Meet Our Staff
Our multi-disciplinary team includes staff members located throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia, working primarily out of offices in Largo, MD, Richmond, VA, and downtown Washington, DC. We invite you to get to know our staff members by first clicking on their profile below.
For general inquiries, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 202.747.3512.
DC and Maryland Teams
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.
"The tenets of human rights tell us that ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family...’ It is imperative that we use an equity framework to develop our policies and programs to ensure that this human right is realized. Through doing so, our communities will have access to the opportunities, supports and services to THRIVE."
Abby R. Charles, MPH
Ms. Charles 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. Ms. Charles’ 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. Ms. Charles 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, Ms. Charles 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 & girls in October 2009. Ms. Charles 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, Ms. Charles 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. Ms. Charles 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. Ms. Charles 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 Ms. Charles 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. Ms. Charles is also an inductee of the George Washington University ‘Wall of Fame.’
As a Program Manager for IPHI, Sydney oversees implementation and outreach for the HEAL Cities & Town Campaign and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC). Sydney works with the Campaign’s Program Associate to recruit new municipalities in addition to supporting current HEAL Cities and Towns while they adopt, implement, and promote HEAL policies and practices. For the past four years, Sydney has worked with the FEC, a local independent food policy council of twenty-two diverse members. FEC advances county and state-level food and agriculture policies to promote public health, environmental sustainability, and sound economic development in the local food system.
Sydney is passionate about strengthening local food systems and improving under-served communities’ access to healthy foods. She has over six years of professional experience working on systems-level public health interventions and local food and farm advocacy. Prior to working with IPHI, she served as the South Carolina Department of Education’s Farm to School & Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Coordinator and as the Sustainability Coordinator at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. She has worked successfully with diverse audiences ranging from school cafeteria staff to policy makers to affect change at the institutional, county, and state-levels.
Sydney is active in her local civic association and sits on multiple advisory committees. In Prince George’s County, she serves as a team leader for Prince George’s County’s Collaborative for Health Equity, Healthy and Safe Food Truck Committee, and Health Department Health Action Coalition’s HEAL Workgroup. In her free time, she enjoys reading fiction, cooking (but mostly eating) Southern food, and doting on her two rescue dogs, Django and Zora.
"Overall, I am passionate about working with communities and engaging them in a collective effort process to create and sustain positive change in order to improve their quality of life."
Evelyn B. Kelly, MPH
As a Director at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Ms. Kelly works with a variety of sectors and stakeholders including: executive-level leadership, elected officials, health departments, planning agencies, police departments and community-based organizations among others to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes aimed at improving the health of the community.
Ms. Kelly has more than sixteen years of experience as a public health practitioner and researcher and has engaged in a variety of public health efforts ranging from community planning and capacity building to health policy development and advocacy.
She is currently directing all activities related to a Transforming Communities Initiative funded by Trinity Health. She works with a multi-sector collaborative composed of local non-profit and service providers, health care providers, representatives from County government agencies, County hospitals, and an academic institution among others to reduce obesity, promote tobacco-free living, and addressing social determinants that impact health outcomes through the implementation of a range of public health strategies. Strategies include creating school wellness councils in public schools and addressing food insecurity through implementation of a Food Security Plan and by systematizing linkages between primary care and food/nutrition service providers among others.
Prior to her post at IPHI, Ms. Kelly served as 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. Her professional interests include promotores de salud/community health workers, racial justice and health equity, food justice, community organizing and advocacy, and the promotion of physical activity.
Ms. Kelly is currently a member of the Latino Health Steering Committee of the Montgomery County Latino Health Initiative and serves on the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. 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 and recently named as a Leading Women by the Daily Record. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion from American University and a Masters of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
“CHWs are change agents that understand how chronic health issues are deeply impacted by how someone eats, works, lives and plays. They can transform a person’s ability to manage any health issue and navigate the complicated health system by motivating individuals to capitalize on their own self-worth. They are the solution to health literacy, health equity and are true leaders for social change.”
Dwyan Y. Monroe
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@example.com
Kady R. Pecorella, MA
Assistant Program Manager
As an Assistant Program Manager, Kady currently supports a wide range of programs including the Center for the Community Health Workforce, Ryan White ADAP Outreach, Care Transitions with GW Hospital, the Virginia Comprehensive Harm Reduction Collaborative, RVA Breathes, Virginia Immunization Coalition, and the DC Healthy Housing Collaborative.
Prior to joining IPHI, Kady worked on fundraising, grant writing, and communications for child welfare programs in Boston. Her academic studies have concentrated on gender and health with a particular focus on conducting qualitative and quantitative research on community-based global health interventions. During Kady’s graduate education she held research positions at American University’s School of International Studies analyzing outcomes from global HIV programs. Her experience further includes conducting a rapid appraisal of water projects as part of a field team in Palestinian communities. Kady earned a B.A. in International Studies from Stonehill College and an M.A. in International Development from American University.
"Fundamentally, public health is about human rights and social justice. Being involved in such work is a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility."
Michael E. Rhein, MPA
President & CEO
Michael Rhein was appointed as IPHI’s first full-time President & CEO in January 2013, after helping to launch and build the Institute since 2009. For over 25 years, Michael has worked on the local, regional and national levels to improve the public’s health, with a particular focus on providing strategic support to community leaders, governments and organizations so they can strengthen service systems and develop more effective public health policies and programs. Michael’s experience ranges from developing large-scale national initiatives to working alongside community-based organizations to design and implement local public health efforts. Throughout his career, he has served in intermediary roles, helping to translate public and private resources into practical support for communities. This has involved collaborating with the Federal Government, large private foundations such as W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Ford Foundation, national corporations, state and local health departments, local foundations, academia, community-based organizations, and a host of other partners across the country. Michael’s previous professional positions have included posts with CommonHealth ACTION, National AIDS Fund, National Association of County & City Health Officials, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
“You can't have public health without a public health system. We just don't want to be part of a mindless competition for resources. We want to build back capacity in the system.”- Paul Farmer
Christine R. Stewart, MPH
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond, Virginia Team
As a Program Manager, Rebecca oversees the implementation of two Community Health Worker programs in IPHI’s Richmond office. The Accountable Health Communities program aims to address the unmet health-related social needs of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by improving access to and alignment of health and social services organizations in the Richmond area. The RVA Breathes program combines evidence-based practice models of community health with research to improve the health of children living with asthma. Rebecca has six years of experience working in community-based health programs.
Prior to joining the IPHI team she worked on Community Health Worker programs that supported women’s health in Michigan and Ohio and facilitated training and technical assistance on the Community Health Worker model nationwide. Additionally, Rebecca has worked on various public health programs serving communities in Virginia, Haiti, and Guatemala.
Rebecca holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Bachelors of Social Work and a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish Language from Radford University. In her spare time Rebecca stays active and enjoys knitting, spending time outdoors, and traveling.
“Health is a prerequisite for the achievement of our full potential and for each of us to contribute to creating a thriving society. Optimal health is only possible when we work collectively to assure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy, regardless of socioeconomic position, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and identity, and ability. My work at the Institute for Public Health Innovation is guided by this belief, and fueled by a commitment to compassion, social equity, collaboration, and community empowerment.”
Michael O. Royster, MD, MPH, FACPM
Mike is the Vice President of the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI). He established the Institute’s Richmond office and is expanding and developing initiatives to support public health priorities across Virginia. He provides expertise and oversight for an extensive portfolio of health equity-focused programs including community health worker initiatives, training and technical assistance to promote healthy and equitable communities, health in all policies strategies, and community health improvement planning. Dr. Royster also serves as the principal investigator for IPHI as the Local Performance Site of the HRSA-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center.
Prior to joining IPHI, Mike was the director of the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). In this position, he oversaw Virginia’s state offices of minority health, rural health, and primary care. OMHHE advanced health equity by developing data tools, such as the Health Opportunity Index, to assess health inequities; improving access to quality health care and providers; developing and promoting community-based participatory initiatives; enhancing the capacity of VDH and its partners to promote health equity; and facilitating strategies to target the social determinants of health.
Prior to this position, Dr. Royster was the Director of the Crater Health District headquartered in Petersburg, Virginia. In this capacity, he oversaw public health programs and services for 5 rural counties and 3 small cities with a combined population of 150,000. Among other initiatives, he led the initial implementation of emergency preparedness and response planning within the district; implemented outcome-based program evaluations for all health department programs; and led the expansion of community-based participatory efforts to promote cardiovascular health, eliminate childhood lead poisoning, and reduce teen pregnancy.
Dr. Royster completed his undergraduate training at the University of Virginia, and his medical training at Duke University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he also obtained a master’s degree in public health. Following his residency, he worked briefly as an environmental epidemiologist with the US EPA, conducting studies on pesticide exposure among children in the Imperial Valley of California. In addition, he completed the two year W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars Program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where he developed an initiative to address the health of African American men in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mike is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine and he is a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine. He is a member of the American Public Health Association and past president of the Virginia Public Health Association.
In his spare time Mike enjoys spending time with his wife Camille and three children. He also enjoys meditation, basketball, and exercise at the local YMCA.
Community Health Workers
"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." -Eleanor Roosevelt
Community Health Worker
Claudia Artero is a Community Health Worker for the RVA Breathes Program in Richmond, Virginia.
As a Community Health Worker with the Asthma Outreach Program, I work with children and their families living with asthma. My goal is to educate them and provide resources to help them overcome the debilitating effects of asthma. I am excited to create a win-win relationship between IPHI and the families in the city of Richmond.
Within my collective experience in the medical and administrative field, I am constantly rewarded with the ability to help people. With IPHI, I know I can make a difference as I work with each family. I am also humbled by the opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of children.
In my spare time I love to spend the day outdoors making new discoveries and having adventures with my family.
“Give your best or nothing at all!”
Community Health Worker
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.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
Marc Gant is an Outreach Specialist for Prince George’s County Health Connect.
As an Outreach Specialist, I provide community-based promotional support for the Prince George’s County Health Connect Program. I participate in public events providing general information on enrollment opportunities through the Maryland Health Exchange. In addition, I build strategic partnerships with organizations promoting the same or similar cause.
Throughout my career I have supported campaigns for mid-to-large sized organizations including: managed Medicaid organizations, public charter schools and non-profit organizations. During these opportunities, I saw how uninformed people are when it comes to their personal health. Working in the community allows me to be at the ground level of change. For these reasons, I chose a career in outreach.
I am a native Washingtonian and enjoy swimming, traveling, and working out.
Community Health Worker
Teneysa Goodwin is a Community Health Worker for the RVA Community Cares program in Richmond, VA.
As a CHW I’m part of a great team of individuals who are interested in the well-being of the community as a whole. My part as a CHW is to connect, educate and assist families with the necessary information to live healthy and productive lives. I educate and help families identify triggers (ex. pollen, pets and mold) and/or stressors (ex. lack of money/health care and housing concerns) that can limit a normal life for those who have symptoms of asthma. The issues people/families have with this health condition range from where they live to the food they eat. We can identify what is needed to bring balance with an action plan, knowledge and a listening ear.
I have 7 children, 2 with asthma, and have served as a foster parent for children with special needs for over 10 years. I am currently a member of Manchester Middle School PTA, FAPAC (Foster & Adoptive Parent Advocacy Center).
My passion is for the community as a whole with the understanding that we come from different backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles. For me it is important to have this opportunity to assist and interact with the world one person at time. I’m honored for the privilege and I’m willing to do all I can to be a supportive force with this position.
I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love to Sip & Paint. I enjoy music gospel to R&B Reading and Spoken Word and love solving puzzles.
Community Health Worker
Sawa Kamara Works as a Community Health Worker for the George Washington University Hospital Heart Failure Program.
Sawa Kamara, originally from Sierra Leone, moved to the USA in 2000. I am a community Health worker who works with patient with Heart Failure at the George Washington University Hospital. I teach individuals with Heart failure about their conditions, diet, access to resources, facilitating communication, and support with healthier behavior and lifestyle choices.
I am dedicated and passionate in helping the underrepresented groups and community through community advocacy/Grassroots organizing/ education and inclusion. I participate in policy advocacy that addresses disparities in the community. I serve as president of my local community Civic association that influence social and policy change.
I am a Community Health worker because I would like to help systems become more culturally appropriate and relevant to the people they serve. My intent is to help reduce or eliminate the persistent disparities in health care and guide one through client empowerment.
I love to camp, hike, watch documentaries, host get-togethers, pick flowers, Yoga, discover new vegan recipes, and read.
"When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don’t quit." - Marians Fathers
Community Health Worker
Edith Linares is a Community Health Worker for Prince George’s County Health Connect.
Edith is a bilingual English and Spanish Certified Navigator who helps consumers apply and enroll in health insurance through Maryland Health Connect. Edith became a community health worker because she likes to guide, support, and engage with those who do not have the necessary tools to improve their quality of life.
Outside of work, Edith is an active participant in Descubre El Bosque, a project from Corazon Latino. The organization promotes both urban and rural green spaces and the protection of outdoor green spaces. They view access to the outdoor as critical to the improvement of health in the community. Edith also likes to cook and have fun with her family.
"Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it" -Maya Angelou
Community Health Worker
Javon Miller is a Community Health Worker for the RVA Breathes Program in Richmond, Virginia.
As a Community Health Worker I am one of the frontline public health workers that work with families within my community who has a child /children that suffer with chronic asthma. My goal with IPHI is to address the issues of chronic asthma by providing educational tools and social support through community based services.
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, watching documentaries, listening to music, fishing, and web surfing.
“Success is enlightened self-interest. By taking care of yourself you acquire the resources to take care of you family and the larger community.” – Jerry Bruckner
Community Health Worker
Ronnette Moton works as a Community Health Worker for AmeriHealth DC in the District of Columbia.
As a Community Health Worker, I reach out to members of AmeriHealth DC’s Medicaid Managed Care Health Plan (men and women), who are HIV positive and either out of care or newly diagnosed. I work with them for a little over a year getting them in care and retaining them there. I help reduce barriers, such as stigma or fear, and I help them access any needs they may have such as housing, drug abuse services, food, and more. I teach my clients about the importance of being adherent to their medications and staying in care.
I am a member of the CHW Professional Association of DC. For fun, I enjoy reading, watching movies, and spending time with my great-grandmother.
Why Ronnette became a Community Health Worker: I became a Community Health Worker because I want to be able to help others just like me. Having someone trust you to help them turn their life around for the better makes it that much more special to do this job. I love being able to be there for them for support and doing everything in my power to help them. At the end when I see what I did for that person and see them being self-sufficient and strong, it makes me feel like I just saved a life and that is what makes this job worth it.
"Live Gracious and Stay Humble"
Community Health Worker
Tanya is a Community Health Worker for IPHI on the RVA Breathes program.
The program is an asthma education and intervention program designed to help families get their children’s asthma under control and to lessen E.R. visits and frequent doctor visits. In my role I work in conjunction with the parent, the child and the Health Homes assessor to make the home a better environment for the child and to educate the families on what asthma is.
Outside of my work my children keep me pretty busy and they provide fun also. Relaxing can mean just a T.V. show and that’s fine with me. Being a CHW or something in this related field was one of my dreams. I had a few setbacks and being able to help others is healing for me. I am finally living in a role I love.
Community Health Worker
Cortlen Yarbrough works as a Community Health Worker for the Ryan White B MAI Outreach DC Health Pharmacy Benefits (ADAP) Program.
The DC Health Pharmacy Benefits (ADAP) Program is a grant-funded outreach partnership with DC Health. As a community health worker, Cortlen Yarbrough conducts educational outreach to community and faith-based organizations and private providers who work with populations that serve people living with HIV/AIDS. If there is a person in need of the program, Cortlen Yarbrough can provide 1 on 1 peer counseling and direct linkage to DC Health case management services.
Cortlen had an opportunity to advocate for the CHW certification in Virginia. This helped him realize what he could bring to the table for CHWs in the District. Cortlen was part of small group of CHWs that helped start the CHW Professional Association of the District of Columbia (CHWPADC), which was created to be a body to advocate for DC CHWs. They focus on issues such as getting higher pay, work recognition, and work sustainability.
Cortlen is a community health worker because he’s always had a love for educating and empowering the community he serves.
In his spare time, Cortlen focuses on self-care which can involve daily meditations, long walks, and watching Old Godzilla and KungFu movies. His favorite color is pink