By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Communications Specialist
Santiago Peregrino got a slow start in his first term as a board member at Health Delivery Inc. (HDI) in 2005. The learning curve caused him to not be as active a board member, he said. But now as he enters his third term, he wears the title of vice-chairman of the board – one of the least passive positions possible.
“I told my son this is worth spending my time on. I’m going to do good work and be the best I can be as a board member,” Peregrino said. “Once I tackle something, I just stay with it and do a good job.”
Peregrino, a retired college professor, joined the board in 2005 at the request of a former HDI executive director. He said serving on the board of directors was brand new to him because he came primarily from the word of academia, and had practiced law.
“Every year I’ve enjoyed it more and more and have been more active. That includes going to conferences and giving reports,” Peregrino said. “I believe in the cause.”
The cause is the thousands of people receiving affordable, quality primary health coverage being served across 14 counties, with HDI’s headquarters in Saginaw. Peregrino said the most important need is for everyone in the community to know that the services HDI’s offer are there.
“They should know exactly what those services are and that no one is turned down for lack of money,” Peregrino said. “The bottom line is no one is going to be turned down and we’re for real. We don’t just talk about it.”
Peregrino’s mission now is to make sure that new board members have the opportunity to be properly oriented to the work being done, and to finish a policy manual for board members. He said that’s where his biggest satisfaction as a board member has come from.
“My best experience has been convincing board members to be more involved and also proposing that we do more for orienting more board members and educating current board members,” Peregrino said. “I try to practice what I preach at the meetings. I provide input and encourage others to do the same.”
His hope is that he’d love for the board to get more involved in advocacy, and said that it’s important for everyone in the community to revisit the U.S. Constitution and review the basic provisions, such as Congress promoting the general welfare of its citizens.
In his free time, Peregrino and his wife like to travel and enjoy their five adult children and grandchildren. He also enjoys woodworking and tinkering around under his car. He’s also done some production and on-air hosting of a show called Somos Hispanos (We are Hispanics).