(Austin) – Central Health announced today two new vice presidents will lead the health care district’s external affairs’ efforts as it expands and improves health care services for people with low income in Travis County.
Central Health announced Perla Cavazos is the new Vice President of Government Affairs, while Ted Burton is Vice President of Communications. Both Cavazos and Burton will work directly with Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin, who was hired in May 2017.
“When I was hired, I made it clear that connecting with the community would be a top priority,” said Mike Geeslin, President and CEO of Central Health. “That’s why I moved Ted and Perla into vice president roles that report directly to the CEO. I believe their deep community connections and passion for our mission will help Central Health do an even better job of collaborating with the people of Travis County in the important work we do.”
Created by voters in 2004, Central Health is the health care district for Travis County that works through partnerships to provide access to quality care for people with low income. Last year, Central Health served about 1 in 10 Travis County residents.
In her new role, Cavazos will work with elected officials and their staff at the city, county, state and federal level and partner agencies on strategic priorities and ongoing efforts to deliver affordable, effective health care to low income Travis County residents. Burton leads strategic communications and community engagement efforts for the Central Health Enterprise, which includes the Community Care Collaborative, CommUnityCare and Sendero, helping Central Health connect with patients, residents, community leaders and partner organizations.
About Perla Cavazos
Perla Cavazos was born and raised in San Benito, a small town on the Texas-Mexico border, and moved to Austin 20 years ago to take a job advocating for affordable housing for people with low income. Since moving to Austin, she has developed expertise in public policy, advocacy and government affairs with a focus on improving the lives of Texans who are most vulnerable.
She joined the team at Central Health in July of 2016, and previously worked for Texas Legal Services Center, Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and in the Texas Senate as a Senior Policy Analyst and Legislative Director. Perla has a BA from Stanford University and a Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Perla is an active volunteer in the community and serves on several non-profit boards and city commissions and task forces. She is a board member of Planned Parenthood-Greater Texas, Foundation Communities, Girls Empowerment Network (GEN), Frameworks CDC and LUPE Arte. Perla is a founding member of FuturoFund, a local philanthropic circle that supports Latino-serving nonprofit organizations in Austin. Her public service includes past terms with the City of Austin Planning Commission, Commission for Women, Resource Management Commission, Imagine Austin Citizens Advisory Task Force, and recently the City Manager Search Task Force. Perla is a Leadership Austin Alum (’08) and recipient of the “Austin Under 40 Award” in government and public affairs (’08). Perla and her partner, Jesse Burrow, recently welcomed their first child, Rosalinda.
About Ted Burton
A native Austinite, Ted grew up in Sunset Valley (South Austin), attended Crockett High School and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Ted worked as a TV news reporter and news executive in markets across Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri – including Austin’s KEYE-TV (CBS) – before directing public relations for Capital Metro. For nearly 14 years, Ted developed and executed comprehensive public health and environmental communication campaigns for local, state, nonprofit and corporate entities as Executive Vice President for an Austin-based advertising agency. He joined Central Health in January 2016.
Ted learned the importance of community advocacy and activism from his parents. As a child he block walked with his father Charles R. Burton in East Austin for the late Travis County Commissioner Richard Moya. Today Ted serves on the board of directors for Out Youth, a 28-year old nonprofit serving LGBTQ youth in Central Texas, most recently as board chair. In October, Burton was honored with Out Youth’s Bill Dickson Legacy Award. He previously led PR efforts as a volunteer for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS and is a founder of Softball Austin, a LGBTQ-focused sports league that has grown to include hundreds of members. He was an inaugural inductee in the Softball Austin Hall of Fame. Ted is a Leadership Austin alumni and former board member. He served as Vice President of Public Service for the Austin Advertising Federation Board of Directors, where he was a two-time “Unsung Hero Award” winner. He previously served on the board for Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas and Metropolitan Community Church at Freedom Oaks. He co-chaired Leadership Austin’s Best Party Ever in 2012, Out Youth’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 2015, and was recently named the 2018 Planned Parenthood Dinner Co-Chair after serving on their Dinner Committee for several years, which is fitting since his mother Anne Gault served on Planned Parenthood’s board of directors more than 40 years ago. Ted lives in Travis Heights with his husband/partner of nearly 19 years, Darin Upchurch.