Mary Gomez joined the Premier Alliances Board of Directors in 2015, following a lifelong career in southeast Arizona in nursing and the administration of both medical and government institutions.
A native of Morenci, Ariz., Gomez said her fascination with doctors and nurses dates back to her childhood.
“I didn’t have a lot of contact with them, but when I did, it seemed like they were caring individuals who were able to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
Her nursing career started in Benson, but her educational attainment soon saw her advance into administrative roles throughout Cochise County, to include becoming the Director of Nursing at the Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee and serving as the Director of the newly formed Home Health Agency at the Southeast Arizona Medical Center in Douglas.
While she lamented working less directly with patients in these roles, Gomez said she still found the positions to be rewarding.
“Once I moved away from bedside nursing, I realized that I might not be physically touching patients every minute of every day, but in an administrative role, you can affect more patients by directing policy,” she said.
Gomez would later come to work for Cochise County by leading its Health and Social Services Department, retiring from that position after five years in 2016.
Gomez said she had a personal understanding of the particular challenges that some people with disabilities face, inspired by a cousin with Down Syndrome and the work of her own mother, who worked to secure grants for the Greenlee County Health Department in order to fund a program to work with the local disabled community.
“Those were the days when there were no places like Premier Alliances,” she said. “When I got into nursing, the focus was more on physical ailments, but there were many patients over the years who also faced the extra challenges of cognitive or developmental issues. So I always had an affinity for—and tried to be sensitive to—those individuals and their families.”
Gomez said she brings a clinical eye to the Premier Alliances Board of Directors, on which she serves as the Board Secretary, as well as a wealth of connections to the local community.
“I’ve lived in Cochise County since 1978, so over all those years, I have been fortunate to form many alliances with people in the medical community and the community in general, and I think that’s helpful.”