Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center

Board of Directors

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Elizabeth Cervantes
Staffing Coordinator, Mills Peninsula Hospital

Elizabeth has worked at Mills-Peninsula Hospital for more than 23 years managing schedules for the nursing staff in the different hospital regions which include critical care, mental health, birthing, emergency room and medical-surgical. While partnering with Nursing Administration, she communicates with staff about their unit’s needs and troubleshoots shortages and situations that require effective and spontaneous thinking. Elizabeth uses effective communication, focus, compassion, and active listening, throughout her day, critical to her role. Ms. Cervantes enjoys volunteering for SFJAZZ and Community because she enjoys the personal interaction and helping others to satisfy customer needs. She enjoys traveling abroad to learn about other cultures and about the beautiful diversity and similarities found within these cultures. Elizabeth, of Peruvian descent, believes that her beliefs, culture and family are essential to her very essence. She embraces what she has been taught, lessons learned and cherished and beautiful memories with her family.

Carmen Ortiz, PhD, Founder/Executive Director

Carmen Ortiz, PhD, a psychologist and breast cancer survivor, is considered a pioneer in the field of Spanish-language cancer psychosocial support. She is founder and Executive Director of the Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center, the first successful Spanish-language support program in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Ortiz specializes in Spanish-language support group development and community outreach planning. She developed and implemented a hospital based support program for newly diagnosed Latinas at San Francisco General Hospital, and an in-home support program for Latinos in the terminal phase of their illness. Dr. Ortiz’s support group model has been the impetus for the development of other Spanish-language support groups in five Bay Area cities. She has won numerous awards, including the Jefferson Award in 2006, and in June of 2008, Dr. Ortiz was profiled on ABC’s Channel 7 (KRO-TV) Profile of Excellence. Dr. Ortiz has provided in-depth training for providers and has written two manuals on culturally competent and appropriate support for Latina cancer patients. “A Guide to Developing and Sustaining Spanish-Speaking Support Groups for Latinas who have Breast Cancer,” and “A Peer Support Program for Latinas with Breast Cancer: Las Angelitas Model.” Dr. Ortiz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988. She was 39 years old. Email: carmen@circulodevida.org.

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