Meet Our Staff
Our multi-disciplinary team includes staff members located and working primarily out of offices in Largo, MD, Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC. We invite you to get to know our staff by viewing their profiles below.
For general inquiries, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 202.747.3512.
"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." -Eleanor Roosevelt
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!
Maisoon Ateem is the Training Coordinator who will work with the Program Manager and Fairfax county Health Department to coordinate the training, provide technical assistance to partners, and implement quality improvement for the project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services office of Minority Health. She is a Medical Science specialist with over 10 years of experience working in the field of public and Global Health. She graduated from Johns Hopkins Master of Applied Science (MAS) in Global Health Planning and Management. Also, graduated in Sudan in the Medical Science field. Upon her graduation she worked for the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as some other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sudan and the USA. Her focus was conflict-affected populations in particular women and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) with special attention on victims of rape and HIV/AIDs. She has been involved in all stages of emergency and Reproductive Health design and implementation and dedicates her career to bridge access to quality healthcare at the community and individual level. She believes that education is vital if one is to maintain livelihoods; it is also the main gateway to development, security, prosperity, understanding, acceptance, respect for peace, and peaceful coexistence. Maisoon is strongly motivated at this stage to integrate various aspects of her practical and personal experience into helping to make the world a better place for all.
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
Eleanor Brtva is a Senior Program Manager at IPHI. Elly is spearheading our efforts with the Virginia Department of Health to assist in the COVID-19 emergency response efforts (as well as in the Delta variant surge efforts). Elly has devoted her career to philanthropy and public health. She formerly served as the Assistant Dean at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health, the Vice President of the American Diabetes Association’s Research Foundation, and the interim CEO of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) Foundation. She has raised over $100 million for public health throughout her career and has worked with former presidential families, Fortune 500 CEOs, and the philanthropy community. Elly has been on numerous boards and now serves as Vice President of Sambhali US, a non-profit dedicated to serving women and children in Rajasthan, India. She is an advisor to Womenpalante. Elly is a first-generation college graduate. She holds an MPH from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. She has also been a fellow at Stanford University. She has a soft spot for great danes.
Gloria Buame, MS is the Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health grant on health literacy. She will provide project management support and focus on technical assistance, QI and evaluation/monitoring. In 2020, she joined IPHI to help with its Fairfax County emergency response deployment. In this role, she worked as a COVID-19 Case Interviewer. She later continued as a School Case and Contact Interviewer, and finally filled the role of Greeter at the Government Center Vaccine Site. Prior to becoming a Case Interviewer at IPHI, Gloria was a Psychometric Support/Research Assistant with the American Institute for Research, supporting several Florida Department of Education assessment duties and psychometrics program initiatives related to student assessment. She has provided evaluation and program support to the Department of State (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) international programs and the International Rescue Committee Refugee and Asylee education programs in previous roles. Gloria has also supported and evaluated training programs for Prince William County Afterschool activities as a Program Specialist. She also worked as a full-time AmeriCorps member for several years with Casa de Virginia non-profit, where she taught ESOL and naturalization classes to adult learners. One of her proudest accomplishments is helping several green card English Language Learners pass their naturalization tests through small group citizenship classes coaching sessions. Gloria has devoted her career to working with minority groups and helping international students assimilate into the U.S. educational system and culture. She has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology (specializing in Assessment, Evaluation, and Testing) from George Mason University. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in Psychometrics from Morgan State University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading historical non-fiction, watching tv comedy shows, and traveling.
Michele Burton, MSPH, MPA
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.
"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
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@example.com
Senior Program Manager
As a Senior Program Manager for IPHI, Sydney directs the work of the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) and provides Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training to state and local-level public health-focused coalitions. Sydney has worked with the FEC, a local independent food policy council of twenty-two diverse members, since its launch in 2013. 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-resourced communities’ access to healthy foods. She has over a decade of 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 policymakers to affect change at the institutional, municipal, county, and state levels. Sydney serves on multiple advisory and steering committees in Prince George’s County including the Health Department Health Care Action Coalition’s HEAL Workgroup, Prince George’s County Healthy Corner Store Steering Committee, the Greater Riverdale Cares Coalition, and the Maryland Food System Resilience Council.
Senior Program Manager
Joanna Davis is a Senior Program Manager. She will assist with various special projects and new opportunities. She will serve as a consultant for the CDC grant, with a particular focus on the financing innovation aspect (“Component C”), and also supporting the health literacy project with Fairfax County. Joanna recently returned to Washington D.C. (her childhood home) from New York City (NYC). She worked at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as a Senior Manager for projects centered on chronic disease management and control, clinical quality improvement, and more recently, COVID response and relief. Before that, Joanna spent a few years in Beijing, China working on global public health programming. Joanna has a Master’s in Public Health with a focus in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina.
“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.
Nephtalie Dorceus, MPH, MCHES
Assistant Program Manager
Nephtalie Dorceus, MPH, MCHES is the Assistant Program Manager for the CHWs expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Access in DC and Prince George’s County, MD with the Institute for Public Health Innovation. She has been with the organization since September 2021 and will be providing managerial support, program management, coordinating monitoring and reporting. Nephtalie has a wide range of experience in community health. Prior to becoming an Assistant Program Manager at IPHI, Nephtalie was a Lead Investigator for the DC Department of Health’s inaugural COVID-19 Contact Trace Force, leading in COVID-19 case investigation, developing training for new hires, managing 4-6 lower grade members by providing case review and quality assurance. Nephtalie’s experience working in sexual and reproductive health has allowed her to create comprehensive workshops, trainings and public health messaging for diverse audience such as LGBTQ+, youth, young adults, and other marginalized communities. Her work in HIV prevention has allowed her to provide evaluation and program support in diverse settings such as health care systems, community-based organizations, educational settings and nonprofits. Nephtalie is driven by her passion to create equitable access to health care for minority groups in the community. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Springfield College and a master’s degree in Global Public Health (concentration in Community and International Health) from New York University. Nephtalie is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. In her spare time Nephtalie enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, trying new foods, and spending time with family and friends.
Senior Program Manager
As a Senior Program Manager, Rebecca Epstein oversees two Community Health Worker programs in IPHI’s Richmond office.
- The Accountable Health Communities – the 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 – the program combines evidence-based practice models of community health with research to improve the health of children living with asthma.
She also manages the ImmunizeVA program. Rebecca has almost ten years 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.
"My passion for helping make my community a safe, healthy, and equitable place is what drives my career and ambitions in Public Health."
Tetua Espere is a Project Assistant with IPHI. She has been with the organization since July 2020. At IPHI, Tetua is responsible for supporting the Project Managers in daily tasks, Administrative Training and Assistance, and supporting the Deployed IPHI staff in administrative tasks. Before joining our organization, Tetua was a full-time student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health. She now pursues an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from George Washington University. While pursuing her degree she works full-time with IPHI and is a member of the GWU Maternal and Child Health Association. Tetua sits in our D.C. office, and in her free time, she loves to read a good book and spend time with her friends and family.
Senior Program Manager
Scott Folks is a Senior Program Manager for IPHI’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts with the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD). Mr. Folks’ innovative background features more than two decades of experience managing high-profile strategic projects across non-profits, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, education, and entertainment. This includes leadership roles as a Senior Executive for several Fortune 500 companies, including Sony, Time/Warner, and Bertelsmann, and enterprise-level consulting responsibilities for both PhRMA and AARP. Given these venues, he brings a diverse portfolio of business processes, operations, and optimization knowledge to all his endeavors. Early in his career, he conceived and orchestrated several award-winning global campaigns targeting specific consumer segments. To further solidify the viability of niche market audiences to drive major project success, he accomplished industry ‘firsts’ across several dynamic business sectors. As an Entertainment Executive, he created and executed business plans enabling the largest joint-venture deal in music history. While consulting at Georgetown University, his change management and technology expertise helped propel the first fully customized Salesforce launch at a university in the United States. Additionally, he was also responsible for leading day-to-day operations at the first company in Brazil to target its 80 million multi-cultural consumers with relevant digital content. Mr. Folks pursued his Marketing studies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In addition, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Humanities from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey. He also earned his master’s degree in Communications, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.; he loves international travel, good food, and attending major music and competitive sporting events!
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.
Julia Groenfeldt, MA
As a Program Manager, Julia supports the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC). Julia manages many of the FEC’s operations, including coordinating food assistance resources and networks and overseeing communications and outreach among members and partners. Julia is committed to addressing food equity through policies, systems, and environmental changes that improve access to healthy and affordable foods. Julia has worked with the Institute for Public Health Innovation since 2017. Julia has experience working on food systems and policy initiatives throughout Maryland and Virginia, including the Healthy Eating & Active Living Cities & Towns Campaign and the Healthy Montgomery Transforming Communities Initiative. Julia has worked as a nutrition and food systems educator, where she developed and implemented garden-based curriculum and programs for elementary and middle school students. Julia holds a B.A. in Global Environmental Studies & Food Systems and M.A. in Community Development and Planning from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
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.
Public relations is the truth well told. Team Oxford Comma
Taya M. Jarman, APR
Taya M. Jarman, APR is the Communications Director for the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI). She looks forward to helping IPHI tell its story. Taya is an award-winning and accomplished communication professional with several years’ experience developing and implementing strategies that support organizational objectives. Before IPHI, Taya worked as the Population Health Communications Director for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). There she created and launched the VDHLiveWell brand. The brand included a robust website – VDHLiveWell.com, social media ecosystem, and marketing materials to help Virginia become the healthiest state in the nation. She planned the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Week, Chocolate Milk (film on the racial disparities in black breastfeeding) viewing, and executed VDH sponsorship for the Something in the Water Festival. She also served on the ImmunizeVA outreach committee. Taya has extensive experience teaching as an adjunct professor. She’s taught communications to students at Virginia State University, John Tyler Community College, and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She also served as the VCU 2019 winter commencement keynote speaker. She serves as the president elect for the Public Relations Society of America – Richmond Chapter. Taya holds a master’s degree in strategic public relations from VCU and completed her undergrad studies at Christopher Newport University. During her graduate program, she participated in a cultural emersion program in China at Fudan and Peking University. She also holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).
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.
Helen Kariuki, MPH
Helen Kariuki is the Program Manager for Community Health Worker Programs. She is passionate about global health and making a tangible impact in people’s lives, especially among the most vulnerable communities. She has a MPH in Global Health from Loma Linda University in California and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Eastern Africa in Kenya. She is passionate about global health and making a tangible impact in people’s lives, especially among the most vulnerable communities. Helen is the 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. Helen’s goal is to continue to make strides in global health and ensure that every person lives a quality, wholesome life.
"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.
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.
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.
Training, Curriculum, and Instructional Design Manager
Nick Kotula is the new 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.
Senior Program Manager
Valerie McAllister is the Senior Program Manager for Community Health Workers (CHW) Strategy and Innovation.
Valerie previously served as the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Clinical Community Linkage Coordinator/Community Health Specialist. In this role, she led state efforts to establish strategies, policies, and practices to support the Community Health Worker Workforce for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In particular, under the guidance of the CDC’s DP1815 and DP1817 funding, Valerie convened stakeholders from across the state to develop guidelines and standards for Virginia’s first CHW accreditation program. She assisted in the formation of the Virginia CHW Development Council, ensured standardization in CHW training delivery, and supported legislation that provided the state health department the authority to promulgate regulations for CHW certification and training.
Before joining VDH’s Chronic Disease Unit, Valerie worked in the VDH Office of Health Equity as the CLAS Specialist, responsible for ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate services for residents of Virginia.
Valerie has been a Certified Diversity Professional for almost a decade. She is also the chair-elect to the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, Health Equity Council, where she supports states in achieving equitable programs, policies, and practices. Her passion for the role of Community Health Workers began over 30 years ago when she was working as an Outreach Worker, providing STD and HIV education in her community.
Valerie leads the implementation of the new CHWs for a Healthy Virginia grant from the CDC and is actively involved in our statewide CHW work with VDH and the Virginia CHW Development Council.
Megan McPherson is the Development Director for the Institute for Public Health Innovation. As Development Director, Megan works collaboratively with staff and volunteers to raise funds and awareness for public health and equity needs throughout the DMV. She has over 10 years of experience as both a grant administrator and grant seeker. Most recently, Megan served as Development Director for the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Inc. She built the fundraising capacity, strengthened the donor base, and increased grant revenue. Before working for the Y, Megan served as Program Assistant for the Town Creek Foundation where she provided management and oversight for their Chesapeake Bay and Food System Reform grant portfolios. Megan was first introduced to IPHI through the Prince George’s Food Equity Council. Megan has also worked with the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, supporting the day-to-day functions and associated programming for a funder affinity group of approximately 25 funders from around the region. In this role, she worked in partnership with the Choose Clean Water Coalition and Chesapeake Bay Trust to develop a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to address issues of equity in the environmental community for non-profits and funders in the Chesapeake Bay Region. Megan is passionate about issues of equity and justice and securing resources that strengthen our communities. She is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and has served in leadership roles for the D.C. Chapter of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Washington Regional Food Funders, and the Maryland Philanthropy Network (formerly the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers).
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.
Senior Evaluation Manager
Alison Mendoza-Walters is the IPHI Senior Evaluation Manager. In this role, she will be involved in shaping the evaluations for some of IPHI’s federal grants. She will also evaluate IPHI’s strategic plan, training, and programs to help develop and implement meaningful metrics to document IPHI’s impact.
She has more than a decade of experience in evaluation. Prior to IPHI, she worked as an independent evaluation consultant, a public health systems, and services researcher at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Most recently, Alison’s was a Health Planner at the Prince George’s County Health Department. In this role, she managed the county’s local health improvement coalition and implemented the community health improvement plan.
Alison received her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MBA from the University of the District of Columbia. Alison lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where she enjoys visiting parks and trails with her kids and eating foods from all over the world.
“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. firstname.lastname@example.org
“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
Ronnette Moton will be serving as the Program Associate for Community Health Worker (CHW) Programs at IPHI. Ronnette will be supporting our newest Cooperative Agreement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), entitled CHWs for a Healthy Virginia. In this role, Ronnette will primarily support various activities under our Component B Strategy (training, deployment, and engagement of CHWs in funded site locations). Ronnette has been a member of the IPHI family since 2011 while contracting with AmeriHealth Caritas, a health insurance provider in the DC area. Ronnette focused on HIV, addiction, cancer, mental/behavioral health, and hospital and emergency room readmission in this role. In addition, she worked closely with the community to provide outreach, advocacy, education, coordination, and support to community members. Ronnette received her bachelor’s degree in Human Services in 2018. Ronnette says that she is a Washingtonian, which has helped her better build connections and networks in the communities she lives and serves.
Carolyn Padovano, PhD, RN
Senior Program Director
Carolyn Padovano PhD, RN is Senior Program 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
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 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.
“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.
“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. email@example.com
Anum Waqar, MD
Regional Manager (Virginia Department of Health COVID response)
Anum Waqar will serve as a Regional Manager, for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to assist in the COVID-19 emergency response efforts.
Dr. Waqar has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Fatima Jinnah Medical University in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.
She has worked for both the Vermont Public Health Department and the Fairfax County Health Department. While on the Fairfax County emergency response program, Anum led, supervised, and mentored a team case interviewers and also assisted in the development and management of the COVID-19 International Travel Project.
Dr. Waqar has held several positions at primary medical centers, hospitals, and family practices. She has also been involved in oncology research primarily with the Cleveland Clinic.
Chrysta Wright, PHR, SHRM-CP
Human Resources and Operations Manager
Chrysta Wright is IPHI’s Human Resources and Operations Manager. She provides direct support to IPHI staff and clients by leading strategic initiatives focused on various needs of staff and the organization. She approaches best practices for employee engagement, benefit administration, process improvement and employment law compliance with a data-driven lens and maintains a delicate balance between advocating for employees and protecting business interests. Prior to joining IPHI, Chrysta held various roles in health and human services organizations. With a desire gain more experience in business administration, she began her career in human resources through recruiting. She worked her way to a management role for a public policy firm in Washington, DC. She is a third-generation graduate of George Mason University. Chrysta earned a Bachelor of Science in Community Health with a concentration in Global Health. She is honored to bridge her knowledge of public health and human resource experience to serve the dedicated staff of IPHI. In her free time, Chrysta enjoys trying new restaurants, going to the gym and spending time with her cat, Lottie.