Ellen Cordoba named Healthcare Hero in Nursing Excellence

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The Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida is proud to announce Director of Clinical Operations Ellen Cordoba has been named the 2014 Heroes in Healthcare Nursing Excellence recipient by the Naples Daily News.

Cordoba will be honored during the Here’s to Our Heroes in Healthcare Luncheon, Friday, May 2, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point.

Cordoba has served Collier’s working poor and the community of Immokalee for over 33 years, first with the Collier Health Department and then as a staff nurse for the Healthcare Network. Today, she serves as Director of Clinical Operations, overseeing a nursing staff of 65 at the Network’s 10 medical sites throughout Collier County. Her dedicated service to nursing and the healthcare industry makes her a role model for her peers.

“Ellen’s commitment to the Healthcare Network and to her patients is exceptional,” says Healthcare Network CEO Mike Ellis. “She is an extremely dedicated individual - always willing to go the extra mile to ensure quality healthcare is available to everyone.”

Proficient in English and Spanish, Cordoba earned her nursing degree in 1973 from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. She immediately put her education to use as a member of the Peace Corps, serving as head nurse in a rural health clinic in Costa Rica from 1973-75. This experience would set the stage for a lifetime commitment to providing healthcare to underserved individuals. While in Costa Rica, she met and later married her husband Juan. To ensure a better life for their family, the couple decided to settle in Collier County.

From 1976-77, Cordoba was employed with the Collier County Health Department as a staff nurse. Her duties included conducting outreach in migrant camps and through this experience she was led to the Healthcare Network (then known as Collier Health Services). At that time, the clinic served migrant workers and rural poor in Immokalee. Today, the Network has grown to serve more than 36,000 individuals a year with 13 locations throughout Collier County.

Like the patients she serves, Cordoba is no stranger to adversity. She is a breast cancer survivor who lost her husband at a young age and her oldest son to a car accident.

“She is a very faithful individual with a lot of fortitude,” says colleague Dr. Quero, who has worked with Cordoba for over 22 years. “She has no biases or prejudices. She is a true leader.”

Cordoba is a member of the HIV/AIDS Network of Collier County since 1995, the Collier County Community Representative to the Regional HIV/AIDS council since 1992, and a member of Florida Practioners in Infection Control since 1995.

Photo captions:

Picture 1: From 1973-75, Ellen served the Peace Corps as head nurse at a rural medical clinic in Filadelfia, Guancaste, an agricultural community in Costa Rica. She is shown speaking with the wife of the US ambassador to Costa Rica who came for a visit.

Picture 2: The house Ellen lived in as a  member of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica.

Picture 3: The room Ellen lived in for two years while in the Peace Corps.

Picture 4: Ellen with her nursing assistant, standing in front of the Collier Health Department's  trailer used for outreach to the migrant camps. The trailer would be placed at DUDA farms in East Naples for a week while Ellen and her assistant conducted pap smears and breast exams as well as gave immunizations to children.