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Yamelsie Rodriguez

Yamelsie Rodriguez has been a visionary leader and advocate for reproductive health care and rights, having dedicated the last two decades to strategically positioning two Planned Parenthood affiliates into strongholds for reproductive healthcare and rights in the Midwest. Her transformative leadership has been marked by resilience, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to advancing health equity and reproductive freedom.

Joining the Planned Parenthood family in 2002 as a volunteer translator for abortion patients, Yamelsie's passion and dedication propelled her to take on diverse roles within Planned Parenthood of Illinois, including as Regional Director of Operations, Director of Health IT and Business Initiatives, Vice President of Patients Services as well as Chief Operating Officer during her 18-year tenure at the affiliate.

During her almost five years as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSMO), Yamelsie navigated the challenging landscape of an abortion ban, a Medicaid defund, and unrelenting attacks by the MO legislature on reproductive care. Despite these obstacles, under Yamelsie's leadership, PPSLRSWMO experienced substantial growth in size and impact.

She thwarted attempts to close the last abortion clinic in Missouri and oversaw the establishment of the Fairview Heights Health Center in Illinois. This state-of-the-art center serves patients from over 28 states, becoming a beacon for abortion access in the region. The Regional Logistics Center, initiated under her guidance, became a national blueprint for patient navigation in the post-Dobbs era.

Yamelsie's impact extended beyond operations, as she fortified the organizations' financial standing, expanded partnerships with Missouri and Illinois organizations and legislators, and secured multi-million dollar investments from private donors and foundations. Her strategic efforts aimed at building meaningful abortion access in the bistate region solidified Planned Parenthood's position as a leading force in reproductive health care.

Under Yamelsie's leadership, groundbreaking initiatives were funded and launched, including medication abortion by mail, an abortion care mobile unit, the affiliate's first rural health center, the country's first anti-racist sexuality education curriculum, and the TRANSforming Community, Transforming Care program- a $3M, multi-year effort to expand gender-affirming care services, conduct trauma-informed research, and build a sex education curriculum tailored toward and designed by the gender expansive community.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Yamelsie brings a rich cultural background to her leadership roles. Her commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion is deeply rooted in her personal and professional journey. As the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, she has not only overseen strategic initiatives in reproductive health but has also been a driving force in creating an inclusive organizational culture. In 2019, the National Diversity Council recognized Yamelsie as a Top Latino Leader for creating and promoting a culture where diverse talent is supported and promoted. In 2022, the St. Louis Business Journal recognized her as Champion of Diversity & Inclusion in Healthcare, highlighting her impactful work fostering a more inclusive and equitable healthcare environment.

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