MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he has appointed Monterey County Health Department Director, Elsa Mendoza Jimenez, to the First 5 California Commission.
“I am committed to working with Dr. Burke Harris and the other members of the State Commission in partnership to address the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID, the wildfires, and systemic racism," Jimenez said. "As part of the First 5 California Commission, I look forward to ensuring that we achieve the F5CA vision for all California’s children to receive the best possible start in life and thrive. Given the current decline in funding for early childhood services, I also look forward to advocating for ways to sustain these critical services in Monterey County and across California.”
According to First 5 Monterey County, Jimenez grew up in South Monterey County and has served as the Director of Health Services since 2016. Her parents worked in agriculture in the Salinas Valley, so the agency said she understands the needs of farmworker families and systemic inequality.
“At a time when the needs of the children and families in our County have been greatly exacerbated due to COVID, I am especially pleased that the Governor has appointed someone with Elsa’s experience and skills to such an important statewide commission,” said Chris Lopez, Chair of the First 5 Monterey County Commission and Member of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. “We look forward to her elevating the voices of those most vulnerable in the County and the state to help meet immediate and long-term needs."
Since 2001, she has worked in multiple roles, including Assistant Director of Health, Health Program Coordinator and Chronic Disease Prevention Coordinator.
The agency said she holds a Master of Public Health Degree from San Jose State University.