Annmarie Martinez was born in Brooklyn, as the eldest of three, and raised by Puerto Rican parents.
Graduating summa cum laude, Martinez holds a master’s degree in health policy.
As a proud Puerto Rican, Martinez said she felt fortunate to be immersed in a strong Latino community and culture.
“Being a proud Latina means knowing who you are, where you come from, and being clear about your abilities and purpose in life,” she said.
As a woman of color, Martinez said her work has allowed her to understand why health disparities are rooted in social and racial inequality – something, she said, she has personally experienced.
“Despite my family’s resource limitations, my parents always instilled in me a profound value for educational achievement and conveyed the importance of contributing to society,” she said.
Finding her purpose in ensuring access to quality healthcare for all, Martinez said she started her career with the New York City Public Health system.
She is currently Vice President of Network Contracting & Network Development for the country’s largest behavioral health vendor, offering access to a broad network of behavioral health providers and facilities, encompassing all levels of specialty mental health and addiction services.
Martinez said she has made it her life’s work, fighting to address healthcare inequities and pushing for healthcare reform.
In describing her most significant accomplishments, she referred to Lisa T. Shepard, who, she said, captured it best in writing: “In raising children, I have lost my mind but found my soul.”
Martinez attributed her three children, undoubtedly, as her most significant accomplishments and greatest joy as a single mother.
She recounts her educational opportunities, work ethic and humility, coupled with her parents’ love and support, as the greatest gift she could have ever received and “proved time, time again” to be her “ticket.”
Martinez said her mantra echoes the sentiment described by the late Shirley Chisolm, the United States’ first African-American congresswoman: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, take a folding chair.”