Ismael Aguila, director of Community Health and Partnerships for Providence Health and Services, started his tenure as an El Centro de Amistad board member two years ago and promptly rose to leadership positions. In July he was sworn in as the agency’s board president at its board of directors installation dinner.

Ismael first learned about ECDA’s mission when he worked for the City of San Fernando. He then reconnected with the agency when he needed to secure community linkages for patients in his current job.

“My initial goal when I joined the board was to provide additional mental health services in the community I was born in,” said Ismael. “As president I get to look deeper and closer with Tamika Farr, ECDA’s executive director on the strategic plan to work on getting more partners and bring more funding to the agency.”

“From the outside looking in, we need to focus on collaboration to secure more grants, create relationships with local partners like federal qualified health clinics because they’re also offering mental health services, and build relationships with the hospitals,” said Ismael. Other focus areas include enhanced quality services, additional consumer feedback, and workforce input.

His 20 plus years of experience in the health field gives him a comprehensive perspective. From working in the private sector at a health insurance company and in public health, to municipality and hospital administration, he wants to set up ECDA to work collaboratively with partners like clinics to offer preventative treatment.

Born and raised in San Fernando, he recognizes the need to help individuals access mental health services and to become aware of resources in this community. He understands the challenges of mental illness as several family members have been faced with managing depression. He, too, reached out to get help when he experienced stress and anxiety. Realizing the stigma is present, Ismael wants to advocate for others to seek the resources available to them and in his role as ECDA president continue to provide quality mental health services.

Ismael joins theboard officers who participated in the installation on July 8. The officers are:

  • President: Ismael Aguila
  • Vice President: Danitza Pantoja
  • Treasurer: Doug Barnett
  • Secretary: David Moreno
  • Sargent at Arms: Irene Smerigan