We are very pleased to welcome Lorna Nunez and Samantha Villazan to the Board of the Open Door Family Medical Center and Leslie Chang to the Open Door Foundation Board.
Trained as a scientist in Chile, Lorna came to the United States early in her career to pursue advanced immunological research. For more than a decade, she’s worked as a senior scientist at Pfizer in vaccine research and development, having served in a similar capacity at Wyeth and later at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Familiar with the work of Open Door for many years, in recent months Lorna has taken a more active role due to the impact of the pandemic on Latino families.
“I feel that health care needs to be accessible to everyone,” she said. “When I was invited to become a member of the board, I felt very excited to be part of the work Open Door is doing. I am looking forward to using my scientific background to make a positive impact in our community.”
Samantha is passionate about educating immigrant families on the importance of behavioral health services for their children. She has long been concerned that too many children fall through the cracks because of the stigma about mental health care especially now when Latino families have been particularly impacted by the pandemic.
She hopes to make a difference through her career choice and her work in the community. A child of immigrants – her mother is from Uruguay, her father from Ecuador – she and her younger siblings grew up as patients of Open Door. A 2017 graduate of Ossining High School and a recent graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with a BA in Forensic Psychology, she will return to the college this fall for a graduate degree in forensic mental health. Her goal is to work as a counselor with young children who could benefit from these kinds of services.
“When I started speaking with people on the board, I became very excited about the work of Open Door and how board members work together to make a difference in the health of our community,” said Samantha. “As the youngest member of the board, I believe I can add an important voice.”
Leslie has been impressed by the work of Open Door through her long-time involvement with Family Services of Westchester (FSW), a community partner of Open Door. She was a founder and former chair of the Family Services of Westchester Junior Board and an active member of the Junior League of Central Westchester. She became a board member of FSW in 2014. A graduate of Skidmore College, with degrees in art history and education, she served as the Director of Corporate Development for an enterprise software company.
She strongly agrees with Open Door’s vision of providing patients with the kinds of wellness programs that help them stay healthy. She believes her marketing and communications background and work in technology will support Open Door in educating patients, reaching out to donors and reducing the digital divide that so often impacts our patients.
“This means addressing the disparities that became more defined during the pandemic,” said Leslie, who lives in Scarsdale with her husband and two young children. “I’m looking forward to getting more involved on the health side, as I have over the years on the social service side at FSW.”