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Olivarez Elected Healthcare District Board Chair

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Mateo Olivarez, RN, was named chairman of the Antelope Valley Healthcare District (AVHD) Board of Directors during last night’s board meeting. The duration of his term as chairman is one year.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected by my fellow board members to serve as board chair,” said Olivarez. “I look forward to working with the board to ensure Antelope Valley Medical Center continues to build a strong foundation based on quality care and remains the healthcare leader for the community.”

Olivarez spent the past three decades caring for patients. He first worked as an emergency medical technician and later earned a radiology license. He was a monitor tech at Century City Hospital, where he discovered a passion for the acute care environment. He studied to become a licensed vocational nurse before becoming a registered nurse 10 years ago.

Other board appointments are:

Phil Tuso, M.D., was elected 1st vice chair. Tuso is a board-certified internist and nephrologist. He brings to the board an in-depth understanding of the complexities of healthcare and an enthusiasm for keeping AVMC on a path of stability and growth.

Abdallah Farrukh, M.D., was elected 2nd vice chair. A board-certified neurosurgeon, Farrukh was first elected to the AVHD board of directors in 2000. He served as chief of staff at a Palmdale hospital from 1983-84 and as chief of surgery at Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC) in 1995. He was chief of staff at AVMC from 1996-99. Consistently active in the medical community, Farrukh has presented numerous lectures on a variety of neurosurgery topics at conferences around the U.S.

Outgoing Board Chair Kristina Hong, NP, RN, was elected treasurer. Hong has been providing care in the AVMC emergency department for nearly 10 years. She has represented patients as a legal nurse consultant and has served as a liaison between the emergency medical services system and the hospital.

Don Parazo, M.D., was elected board secretary. A longtime board member, Parazo previously served as board chair for four years and has twice been named Trustee of the Year by the Association of California Healthcare Districts. He is board certified as a family practitioner and gerontologist.