NALHE Central Florida Chapter Orlando

“Where all cultures and professions come together”

Central Florida Region is composed of two major cities: Orlando and Tampa.

Since this state is extensive in territory, we are beginning to work with Orlando which is the center administration of Orange and Seminole
counties. The area can extend in the future.

Orange County include the following cities:
Apopka, Bay Lake, Belle Isle, Edgewood, Lake Buena Vista, Maitland, Ocoee, Orlando, Winter Garden and Winter Park.
Total cities = 10

Seminole County include the following cities:
Altamonte Spring, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford and Winter Spring.
Total cities = 7

Central Florida Orlando area: Include a total of 17 cities

Get to Know the Central Florida Chapter Leadership Board

Click on each individual for more detailed information

Martha Elena Ruiz

Chapter President and
Board Chair

Dr. Asli Cennet Yalim

Founder, President-Elect,
Chair of Education & Board Member

Diana Molina

Founder, Secretary, Treasurer
& Board Member

Mateo Blanco

Founder, Chair of Arts, Public Relations
& Board Member

Dr. Geidys Gomez

Chair of Professional HealthCare
Development and Outreach
& Board Member

Isabella Riesco

Chair of Social Media

Martha Elena Ruiz

Board Role:
Chapter President and Board Chair


Professional Title:
Government Operations Consultant MA. Political Science / International Relations
MA - Spanish and Literature
BA - Art History

Florida Department of Health in Orange

Ambassador of We The Women Movement Florida Chapter.

Mrs. Ruiz is originally from Colombia, S.A. She relocated to the United States upon
finishing High School. Mrs. Ruiz is currently employed with the Florida Department
of Health in Orange County as a Government Operations Consultant. Mrs. Ruiz has
extensive experience managing federally funded public and minority health programs.
She was awarded the NACCHO- National Association of County & City Health Officials
National Model Award for her work in the BABY Better Weight for A Better You
Project in Washington, D.C. and the “Best of the Best” Practice Award by the Florida
Department of Health, Tallahassee, Fl.

Mrs. Ruiz holds a BA in Art History, with a minor in Latin American studies, a M.A
in Political Science with a minor in International Relations and a M.A. in Spanish
Language and Literature, major in American Literature, minor in Peninsular all from
University of Central Florida. She has taught various courses at Rollins College, The
University of Central Florida and Valencia College and Saddlebrook International
Academy. Martha was also responsible for the development and implementation of a
cultural exchange program between the University of Central Florida Art Department
and several prominent Universities in Colombia, South America. Mrs. Ruiz also served
as the Director of International Relations for various public and private Latin American
universities facilitating exchange programs between American and European

Mrs. Ruiz has worked extensively with various foreign governments to facilitate
acculturation of immigrants to American culture, social and health system. She has
also dedicated herself to work against human trafficking and to achieve equitable
migratory protection for all immigrants within the confines of the law. She has also
been involved in working against child and gender abuse and child hunger. Her main
goal is to fight social injustice.

Mrs. Ruiz also has experience in the private sector where she was responsible for
opening various international branches of healthcare organizations where she held
the position of CEO. In these roles she became well versed in international negotiation,
trade and tariffs.

Mrs. Ruiz is fully bilingual in both Spanish and English. She is a member of Tau Delta
Chapter of the National Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, Spain – U.S.A.
Dr. Asli Cennet Yalim

Board Role:
Founder, President-Elect, Chair of Education & Board Member


Professional Title:
Assistant Professor at UCF
PhD. in Social Welfare
MSW in Social Work

University of Central Florida

Asli C. Yalim, PhD, MSW is a researcher and an educator at the University of Central
Florida School of Social Work. She is the chair of education at the NALHE Central
Florida Chapter. Prior to entering academia, she worked as a psychologist in different
settings, including a psychiatric hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. She received her master’s
degree in Social Work from Florida State University and her PhD in Social Welfare from
University at Buffalo. She completed her internships at local refugee resettlement
agencies in Buffalo, NY and Tallahassee, FL. Dr. Yalim conducted research studies
with Syrian refugees in the United States and Turkey and refugees from Burma in
the United States. Her current research aims to identify the barriers to mental health
access among immigrant and refugee populations. Her areas of research are refugee
and immigrant mental health, forced migration, culturally competent practice, and
community-based participatory research. She teaches courses in human development
and social environment, research methods, and social work with immigrants and
Diana Molina

Board Role:
Founder, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Member


Professional Title:
Healthcare Business Administration

Southern Healthcare Management

Diana Molina was born in Cali, Colombia and moved to Orlando in 2001. She
graduated from a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Central
Florida in Orlando. She just finished a Master in Business administration at the Florida
International University in Miami

She currently works as an Accounts Receivable Analyst in a healthcare company that
manages 41 Skilled Nursing Facilities in the Estates of Florida, Georgia and North

She loves to travel, learn new languages, try new foods and experience different
cultures. She speaks 3 languages: German, Spanish and English.

For the past 8 years, she has also been part of the board in an international spiritual
association called Invitation to Life (IVI) that has its origins in France. With them, she
has been able to explore her love for traveling while experiencing new cultures and
has traveled to remote places such as New Zealand and La Patagonia, Argentina.

Most recently she joined NALHE Central Florida, as the Secretary and Treasurer. As a
board member of NAHLE she would like to assist the local community in organizing
themselves and help each other grow and achieve their professional and personal
Mateo Blanco

Board Role:
Founder, Chair of Arts, Public Relations & Board Member


Professional Title:
Artist and Tenor

Mateo Blanco@

Since he was child, Mateo Blanco has been immersed in the world of arts. He always
wanted to express his feelings and ideas through music and plastic arts. He is also a
tenor, trained professionally as an opera singer.

Mateo had the opportunity to develop his artistic side, alongside Colombian artist
Debora Arango in Medellin Colombia. He obtained his B.A from Florida Atlantic
University in Boca Raton, FL. Today Mateo’s art is exhibited in five continents in
different museums as well as in private collections.

Blanco has been featured in several exhibits across the US and is an award-winning
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” artist.

Mateo Blanco believes life is a blank canvas and if there is one thing he knows for sure,
it’s that he’s going to paint it colorfully.

As an opera singer he made the cast of “La Traviata,” performed with the Opera Blanca
de Colombia and even sang during George W. Bush’s birthday celebration. A pioneer
in the music industry, Blanco became the first American tenor to record a multi-genre
record with his debut album, “Mateo Blanco 724.”

To put into work his many talents for the betterment of the local community, he has
decided to join the NALHE Central Florida Chapter Board as the director of Public
Dr. Geidys Gomez

Board Role:
Chair of Professional HealthCare Development and Outreach & Board Member


Professional Title:
Quality Improvement Specialist

AdventHealth Physician Network-West Florida

Mrs. Gomez is originally from Cuba. She is currently employed with the AdventHealth Physician Network-West Florida as Quality Improvement Specialist. Mrs. Gomez graduated from medical school in 2009 obtaining a Doctor of Medicine degree. She worked as a Primary Care Physician for four years in Cuba and Venezuela. Most recently, she obtained a Master of Healthcare Administration from Utica College, NY. She has a diverse background in clinical and administrative experience in several health systems, internationally and domestically. Mrs. Gomez has extensive experience working with Accountable Care Organizations and Clinically Integrated Networks improving and increasing quality performance of HEDIS measures. She completed La Mesa Mentorship Program through NALHE. Mrs. Gomez benefits from the program from day one and she is looking forward to contributing and pass her learnings to earlier healthcare carriers. Her passion remains the same as when she graduated from medical school: to serve and to innovate patient care.
Isabella Riesco

Board Role:
Chair of Social Media


Professional Title:
Community Presenter

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Isabella Nicole Riesco is a 21 year old second generation Florida native of Spaniard and Colombian dissent. Isabella is currently enrolled at Valencia College where she is pursuing her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts after which she intends to transfer to the University of Central Florida to pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. She speaks English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Her future plans include becoming a doctorate level psychologist where she can pursue her dream of helping others with mental illness and various other mental health conditions. Isabella has also considered pursuing her medical degree in psychiatry. In addition to engaging in volunteer community service at various local organizations, Isabella is also a self-published author. In 2021 she published a compilation of poems titled, “Is There Anybody Left?”. This creative writing process, which served as a cathartic experience for Isabella, was an eight year endeavor which culminated in fifty short poems through which she shares her emotional and social experiences and interactions while navigating the world with Bipolar Disorder. In March 2021 Isabella became an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Leadership Executives (NALHE).

Strategic Plan

This strategic plan aims at describing the high impact and sustainable operational model to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Chapter in 2020-2030. In honor of our Chapter’s mission to increase the representation of the Latino and other cultural groups in leadership roles, the goals, objectives, execution activities, and assessment of this plan, ensure the participation of individuals and organizations in professional development initiatives, that foster culturally inclusive professional opportunities in the healthcare industry and other fields.

The primary mission of the Chapter is to be the acknowledged local and regional organization for Latino/a and multicultural healthcare leaders and professionals, early careerists, students, local industry experts, community stakeholders, partners, sponsors, and individuals with aligned interests, goals, and values.

Be the premier organization to identify, develop, and connect Latino/a leaders at all levels and to grow the talent pool of multi-cultural healthcare leaders.

Needs Statement
According to the Florida State Health Improvement Plan, one of the priority areas is to avoid inequalities and eliminate health care disparities. The goal is to “establish shared understanding across all sectors (including, but not limited to, state and local agencies and other organizations) concerning information and issues surrounding health equity, cultural competence, and how social determinants of health influence the health of Florida’s residents and communities.” (Florida Department of Health, 2019, p.3). Additionally, The Hispanic Health Assessment 2017 recommends an increase of cultural competencies and marketing strategies to increase community outreach and program effectiveness to better serve the Hispanic population and eliminate healthcare disparities (Pérez, 2017). As a response to these needs, NALHE Central Florida Chapter seeks to contribute to the enhancement of the community in Central Florida, with the vision to extend its efforts throughout the State of Florida, through the integration and promotion of education of the multicultural professionals in healthcare and other related fields.

Goals and Implementation

  1. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to understand the operational environment and establish the accountability of the Chapter to identify gaps.
    • Enhance and maintain the presence of the Chapter as a recognizable organization in the promotion of the Latino professionals in the healthcare and other fields.
    • Connect with domestic and international universities, colleges, and other organizations to increase the number of members.
    • Position NALHE Central Florida Chapter in the State of Florida through strategic community engagement efforts.
  2. Develop resources to ensure implementation of the plan and ongoing grant research projects.
    • Identify the existing data to document the current state of knowledge about needs in the community, as well as protective and risk factors that affect equality/disparities in health (Literature review, by February 2020).
    • Identify potential grant-funding sources (January, 2020).
    • Write grant proposals (June, 2020).
  3. Educate and guide professionals and students through culturally competent training and workshops
    • Create a survey to pre-assess the target audience.
    • Creation focused, professional development resources in cultural competence.
    • Partner with domestic and international organizations to strengthen the presence and credibility of the NALHE Central Florida Chapter.
  4. Events
    • Two events yearly.

*Pérez, E. (2017). Hispanic Health Assessment 2017. Retrieved from:
*Florida Department of Health (2019). Florida State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) 2017-2021. Retrieved from