Assemblymember Arambula to Honor 31st Assembly District’s Woman of the Year Recipients at Luncheon and Program on Friday, March 25

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

FRESNO, CA – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) will host a luncheon and program on Friday, March 25, to celebrate the women who each have been chosen as the 31st Assembly District’s “Woman of the Year” for the past three years.

Typically, these celebrations are held annually in-person in Sacramento for all the honorees from California’s Assembly Districts. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus each year recognizes women who are making a positive impact in their communities. The recipients are announced in March, which is Women’s History Month.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, forced postponements of in-person events.

On Friday, Assemblymember Arambula will honor Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner (2022); Dr. Kathleen “Kathi” Rindahl (2021); and Patience Milrod (2020). The event will be held at The Barn at the San Joaquin River Parkway, 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno. The luncheon and program will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Assemblymember Arambula said: “It is my honor to celebrate these three women, who are outstanding leaders in their respective fields and have made a profound difference in our communities in Fresno County. Their invaluable contributions to serve the vulnerable and disadvantaged have benefited so many in the areas of health care access, environmental health, and civil legal services. And, this work has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when many poor families and individuals needed help more than ever to navigate the perils of the virus. “

“I cannot say enough about Patience, Kathi, and Tania and all that they have shared with our communities. We all benefit from their remarkable commitment, compassion, talent, and perseverance.”

Patience Milrod has been executive director of Central California Legal Services (CCLS) since 2017. CCLS is 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 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 to make Fresno and the Central Valley a more just, healthy, and equitable city and region. Her work has included challenging developers on urban sprawl; striving to preserve older neighborhoods and Fresno’s urban core; increasing the availability of affordable housing, and pursing protections for tenants.

Kathleen “Kathi” Rindahl, a Fresno State assistant professor, has been a stalwart and tireless leader in bringing health services to rural and disadvantaged communities in Fresno County, and this was never more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. She heads teams of Fresno State nursing students, who participate in the mobile health unit that she established as well as outreach clinics. They provide basic health services and screenings. In 2021, Rindahl and these students administered thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations, initially to people who were 65 years of age or older or agriculture workers and then broadened to other categories of recipients as allowed. Rindahl joined Fresno State’s School of Nursing faculty in 2013 and has worked professionally throughout her career for different hospitals and medical groups in California.

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner is an acknowledged leader in research and policy efforts regarding the environmental effects of neighborhoods on health. She is co-director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State. In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed her to the California Air Resources Board, and she also serves on the board for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. She has been a member of the American Public Health Association’s Latino Caucus for Public Health. And, she is the co-creator of the COVID19 Equity Project in Fresno County and is part of the executive committee for the Fresno economic equity initiative called DRIVE, which stands for Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy.