The Governing Board for the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program provides strategic advice and assistance to ensure the program’s mission is carried out. The Board is composed of individuals who are working on health and/or farmworker issues, particularly in the areas of research, healthcare service delivery, health promotion/disease prevention, and advocacy.
Beatriz (Betty) Rodriguez, MS (Secretary) is the NC AgrAbility Partnership Manager. Prior to this role, she worked in economic development projects with farmers and rural entrepreneurs in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. She earned her BS in Agronomy Engineering at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a master’s degree in Agribusiness Management at North Carolina A&T State University. Beatriz has many years of experience in a variety of industries, nationally and internationally, including agriculture, education and insurance. Beatriz is a fervent advocate of the needs of farmers, ranchers and farmworkers with disabilities. She is one of the leaders of the Service Recognition/ Celebrations committee and has served on the NCFHP Board since July 2018 and is the current Secretary.
Catherine LePrevost, PhD, is a faculty member and the Agromedicine Extension Specialist in the Department of Applied Ecology at NC State University. She is trained in toxiciology and science education. Her interests include science education that takes place outside of the classroom, especially with rural and agricultural communities on topics related to pesticides and environmental toxicology. She studies effective teaching and communication practices in non-traditional learning settings, and she is particularly interested in the practices of farmworker health outreach workers. Catherine has served on the NCFHP Board since February of 2013 and served as Chair from 2016 to 2018
Chris van Hasselt is an IT Project Manager FHI 360’s Information Technology team and is a founding member of the FHI 360 Analytics for Health work group, a team dedicated to employing technology best practices for public health programs. He is a PMP certified project manager with over 25 years of experience in the information technology field. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of California Santa Cruz, and has a strong interest in both statistics and public health programs. He has completed a certification program in core public health concepts through the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Chris has served on the NCFHP Board since December of 2017. He sits on the Proposal Review Committee and is currently the Vice-Chair/Chair-elect.
Essie T. Torres, PhD, MPH is a tenured investigator in the Department of Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. Her training, research expertise, and grants background spans over 16 years and includes intervention and applied research, mixed methods design, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and community-based participatory research with medically underserved populations, with content emphasis on health disparities, health education and promotion, tobacco and cancer control research. Her research spans the continuum of cancer control: 1) Prevention: national and international tobacco control research, HPV vaccination uptake research, health literacy (including eHealth can cancer health literacy), and health education on breast cancer and HPV-related cancers; 2) Early Detection and Diagnosis: navigation for breast cancer screening and follow-up diagnostics; 3) Treatment: medication adherence among cancer patients who are taking oral chemotherapeutic agents; 4) Survivorship: health promotion among breast and cervical cancer survivors. Her research has also focused on expanding our understanding of barriers and facilitators that affect access to and utilization of health care services, and perceived health status among “new growth” Latino communities in eastern North Carolina. Essie served on the NCFHP Board in 2018/2019 and recently returned in April of 2020.
Joseph G. L. Lee, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor of health education and promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University. He is also an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Health Disparities, ECU Brody School of Medicine, and an associate member, Cancer Prevention and Control, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Originally from Madison County, NC, Joseph has an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Duke University and an MPH and PhD from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is a former Student Action with Farmworkers “Into the Fields” intern, where he worked in farmworker health outreach for Piedmont Health Services. His research includes work on health and information literacy for farmworkers and their families. Joseph has served on the NCFHP Board since December 2017 and is the current chair of the Proposal Review Committee.
Julia D. Welch, MS currently serves as a Clinical Project Director in Global Health Research at FHI 360. Ms. Welch has worked for over twenty-five years in the field of public health research as a project manager, clinical site monitor, and trainer. She has managed clinical research studies and provided technical expertise to clinical sites in developing countries, working within the local health care systems to implement the highest quality research. She has supported research in emerging infectious diseases, HIV prevention, and contraceptive technology. She has a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Arizona, and a law degree from the University of North Carolina. She has served on the NCFHP Board since January 2019.
Laxmi Hummel is owner of a small online retail business. For 16 years she worked with the non-profit organization Student Action with Farmworkers in Durham, NC. She has a BA in Religious Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. Laxmi served on the board of NCFHP from 2009 – 2014 and returned in July 2017. Laxmi is also a volunteer with Duke Gardens.
Nathan T. Dollar (Chair) is a former Outreach Worker and Executive Director at Vecinos, Inc. Farmworker Health Program. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at UNC – Chapel Hill and a Pre-Doctoral Trainee in the Population Science Program at the Carolina Population Center. His research lies at the intersection of international migration, labor, and population health. Nathan has served on the NCFHP Board since August of 2014 and is the current Chair.
Infection Prevention, UNC Hospitals
Finance and Business Operations, UNC School of Medicine
Eve Portillo is from Elizabeth City, NC, and attends East Carolina University where she is a junior majoring in anthropology and psychology. She is a member of the advisory board of the National Library of Medicine health disparities resources grant at ECU that focuses on health literacy and digital inclusion for farmworkers. During her summer breaks since 2018, she works as a potato grader in Elizabeth City.
Luis Cruz is the Director of Agricultural Services and Foreign Labor for the N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions, NC Department of Commerce. Luis oversees the State’s H2A and H2B programs. His program assists agricultural employers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers and farm labor contractors. Some of the services his program offers are on-site visits, recruitment, training, housing, guidance and others. Previously Luis led the Extension Farmworker Health and Safety Education Program for NC State University’s North Carolina Cooperative Extension. He has many years of experience working within the agriculture industry and has worked on various projects to enhance the well-being of the farm community. Luis comes from a family of migrant farmworkers and worked as a farmworker during his teenage years in North Carolina and New Jersey. Luis holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fayetteville State University and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in community and rural development from North Carolina State University.