working with family caregivers, older adults, and disenfranchised communities. Jessica holds a Master’s in Social Work degree from San Jose State University with a concentration in the Aged and Aging Population. Before working for Health Projects Center, she worked with dual diagnosis clients and adults with developmental disabilities in San Francisco, Redwood City, and Capitola.
Jessica has had the honor of working for Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center over the past five years - first as a Family Consultant and now as the Clinical Supervisor. Jessica is inspired to provide support and engaging services to assist caregivers on their journey.
Supervisor Case Manager
Maria Ramirez is the Supervisor Case Manager for the Multipurpose Senior Service Program (MSSP) at Health Projects Center (HPC). She initiated her career at HPC during her graduate program, where she completed her practicum. Maria joined Health Projects Center in 2021 as a Case Worker for Partners In Care (PIC) and transitioned to the Multipurpose Senior Service Program as a Social Work Care Manager.
In 2017, she earned her Bachelor's degree at California State University Stanislaus (CSUS). In 2023, she earned her Master’s in Social Work degree from the University of Massachusetts Global. Maria is pursuing her License in Clinical Social Work.
Maria was raised in Salinas and is delighted to give back to her community. Maria enjoys traveling, family time, and spending time with her dog Luna.
MITCH MATTHEWS, MPP
Mitch is currently the Associate Director with Health Projects Center. He was formerly with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Hospice Department, serving as a community liaison. He has also served as Business Development Director for Central Coast VNA and Hospice for ten years.
He holds a Master’s in public policy with an emphasis on health policy. Mitch has previously worked in the Emergency room, worked as an ambulance medic, a coroner’s pathology assistant, a medical researcher and biotech marketing representative. Mitch has also been a board member for the Compassionate Care Alliance of Monterey County, The Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, has served on the Policy Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and with the San Benito County Long Term Care Commission.
Mitch is native to the Monterey Peninsula, currently living in Pacific Grove. Mitch and his wife Angela have three grown children. Mitch enjoys sailing, running and is a private pilot.
VANESSA AGUILERA-VIORTAO, MPH
Education and Training Manager
Vanessa joined Health Projects Center in February 2020. In 2018, she graduated from Fresno State University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and then graduated from San Jose State University with a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education. Vanessa has led health access programs for underserved communities and has experience in conducting seminars that range from various public health topics. Vanessa manages Health Projects Center’s educational programs and the Central Coast Area Health Education Center.
Vanessa was born and raised in Salinas and was ecstatic to move back home after college and give back to the community that helped her grow. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and going on long walks with her dogs Gina and Canelo.
Communications and Development Manager
Bailey Faustina is the communications and development manager at Health Projects Center. Bailey graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor of science in
public relations with an academic focus on hospitality and event management. While at SJSU, she was a part of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Delta Zeta Sorority. In Delta Zeta, Bailey served as the Vice President of Programming, Parliamentarian, and head of the bylaws committee and other committees.
Bailey has been with Health Projects Center for a little over two years. She is in charge of advertising, social media, fund development and all things creative in her current role.
Outside work, Bailey enjoys spending time with her cat, Zuri, crocheting amigurumi and listening to science and crime podcasts (shoutout to Ologies).
CLAUDIA MENDEZ, MSW
MSSP Supervising Care Manager
Claudia Mendez is the Supervisor Case Manager for the Multipurpose Senior Service Program at Health Projects Center (HPC) and a Medical Social Worker for the Central Coast VNA and Hospice.
In 2010, she graduated from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) with a Bachelor of Arts, Collaborative Health and Human Services and continued her education at CSUMB and in 2013, she graduated with a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Behavioral Health. She is planning on obtaining her License in Clinical Social Work this year.
Claudia’s previous experience has provided her with varied knowledge and skills. This includes; working for Catholic Charities as a Mental Health Therapist, a Case Manager for the Wisdom Center, an Emergency Response Social Worker for Children’s Protective Services, a Mental Health Therapist for Family Service Agency of the Central Coast, an Emergency Response Therapist for Encompass Community Services, and an Instructor for Hartnell Community College. She also enjoys volunteering in her community. She has volunteered at the Mariposa Wellness Center as a Mental Health Specialist and for CASA as a Child’s Advocate.
Health Projects Center complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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