Haseeb Abdullah – I am honored to be selected as a Community Health Champion. I hope to learn and contribute on what we as individuals can do to make our community a healthier one.
Christiana Adesanmi – I am a Texas A&M University Health Science Center nursing student. I have a passion for health, music, and perpetual learning. I am very excited to be surrounded by a diverse group of people engaging in the improvement of health in our communities. Let’s go and improve lives!
Holly Ainsworth – I am a nursing student at the University of Texas at Austin, and plan to study with an emphasis on mental health. I am very passionate about giving community members equal opportunities regarding healthcare access. I am excited to use this experience toward my future health career, and help lead the next generation of healthcare. [
Nitakuwa Barrett – I am the Call for Ideas Program Manager at the Center for Place-Based Initiatives. My experiences working as a nurse and with the community have exposed me to many of the health disparities that exist in Central Texas, and have deepened my commitment to public health. I am excited to learn, share knowledge, and collaborate with the Community Healthy Champions!
Carol Blanchard – As a yoga therapist, community leader and healthy senior adult, I am passionate about all people having access to healthy environments, medical services, fresh food and clean air. I enjoy paddleboarding, hiking, yoga, qigong, and volunteering in many Austin activities.
Eda Baykal-Caglar – I work for CommUnityCare Health Centers as Director of Education and Research. Born and raised in Turkey, and moved to US for graduate school. This is an exciting opportunity and i am looking forward to learning more about healthcare needs and how I can help more to Austinite’s wellbeing!
Barbara Brooks-Shirley – I have been on the CommUnityCare Board of Directors for 8 years. I believe in the vision and mission. I’m a Minister who has been saved to serve.
Cassandra Caravello – I’m the Program Manager for the IT’S TIME TEXAS Living Healthier program, a free and confidential health coaching hotline. I’m passionate about public health and social justice! My background is in clinical quality improvement, youth empowerment, and immigrant health.
Bobbie Jo Cardenas – For the past four years, I have worked as a medical social worker in both inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. My passion is to serve families and individuals who are differently abled by helping them connect to lifelines of support thru education, advocacy and empowerment. My personal parental journey with two children with special healthcare needs adds to my passion to learn more. I believe we all have the ability to contribute goodness in the world, sometimes we just need help learning how to share it. I am excited to learn more about partnering with the community and how we can all benefit from our local healthcare systems.
Angelia Carey – I’m a chef and nutrition educator and am looking forward to sharing what I learn in the program with my current clients and the community at large. I think food and cooking are the most important building blocks in a healthy lifestyle.
Kate Carnevale – I am most passionate about issues pertaining to stroke prevention and stroke awareness. As a member of the Central Health Champions program I am excited to become more engaged and aware of the health issues in our community. You can bet I will be eager to help impact change in the Travis County health arena.
Lizzy Carol – I am passionate about helping underserved populations connect to healthcare resources, especially focused on LGBTQ+ healthcare disparities. I want to enact change from a policy level. I am looking forward to meeting people with similar interests and learning how to combine forces to enact the most change in our city.
Reshmi Chowdury – I am a social and public health researcher, who is also interested in community engagement. I’m passionate about social justice and health disparity issues. Music, art and books are my passion as well. I’m excited about the program, because it will help me to learn in detail about the public health issues in Central Texas and would help me to know the stakeholders.
Janiece Crenwelge – I grew up in Central Texas and have lived in Austin for ten years. During that time, I have worked for and around the Texas Legislature, first as a legislative staffer and now as a government affairs consultant. I’m excited to join Community Health Champions to learn about the Travis County healthcare landscape and how I can support the work of Central Health and its partners. I enjoy baking, collecting recipes, and traveling when time allows.
Jose Diaz – I work for Project Access Austin/Travis County Medical Society and we provide medical services to low income uninsured residents of Travis County. I like to travel and explore new places, countries and people. I enjoy watching and playing all kinds of sports. Most of all I have a passion to help people in any way that I can. I’m excited about this program because of the opportunity to meet like-minded people and the opportunity to build new relationships and help each other.
Leslie Diaz – I landed a job I love, working with families with strong migrant ties. Migrants are movers and doers and deserve more seats at the table than they are given. I look forward to meeting people just as impassioned about this and those who want to know more!
Hailey Easley – I am the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) Nonprofit Acting Executive Director. I’m passionate about understanding and resolving disparities in health and wellness based on social identities like race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. I’m so excited to be part of the Central Health Champion program because of the opportunity to connect with others who are determined to improve our community’s well-being.
Eric Elliot – As a Community Care Collaborative Project Manager, I get to work on a wide range of projects that support the safety population! The Community Health Champions program provides an opportunity to connect with others who are committed to serving Travis County. Outside work, I can usually be found making goofy faces and noises at my one-year old daughter!
Bianca Enriquez – Health Initiatives Manager, oversee all health programs at Foundation Communities. My passion is to help others. Excited to learn something new and bring ideas to the community.
Ricardo Garay – I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I am passionate about engaging communities to learn more about the world I live in. I am curious and constantly humbled by the learning process-especially when it comes to humanity. I work as a program manager inside the Division of Population Health at the Dell Medical School to engage with the communities that I live with in Central Texas. [
Saúl González – I was born and raised in El Paso before moving to Austin in 1982. I was immersed in the fight against AIDS/HIV in the context of the LGBT people of color communities and currently serve on the governing board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. I love yoga, gardening, and politics.
Denise Gutierrez – I’m Denise. I’m a passionate yogi. I teach adults and kids yoga. My passions are my family, yoga, and health. As a yoga teacher, I’m excited for this program to meet others who are also passionate about health and learn more about what and how I can incorporate a wellness and resiliency piece into my student’s yoga practices.
Lauren Hadley – I currently work as the Director of Constituent Services for Rep. Donna Howard. I spent my senior year at UT working on a research project related to women’s health in Texas and since then I’ve been passionate about access to health care. I’m excited to learn a bit more about services available in central Texas! [
Lea Isgur – I am retired from working in budget offices for the state Texas. My work focussed on federal and state labor and health and human services programs, including Medicaid. I now volunteer annually to help people enroll in health insurance in the Marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act. I hope this program will give me a wider perspective of healthcare and issues in the Austin area, where I’ve lived for over 30 years.
Kendall Jackson – Kendall works on the Community Engagement team at Capital Metro. She is passionate about making access to the urban environment more accessible and equitable. She is excited to provide a transit-oriented voice to the Community Health Champions program, and is even more excited to learn about other perspectives from experts in her cohort. Kendall is an avid cyclist, coffee connoisseur, and commutes by bike or bus most days in the week. She is originally from Portland, Oregon, but the weather in Austin suits her much better.
Remington Johnson – I serve as a community facilitator and educator with Kindred Hospice. Prior to that I built and ran the chaplain and palliative care program at the Heart Hospital. I am fiercely passionate about developing better and more wide reaching opportunities for patients and their families to be more informed and better agents in their care. [
Bella Kirchner – As Director of Population Health Management at a large multi-specialty clinic, I work with providers, clinical support staff, data analysts, and health IT team members to improve quality of care and ensure our patients are getting the screenings and medical services they need. Having previously worked for CommUnityCare and El Buen Samaritano, I’m passionate about ensuring all those who need medical and mental health services have access to it. I’m excited to get this opportunity to work with other community health champions to learn, brainstorm, and help improve health care in Central Texas!
Rodrigo Leal – Rodrigo Leal is a Research Analyst with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. Rodrigo is passionate about solving climate change issues and aims to build a career helping cities and large organizations tackle public health, rapid development, and social equity. He is eager to develop a deeper understanding of the health challenges facing the Austin community and is excited to become part of this diverse cohort of dedicated community members.
Liz Link – I’m a healthcare startup communicator and yoga teacher-in-training interested in developing materials or programs that increase health literacy among aging and minority populations. I’m overjoyed to be selected for this program because I believe so much health burden could be avoided simply by helping others become more informed.
Carmen Luevanos – Access to affordable health and dental care impacts our quality of life as much as our paychecks. That belief led me to vote for the creation of a healthcare district in Austin, years ago. I’m so glad to see Central Health’s progress since voter approval. I look forward to learning more Central Health, its services and clients.
Tonna Marcyes – I am excited to be a member of the 2018 Community Health Champions Program based on my background in management and health care systems. I am a native Austinite and retired from a successful state of Texas career. I have extensive knowledge and skill in the safety net health systems which has allowed me the opportunity to assist in providing health care to diverse populations in Texas.
Michelle Mejia – My name is Michelle Mejia and I have been in Austin for about 10 years. Being a transplant from the border has really shaped who I am in this city and how I engage with community. I am currently the communications director at Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, doing a variety of “communication” things. I have two kids. I’m a documentarian and through work or community involvement I really want to work at making this a better place.
Elizabeth Miller – I am passionate about helping children and families reach their personal health goals. In my current position I not only get closer to this goal, daily, but I also evaluate the programs used to help communities to reach these goals and provide evidence of statistically significant improvement within underserved communities. I am most excited about the invitation to become part of a cohort that shares my common interests and goals and to learn from each other through this program.
Wolfgang Niedert – I work in the private equity space, particularly in the disruption of real estate and banking. My passions mainly surround my 2-year old daughter and turning over to her a healthier and more educated Texas. I am excited about this program because our Dell Medical School and the Seton teaching hospitality have a once-in-a-century opportunity to transform health care into a proactive, outcomes-based, patient-centric model. They need community engagement to achieve that.
Sarita Null – I spend my days as a financial advisor preparing public-sector employees for retirement. My heart still resides in community health and wellness initiatives with specific experience in mental health counseling, hospice, critical incident stress management and advocating for the disenfranchised and the underserved.
Natalie Peluso – I am a Health Program Supervisor at Foundation Communities. I am also a freelance florist specializing in weddings and small events. When I’m not busy working or playing with flowers, I’m hanging out with my awesome husband, Ryan, and our adorable pooch, Nina.
Genesis Pena – My name is Genesis Pena and I am a full-time MSW Student, a full-time employee at Front Steps- Recuperative Care Program as a Case Manager and part-time caregiver, so I stay quite busy. My passions currently, include working with those experiencing homelessness improve their health by connecting them with community resources. I absolutely love what I do and I am excited about joining this program so I can continue to learn and foster skills that will help me become an agent of change in my community.
Noelle Peschka – I have been a healthcare provider for twelve years at Brackenridge Hospital and now Dell Seton Medical Center. My passion is to serve the vulnerable and the medically underserved population. I am excited about this program because I want to see how I can help ensure that all residents of Travis county are receiving the medical care they deserve.
Sirish Prabhu – I am the Founder of The Policy Matrix, a consulting firm that advises governments, non-profits and businesses. Healthcare delivery and financing is one of the most pressing issues we face today and it is imperative that we use our talents to solve these challenges. I envision a new reality: one in which all people receive the very best healthcare irrespective of their ability to pay. I hope to take what I learn from the Community Health Champions Program and make a meaningful impact to health outcomes in Austin.
Beth Reese – I have been involved in healthcare delivery and insurance my entire career and as such, enjoy helping people navigate the healthcare system to maximize their benefits and minimize their cost. I am passionate about serving and I’m excited about this program because I know it’s going to teach me how to better serve in my community.
Carlos Rodriguez – I have been involved in healthcare delivery and insurance my entire career and as such, enjoy helping people navigate the healthcare system to maximize their benefits and minimize their cost. I am passionate about serving and I’m excited about this program because I know it’s going to teach me how to better serve in my community.
Vanessa Rojas – I am currently a Health Applications Analyst at People’s Community Clinic. I am passionate about collaborating with others to ensure all Central Texans have access to high quality, affordable healthcare. I am extremely excited to work with this group of Community Health Champions and find ways to improve our healthcare system.
Megan Shannon – I work in housing development and community planning at Momark Development in central Austin. I’m excited to learn how to improve the integration of community health practices into our new housing communities. I am also a passionate volunteer enrollment counselor with the Insure Central Texas program.
Brenda Strama – I have been a healthcare lawyer for more than 30 years and am passionate about early and comprehensive health care for children. I also am very interested in population health management initiatives and hope to see DellMed and Central Health partner in population health endeavors.
Marian Trattner – Marian Trattner is the Bystander Intervention Specialist for The University of Texas at Austin. Her passions include travel, springing time with her family and friends, philanthropy, and running. She’s excited about the program to meet other community health champions and contribute more to community conversations regarding health and wellbeing.
Stephanie T. Trevino – I am Austin born and raised! I graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health & Fitness. I am a certified child passenger safety technician and community health worker. I currently serve on the board for Safe Kids Austin and employed with Austin Public Health in the Health Equity and Community Engagement Unit. My goal for joining the community health champions program is to learn how to better serve the community, especially our most vulnerable populations in Travis County.
Darline Turner – I am a women’s health advocate and currently work as a full-spectrum doula. I am passionate about reducing/eliminating maternal mortality and eliminating the disproportionate gap that exists in birth outcomes for African American Women. As a Community Health Champion, I hope to meet other individuals with whom I can collaborate to improve birth outcomes and our maternity care system.
Pawkhu Way – I am the community health navigator, I am the bridge between the provider and community. I advocate for language access on behalf of the Burmese community. I strongly believe that i will get connect to a lot of new agencies that will help the individual and the community to be a healthy community.
Eric Weaver – I’m excited to be a part of the Community Health Champions program so I can learn more about Central Health’s mission to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Central Health is working to create a model health community that can be showcased for the entire nation! I am passionate about the transformation taking place in Austin and look forward to developing new relationships with others in the program that share my enthusiasm for patient-centered care.
Emily Zalkovsky – I am currently a senior consultant at a health care firm focusing primarily on Medicaid. I previously worked in the Texas Medicaid program for almost 11 years, managing health policy and programs for low-income pregnant women, children, older adults, and those with disabilities. I’m passionate about affordable and accessible health care, and excited to learn more about the local health care system.