Zack Macdonald (bio)
Chief of External Affairs
Zack Macdonald joined PHE in 2013. As Chief of External Affairs he is responsible for PHE’s development and communication teams and works closely with our executive leadership, boards, and Executive Directors to build partnerships and raise funds to support PHE’s mission. Prior to PHE Zack led the design and execution of global fundraising efforts as Director of Philanthropy for the global non-profit ClimateWorks Foundation in San Francisco. ClimateWorks is among the largest philanthropic organizations worldwide focused solely on climate and energy policy and regulation. Prior to ClimateWorks, Zack worked ten years with Stanford University raising major support for the University’s highest priorities. He led grassroots fundraising efforts for the Jewish Community Foundation of San Francisco before joining Stanford. He was raised in New York City, earned a B. A. in History from Wesleyan University, and now lives in Marin County with his partner Susan Macdonald, a physical therapist, and their two young sons.
Collin Molberg (bio)
Senior Finance Analyst
Collin joined Peer Health Exchange in April, 2012. As Senior Financial Analyst, Collin is responsible for examining financial information and developing tools to interpret data affecting the organization. Prior to joining PHE, Collin worked for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as a Financial Analyst. There, he managed the finances of the foremost psychiatric medical school in the US, including private contracts, federal grants, endowment funds, etc. across basic science and clinical research division. Collin graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with an M.S. in Accounting and Information Management.
Kai Paine (bio)
Robert Pascual (bio)
Kai joined Peer Health Exchange in March 2015. As the Executive Assistant, Kai provides high-level executive support to the CEO, COO, and CEA, as well as to the External Affairs team, PHE’s National Board, and the National Office. Prior to joining PHE, Kai has worked at several startups in the Bay Area that focus on the intersection of food and health. Kai volunteers with Slow Food SF both as a member of the planning committee of the annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area conference, and as the co-chair of the organization’s new School Garden Initiative. She also volunteers with Girls on the Run as a running coach for elementary school girls, and as a member of the 5K planning committee. Kai received her B.A. in Modern Languages from Trinity College, where she wrote her thesis on the organic food movements in Italy and Germany.
Managing Director of Finance and Administration
Robert joined Peer Health Exchange in December 2013. As Managing Director of Finance and Administration, Robert is primarily responsible for leading financial operations, risk management, and compliance. Robert holds a B.B.A. in Finance from the George Washington University and an M.B.A from the University of California, Berkeley. Robert’s nonprofit career before PHE includes senior leadership and consulting roles with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay area. He has also been an instructor in nonprofit financial management with Cal State East Bay and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services. Robert started his career in the financial services industry in the Washington, D.C. area, where he developed his skills in retail banking, corporate operations, and cash management.
Ann Peralta (bio)
Director of Program Planning and Support
As the Director of Program Planning and Support, Ann is responsible for ensuring program leaders in all PHE city sites have the training, coaching, and support they need to provide the highest quality programming possible. Ann stepped into this role after serving as the Boston Program Director at Peer Health Exchange for three years. Prior to her work at Peer Health Exchange, Ann ran a school-based obesity prevention program called Fitness Forward, taught health education to adolescent and adult women as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia, and worked with a number of other non-profits in the public health and poverty alleviation fields. Ann has a BA in Economics from The George Washington University and an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. In addition to working at Peer Health Exchange, Ann is an active member of the American Public Health Association and is pursuing a DrPH in Management, Leadership, and Policy at the Boston University School of Public Health part-time.
Robin Rich (bio)
Managing Director of Talent
Robin joined Peer Health Exchange in January 2011. As the Managing Director of Talent, Robin is primarily responsible for overseeing the quality of all aspects of PHE talent, including talent acquisition, retention, and development policies and processes, and working closely with senior management to develop, implement, and strengthen PHE’s human capital strategy. Before joining the National staff in November 2013, she was PHE’s Boston Executive Director for three years. Robin has an M.S. in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded the Dean’s Emerging Leader Award upon graduation. She also holds a B.A. from Macalester College. Robin currently serves as the Board Vice President for Casa Myrna Vazquez in Boston. Prior to joining PHE, Robin worked as the Director of Development at Crittenton Women’s Union in Boston and as a Development Manager at Philadelphia-based Fairmount Ventures, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in resource and organizational development. Before her work in consulting, Robin worked as the Assistant Executive Director for the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.
Pooja Shah (bio)
Vice President of Strategy, Finance and Operations
Pooja joined PHE in November 2012. As VP of Strategy, Finance and Operations, Pooja is primarily responsible for leading all aspects of strategic and organizational planning, providing overall financial management for PHE, and ensuring operational excellence by overseeing the planning, implementation, management, and control of all financial and operational activities of the organization. This includes direct responsibility for accounting, finance, risk management, and compliance for all Peer Health Exchange office locations. Prior to joining PHE, Pooja served as the CFO of Reading Partners, a national non-profit organization that provides literacy intervention programs for underserved elementary students. In that role, Pooja oversaw all business operations functions, including Finance, Accounting, HR, IT and Facilities. Pooja’s non-profit career began in a direct service role at Playworks, a national non-profit that provides safe, healthy play at schools in underserved communities and then at the KIPP Foundation, where she worked directly with the CFO and Chief of Staff on developing the organization’s 5-year strategic and financial plan. Pooja started her career in the private sector, first in Technology Investment Banking at Lehman Brothers and then in Corporate Business Development at Cisco Systems. Pooja graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics and also earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Leah Tarran (bio)
Curriculum Development Manager
Leah Tarran joined in July 2014. As the Curriculum Development Manager, she will manage all of PHE’s development work on our new 9th grade curriculum, curriculum pilots and possible future curricula. Prior to Peer Health Exchange, Leah worked as a Program Manager at Brighter Beginnings where she led curriculum development on topics including financial literacy and health, specializing in working with pregnant and parenting teens in low-income communities. She has also worked in rural Kenya as a Program Intern for the Carr Education Foundation, researching and developing a comprehensive leadership curriculum for girls. Following her master’s program, Leah served as an AmeriCorps volunteer as an advocate for refugee populations in Oakland, CA. Leah graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Family Studies & Human Development, and from University of Sydney (Australia) with a Master of Public Health concentrating on Project Management.
Ann Tsai (bio)
Director of Volunteer and Alumni Impact
Ann joined Peer Health Exchange in September 2010. As the Director of Volunteer and Alumni Impact, Ann’s primary responsibilities are to drive organizational strategies to foster volunteer engagement and community, cultivate a talent pipeline of alumni who enter careers in health and education, and to lead the exploration of widespread impact strategies in service of the PHE mission. Prior to this role, Ann was PHE’s Chief of Staff for one year. Ann graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science. Before joining PHE, she worked in education reform with The New Teacher Project where she served as the Director of Oakland Teaching Fellows, an initiative to recruit, train, and place new teachers in the Oakland Unified School District.
Muluken Taye (bio)
Lisa Walker (bio)
IT and Operations Coordinator
Muluken Taye joined PHE in January 2015. He is responsible for monitoring tech support services, supporting IT infrastructure across all sites, and managing facilities at the national office. Prior to PHE, he interned with Upwardly Global administering salesforce data. As a data analyst in Ethiopian Roads Authority, he worked in managing and analyzing country wide road projects data and participated in economic feasibility studies. Muluken also has work experience in teaching and research and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Managing Director of Teaching and Learning
Lisa joined Peer Health Exchange in October 2011. As the Managing Director of Teaching and Learning, Lisa is responsible for supervising and managing all aspects of work related to Priority 1 of PHE’s Strategic Plan (deepening impact on every teen we serve, now and in the future), including PHE’s current program model, program development and strategic investments. Prior to this role, Lisa was the Director of Program Strategy and Support. Lisa graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government, and from Pace University with a Master’s degree in Teaching. Before joining PHE, Lisa worked for Teach For America, first as a Program Director supporting first and second-year teachers throughout New York and then as a Recruitment Director leading college recruitment campaigns in Northern California. Prior to joining Teach For America staff, she taught third grade at a bilingual school in the Bronx, New York, as a Teach For America corps member.
Aaron Winters (bio)
Director of Technology and Operations
Aaron joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2014. As the Director of Technology and Operations, Aaron is responsible for managing projects and strategies aimed at increasing organizational efficiency and ensuring that staff across the organization have access to the tools and workspaces they need to be successful their roles. Prior to joining PHE, Aaron led IT, operations and strategic planning for Upwardly Global where he was responsible for developing and implementing technology and process improvements to increase organizational efficiency. Prior to joining Upwardly Global, Aaron led the sales and customer service teams for AIESEC United States where he created and managed international internship and training programs for companies, universities and government agencies across 64 countries. Aaron is a certified Salesforce developer and advanced administrator and is often asked to speak on topics related to technology project management and Salesforce implementation best practices. He has also written on topics related to global human resources and has been published by the Society for Human Resource Management. Aaron graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from San Diego State University. Aaron has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Emily Gasner (bio)
Bay Area Executive Director
Emily joined Peer Health Exchange in August 2009. As the Bay Area Executive Director, Emily is primarily responsible for developing, managing, growing, and evaluating the PHE Bay Area Program, managing the Bay Area Program Associates, raising funds, managing and growing the Bay Area Board of Overseers, and providing fiscal and organizational oversight for the PHE Bay Area site. Before joining the Bay Area team, Emily was PHE’s Los Angeles Executive Director for two years. Emily graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science. Prior to PHE, Emily interned at NARAL Pro-Choice California, the ACLU of Northern California, and Human Rights Watch. She was honored by Planned Parenthood in June of 2009 for her work as a student activist.
Alex Carter (bio)
Bay Area Program Assistant
Alex joined Peer Health Exchange in January 2014. As the Bay Area Program Assistant, Alex supports the Program Director and Program Managers by assisting with data collection and evaluation, program operations, recruitment and training of volunteers, and program research. Prior to joining PHE, Alex worked as a multicultural caseworker at the Preble Street Resource Center, an organization working toward solutions to hunger and homelessness in Portland, ME. She received her B.A. in International Development and Social Change with a specialization in Global Health from Clark University and was actively involved in her campus chapter of STAND—a Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, and the Hector Reyes House, a rehabilitation center for formerly incarcerated Latino men. During her time at Clark University, Alex spent significant time abroad including an internship with the Ministry of Education in Peru and research for an honors thesis on maternal mortality and the lived experience of childbirth in rural Kenya. After graduation, Alex moved to Guatemala where she taught sexual health classes in a public high school and volunteered in a community clinic before returning to her home state of Maine.
Narmin Nuru (bio)
Bay Area Program Manager
Narmin joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2014. As a Bay Area Program Manager, Narmin is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Bay Area program. She works primarily with volunteers at St. Mary’s College and San Francisco State. Prior to joining PHE, Narmin spent two years working as a Program Manager at the Alameda County Food Bank where she was responsible for managing 250 partner agencies, building their capacity to implement the food bank’s programming. Narmin has previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Youth Leadership Institute in SF, Youth Community Organizer at People’s Community Services in Detroit, and a Program and Health Coordinator at Red Sea Social Services in Anaheim. Narmin’s commitment to social justice, health and youth empowerment is inspired by her own identities and upbringing, having been the daughter of East African refugees, playing key roles in civic engagement and advocacy efforts from her teenage years with the immigrant and refugee communities throughout California. She is also passionate about the Bay Area, and is committed to the well-being of its’ youth and communities in both her professional and personal time. Narmin has a BA in International Development and Mass Communications from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she was also a National Community Scholar.
Roxanne Winston (bio)
Bay Area Program Manager
Roxanne joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2013. As a Bay Area Program Manager, Roxanne is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Bay Area program. She works closely with volunteers at UC Berkeley and youth in Oakland Unified School District. Prior to coming to PHE, Roxanne worked as a campaign organizer for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a non-profit focused on changing local and global policies around biomedical technologies to increase global accessibility of medicines and medical diagnostic tools. She worked to recruit and retain student chapters of UAEM, as well as developed strategic university-based campaigns to change licensing practices around biomedical research. She also spent two years in the heart of America organizing health care professionals around workers’ rights and protecting state and federally funded health support services. Her passion for activism, health, and social engagement largely stem from her work as a student activist on UC Berkeley’s campus. While a student she was deeply involved in the Bridges Multicultural Resource Center and Black Recruitment and Retention Center where she hosted conferences and workshops for low-income folks of color on college preparation and cross-cultural coalition building. In her final years at UC Berkeley she also served as a Senator and President of Berkeley’s student government, focusing a majority of her tenure on fighting university corporatization, maintaining university affordability, and safeguarding student autonomy. Culminating her undergraduate career she also co-facilitated Female Sexuality, a course dedicated to the transformative power of health education, womyn’s empowerment, and sexual agency.
Rachel Wyley (bio)
Bay Area Program Director
Rachel joined Peer Health Exchange in July of 2014 and serves as the Bay Area Program Director. Rachel is primarily responsible for leading the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Bay Area program. Prior to joining PHE, Rachel worked for four years in Oakland, California as a Teaching Fellow and later, Campus Direct for Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization. Rachel has committed over a decade to working to improve educational access for youth in various low income communities throughout Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Atlanta. Rachel received her B.A. in English and African American Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Genevieve Mack (bio)
Boston Executive Director
Genevieve joined Peer Health Exchange in November of 2013. Genevieve spent the first seven years of her professional career as a classroom teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels. Throughout her time in the classroom, she became passionate about urban educational issues and saw, first-hand, the immense challenges facing and the lack of resources available to teens in low-income communities. In 2008, Genevieve left the classroom and joined the Boston staff of Summer Search- a national leadership development program for low-income teenagers. During her five and a half years at Summer Search, Genevieve held a variety of program, fundraising and management roles, including mentoring over 50 high school students in Boston area high schools. As the Boston Executive Director, Genevieve’s primary responsibilities include managing, evaluating and growing the PHE Boston program, fundraising, providing fiscal and organizational oversight for the PHE Boston site, managing the Boston Program Director, and working with and growing the Boston Board of Overseers. Genevieve holds a BA in Education Studies and American Studies from Skidmore College and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education from Brown University.
Kassie Eberle Bettinelli (bio)
Boston Program Director
Kassie joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2012 and served as a Boston Program Manager for two years. Kassie currently serves as the Boston Program Director and is responsible for leading the PHE program in Boston by developing, managing, growing, and evaluating the PHE Boston Program. Kassie has a B.A in Music Performance from Butler University and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining PHE, Kassie worked as the Community Program Manager at From the Top in Boston and as a Girls’ Education and Empowerment Extension Agent with the Peace Corps in Togo. Before her work with the Peace Corps, Kassie worked as a K-8 Music/Arts Teacher.
Bridget Copes (bio)
Boston Program Manager
Bridget joined Peer Health Exchange in January 2015. As a Boston Program Manager, Bridget is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Boston program. Bridget earned her BA in English from Georgetown University and her Master of Social Work in Health & Organizational Development from Washington University in St. Louis. While at Georgetown, she coordinated an orientation program focused on social justice issues and community service in DC. After graduation, she completed a year of national service through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest at a daytime drop-in shelter for adults experiencing homelessness in Tacoma, WA. She then moved to DC to work on the development team at Women’s Campaign Fund, a non-profit and affiliated political action committee committed to increasing women’s political representation. While in DC, she joined fem*ex, a community-based organization dedicated to empowering women through conversations about identity, gender, and sexuality. Her experiences with fem*ex inspired her commitment to promoting the personal and public health benefits of sexual health education. Most recently, she taught sexuality education and worked on gender equity initiatives at Vanderbilt University.
Sara Mruz (bio)
Boston Senior Program Coordinator
Sara joined Peer Health Exchange in January 2014. As the Boston Senior Program Coordinator, she is primarily responsible for assisting with volunteer training, providing staff and program support, and managing program data and evaluation. Sara graduated from Georgia College and State University with a B.A. in Sociology. Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange, Sara interned in New Zealand for Educa, an organization that creates online portfolios that track the growth and development of students at an early childhood center. Most recently, Sara served as a marketing intern at The Venetian. Sara brings her passion for being active to her work at PHE and is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Boston.
Laura Sherman (bio)
Boston External Affairs Associate
Laura joined Peer Health Exchange in September 2014. As the External Affairs Associate, Laura supports the Boston Executive Director in implementing the local fundraising strategy, including identifying and engaging prospective individual and institutional donors, preparation and submission of grants, and assisting with communications and event planning. Laura graduated from Clark University in 2008 with a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Upon graduating, Laura worked directly in the mental health field, serving as a residential counselor for inpatient adolescent women with depression and body image issues. This work first sparked Laura’s passion for supporting preventative health and mental health care programs. Laura was a Grant Manager at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for three years, where she raised funding for research on alternative approaches to chronic pain management. More recently she served as the Manager of Foundation Giving for Mass Insight Education, to support district turnaround engagements nationally. Laura brings her passion for improving health and mental health, and her knowledge of the Boston Public Schools and local funder landscape, to Peer Health Exchange.
Danya Rosen (bio)
Chicago Executive Director
Danya joined Peer Health Exchange in November 2010. As the Chicago Executive Director, Danya is primarily responsible for the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the PHE Chicago program, raising funds, managing and growing the Chicago Board Overseers, and providing fiscal and organizational oversight for PHE Chicago. Danya previously served as Peer Health Exchange’s Senior Director of Development, for which she was responsible for overseeing the national development team, supporting in the development and execution of external affairs strategies, and managing PHE’s revenue tracking and knowledge management systems. Prior to joining PHE, Danya spent five years at Peace Action West as the Deputy Outreach Director, where she was responsible for overseeing California-based programming, including membership acquisition, donor cultivation, staff development, and grassroots political production. Danya graduated from the UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology.
Clare Austen-Smith (bio)
Chicago Program Manager
Clare joined the Peer Health Exchange in October 2013. As a Chicago Program Manager, Clare is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Chicago program, focusing specifically on University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago. Clare graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Studio Art. During her time in New Orleans, she launched a successful grassroots anti-violence campaign that worked to improve the safety conditions in the Uptown area of New Orleans. Prior to joining PHE, Clare was a field organizer for the 2012 Obama Campaign in Ohio and worked with the Admissions Department at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to introduce transgender inclusive language to their application as well as designate gender neutral bathrooms on campus. Clare is thrilled to be working for PHE in her hometown of Chicago.
Elizabeth Finlayson (bio)
Chicago External Affairs Associate
Elizabeth Finlayson joined Peer Health Exchange in March of 2014. As the Chicago External Affairs Associate, she supports the Chicago Executive Director in the implementation of the site’s local fundraising strategy, including researching and engaging individual and institutional prospects, strengthening data and knowledge management practices, and assisting with communications and event planning. Elizabeth brings with her 13 years’ worth of experience as a fundraiser as well as a consultant and non-profit professional coach. With experience at small and mid-sized non-profits, she has a passion for helping organizations develop new fundraising programs and professionals navigate the rocky waters of non-profit life. Elizabeth has worked in every area of development culminating in running a department. She is excited to be developing organizational relationships for PHE Chicago.
Colleen McLoughlin (bio)
Chicago Program Assistant
Colleen joined Peer Health Exchange in August 2013. As the Chicago Program Assistant, she is responsible for providing support to other members of the program team, managing program operations and materials, and managing data collection and evaluation. Colleen graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Economics, and during her time at UIC served as a Health Educator and a Co-Coordinator in the PHE program at UIC. Colleen completed her UIC Honors College capstone research project in partnership with the College of Nursing at UIC, focusing on eating and physical activity behavior in urban African American women. While working for PHE, she will be pursuing her MPH with a concentration in Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
Brittany Merritt (bio)
Chicago Program Director
Brittany joined Peer Health Exchange in September 2013. As the Chicago Program Director, Brittany is responsible for leading the PHE program in Chicago by developing, managing, growing and evaluating the PHE Chicago Program, managing the PHE Chicago Program team and assisting with the development and execution of strategic plans. Prior to joining PHE, Brittany was a Senior Program & Event Coordinator in Community Recreation at the Chicago Park District. She was tasked with researching, planning, and leading the execution of community recreations new initiatives such as emerging program offerings and integrating youth program quality and performance measurement into management. Her experience includes positions at CBS Radio (Chicago Bears Radio Network), Comcast SportsNet, Intersport and with Northwestern University Athletics focusing on sports marketing and sports management. An advocate and enthusiast for non-traditional sports as well, she is a former director and coach for the Illinois Girls Lacrosse Association as well as an assistant director of operations for Chicago Youth Lacrosse. She is passionate about increased health, self-esteem, academic performance, responsible social behaviors and leadership skills for youth, especially girls. Brittany has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Howard University where she played lacrosse and a Master of Arts in Sports Administration from Northwestern University.
Matt O’Brien (bio)
Chicago Program Manager
Matthew joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2013. As a Chicago Program Manager, Matthew is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Chicago program, and assisting the Chicago Executive Director. Matthew graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology. At Boston University, Matthew managed Student Food Rescue, a volunteer-based food salvage program dedicated to combatting hunger in the greater Boston community. While abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, Matthew worked with the International Centre for Migration, Health, and Development where he assessed the efficacy of hepatitis vaccination policies across EU member states. Prior to joining PHE, Matthew taught high school science on Chicago’s southwest side for two years as a Teach for America corps member. Matthew brings to PHE a passion for public health and educational reform as well as a commitment to improving the health of Chicago’s teens.
Michael Sugihara (bio)
Chicago Program Manager
Michael joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2014. As a Chicago Program Manager, Michael is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the Chicago program and assisting the Chicago Executive Director and Program Director. Michael graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management. While at Cornell and abroad, he developed a heart for serving low-income, high-risk communities through the lens of public health, operating in the intersection of economic and social factors of health. Serving as an intern with The Global Orphan Project further expanded his view of healthy communities, families, and children, and allowed him to experience rural America and fundraising with fresh perspective. Prior to joining the PHE team, Michael served as a Corps Member with City Year Chicago. As a mentor and Biology instructor for high school students on Chicago’s West Side, he worked to provide opportunities and space for students to engage in academic and leadership development, multiple approaches to learning, and social and emotional growth. Michael brings a passion for understanding of holistic approaches to health and how strong organization and evaluation methods enhance the effectiveness of public health programs and interventions.
Hannah Wilson (bio)
Chicago Program Assistant
Hannah joined Peer Health Exchange in April 2014. As a Chicago Program Assistant, she is primarily responsible for supporting the PHE Chicago program staff by managing program operations, data and evaluation, and assisting on other special projects. Hannah graduated from Middlebury college with a B.A. In Literary Studies. During her time there, she spent a semester studying Gender, Health, and Development in Bamako, Mali. Prior to joining PHE, Hannah completed a year of AmeriCorps through Coach Across America at Chicago Run where she managed programming in CPS elementary schools and helped develop a “Family Fit Kit”. Additionally, she worked with MGR Youth Development to integrate the principals of Sports-Based Youth Development into their existing Active Health programming. A firm believer in the power of youth to change communities, Hannah is excited to continue empowering Chicago’s youth to make healthy decisions with PHE.
Amita Swadhin (bio)
Los Angeles Executive Director
Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange in May 2012, Amita served as the Coordinator and a cast member of Secret Survivors, a theater project she conceived of in 2009 for the NYC-based off-off Broadway Ping Chong & Co. featuring survivors of child sexual abuse telling their stories. She previously held positions in New York City nonprofits and public institutions, including Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), Make the Road NY, Global Kids and Legal Momentum, served as the Board Chair of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, and served as a consultant to a number of foundations, nonprofits and schools. Amita is the co-host of Flip the Script, a weekly radio show on KPFK-LA, a member of the Peace Over Violence Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Advisory Council, a member of the Liberty Hill Foundation’s OUT Fund, and enjoys writing poetry and essays in her spare time. She holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.P.A. from the NYU Wagner School, where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.
LaDawn Best (bio)
Los Angeles Program Director
LaDawn Best joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2013. As the Los Angeles Program Director, she is responsible for leading strategic investments, effectively implementing the PHE program, and supporting the Los Angeles Executive Director in executing the local strategic plan. Prior to her work at PHE, LaDawn worked at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project, where she assisted LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and was responsible for training thousands of service providers on the barriers faced by LGBTQ survivors. Her prior experience includes serving as the Girls Leadership Coordinator for REACH L.A., where she worked with youth of color in Los Angeles to develop their leadership, knowledge and communication skills in the area of reproductive justice and public policy, and serving on boards for a number of national, statewide and community-based organizations, including Q-TEAM, an LGBTQ youth of color multi-issue organizing collective, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), the Los Angeles HIV Youth Coalition, and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. LaDawn was also Co-Chair of the Multicultural and Underserved Communities Committee of the Los Angeles City Domestic Violence Task Force, and is a former Fellow of the California Women’s Policy Institute. She has a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Master of Arts in Education, with an emphasis on Leadership and Change.
Jeff Lim (bio)
Los Angeles Program Manager
Jeff joined PHE in January 2015. Prior to Peer Health Exchange, Jeffrey was the Project Coordinator of the Substance Abuse and HIV Intervention Project (SHIP) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. At CHLA, he co-authored on an adaptation of an evidence based HIV intervention known as Project AIM (Adult Identity Mentoring) aimed to target homeless youth in Hollywood ages 18-25. Jeffrey comes from a HIV prevention background which began as the HIV Counseling and Testing Coordinator for the Mpowerment Project of Orange County (MpowerOC), a satellite location of AIDS Services Foundation Orange County. He also worked with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Jeff Griffith Youth Center as the Health Education Specialist where he found his passion for youth and youth advocacy. Jeffrey has further demonstrated this passion in his experiences as the Connect 2 Protect Coalition, Homeless and Runaway Youth Subcommittee Co-Chair and coalition member of the Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership, Services and Practices Implementation Network, where he co-developed capacity building programs aimed to better equip providers with skill sets to increase competency in working with homeless youth. Furthermore, he has also participated in the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Hollywood Coalition as an advisor, created a grass-roots youth development program for homeless youth for the SHIP program, and interned at the LGBT Resource Center at the University of California Irvine where he created a program which critically looks at the intersection of race and sexuality. He holds a Bachelors in Social Ecology and Minor in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine.
Adilene Lopez Valenzuela (bio)
Los Angeles External Affairs Associate
Adilene joined Peer Health Exchange in April of 2015. As the Los Angeles External Affairs Associate, she supports the LA Executive Director in the implementation of the site’s local fundraising strategy, including researching and engaging individual and institutional prospects, strengthening data and knowledge management practices and assisting with communications and event planning. She earned a BA in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining PHE, she spent three years working for Advancement Project across event planning, communications, grants management, and administrative capacities. Adilene comes to PHE with a commitment to building bridges and supporting underserved communities.
New York Executive Director
Rachael joined Peer Health Exchange in December of 2012. As the New York City Executive Director, Rachael is primarily responsible for developing, managing, growing, and evaluating the PHE New York City program as well as managing the New York City Program team, raising funds, managing and growing the New York City Board Overseers, and providing fiscal and organizational oversight for PHE New York City .
Prior to joining PHE, Rachael worked for the HEAT Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where she led a new program focused on engaging women of color who are HIV positive in their medical care using peer outreach workers. Before working for HEAT, she managed a peer program at Project Reach Youth (PRY) providing sexual health education to youth in Brooklyn. Rachael started her career in public health when she spent a year volunteering in South Africa as a peer educator on sexual health issues with Restless Development. Rachael serves on the board of directors of Sadie Nash Leadership Project. She holds Masters degrees in Public Health and Social Work from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
Elizabeth Brand (bio)
New York Senior Program Coordinator
Elizabeth joined Peer Health Exchange in July 2013. As a New York City Senior Program Coordinator, Elizabeth is primarily responsible for assisting with volunteer training, providing staff and program support, and managing program data and evaluation. Elizabeth graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Anthropology, concentrating in Global Health and Community Development. Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange, Elizabeth interned at the Global Alliance for Women’s Health at the United Nations and Planned Parenthood NYC. Most recently, she served as a Program Coordinator at Public Health Solutions, where she developed and managed a Neighborhood Hunger Network as well as taught nutrition education workshops to engage community stakeholders and address issues of food insecurity, nutrition, and poverty in under-resourced New York City neighborhoods.
Sarah Cocuzzo (bio)
New York Senior Program Manager
Sarah joined PHE in August 2012. As a New York Senior Program Manager, Sarah is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the NYC program and assisting the NYC Executive Director and Program Director. Sarah graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Prior to joining the PHE team, Sarah served as a Community HealthCorps member in NYC with the Institute for Family Health, where she developed and taught comprehensive health education workshops at the four public high schools served by IFH’s school-based health center.
Benjamin Delikat (bio)
New York Program Manager
Ben joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2013. As a New York Program Manager, Ben is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the New York program and assisting the New York Executive Director and Program Director. Ben graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in English and Urban Studies. While a student, he served as a Health Educator, Leadership Council Member, and Co-Coordinator for the Fordham PHE Chapter. As part of a research project for the Urban Studies department at Fordham, Ben scrutinized small school reform in New York City and the community effects of current urban education reform trends. Ben brings a passion for athletics and healthy living to his work at PHE, and remains committed to connecting all teens with the resources they need to live healthy lives.
Ryanne Filbey (bio)
New York Program Director
Ryanne began her position at PHE in August 2011. Previously, she worked at Strong Women, Strong Girls- an afterschool mentoring program for girls – as the Boston Program Manager. She worked closely with partners to implement excellent programming, provide appropriate trainings, cultivate community partnerships and provide ongoing support to mentors and chapter leaders. Prior to coming to Strong Women, Strong Girls, Ryanne served as the Teen Program Coordinator at Girls, Inc in Lynn, MA. Ryanne engaged young women as leaders in their community by designing lesson plans, implementing evaluations and directing an urban youth council. Ryanne is a graduate of the School for International Training Program: History and Culture of the African Diaspora, in Ghana. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound.
Tamara Joseph (bio)
New York Program Assistant
Tamara joined PHE in August 2014. In her role as Program Assistant she is responsible for providing support to the NYC program staff by managing program operations and materials, assisting with the recruitment, training, and assessment of volunteers, and working on other special projects. Tamara received her B.A. in Black Studies and completed a Pre-Health Post-Bac Program, both at Amherst College. During her time there she studied abroad in Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam through the International Honors Program: Health and Community track. She has worked as a Health Access Coordinator in NYC’s Human Resources Administration, conducting outreach to Bronx teens about free reproductive health insurance and gathering research for a reproductive health pamphlet. Tamara has also worked as a Research Assistant for the AIDS Project Los Angeles where she aided in the recruitment and screening of participants for a treatment adherence study.
Cameron Kinslow (bio)
New York Program Manager
Cameron joined PHE in June 2013. As a New York Program Manager, Cameron is primarily responsible for assisting with the development, management, growth, and evaluation of the NYC program and assisting the NYC Executive Director and Program Director. Cameron graduated from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Organizational Studies, concentrating in Healthcare Systems. While living abroad in Botswana Cameron interned with several health access organizations, including Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence providing comprehensive HIV-AIDS treatment to families. Cameron’s participation in Columbia University’s Summer Public Health Scholars Program engaged him in navigating health disparities within underserved communities. Prior to joining PHE, Cameron worked as a HealthCorps Program Coordinator at San Bernardino High School, where he organized youth-led action research projects and delivered a teen-focused health education curriculum.
Nebeu Shimeles (bio)
New York Development Manager
Nebeu joined PHE in August 2010 as the Bay Area Fellow, and began his new role as NYC Operations Coordinator in August 2011. Nebeu has experience working with a number of community based organizations, including extensive collaboration with Common Ground Collective, a New Orleans based non-profit dedicated to the equitable redevelopment of the Lower Ninth Ward in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Nebeu comes to PHE with an avid commitment to issues of social justice and a desire to help redress systemic inequities in health outcomes through his work at PHE.
Kellye McKenzie (bio)
Washington D.C. Executive Director
Kellye McKenzie joined Peer Health Exchange in September 2012. As the Washington DC Executive Director, she is responsible for developing, managing, and evaluating the PHE Washington DC program, raising funds, and managing the local staff and Board. She provides fiscal and organizational oversight for the city site and leads local strategic planning. Kellye, who started her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica in 1999 working as a peer health educator, has worked on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, and youth development issues for more than a decade. Prior to joining PHE she served as Adolescent Health Policy Program Manager at the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, where she managed an HIV/AID prevention program targeting high-risk adolescent males. She served as Associate Peace Corps Director in Western Samoa from 2008-2011, managing the development and implementation of two community development programs, and supporting a diverse group of volunteers. She has also served as Senior Program Manager, Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, where she helped shape state health department HIV prevention policies and programs targeting African American Women and Youth of Color, and Prevention Program Manager at the American Academy of HIV Medicine where she worked to increase the capacity of clinicians to provide effective HIV screening and counseling. Kellye received a Masters of Public Administration from New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (Public Service Fellow), and a BA in English from Spelman College.
Gillian Caplan (bio)
Washington, D.C. Program Manager
Gillian joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2013. As the Washington D.C. Program Manager, Gillian is primarily responsible for managing, growing, and evaluating the PHE program at two Washington D.C. college sites and supporting the development, management, growth and evaluation at all Washington, D.C. Partner High Schools. In 2011 Gillian received a BA in Psychology with a clinical concentration from Boston College. While there, she found her passion of fighting for social injustice and empowering youth through an afterschool mentoring program with an inner city Boston government housing project. This interest in social injustice led her to study abroad Grahamstown, South Africa where she volunteered with a local AIDS organization at a preschool in the township with children who were infected with HIV/AIDS. Prior to joining the PHE staff, Gillian returned to Grahamstown to join the fight to prevent transmission of HIV and educate at-risk youth on ways to protect themselves against the virus. As the Youth Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator for the HIV/AIDS clinic, she revamped the youth program, initiated a reading development program for primary school children in the township, and recruited over 30 volunteers for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program. Most recently Gillian worked for Community Bridges as the Middle School Program Manager, developing and facilitating after school curriculum that focused on leadership, identity, healthy relationships, and self-esteem for under-resourced middle school aged girls in Montgomery County.
Gia Coelho (bio)
Washington, D.C. External Affairs Associate
Gia joined Peer Health Exchange in October of 2014. As the Washington, DC External Affairs Associate, she supports the DC Executive Director in the implementation of the site’s local fundraising strategy, including researching and engaging individual and institutional prospects, strengthening data and knowledge management practices and assisting with communications and event planning. She earned a BA in Business Administration from Pune University. She spent five years working for the Times of India program Newspaper in Education where she taught workshops to students on a variety of social, behavioral and art related subjects. She also volunteered with organizations that provided support to children afflicted with Polio and young women rescued from human trafficking, by raising awareness and funds for their missions. Prior to joining PHE, she worked for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the Government of the District of Columbia, serving the people of DC and multiple District agencies. She brings her passion for developing relationships and her knowledge of public service to PHE Washington, DC.
Janée Walsh (bio)
Washington, D.C. Program Director
Janée joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2013. As the Washington, D.C. Program Director, Janée is primarily responsible for managing, growing, and evaluating the PHE Program at Washington D.C. college sites; supervising the development, management, growth and evaluation at all Washington, D.C. Partner High Schools; supporting PHE’s Washington D.C. fundraising and assisting the Washington D.C. Executive Director. Janée received her BA in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California, Irvine and received her graduate degree training from the University of Arizona receiving a MPH with the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and a MA in Latin American Studies with the Center for Latin American Studies. Prior to joining the PHE staff, Janée worked for over seven years to develop, implement, and evaluate diabetes community and youth education programs with a number of entities including the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Camping and Education Services- Camp Conrad Chinnock, and the School of Nursing at the University of Arizona. Janée also served as an intern and conducted qualitative thesis research with Profamilia in Bogota, Colombia to explore the perceptions of health and access to health services among internally displaced peoples living in Bogota, Colombia. Most recently Janée worked for The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services on a research study in Guatemala exploring lessons learned of combining health education and income generation activities among indigenous artisan women.