Maria S. Gomez
Maria S. Gomez is the founder of Mary’s Center, a community health organization that provides health care, education and social services in the DC metropolitan region. The goal of Mary’s Center is to provide healthcare early and throughout the individuals’ lifecycle, support families and individuals in their own community and guide individuals to move up the economic ladder through education and training opportunities.
Under Ms. Gomez’s leadership, Mary’s Center has grown from an initial budget of $250,000 serving 200 participants at a basement in 1988 to an annual budget of $45 million serving over 36,000 individuals at seven locations and one mobile unit in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have visited Mary’s Center to learn about its model.
She has received numerous local and national important recognitions, including the 2015 Washington Business Journal “Women Who Mean Business” award, and the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. She is also frequently recognized for her role in the region’s health care system and has become a recurrent health advisor for the District of Columbia Mayor’s office. As such, Mayor Muriel Bowser and former DC mayors Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty named her a member of their transition committees.
Originally from Colombia, Ms. Gomez immigrated to the US with her mother at age 13, and attended DC Public Schools. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to establishing Mary’s Center, she was a public health nurse with the DC Department of Health. She also worked for the Red Cross and the DC Home Visiting Association.
Ms. Gomez served on the Meyer Foundation board from 2000-2012.