About TrueCare

We put your health first

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TrueCare is one of the most trusted healthcare providers in San Diego and Riverside Counties. Our friendly staff and compassionate physicians specialize in providing quality healthcare and wellness services to underserved communities so people can get the care they need. Our goal is to make healthcare available to everyone in the communities we serve, regardless of income or insurance status.

A Place Where Everyone is Welcome and Respected

Our mission

To improve the health status of our diverse communities by providing quality healthcare that is comprehensive, affordable, and culturally sensitive.

How we did it:

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Our vision

TrueCare will be the premier health care provider for diverse communities in San Diego County and the Inland Empire, characterized by an exceptional patient experience, comprehensive and integrated services, and innovative approaches to clinical care, patient service and business operations.

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Our core values

We believe everyone is entitled to quality health care. As an organization that truly cares about your health, we are driven by these values:

  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Quality of Care and Services
  • Innovation
  • Stewardship

50 Years of Heartfelt Care

TrueCare by the numbers:

State-of-the-art health centers

Passionate providers

Years of trust and service

Patients

Visits each year

Dedicated staff

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Meet the TrueCare Family!

Leadership Team

Michelle D. Gonzalez, MPA

President and CEO

Michelle Gonzalez’ roots at TrueCare™ run deep. Starting out as a Program Coordinator nearly 20 years ago, she went on to hold several senior management positions, including Chief Strategy and Development Officer and VP of Strategic Initiatives, before being appointed to President and CEO in April of 2020. Her diverse responsibilities instilled a deep understanding of the unique challenges facing nonprofit healthcare organizations and the communities they serve.

Michelle’s time with TrueCare also fostered a deep and abiding commitment to the organization’s mission of providing affordable, quality care to anyone in need. Under her leadership, TrueCare has expanded access to its services while improving the patient care experience. This includes establishing the patient call center, opening new clinic locations, and transitioning to the best in class, OCHIN-Epic (Electronic Health Records technology). Michelle also spearheaded a comprehensive re-brand and name change to TrueCare (formerly North County Health Services) to elevate brand awareness.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, under Michelle’s leadership, TrueCare launched a number of strategic initiatives to ensure care providers and staff had the resources to protect themselves while providing quality care. These included deploying strict safety protocols, rapid deployment of telehealth services, and the expansion of COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites at TrueCare locations.

To attract highly skilled healthcare professionals who share her passion for TrueCare’s mission, Michelle works hard to build a culture of caring and compassion. Her inclusive leadership style is driven by clear communication to all employees, rewarding excellence, inspiring greatness and instilling shared values that celebrate diversity. Her ability to foster crisp alignment between the Board of Directors, Executive Team and Staff Leadership keeps TrueCare on the cutting-edge of healthcare innovation.

Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, as well as a certificate in the Not-For-Profit Management Development Program through the Harvard Business School, San Diego Chapter, and a Green Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children; keeping them closely connected to their roots with family from Mexico and Guam.

Kathy Martinez

Chief Financial Officer

Kathy’s 17-year history at TrueCare began as a Staff Accountant. After holding different positions in the oil, agriculture management, and public accounting industries, she discovered her passion for the nonprofit world and the challenges of accounting for a Federally-Qualified Health Center. During her tenure as CFO, TrueCare has earned a stellar financial reputation industry-wide. Kathy has also earned her CPCA CFO training certificate and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. When she’s not crunching the numbers, Kathy enjoys spending time with family and friends, relaxing on the beach with a good book, and doing ceramic arts and crafts.

Dr. Marie Ann Russell, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Russell serves as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operations Officer, bringing extensive knowledge in providing quality health care to underserved populations. Dr. Russell has twenty years of experience serving in clinical leadership roles with progressive responsibility and accountability within the Indian Health Service, and recently retired from United States Public Health Services at the rank of Captain. Her passion for ensuring access to quality healthcare for all and her belief in the TrueCare mission to care for the underserved in the community reflect her commitment to improving the health of the local communities.

Dr. Russell received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, from the College of William and Mary, and received her Doctor of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and received her Master’s of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She completed the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s Improvement Advisor Training and is a certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt. In her free time, Dr. Russell enjoys running, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Andrea Lewiston

Chief Human Resources Officer

As Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Andrea oversees employee relations and engagement, talent acquisition, benefits and compensation, and credentialing. She began her career in human resources while working part-time as a human resources representative at a hospital in El Centro, CA. While there, she discovered her passion for human resources and the underserved community. Andrea believes that every TrueCare employee has a story that resonates with our mission and is honored to support and advocate for such caring and dedicated staff.

Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in communication and media management from SDSU and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. When she is not helping TrueCare employees grow within the organization, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors.

Tracy Elmer, MS, RHIA

Chief Innovation Officer (CIO)

As CIO, Tracy is powered by TrueCare’s mission and passionate about enhancing patient and care team experience through innovation. Tracy’s vast experience in health information technology (HIT) and serving as a local leader of Health Informatics makes her ideally suited for this role. The inspiring innovation team, overseen by Tracy, is comprised of clinical informatics, enterprise analytics, information technology (IT), and project management. Collectively they are relentlessly focused on creatively solving problems or opportunities that deliver greater value.

Very active in volunteer work, Tracy has served as Past President of the California Health Information Association (CHIA) and Chair of the National Advocacy & Public Policy Council for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Tracy received her Master of Science in Health Care Informatics from University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration from Loma Linda University, where she is now an adjunct master’s level program professor within the Health Informatics and Information Management department. She is a Certified Healthcare CIO and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Tracy enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, cooking, traveling, watching movies, and loves to cheer on her son at his ice hockey games!

Briana Cardoza, MPH

Chief Business Development Officer

As a member of TrueCare’s Corporate Executive Team, Briana plays a key role in executing strategic and emerging business initiatives. Briana began her career at TrueCare as a grant writer, and now oversees multiple branches of the organization, including grant writing and management, enrollment services, project planning and development, and patient engagement and retention. She secured a $5,000,000 capital grant, which led to the construction of the TrueCare Mission Mesa Pediatrics Health Center.

Briana holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health, from UCLA. She is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and received the 2012 TrueCare Chief of the Year award for her advocacy on behalf of the Outreach and Enrollment teams. In her spare time, Briana enjoys activities with her husband and three young boys.

Jorge Otañez, MD

Associate Chief Medical Officer

Jorge brings over a decade of experience to TrueCare as Associate Chief Medical Officer. In his role, he provides clinical oversight of the delivery of health care to ensure patients receive the highest quality wellness services and programs. He collaborates with all TrueCare departments to achieve operational and financial goals that ultimately support the organization’s pursuit of its mission – health care for all.

Jorge pursued a career in the healthcare industry after growing up in Tijuana and seeing the devastation that medical disparities have on individuals and families. He approaches his work with a drive and passion for being part of the solution for improving the overall health and wellness of the communities that TrueCare serves. His motivation is rooted in addressing patient care needs and in seeing their successful health outcomes, as they improve and live a better quality of life.

After attending Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) School of Medicine and University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Internal Medical Graduate program, Jorge completed his medical training at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in the Family Medicine Residency program, where he served as chief resident. His professional path started at community health centers in San Diego and Riverside counties where he held several leadership positions, including clinic coordinator, adult medicine department chair, and chief medical officer. He is a member of American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).

When Jorge’s not taking care of patients or thinking of ways to improve health quality, he spends time with his family, watches sports (Go Padres!), and enjoys traveling.

Deidre Elliot

Vice President of Finance

Deidre (Dee) began her journey with TrueCare as an accounting manager, and rapidly rose to her current position through her hard work and dedication to our mission. Prior to calling TrueCare home, she enjoyed a remarkable 31-year career in public accounting for the public, private, and non-private sectors.

Dee received her Bachelor’s Degree in business administration management and accounting from California State University Long Beach, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. As part of the TrueCare team, Dee takes pride in making a difference in our communities. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, camping, and participating in community service.

Matthew Kosel, PA-C, MSHI

Vice President of Clinical Informatics

Serving as Vice President of Clinical Informatics, Matt Kosel began his career with TrueCare in 2008 as a Family Practice Provider having worked to serve patients in the Ramona and San Marcos communities. Since that time, Matt has played key roles in establishing TrueCare’s Business Intelligence and Clinical Informatics Departments. Matt aims to ensure TrueCare continues to be on the forefront of using data and technology to deliver high quality patient care as well as assist TrueCare in using analytics to thrive in an ever evolving and competitive environment.

Matt holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Informatics from San Diego State University. He is also an Accredited Epic-Builder and Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He recognizes the importance of and values learning about leadership and communication best practices.

In his free time, Matt enjoys running, home improvement projects, backpacking, spending time with his kids and family, and learning more about technology.

Chris McLauchlin

Vice President of Human Resources

With over 20 years of Human Resource experience, Chris McLauchlin’s career has included top HR Executive positions at publically traded companies. Serving as TrueCare’s VP of Human Resources, Chris brings with him an understanding and passion for providing tools and resources to empower employees and drive successful outcomes for the organization.

Just a few of his accolades include a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certificate from HRCI and an SCP designation from the Society of Human Resources Management. Additionally, Chris holds a Strategic Human Resources Leadership certificate from Cornell School of Industry and Labor Relations. Chris is currently attending school at Penn State University’s World Campus, continuing his education in Human Resources.

In his free time, Chris enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends, as well as his furry four-legged kids; Sailor, Cole, and Sunny.

Christina New, MPH

Vice President of Operations

Christina New serves as a Vice President of Operations. Starting out as an Outreach worker 12 years ago, Christina went on to be a Family Planning Coordinator, Operations Specialist, Director of Woman’s Health Services Operations, Director of Operations and then Senior Director of Operations before being promoted to Vice President of Operations. In her various roles she showed excellent leadership and drive to provide quality care to patients. She’s proud to have led her team during the remodel and expansion of the beautiful Mission Mesa Women’s Health Center. Christina was also critical in leading teams during to the Covid-19 pandemic by operationalizing Covid-19 testing and Covid-19 vaccination clinics at several TrueCare locations.

Her passion to make a difference in people’s lives and overall wellness started as a child. She understood that education is key to prevention. Her passion for others led her on a path to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Science, with a Community Health focus, from California State University, Fresno. During her time in Fresno she volunteered at the American Heart Association and Planned Parenthood where she saw the impact health education and access to healthcare makes on communities.

Christina received her Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Promotion, from National University. She is also a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. In 2014 and 2020 she received Leader of the Year award for her commitment and dedication to serving our diverse communities.

Christina is honored to work for an organization that’s mission driven, and holds true to our vision. When she is not in the office Christina enjoys spending time free time with her family and getting outdoors to exercise!

DeeAnn Green, MAS, FACHE

Vice President of Operations

DeeAnn has over 20 years of Healthcare experience. She started working at the patient bedside as a Certified Nursing Assistant through college in Nebraska. After graduating college she moved west to San Diego and worked for 5 years as an Office Manager at a Skilled Nursing Facility. She continued her healthcare career at Scripps Health, working 11 years in Medical Group Management with multiple specialties including Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Ophthalmology and Family Practice. A little over 4 years ago she was drawn to TrueCare's Mission and joined the team as a Director of Operations working primarily with Behavioral Health and Primary Care. She left briefly to be a mom but returned because she loved working with the TrueCare Team and its commitment to the community. Since joining the TrueCare team she has worked on multiple key projects, most recently OCHIN EPIC, a practice management and electronic health record (EHR) solution.

DeeAnn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with minors in Biology and Women’s Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University and Masters of Advanced Studies in Leadership of Healthcare Organizations from UCSD. She also Board Certified as a Fellow of the American college of Health Care Executives.

Anthony White

Vice President of Government & Community Affairs

Anthony White brings two decades of FQHC experience to his role at TrueCare. He is passionate about building connections to grow TrueCare’s government and community initiatives. Proud to be a part of an organization that works to provides critical healthcare to marginalized communities, he is driven to move the TrueCare mission forward.

At TrueCare, Anthony leads our advocacy and engagement with elected officials representing the communities we serve. He also cultivates meaningful relationships between our stakeholders and partners. His deep connections with individuals and organizations doing work that aligns with TrueCare is a vital component of our ability to provide services and programs to those in need.

Anthony intentionally works with a nonprofit that seeks to uplift communities who are traditionally underserved and disadvantaged. In his spare time, he loves traveling – having been to dozens of countries on four continents. He also enjoys reading, particularly biographies and historical fiction.

Cathy A. Sakansky, RN, BSN

Vice President of Quality, Risk and Care Management

Cathy began her career in Women’s Health, where she acquired the experience and education that prepared her for the challenges of today’s healthcare industry. Her commitment and sense of responsibility to patient care is reflected in TrueCare’s high-performing clinical outcomes and her mentoring of others in pursuit of excellence and innovation.

In her current role, Cathy focuses on sustaining NCQA’s recognition of TrueCare as a Patient Centered Medical Home. This includes working to maintain continuity and cohesiveness with population health performance, overseeing prevention and mitigation efforts in patient and staff clinical practice risk management, and monitoring clinical and operational patient satisfaction/experience.

Cathy received her Registered Nursing degree from William Rainey Harper College, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. In 2018, she was recognized by the TrueCare Executive Team with a Leadership Award. Cathy’s desire to lead a balanced life includes spending time with family and friends, attending concerts, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Brandon Turner

Vice President of Finance & Revenue Cycle

Brandon Turner is responsible for managing the entire revenue cycle at TrueCare and maximizing the financial health of the organization while focusing on future growth. As a primary liaison between revenue cycle and finance, he helps drive strategy and operations.

Brandon entered the healthcare field over 12 years ago and quickly worked his way into leadership positions. After relocating from Arizona to California, he joined TrueCare in 2021.

TrueCare’s mission aligns with Brandon’s personal beliefs and values. Whether it’s helping patients through the billing process, being an ear for listening, or advocating for patient rights, he is passionate about creating exceptional care experiences.

Outside of the office, Brandon enjoys camping in his RV, playing tennis, hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and relaxing at the beach. When he’s not spending time with family and friends in San Diego, his dog and cat keep him company at home.

Board of Directors

Russell Riehl

Board Chair

Currently the Director of Occupational Medicine services at Palomar Health, Russell’s role covers a vast array of healthcare environments including Employee Health, Safety, and multiple specialty outpatient clinics. He has worked to provide improved access to patients and healthcare personnel and is excited for the opportunity to participate on the TrueCare Board of Directors. He believes every community member should have the right to healthcare and feel comfortable accessing it. Away from the job, Russ enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and going to the beach.

Andrés Martin

Vice Chair

Andrés is a school counselor for ages K-12, and an active member of the North County community. At the age of nine he first came to TrueCare with his family for healthcare services, and that is where his passion for healthcare started taking shape. As a healthcare advocate, Andrés believes preventative maintenance is key to having a healthy society.

Dulce Benetti

Secretary

Dulce currently works as an Administrative Specialist with Associated Students Inc. at CSUSM, where she empowers students to become advocates for themselves and their educational careers. She supports the TrueCare mission and believes that healthcare should be accessible for all. She is a strong advocate for the right to quality healthcare regardless of socio-economic status. In her personal time, Dulce enjoys spending time with her family, meditating, reading, and gardening.

Harriet H. Carter

Treasurer

An attorney in North County San Diego, Harriet brings her legal expertise and extensive experience in corporate strategic and financial planning to TrueCare’s Board of Directors. She is passionate about healthcare, and believes it is a basic human right that should be available to everyone. Harriet is also proud to belong to a group of women who knit and crochet hats, scarves and baby blankets for several organizations that serve the underprivileged.

Adriana Andrés-Paulson

Director

Adriana is the Migrant Health and Support Services Specialist with the San Diego County Office of Education. She has first-hand experience with the challenges of providing access to healthcare to underserved populations. She was drawn to the Board of Directors by the leadership TrueCare exemplifies in the community. Adriana’s passion for healthcare stems from her desire to unify access to quality healthcare for everyone.

Craig Jung

Director

A retired Hospital Plant Services Director, Craig brings years of healthcare policy and procedure experience to the TrueCare Board of Directors. He was eager to join the board, as he believes quality healthcare needs to be maintained and expanded to all underserved individuals. In his free time, Craig enjoys traveling and immersing himself in different cultures.

Jay Timacdog

Director

Jay is a nurse practitioner who specializes in adult primary care, nephrology, gerontology, and psychiatry-mental health. He’s passionate about advocating for patients and their health care needs. As he works to promote healthy communities and disease prevention through a holistic approach, Jay provides expert nursing care and education through his clinical practice. He is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and American Nephrology Nurses Association. He earned DaVita’s Team Core Value award and continues as a member of DaVita’s Teammate Field Council. Outside of the exam room, Jay enjoys traveling, tennis, yoga, Zumba, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and photography.

Karen Pearson

Director

As a TrueCare Board member, Karen’s extensive experience in business development and public relations provides key insights into developing meaningful relationships with donors in North County. In 2011 and 2013 she was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award from the North County Philanthropy Council. In her personal time, Karen enjoys helping San Diego youth develop professionally and grow as servant leaders in their communities. She believes in the TrueCare mission and that every person deserves to have access to quality healthcare.

Walt Steffen

Director

Walt is one of the founders of TrueCare and is proud to sit on the Board of Directors. As a retired clinical social worker, he is passionate to help establish clinics for low-income individuals unable to secure adequate healthcare. Walt is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and feels everyone has the right to quality healthcare. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family, attending sporting events with his sons and son-in-law, and reading.

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Our Health Partners

NCQA Patient centered medical home designation logo in white
NCQA Quality Recognition

TrueCare is proud to be a fully-accredited, Patient-Centered Medical Home. As an organization, we are recognized through the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. This verifies our ability to provide the highest quality care and ensures a dedicated team of health professionals will deliver the medical care you need.

California Health + logo in white

CaliforniaHealth+

TrueCare is part of a network of community health centers that serve everyone in our communities, regardless of ability to pay. We are committed to taking care of you and your family with quality medical care, including prenatal, dental, lab and x-ray services, transportation and more. TrueCare is proud to serve as a trusted friend and partner in your lifelong healthcare journey.

Covered California logo in white

Covered California

TrueCare was one of the first health centers in North County to become a Certified Enrollment Entity through Covered CA. Our bilingual staff is always ready to help you find a Covered CA or Medi-Cal plan that works for you and your budget. We also help you fill out and submit the paperwork, and even help you make your first appointment as an insured person or family.

Awards and Recognition

2021: Received the Silver in the Advertising/Ad Campaign category from the Healthcare Communicators of Southern California’s “Finest Awards 2021” for TrueCare rebrand campaign

2021: Honored with the North San Diego Business Chamber Leadership Award – This leadership award honors individuals and businesses who have positively impacted another individual, business, or their community, which recognizes local industry leaders’ great achievements within their companies and in the community

2021: Michelle D. Gonzalez, TrueCare’s CEO selected as a finalist for the SDBJ 2021 CEO of the Year, which recognizes local industry leaders’ great achievements within their companies and in the community

2020: Project Access Partner of the Year Award – Volunteer Health Champions honored for supporting uninsured patients in San Diego

2020: Michelle D. Gonzalez, TrueCare’s CEO was recognized as one of the 500 most influential community leaders by San Diego Business Journal’s “SD 500”

2019: Named Impact Business of the Year by the North San Diego Business Chamber

2019: Received Health Care Communicators of San Diego 2019 Finest Awards for Special Events and Special Publications

2019: Received the HRSA Award of Excellence for outstanding clinical outcomes

2018: Received Health Care Communicators of San Diego 2018 Finest Awards for Promotion of a Single-Day Event and Special Publications

2018: Honored as the 2018 Non-Profit of the Year by the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce

2017: Received Health Care Communicators of San Diego 2017 Finest Awards for Special Events, Publications, Collateral and Design

2016: Awarded the Peter Barron Stark Companies Award for Workplace Excellence

At TrueCare, our success depends on our employees. We recognize them in many ways, including Employee of the Year, internal newsletter recognition and anniversary recognition.

NCQA Patient centered medical home designation logo in white
NCQA Quality Recognition

We are proud to announce that we have achieved the highest-level Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition from the NCQA for all primary care health centers.

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Annual Reports

View the 2021 Annual Report:
View / Download:
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Learn more about TrueCare wellness services.

Gary Chiswick TrueCare Primary Care Provider headshot
Extraordinary care with a heart.
Gary Chiswick, PA
Primary Care
“It’s important to me to treat each patient with fairness, dignity and respect in all aspects of their medical care. Seeing each patient as an individual and not an illness.”