Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) Logo

Our Team

IPHI's multi-disciplinary team lives and works in the communities we serve. The offices are located in the District of Columbia, Largo, MD, and Richmond, VA.

Meet the team that helps IPHI inform, involve, and inspire:

The IPHI Team

Claudia Artero

Program Assistant

Claudia Artero is a Program Assistant for IPHI. She started working with IPHI in 2018 for the VCU Asthma Research Program.  Her responsibilities included working cooperatively with the VCU and VDH liaisons to educate and provide resources to help families overcome the debilitating effects of asthma. During the pandemic, Claudia joined the COVID containment effort with VDH (Central Virginia). While she began her duties as a case investigator, Claudia quickly joined the Resources Navigation Team and assisted about 830 families who have been affected by COVID-19. Claudia is originally from Cochabamba, Bolivia. While there, she worked with the Department of Agriculture and oversaw the logistical needs of thousands of farmers. Since coming to the US, her professional career has primarily been in government and community outreach. She has also had the honor of working with the counties of Fairfax, Henrico, and Richmond City. Claudia is the mother of twins and enjoys free time with her beautiful family and a precious dog named, Shooga!

Kimberly Barrett, MS

Learning Associate

I am from Capitol Heights, MD. My passion for helping people is what INSPIRES me to continue working in spaces that uplift communities and promote equity.

I joined IPHI because I wanted to work with like-minded individuals and continue to support the work focused on increasing the livelihood of communities.

Career: Served as a learning associate with IPHI, responsible for supporting the development, planning, and evaluation of trainings and technical assistance

School: Virginia Commonwealth University | Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Science in Addiction Studies; George Washington University | Master of Public Health

In my free time: I enjoy singing my heart out to any 90s R&B song


Jessica Beltran

Workforce Development Case Manager

I was born in Washington, D.C., and have lived in Maryland my entire life. I joined the IPHI CHW Academy team because I have seen firsthand the great difference a well-trained CHW can have in the overall health of a community. I have also seen the positive impact CHWs have in preventing burnout in the healthcare industry. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of having incredible mentors that believed in me even before I believed in myself. These mentors have INSPIRED me to believe in my own ability to contribute to building a healthier community. With this opportunity, I hope to give back by sharing my knowledge with IPHI’s CHW scholars.

Career: Worked in healthcare organizations for the last 11 years including nonprofits and FQHCs. Throughout the years, I held various positions at the front desk, back office, administration, and program coordinating. During the last 5 years, I have worked on several health projects including Colorectal Cancer Screening, Operations Training/Standardization, Childhood Nutrition, and Centering Pregnancy. Most recently, I worked for a local hospital as their bilingual Project Coordinator while also serving as a CHW. I am a Certified Community Health Worker and am passionate about helping others.

School:  University of Maryland Global Campus | Working towards a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

In my free time: I enjoy hikes with my family, followed by a trip to the ice cream shop.

Rachel Brege

Human Resources Associate

I’m a human resources associate with IPHI, responsible for supporting Human Resources functions, employee relations, and workforce-related initiatives across the organization.  I’ve been with IPHI since August 2020, when I first joined as a case interviewer with the Fairfax County Health Department as part of the deployed staff to assist with the effort towards slowing the spread of COVID-19. I was then promoted to Interviewer Supervisor and was responsible for managing a team of Case/Contact interviewers.

Career: Worked with UVA Health Systems as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) in Pediatrics prior to joining IPHI. Over 10 years of experience in the medical field supporting several different departments and organizations.

School: Keister University | Associate in Science and Registered Medical Assistant Certification

In my free time: I enjoy building Lego sets with my kids


Michael Brower

Finance Manager

Michael Brower is the Finance Manager for IPHI. For over 30 years Michael has worked in finance and accounting at nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Prior to joining IPHI, Michael worked as Fiscal Manager at Untied Communities Against Poverty in Capitol Heights, MD., controller at Educational Fund and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington, DC and Accounting Director at Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, DC. Originally from North Carolina, Michael has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Accounting from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC.

Eleanor Brtva, MPH, CFRE

Senior Program Manager

I’m from Joliet, Illinois, and I am most proud that I grew up on the east side of town (this will make sense to those who live/lived in Joliet) and am part of the first generation of my family who graduated from college.

I joined IPHI, responding to the pandemic’s emergency response and wanting to INSPIRE a new generation of public health leaders. I would like to think I made a small difference in launching their public health careers and helping my neighbors in need.

Career: Worked with and mentored by incredible public health leaders like the late Dr. Carissa Etienne (PAHO director), Dr. Boris Lushniak (UMD SPH Dean), Dr. Kenneth Mortisugu (Former Acting Surgeons General), amazing CEOs, and many generous board members and philanthropists (who continue to inspire me to this day).

School: Joliet Junior College | Associate degree; Truman State University | Bachelor of Art; Benedictine University | Master of Public Health; Stanford University | Executive Fellowship. Association for Fundraising Professionals | Certification as a Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE)

In my free time: I enjoy creating ceramic pieces in my home studio or at Corgi Clay in Stafford, Virginia. To keep my fundraising skills up, I chair the Stewardship and Finance Committee and help raise operating funds for the church.

Michele Burton, MSPH, MPA

Program Manager

Michele Burton is IPHI’s Program Manager for the Community Healthcare Coalition of Greater Prince William (CHCGPW). She contributes her experience as a community health educator and outreach representative from Anthem in Maryland. In that role, she was a member of the health equity and healthy eating active coalitions with the Prince George’s County health department in Maryland. Additionally, she participated in local health department-led coalitions in Baltimore city, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. Prior to her work at Anthem, she was the Training Coordinator for District of Columbia Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment (DC SAFE), an organization serving people impacted by domestic violence. Previously, Michele worked in corporate and nonprofit settings, including being a staff trainer at Pearson Education and a Manager of Community Engagement for disconnected youth from the foster care system. She was also a former public-school teacher in the District of Columbia. She received a Master of Science in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2013, a Master of Teaching Elementary Education from American University in 2010, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 2007. She enjoys volunteering, reading, painting, and boxing in her free time.

C. Scarleth Castro, MSc.

Program Assistant

Scarleth is a Program Assistant and Health Navigator for Prince George’s Fresh, a food as medicine program in Prince George’s County. She serves as a liaison between participants and program partners. During the past five years, Scarleth has spent her time on different health projects. She has worked with groups like Cancer CAREpoint, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Fairfax County Health Department, both independently and in the community. Her most recent job was as a nutrition educator and graduate research assistant for Vidas Activas Familias (VALE), a weight management program for Latinos. In this role, she created and taught nutrition lessons that helped members learn more about nutrition and empowered them to make healthier choices. Scarleth’s passions include nutrition, kinesiology, research, and community health. She wants to improve the quality of life in the places she works, especially in areas that aren’t well-represented or well-served. She considers herself a lifelong learner, and with her new interest in food policy, she’s working on becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Abby R. Charles, MPH

Program Director

Abby is a Program Director at the Institute for Public Health Innovation, having joined the organization after serving for five years at the Women’s Collective, a nationally recognized organization providing care, prevention, and advocacy services for women, girls and their families living with and at risk for HIV in the Metropolitan DC area.   Abby’s primary role at IPHI has been to provide leadership and coordination for the Community Health Worker Initiatives, overseeing a network of peer Community Health Workers and a portfolio of programs in which the Institute for Public Health Innovation addresses program refinement, implementation, and evaluation. She coordinated the Women’s Collective’s Policy and Advocacy Program, where she managed the dissemination of their service delivery model and toolkit and worked to train the TWC peer advocacy group, Positive Leaders Uplifting Sisters, to ensure that women’s voices were heard at policy- making tables. Prior to this role, Abby spearheaded the intergenerational and youth focused HIV prevention projects, the female condom (FC2) outreach and education project, and the Prosper! Prevention with Positives program. For her work with the Women’s Collective, Abby was awarded the Tranquil Space Foundation award for creative expression and leadership development for women and girls in October 2009. She brings knowledge, experience and community relationships that will be critical to the IPHI team and to the success of IPHI’s Community Health Worker Initiatives. Outside of IPHI, Abby has been involved in various community HIV coalitions and advisory boards including the DC Community Coalition for AIDS 2012, the DC D – Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR), and the George Washington University HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Community Advisory Board. She has volunteered as an outreach volunteer with the organization Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive(HIPS) and has served as the language arts coordinator at the Cultural Academy for Excellence- an arts and academic after school enrichment program for youth. She is a graduate of the George Washington University where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and a Masters of Public Health in Global Health. In 2006, Abby was awarded the George Washington University Martin Luther King Junior Award for Service and was honored with an Impact award from the GW Black Alumni Association. She is also an inductee of the George Washington University ‘Wall of Fame.’ [email protected]

Joanna Davis

Senior Program Manager

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where I’ve returned after living in various places, including North Carolina, Beijing, and New York City. I hold a masters degree in Public Health with a focus on Maternal and Child Health from the University of Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. My passion lies in maternal health, striving for health equity among birthing individuals, and addressing the root causes of health inequities.

I joined IPHI to INSPIRE positive change and reduce health disparities.

Career: Worked at the the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, managing clinical quality improvement programs and supporting the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in NYC Community Health Centers, contributing to the establishment of mass vaccination sites.

School: University of Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health | Master of Public Health

In my free time: I enjoy treating myself to a cappuccino and croissant from D.C. cafes, making pizza and cookies with “help” from my three year old daughter, and going on long walks along the Capital Crescent Trail.

Kimberlee Desormeaux

Senior Program Manager

Kimberlee N. Desormeaux is a Community Health Worker for the George Washington University Hospital Heart Failure Program. I am a Community Health Worker who works with patients dealing with Heart Failure.  My goal is to educate clients on the importance of taking medications, monitoring weight, no-salt diets, and following doctor’s orders as well as attending doctor appointments. I love to dance, read, travel, and spend time with my puppy “Prince.”

Why Kimberlee became a Community Health Worker: I am motivated to continue doing this work help improve patients’ quality of life.

Nephtalie Dorceus, MPH, MCHES

Program Manager

I’m from the countryside of Haiti. Raised in Lynn, Massachusetts, where diverse cultures, food, music, sports, and iced coffee brought folks together. I’m passionate about working in and with communities to help educate and connect families to services.

I joined IPHI because I wanted to work with communities that look like me so they would get INVOLVED in finding solutions for their community. In my work, I support community health workers to bridge the gap between healthcare and the community. 

Career: Eight years of public health experience (sexual and reproductive health, infectious disease, community health)

School: Springfield College; New York University; School of Global Public Health

In my free time: I am a – Sister. Daughter. Aunty. Friend.


Sierra Elston

Health Equity Trainer and Technical Assistance Coordinator

I train and support partnerships and collaborations to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities. I have developed and implemented several community-based initiatives, including health literacy programs and support systems for people with chronic illnesses. In addition, I led several initiatives to address the needs of communities impacted by inequities throughout her career.

I value the development of action-oriented, community-led approaches that INSPIRE others to produce positive change. I’m a proponent of leveraging technology to enhance program development and implementation. I have also designed and implemented several training programs to increase health literacy and foster a culture of continuous learning, having delivered on a range of topics related to the social determinants of health.

Career: Supported health programs and training at higher education institutions in Alabama and Mississippi. She also engages in national and community-based coalitions supporting initiatives tied to cancer prevention, food equity, and mental health in vulnerable communities.

School: University of North Alabama | Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Nutrition; Master of Science in Health Promotion

In my free time: I’m enjoying overpriced coffee


Seble Emiru

Senior Accountant

I’m an Ethiopian American currently living in Virginia. 

I joined IPHI to support the work that INSPIRES better public health and well-being.

Career: Worked in accounting and finance for several years at local and international non profit organizations in Washington, D.C.

School: School for International Training | CPA candidate

In my free time: I enjoy reading, watching movies, and going out with friends for fun

Rebecca Epstein

Senior Program Manager

After living in various cities across the U.S. and abroad, moving back to the DMV was a welcomed homecoming. I love Richmond and have thoroughly enjoyed making it my home.

I was drawn to IPHI because of its extensive work around Community Health Workers. Although the projects I work on have changed over time, I’ve been INSPIREd by IPHI’s commitment to promoting equity across different programs, communities, and systems. This remains at the core of the work I do at IPHI.

Career: Fostering community engagement to change public health outcomes, building Community Health Worker programs to support maternal health, survivors of sexual violence, and children with asthma, convening partners to establish public health coalitions, facilitating learning across the country on public health topics, including healthy and equitable communities.

School: Radford University | Bachelors of Arts, Spanish Language & Bachelors of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis | Master of Social Work


Tetua Espere

Program Associate

I currently live in a rural farming community outside of Richmond, VA. I grew up in a multicultural household that taught me to respect diverse cultures and to be a lifelong learner. Even from a young age, I was passionate about helping people in my community and abroad.

My passion for helping INFORM and educate my community to make it a safe, healthy, and equitable place is what drives my career and ambitions in public health. I joined IPHI because I wanted to make a positive health impact in Virginia.  

School: University of North Carolina Wilmington – Bachelor of science in public health; George Washington University – Master of public health

In my free time: I enjoy being a dog mom to two active and loving Siberian Huskies named Luna and Stella. 



Kelly Evans

Program Manager

Kelly Evans is a program manager for CHW programs at IPHI. In this role, she convenes and facilitates related CHW programs through training, development, and training.

She is an experienced problem solver with a track record of success in education, housing, and healthcare systems. She is an authentic leader known for her ability to encourage, train, and motivate staff and stakeholders in the community and across Virginia.

Kelly considers herself an out-of-the-box thinker who instills confidence and camaraderie in those she encounters. She advocates on behalf of the most vulnerable populations across the state. Kelly is a facilitator, reflective listener, and cheerleader to those she meets. Kelly graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master of Health Care Administration. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, laughing, and enjoying great food.

Sally Harte

Operations Manager

I live in the Alexandria area of Fairfax, VA, with my husband, two kids, three cats, and a dog. Our lives are full of activities and taking advantage of everything the D.C. metro area has to offer.

I joined IPHI as the operations manager to support and INFORM leadership and program teams as they do essential work in communities. My day-to-day includes troubleshooting technology, ensuring our facilities meet staff needs, working on meeting agendas and action items, collaborating with the HR team on components of an employee’s life cycle with IPHI, and helping create a successful work-life balance for each team member.

Career: I have worked with nonprofits since 2003, both in New York City and in the D.C. area. My career has been in development, focusing on fundraising, event planning, and operations. I also volunteer at my children’s school and served on several local boards.

School: New York University | Bachelor of Arts in international relations

In my free time: I try to read at least 30 minutes every night, but then spend over an hour binging the latest shows or watching Below Deck on Bravo.


Cinthia Hatchell

Program Assistant

Cinthia Hatchell is the Program Assistant for CHW Trainings and Programs. She joined the organization October 25, 2021. Prior to becoming a Program Assistant at IPHI, Cinthia has had 5+ years of involvement in administrative support positions with expertise in event planning & project coordination to include virtual training platforms and was Project Coordinator for nonprofits where she handled logistics for all in-person and online trainings and provided technical assistance to allied professionals and clients. She brings extensive experience in Marketing, Strategic Planning, Project Management, Administrative Support, Event Coordination, Strong Technical Acumen, Documentation & Reporting and Verbal & Written Communication. She will apply her expertise to work with the IPHI CHW Team by providing ongoing support and strategic ideas for continued success. Cinthia was born and raised in New Jersey and has been a PG County resident for 3 years. She enjoys exploring the city, spending time with her family, and cooking new recipes.

Mohamed Ibrahim, MD, MPH, MPhil, DBA

Senior Program Manager

Mohamed Ibrahim is a Senior Program Manager for IPHI’s COVID-19 emergency response collaboration with Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD). Mohamed provides day-to-day administrative supervision and support of IPHI’s staff deployed to FCHD, ensures effective staff performance, assists with the improvement and implementation of procedural systems, guides the development and implementation of effective staff training activities and identifies and provide technical and informational resources that can assist FCHD in the ongoing pandemic response.Mohamed established himself professionally as the go-to person for strategic planning, research and analysis while utilizing advanced epidemiological methods. He became known as a change agent with 15+ years of experience in the field with governmental public health and UN agencies. Mohamed is an MD in medicine, has an MPhil in Epidemiology and an MPH from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and a Diploma with Merits in Business Administration from Leicester University in the United Kingdom. Mohamed’s leadership style is known as dynamic, supportive and result oriented. He has proven track record of designing and implementing nationwide population studies using the WHO’s Non-communicable Diseases Step-wise approach to determine the burden of diseases. In relation to management experience, Mohamed led the excellence department in a Primary Healthcare Reform with a $10 billion budget, 34 projects, and 134 staff. Mohamed built several electronic Monitoring and Evaluation Systems with decision support system dashboards for leadership. He worked with several UN agencies and completed multiple World Health Organization consultancies with the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office. Mohamed has several publications in both peer reviewed journals and UN public health reports.

Taya M. Jarman, MS, APR

Communications Director

I am from Richmond, VA. My southern roots heavily influence me, but my mom is from New Jersey, so I cook and eat like I’m from up north – Blueberry cobbler, fresh tomatoes, and hoagies. I love working with organizations where I can directly support their commitment to and community impact.

I joined IPHI because I wanted to INFORM and help create IPHI’s story. In my work, I create the brand and strategy to amplify IPHI’s voice in the region.  

Career: 15 years in Virginia state government. Adjunct professor. 

School: Christopher Newport University; University of Maryland Global Campus; Virginia Commonwealth University


Helen Kariuki, MPH

Program Manager

I am a Kenyan American. I am passionate about global health and making a tangible impact in people’s lives, especially the most vulnerable members in the community.

I joined IPHI because I want to be INVOLVED in ensuring everyone has equal access to the social determinants of health. I work specifically with community health worker programs.

Career: Co-founder of ToTo Care Box Africa Trust in Kenya. This organization aims to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality among pregnant women living in underserved, marginalized areas.

School: Loma Linda University | Master of Public Health in Global Health; University of Eastern Africa | Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

In my free time: I love traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures

Evelyn B. Kelly, MPH

Program Director

As a Director at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Evelyn works with various sectors and stakeholders including executive-level leadership, elected officials, health departments, planning agencies, police departments, funders, and community-based organizations. Evelyn works with these partners to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes aimed at improving the quality of life in the community. Evelyn has more than twenty years of experience as a public health practitioner and researcher. She has engaged in a variety of public health efforts ranging from community planning and capacity building to health policy development and advocacy. Prior to IPHI, Evelyn served as a senior manager of health promotion and education at CASA de Maryland., Inc. and previously as a program specialist for the Montgomery County Latino Health Initiative. She has also served as a public health consultant to local health departments and community-based organizations providing services in qualitative research, program design and planning, and curriculum development. She serves on the Latino Health Steering Committee of Montgomery County and is a Board member of the Montgomery County Food Council.  She is a member of the Leadership Maryland Class of 2015 and has been recognized as “Fifty under 50: #Food Hero,” a Forty under 40 honoree for Prince Georges County, Maryland. Evelyn was also named a Leading Women by the Daily Record. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion from American University and a Master of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. 

Bel Kelly-Russo, MSc.

Program Associate

Bel Kelly-Russo is the Program Associate for ImmunizeVA in IPHI’s Richmond office. She most recently worked as part of the CommuniVax Initiative in the EVMS Division of Community Health. Prior to this role, she earned her MSc in Comparative Social Policy in a joint program between University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. While she sometimes misses Ireland, she is happy to be back in her home state of Virginia, having grown up in Reston and attended undergrad in Williamsburg. Her interests include maternal health, true crime podcasts, and her mischievous cat Floyd.

Liz Konikoff

Training, Curriculum & Instructional Design Manager

Liz Konikoff is an accomplished professional with 20 years of experience in learning and organizational development. She is the Training, Curriculum & Instructional Design Manager at IPHI. She is responsible for providing complex management, coordination, and administrative work in planning, evaluating, developing, coordinating, and implementing training programs and services across the organization’s programs. Prior to IPHI, Liz worked in many sectors, including higher education, social services, public health, healthcare, consulting, and finance. Liz also served as the Learning Officer at the Washington, DC Department of Health.   Previously she worked with IPHI in a part-time capacity. She is now a full-time training manager. Prior to returning to IPHI, Liz helped start an internal technology training college at Capital One. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mary Washington College and a master’s degree in Psychology from Boston University.   Liz grew up overseas. She enjoys travel and international cuisine. Outside of work, Liz enjoys spending time with family and friends, baking treats with her children, working on home improvement projects with her husband and snuggling with her two German Shorthaired pointers.

Nick Kotula

Training, Curriculum & Instructional Design Manager

Nick Kotula is the Training, Curriculum, and Instructional Design Manager with IPHI. The Training, Curriculum & Instructional Design Manager is responsible for providing complex management, coordination, and administrative work in planning, evaluating, developing, coordinating, and implementing training programs and services across IPHI’s programs.  Nick comes to IPHI with over 15 years of experience designing and delivering engaging adult learning. He worked for a variety of healthcare providers from a small medical laboratory, a large healthcare system, to most recently with the Virginia Department of Health. Nick has also designed and provided leadership training for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.   He has a degree from Old Dominion University in Occupational and Technical Studies with a Training Specialist concentration.   In his spare time, Nick is the proud father of two young boys that keep him on his toes. He enjoys splitting his time between hiking in the mountains and relaxing at the beach.

Valerie McAllister

Senior Program Manager

I was born and raised in New Jersey. While I will always be a “Jersey girl,” I have lived and traveled to over half of the 5o states. I am a self-published author, writer, director, and short film producer. I love the creativity in storytelling. I also love family. I have a small business with my family called Generational Words. We help others tell their stories through film, art, and books. I have a passion for people and supporting them in being their best selves.

I joined IPHI because my passion is to INSPIRE people to change. I felt that because of our shared commitments, IPHI was the natural place for me to be.

Career: I have been in public health for over 30 years.  have worked in HIV and Substance Use Prevention, traveled the United States as a Family Education Consultant, worked in the Criminal Justice arena managing programs for Youth and Families, and served as a Public Health Professional for the State Department of Health. With all of this experience, my most important job has been raising my two beautiful daughters and being a grandmother to my seven grandchildren.

School: Bluefield College | Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

In my free time: Jamming out on old school R&B music

Amber McSpadden

Senior Program Manager

Amber McSpadden is IPHI’s Senior Program Manager for the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) Emergency Response Program.  Amber initially worked with the IPHI-FCHD COVID-19 Emergency Response in April 2021 as a Case and Contact Interviewer with the School Case and Contact Investigation (SCCI) Team. She excelled quickly in that role and was then promoted to Interviewer Supervisor for SCCI in October 2021. She holds a B.S. in Nursing with a minor in Nutrition from George Mason University. She also has several years of experience as an Emergency Department nurse and leader. Before joining IPHI, Amber worked in business management and community planning. She has a background as a community health representative and program coordinator for various nonprofit organizations.  In her spare time, she volunteers for animal rescue organizations and serves as a mentor and advocate for women residing in community safe houses.

Katie Monday

Community Health Worker

I am from Carroll County, VA. As a dog mom, it has become my entire personality! My dogs allow me to enjoy all my favorite things with the best company – hiking, relaxing by the river, and having someone to spend time with.

I joined IPHI because I wanted to be INVOLVED in connecting community members to resources that help improve their everyday life. Healthcare should be accessible to everyone – no matter their circumstances.

School: Radford University

In my free time: I’m drinking Dr. Pepper like it’s going out of business


Dwyan Y. Monroe

Program Coordinator

As Program Coordinator of Community Health Worker Initiatives with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Dwyan Monroe is part of a team to design, plan, and deliver all training for programs, institutions and health systems incorporating CHWs and outreach initiatives in the DC, MD and VA region. She also manages and provides leadership to all IPHI CHWs and is part of the planning team to develop and implement the Center for the Community Health Workforce. As a former Community Health Worker and current CHW Master Trainer, Dwyan has more than 20 years of experience as an advocate for the field of Community Health Outreach. She began as lead CHW training consultant for IPHI in 2010. She also provided expertise in outreach development planning, core CHW workforce training, focus group facilitation and research program coordination for several non-profits, community based organizations, chronic disease professional associations and health institutions in Maryland, DC, Delaware and New Jersey that incorporated CHWs as a part of their cost effective, culturally relevant and innovative disease prevention and management programs. In 2006, she was appointed Director of the New Jersey Community Health Worker Institute, a NJ statewide HRSA funded initiative of the New Jersey Area Health Education Centers, to strategically promote the effective utilization of CHWs as a part of the health care delivery team. Dwyan cofounded, with other CHW advocates, a local network in Maryland aimed at maximizing the field of community health outreach by supporting training, networking and career development for such an underutilized but highly effective health profession. As a result, she became a national advocate to recognize, train and professionalize CHWs through organizations like the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach, the American Public Health Association, and the newly formed American Association of Community Health Workers (AACHW). Dwyan is a graduate of Hampton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has completed numerous certificate programs in public health leadership, community and clinical health outreach and community base program development. She was trained as a Research Program Coordinator in several programs at Johns Hopkins University in clinical and community based research. Dwyan loves spending time with family and friends. She enjoys movies, exotic dining and is an amateur wedding planner and home organizer. [email protected]

Ronnette Moton

Community Health Worker Program Associate

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. I’m a big foodie and I love trying new things and meeting new people.

I joined IPHI because I was INSPIRED by the organization’s commitment to promoting public health and its inclusive approach to involve communities in creating positive health outcomes.

Career: Community health work focused on HIV, addiction, cancer, mental/behavioral health, and hospital and emergency room readmission. Worked closely with the community to provide outreach, advocacy, education, coordination, and support to community members.

School: University of Phoenix | Bachelors in Human Services

In my free time: I enjoy binging tv shows and going out to eat


Don Oben

Human Resources Director

I lived in Silver Spring, MD, for many years and now reside in Washington, D.C. I joined IPHI because I believe in the power of workforce talent and expertise to INSPIRE innovative changes to the public health of all communities.

Career: Worked in HR for several years in the D.C. Metropolitan area for a few nonprofit organizations (e.g., Eurasia Foundation, Center for Applied Linguistics, Institute for International Education).

School: Buffalo State University

In my free time: I enjoy playing “the beautiful game” when the opportunity presents itself.

Carolyn Padovano, PhD, RN, FAAN

Senior Director

Carolyn Padovano PhD, RN is senior director at IPHI. She has been with the organization since June 2020. At IPHI, Dr. Padovano is responsible for providing managerial oversight and day-to-day leadership and direction for the Fairfax County Health Department’s Contact Tracing Project.Before joining our organization, Dr. Padovano held various VP and Director positions in Health Informatics, Research, and Clinical areas at RTI International, SNOMED Terminology Solutions, MITRE Corporation, Integic Corporation (now Northrop Grumman), and InterQual (now Change Healthcare). Dr. Padovano is on the Board of Directors for the Roy Adaptation Association, the Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform (TIGER) Initiative, and Holy Family University. She is a former faculty member of Boston College, and the author and keynote presenter of case/utilization management certification programs, corporate wellness programs and informatics curricula, and is widely published. Carolyn is located in the Virginia area, and can be found on-site with the contact tracing staff at their various office locations in Fairfax. In her free time, she loves to travel and visit the ocean to sail, scuba, snorkel, swim!

Kady R. Pecorella, MA

Program Manager

As program manager, Kady leads several projects at IPHI focused on training, technical assistance, and health equity. She is currently leading training and technical assistance initiatives focused on integrating health equity into health departments nationally. In addition to her program management portfolio, Kady has extensive experience with curriculum development, training facilitation, and implementation of training programs, particularly on health equity and health literacy topics. She aided in developing and training over 600 disease investigation staff for IPHI’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Training Program in Virginia, developed and delivered several immunization-based workshops, and led the development and facilitation of a COVID-19 health literacy certification training for over 100 community members. Currently, Kady is also leading the implementation and facilitation of several health equity-focused trainings and provides technical assistance to promote health and equitable communities to health departments and public health organizations nationally. Kady earned a B.A. in International Studies from Stonehill College and an M.A. in International Development from American University. Her academic studies concentrated on gender and health, focusing on conducting qualitative and quantitative research on community-based global interventions. Prior to joining IPHI, Kady worked on fundraising, grant writing, and communications for child welfare programs in Boston. Her experience further includes fieldwork in public health projects in Palestinian communities.

Samantha Pham

Administrative Associate

I am from Springfield, VA. My passion for food could categorize me as a “foodie,” from cooking, baking, and finding new places to try – bakeries, cafes, restaurants, you name it!

I joined IPHI because I wanted to be INVOLVED in IPHI’s journey to promote all with opportunities to live their healthiest lives. In my work, I strive to build those around me to live healthy and happy alongside IPHI’s mission. 

Career: Served as a COVID-19 case and contact investigator as part of IPHI/VDH Deployment in 2021

School: James Madison University 

In my free time: I enjoy singing my heart out to early 2000’s Pop-Punk songs


Jonathan Pilcher

Human Resources Associate

Jonathan Pilcher is a human resources associate with IPHI, responsible for supporting employee relations and operations for the COVID-19 Contact Tracing project in Fairfax County. He has been with the organization since August 2020. Jonathan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, earning a bachelor’s degree in Health Communication with a minor in Public Health. Prior to joining IPHI, he worked with a Charlotte-based non-profit that raised awareness and funds to combat chronic pain conditions. While there, he led support groups and helped organize a 5-kilometer race that raised over $26,500. He has worked extensively with COVID-19 containment efforts in Northern Virginia, focusing on managing outbreaks at daycares and schools. He recently served in a leadership position managing a team of contact interviewers during the Omicron surge. As a resident of Arlington, Virginia, Jonathan enjoys traveling, staying up to date on current events, and taking walks with his miniature schnauzer.

Michael E. Rhein, MPA

President & CEO

Michael Rhein is a passionate and innovative non-profit leader who has spent over 25 years creating positive community change by leveraging and directing support from the national, state and local levels. Michael has focused his career on developing model approaches and influencing resources and systems to give all people the best possible opportunities for health and well-being. Michael was involved in establishing IPHI in 2009 and has served as its first full-time President & CEO since 2013. Michael and the team at IPHI have developed multisector partnerships and programs aimed at tackling the disproportionate effects of HIV/AIDS, chronic disease, food insecurity, housing quality, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. IPHI has developed novel business partnerships and led groundbreaking workforce development, broad-based coalitions, and policy, systems and environmental change initiatives. Previously, Michael served for close to a decade with the National AIDS Fund (NAF), now AIDS United, most recently as Vice President.  Under Michael’s leadership, NAF’s annual grantmaking to communities nearly quadrupled to over $8M in 2010 with the launch of numerous national initiatives to address critical challenges in the modern HIV/AIDS epidemic. From 1996 – 2001, Michael managed grantmaking and technical assistance activities for the National Program Office for the Turning Point: Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health initiative, based at the National Association of County & City Health Officials.  Turning Point, an unprecedented investment in public health systems change by W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, remains widely recognized in the public health field as a milestone in the modernization of effective public health practice. Michael holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and completed undergraduate studies at The George Washington University.  He is a long-time resident of Washington, D.C. with his wife Sara and three kids.  He refuels for the fight for health and justice with gardening, hiking, kayak fishing, and playing ragtime and blues guitar.

Jordan Royster, MSc, PMP

Senior Evaluation Manager

I was born and raised in Michigan but now reside in Washington, D.C. I joined IPHI to collaboratively work with staff, community members, and others impacted by the work to INFORM through evaluation. I aim to bring equitable evaluation to projects, support organizational performance, and add to the public health field.

Career: Worked in evaluation and project management at the national and state level, supporting the public health infrastructure.

Education: Ohio State University |Bachelor of Science in Public Health; London School of Economics | Master of Science in Inequalities and Social Science

In my free time: I enjoy running, reading, and ending my day with copious amounts of ice cream or another sweet treat


Michael O. Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

Senior Vice President

I grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs with few other Black families. While I was fortunate to have economic and educational opportunities, much of my childhood included the backdrop of interpersonal racism and social anxiety. I was fortunate to be raised in a financially secure and emotionally supportive family with parents committed to social and racial justice. These early experiences, both challenges and assets, shaped my world view and lifelong commitments.

I joined IPHI because I am INSPIRED to be part of an organization whose mission and values align with my own.

Career: As a part of my training as a public health physician, I completed a fellowship in community-based participatory research. During my tenure at the Virginia Department of Health, I served as director of the Crater Health District and later as director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (which is also the state office of rural health and the state primary care office). I have also been the president of the Virginia Public Health Association, and a longtime affiliate faculty with the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Epidemiology and Community Health. I am a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.

School: University of Virginia | Bachelor of Arts; John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | Master of Public Health; Duke University School of Medicine | Doctor of Medicine (MD);

Lauren Ruiz

Senior Program Manager

I moved from Kansas to Virginia when I was young and fell in love with this area. Now, I’ve lived in different parts of Central and Southwest Virginia for over 20 years. I am passionate about serving people impacted by complex, chronic health conditions and improving the communities, systems, and policies that affect their quality of life.

I joined IPHI to have the resources and support to INVOLVE all people in creating solutions that improve their communities and lives.

Career: I’ve always worked for nonprofits serving people living with chronic health conditions and care partners. I started as a case manager specializing in health insurance before becoming the program manager, then director. As director, I oversaw 23 case managers delivering support services to thousands of patients and care partners. I’ve also worked as a program manager for a foundation that designed, implemented, and evaluated direct service programs, convened stakeholders, and distributed grants to other nonprofits. Through all these roles, my most important is always being a patient and care partner advocate.

Education: Virginia Tech

In my free time: I enjoy any activity that takes me outdoors, especially tennis, hiking, kayaking, and playing with my dog. When forced to be indoors, I obsess over my 60+ (and growing) collection of houseplants and pretend I’m outside anyway. If someone convinces me to sit down for more than five minutes, I enjoy reading and watching tennis. (I’m drinking coffee as you’re reading this.)

Christine R. Stewart, MPH

Program Manager

As a Program Manager at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Christine Stewart is responsible for programs related to the Affordable Care Act such as the Capacity for Change initiative, and IPHI’s contract with the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority to support the administration of the DC Health Link Assister Program.  Capacity for Change is a series of activities to support the evolution, effectiveness, and sustainability of HIV/AIDS services in the District of Columbia in response to key changes in the policy environment.  The DC Health Link Assister Program provides reaches uninsured and hard-to-reach populations to help consumers learn about, apply for, and enroll in appropriate health insurance products via DC’s new health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link. Christine R. Stewart has over nine years of experience implementing, and managing public health technical assistance (TA), and capacity building projects. She has experience with a wide range of training and TA programs for federal government agencies in the areas of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and community health, including the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ms. Stewart joined the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) as Program Manager after serving for six years at HealthHIV, a national HIV nonprofit that seeks to advance effective prevention, care and support for people living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS by providing education, capacity building, health services research, and advocacy to organizations, communities and professionals. While at HealthHIV, Ms. Stewart worked with Community Health Centers and other primary care organizations to build capacity to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV. Ms. Stewart earned a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from University of Maryland and a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy from George Washington University. In her spare time, Ms. Stewart enjoys spending time with family and friends. [email protected]

Sarah Ward

Community Outreach Manager

I live in North Carolina but am originally from Michigan and have lived in many places, including Texas and the Caribbean. I love exploring new places and traveling with my very active son. I am passionate about working for an organization that promotes positive change and empowers communities.

I joined IPHI because I want to INSPIRE communities to create holistic health solutions through public health strategies and engagement.

Career: I have twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector managing service programs and serving in executive leadership addressing public health initiatives domestically and internationally.

School: University of Texas Health Center | Master of Public Health; Central Michigan University | Bachelor of Science in Psychology & Sociology

Deployed Staff

IPHI regularly recruits talented professionals and consultants to help our public health mission. On May 28, 2020, Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) partnered with IPHI to hire and train staff for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. IPHI’s deployed FCHD team includes contact tracing staff, community health workers, and other staff deployed to work as integrated FCHD COVID-19 response team members. IPHI continues the partnership with FCHD to ensure adequate staffing capacity.

Executive Team

Michael Rhein
President and CEO

Michael Royster
Senior Vice President

Don Oben
Human Resources Director

Carolyn Padovano 
Senior Director

Abby R. Charles
Program Director

Evelyn B. Kelly
Program Director

Taya M. Jarman 
Communications Director

Board of Directors

Cecilia Barbosa, PhD, MPH
Principal and Owner
cBe Consulting, Inc.
Richmond, Virginia

Barbara Brookmyer, MD, MPH
Health Director
Frederick County Health Department, Maryland

Paul DesJardin, MUP
Director of Community Planning and Services
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Tanya Edelin
Vice President, Finance and Administration
Venture Philanthropy Partners

Olivia D. Farrow, JD
Director of Community Development & Engagement, St. Agnes Hospital
Baltimore, Maryland

Sheryl Garland, MS
Chief Health Impact Officer, VCU Health System
Executive Director, VCU Office of Health Equity
Richmond, Virginia

Rich Hamburg, MPA
Executive Director, Safe States Alliance
Washington, D.C.

Lori A. Jackson
President & CEO, Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation
Washington, D.C.

Alison Rein, MS
Vice President, Health & Human Services
Quantified Ventures
Washington, D.C.

Christopher J. Revere, MPA
Deputy Director for Innovation and Planning, Fairfax County Health Department
Fairfax, Virginia

Michael E. Rhein, MPA  (ex officio)
President & CEO, Institute for Public Health Innovation