Melissa is originally from Man, West Virginia, a small town deep in the Appalachian coal fields. She attended school in Spain for a semester, and in 2001 relocated to eastern North Carolina where she began a career working with highly mobile families employed by the agricultural industry. She certified as an interpreter, and later completed a program with Duke University in Nonprofit Management.
Melissa worked as a Regional Coordinator for the Children in the Fields Campaign sponsored by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs. She is a co-founder and former executive director of NC FIELD, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the education, leadership and dignity of child farmworkers employed by labor contractors. Melissa was featured in 2015 by Migrant Clinicians Network’s “30 Clinicians Making a Difference” commemoration; and she spent quality time in Hendersonville, North Carolina as a case manager for the Free Clinics where her work focused on impacting the social determinants of health of its patients.
Melissa is the Community Outreach Director at Kinston Community Health Center. Her team is dedicated to empowering and enabling its patients to overcome barriers to receiving the center’s health services, as well as specialty care. The Outreach Department coordinates and facilitate access to the center’s services, as well as serving as advocates and a resource to the center’s most vulnerable patients. Language interpretation, care coordination, health education, child safety supplies, basic clinical measurements, and advocacy, as well as direct linkage for appointments are some of the department’s functions.