Assemblymember Arambula Honors Kathleen Rindahl, Fresno State Educator, as Woman of the Year for 2021

Also Highlights Fresno Attorney Patience Milrod as AD31 Woman of the Year in 2020

For immediate release:
  • Felicia Matlosz
  • 559-304-9286

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, on March 15, Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) honors Dr. Kathleen “Kathi” Rindahl, a Fresno State assistant professor, as Woman of the Year in the 31st Assembly District.

The Woman of the Year ceremony will be conducted this evening, on March 15, via a virtual event in Sacramento for all this year’s Assembly honorees.

Rindhal has been a stalwart and tireless leader in bringing health services to the rural and disadvantaged communities in Fresno County, and her commitment has never been more appreciated than during the COVID-19 pandemic. She leads teams of Fresno State nursing students, who participate in the mobile health unit and in outreach clinics. They provide basic services and screenings to people who have little or no access to health care. This year, those services have included administering thousands of vital COVID-19 vaccines, initially to people who are 65 years of age or older or are agriculture workers and then broadening to other categories as allowed.

“I cannot express enough how critical Kathi and her team have been in our partnership’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts,” said Assemblymember Arambula. “And, whether it is this task or serving our most vulnerable communities in other ways, Kathi is a remarkable and compassionate leader. She balances the desire to serve people while giving her students the first-hand experience of delivering health services to people from diverse backgrounds.”

Rindahl established Fresno State’s mobile health unit and has led other important efforts, culminating in recognition by her peers with the Nurse of the Year – Education award from the Nursing Leadership Coalition. Rindahl joined the Fresno State School of Nursing faculty in 2013. Before that, she served as a migrant health nurse for the Fresno County Office of Education for 10 years. She also has worked professionally throughout her career for different hospitals and medical groups in California.

A native of Los Angeles, Rindahl earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from California State University of Los Angeles and ultimately earned a doctor of nursing practice degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. Rindahl’s experience also includes serving as a hospital corpsman for the United States Navy; she was stationed at different naval bases, mostly on the East Coast.

Assemblymember Arambula also wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and honor Fresno attorney Patience Milrod, who he selected as the 2020 Woman of the Year for 31st Assembly District. Because of the onset of the COVID-19 crisis one year ago, the annual Woman of the Year event was not presented.

Milrod, since 2017, has been the executive director of Central California Legal Services (CCLS), a private, nonprofit public interest firm that provides free, high-quality civil legal services to low-income families and communities in six Central Valley counties. The organization’s work has been crucial during the COVID-19 crisis as the region’s lower-income families have shouldered the economic hardship of the pandemic, including losing employment, facing evictions, and struggling with other financial challenges.

Milrod moved to Fresno in 1980 to take a job as a legal aid lawyer. Since then, her goal in and out of courtrooms has been top make Fresno and the Central Valley a more just, healthy and equitable city and region. While in private law practice for 35 years she fought for her clients’ civil rights and, in criminal cases, for their freedom and sometimes their lives. Her work also included challenging developers on urban sprawl; striving to preserve older neighborhoods and Fresno’s urban core; increasing the availability of affordable housing; and pursuing protections for tenants. In 2013, she left litigation practice for graduate studies at Cornell University, where she earned her MPA in 2015.