Rakhi Agrawa Development Project Manager, Make-A-Wish – Rakhi is a former Austin public school educator who now works in nonprofit development. She is supremely interested in developing sustainable, equitable, and just solutions to issues such as social justice, racial justice, health equity, economic disparity, disability justice, housing insecurity, educational inequity, and more. In her personal time, Rakhi enjoys building a community for herself, learning new skills and exploring new things, and experiencing cultures through food and film.[
Lidia Aguilar – Patient Advocate, Kind Clinic – Lidia is a Patient Advocate at Kind Clinic and her passion is fulfilled when she is able to serve the community. Lidia is excited to join Community Health Champion group because she wants to collaborate and learn from other amazing people.
Aelia Akhtar – Senior Transformation Specialist, Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Aelia has been involved in creating health care policy with various state agencies since 2001. Her passion is serving as a connector, whether it is related to accessing health care services, navigating state government, or empowering women leaders. She is excited to be involved with a group of individuals who understand that health and wellness are the foundation of a thriving community.
Virginia Brown – Assistant Professor, Dell Medical School – As an assistant professor, Virginia is committed to make her training come to life. She looks forward to use her skills to collaborate with researchers and community members to address disparities in health and health care. She is excited to be a part of this program and looks forward to meeting and working with like minded individuals to think in community about the collective health and well-being of this city.
Carlos Chacon – Management Analyst, Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Carlos currently works for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission as a Management Analyst. There, he focuses on process improvement initiatives, project management and change management within the agency. Carlos is passionate about finding new creative ways to improve healthcare in the community. Carlos is excited about meeting other members of his community that are doing great things for the Austin’s population.
Nora Comstock – Trustee, Austin Community College – Nora is the national founder of Las Comadres Para Las Americas National and an ACC Trustee. She loves being a connector and problem solver. She is excited about the program because she will be able to connect more dots to help people with health care solutions
Eli Covarrubias – Health Management Liaison, Community Care Collaborative – Hilario ” Eli ” Covarrubias is the Health Management Liaison for Community Care Collaborative. He is an essential member of the Medical Management Team. He is responsible for assisting high risk MAP patients and their families navigate and access community resources. His passions include photography and hiking. As a Community Health Worker he is excited to learn new resources that would benefit his clients.
Melissa Davis – Program Services Coordinator, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians – Melissa is a Program Services Coordinator with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Her role at HAAM allows her to combine her passion for helping people with a love for music. Melissa hopes to connect with other social service-minded individuals through the Community Health Champions program, and gain a broader perspective on the healthcare system in Austin
Elena Diaz – Visiting Judge, Travis County – Judge Elena Diaz is a retired Justice of the Peace in Travis County. She still works as a visiting judge and a wedding officiant. She enjoys family time, travel, fine dining, movies, rock concerts and Spanish telenovelas. She is eager to participate in the Champions program to learn all about Central Health in order to promote it to those in need of healthcare in our community.
Allison Dubin – Program and Quality Manager, Foundation Communities – Allison Dubin is the Health Program & Quality Manager at Foundation Communities. She has a Master’s in Public Health from UTHSC and is passionate about reducing health disparities through public policy and environmental changes. She is excited to meet a larger network of people who want to improve the health of all Central Texans.
Colin Eckstein – Healthcare Chaplain Resident, Seton Healthcare Family – As a healthcare chaplain, Colin cares for the emotional and spiritual needs of his patients. Because poverty impacts even these areas, Colin is committed to an interprofessional solution to the disparity and lack of essential health services in Travis County.
Brenda Fierro – Program Manager, Integral Care – Brenda Fierro has been a social worker in Austin for seventeen years. She has spent most of her career in the non-profit sector. She is passionate about addressing social determinants of health and building an healthier Austin for all.
Casandra García – Community Health Worker, Sendero Health Plans – Casandra García is a Certified Community Health Worker passionate about helping patients achieve their health stability, maximum recovery and emotional wellbeing. During her childhood, Casandra noticed the multiple barriers her great-grandmother Domitila used to face while trying to stabilize her health. She realized our community includes members just like Domitila, who need assistance in managing their health. Today, Casandra provides face-to-face care management coordination alongside the dedicated Health Services team at Sendero Health Plans. Being part of Central Health’s Community Health Champions Program will allow her to further asses the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Brenda Garza – Community Engagement Representative, GenCure
Brenda is passionate about her position as the Community Engagement Representative for GenCure in partnership with the National Marrow Donor Program best known as Be the Match. She is driven to connect and help those find the resources and representation available to them. Her work as a community advocate began when she herself was diagnosed with cancer. This catapulted her to self-educate and take action towards researching any and all resources available to her through this difficult time. As a result, she was inspired to use her experience to help bring awareness to others who are going through similar medical situations.
Brenda’s work experience includes customer relations and education. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Business Management from the Universidad Autonoma del Noreste, Mexico. She has the ability to teach diverse educational programs and has encouraged the younger generations through motivational lectures. Her experience also encompasses resource development and project management. She has proven to be a passionate team leader and organizer and her charismatic nature has helped her tremendously to grow partnerships with community national and international organizations.
Brenda not only has a true love of helping others in need, but a deep bond with her new furr-baby, Jacinto. She is the proud mother of a doodle that she refers to as Mexi-Poodle originally from Mexico. Jacinto has brought her so much joy and fulfillment.
Brenda is honored to be part of the Central Health Champions 2019 Class and is looking forward to connecting with other leaders in the Austin community.
Kay Ghahremani- Texas Association of Community Health Plans – Bio coming soon.[
Clayton Gibson – Founder, QWELL Community Foundation – Clayton is the founder of QWELL Community Foundation, which works to measure and improve LGBTQIA+ wellbeing in Greater Austin by engaging community members and connecting them with affirming care. Clayton also works as a Community Engagement Specialist in the Population Health Department of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
Kensie Goodman- Bio coming soon.
ReShonda Gonzalez – Network Representative, Community Care Collaborative – ReShonda Gonzalez is currently the Network Representative with Community Care Collaborative and is a Licensed Health and Life Insurance agent, with over 10 years of experience in various healthcare roles. She is passionate about the disparities in healthcare care, and the stigma associated with mental illness in the African American community. She is excited about being selected to be a part of the 2019 Healthcare Champions Class, and looks forward to networking with fellow advocates in healthcare who desire to work collectively to learn how we can help improve the healthcare delivery system for the population we serve.
Brittany Hines – Administrative Supervisor, CommUnityCare Health Centers – Brittany is currently the Administrative Supervisor at the CommUnityCare North Central Health Center. She is excited to be accepted to the Health Champions program because it presents the opportunity for her to expand her knowledge of our ever changing health systems and how we as a community can help be the change people want to see
Caren Jeskey – Psychotherapist, Blue Moon Senior Counseling – Caren is a psychotherapist for seniors in their homes, has a growing private practice for all ages, and teaches yoga and meditation at the Lake Austin Spa and Resort. Caren has been interested in helping vulnerable people access healthcare and social services since she was a teenager. Caren is looking forward to being inspired by and sharing ideas with like-minded professionals in this program.
Halana Kalee – Public Health Educator, Austin Public Healt – Halana Kaleel is currently a Public Health Educator with Austin Public Health. She is passionate about serving the Austin/Travis County Community. She is excited to use this experience to further her career in health education and continue to serve the community.
Aastha Karki – Community Health Navigator, Austin Asian Community Health Initiative – Aastha is a Community Health Navigator and Community Interpreter. Currently she works with Austin Asian Community Health Initiative. She is passionate about music, books and anthropology.
Richard Kropp – Senior Grant Specialist, Lone Star Circle of Care – Richard is the Senior Grants Specialist for Lone Star Circle of Care, a federally qualified health center serving Travis, Williamson, Bell, Burnet, and Bastrop Counties, and South Central Houston. A lifelong resident of Central Texas and Austin, he has worked with state chronic disease prevention programs addressing diabetes and tobacco prevention. Richard is excited to again be working in population health with a community focus, sharing LSCC’s vision of eliminating health inequalities to facilitate wellness and optimal living for all, while helping to strengthen communities.
Kelli Lovelace – Adult Behavioral Health Program Specialist, Integral Care – Kelli is a public health professional who has worked for various community organizations in Austin. She is currently a Program Specialist at Integral Care where she supports mental health programs in the community. Kelli is passionate about access to high quality healthcare for every member the community. In her spare time you will find her biking, hiking, or on the lake!
Vung Lun – Community Health Navigator, Austin Asian Community Health Initiative – Lun works for Austin Asian Community Health Initiative (AACHI) as a Burmese Community Health Navigator. Lun is passionate about to serve humanity. Lun believes that the best reward of serving humanity is true happiness. Lun is very excited about the program to bring more happiness to herself and others by helping people who are in need.
Andy Manchala – Business Architect, ADP – Andy is a business solutions architect and a product owner with a company called ADP. His passion is community service and servant leadership. With this program he loves the opportunity to serve the community.
Rayna Manchala – Student, Liberal Arts and Science Academy – Rayna Manchala is in high school, currently attending the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. She loves being able to serve others, and is grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on her community.
Nabor Mireles – Student, University of Texas at Austin – Nabor is a third year neuroscience student attending the University of Texas at Austin with hopes of soon attending medical school. He is excited to complete the 2019 Community Health Champions program as he believes that understanding the health issues that impact Travis country can provide a unique perspective that can allow him to be a more considerate physician.
Yvonne Montejano – Business Analyst, Indeed – Yvonne Montejano found a passion for health care issues through her work in community health centers. She transformed decision-making at El Buen Samaritano by building from the ground their analytics department. She oversaw the implementation of El Buen’s first clinical performance metrics, paving the way for Patient Center Medical Home, Level 3 recognition from the The National Committee for Quality Assurance. Prior to that, she worked as an analyst for People’s Community Clinic as the sole code-writer for the annual FQHC UDS tables that report on 20 areas of patient care and health services. She holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and has served on various non-profit Boards.
Jessica Montour – State Refugee Health Coordinator, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants- Jessica is the Texas State Refugee Health Coordinator for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The program provides medical screenings, medical benefits, and mental health programs for refugees, asylees, international victims of human trafficking, Cuban/Haitian entrants, and special immigrant visa holders from Iraq and Afghanistan. She is passionate about working with colleagues and clients from cultures around the world. She is excited about learning about resources within the community that may enhance the resettlement experience for clients.
Victoria O’Dell – Program and Communications Manager, Capital City Innovation – Victoria O’Dell is Program and Communications Manager at Capital City Innovation. She has a background in design and believes residents, businesses, and government can work together to foster resilient communities in Texas and beyond. She’s passionate about connection, collaboration, and community and is excited to be in a cohort of people that care about improving community vitality.
Ruth Pacheco – Community Relations Representative, Dell Children’s Health Plan- Ruth works from Dell Childrens health plan as the community relations rep form North Austin. My passion is in health and wellness. I am excited to learn what are some health challenges and brainstorm on how to improve health outcomes in Travis and surrounding counties.
Edna Parra – Program Manager – Communications and Engagement, Dell Medical School – Edna Parra is a program manager at Dell Medical School for communications and community engagement. She is passionate about working with families and organizations to foster community-based programs in Austin’s fast-changing environment. Edna is very excited to work as a team with other Community Health Champions, and can’t wait to learn about great health organizations and initiatives in the area.
Eli Perez – Social Worker, Sendero Health Plans – After retiring from the United States Air Force, Elias became a social worker because he wanted to address the increasing need for mental health access and services within his community. Elias is passionate about increasing awareness and access to mental health as well as fighting to reduce the stigma and misunderstanding that is often associated with mental health. Elias is excited to be a Community Health Champion to help facilitate positive medical and mental health change within our diverse communities.
Arlet Polack – Telehealth Coaching Program Coordinator, It’s Time Texas – Arlet is the program coordinator to Texas’ only free, bilingual, and multimodal telehealth coaching program. This program is offered through It’s Time Texas, a non-profit org stationed here in Austin. In her spare time, Arlet enjoys the outdoors, working out, and eating.[
Celine Rendon – Intern, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – Celine is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science. She has worked and volunteered with PODER focusing on environmental, economic, health, and cultural impacts of land use and community development. During the summer of 2018, Celine was the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fellow for the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, working towards the development of an equitable community resilience plan. She is interested in pursuing a future working in natural hazards mitigation and regional planning and hopes to develop relationships in better understanding public health issues across Austin.
Rodolfo Rodriguez – Director of Health and Wellness Ecosystem, Housing Authority of the City of Austin – Rodolfo Rodriguez was raised in public housing along the US-Mexico border in West Texas. He has provided leadership support to elected officials in the West Coast and has championed equity through the power of public policy, social services, and the built environment. Rodolfo returned to Texas to catalyze health and dismantle systemic inequities on behalf of the 25,000 public housing residents he serves in Austin. He is excited to align with other leaders to achieve collective impact.
Sam Ruiz – International Education Consultant – Sam Ruiz is an International Education Consultant in Lain America. He is medically inquisitive and hopes to acquire knowledge to help the community.
Naomi Silverman – Development & Communications Manager, Sustainable Food Center – Naomi is the Development & Communications Manager and co-chair of the Equity Team at Sustainable Food Center, with a background in affordable housing, agriculture & food justice, and plant-based cooking. She is passionate about making her community happier, healthier, and more equitable, and is excited to further her knowledge of healthcare issues and collaborate with others in the field.
Chris Tarango – Community Engagement Manager, Integral Care – The policies that shape our community now were written by the voices and interests of their time. Chris is driven by opportunities to empower others so they can create the world they want to live in, that reflects the needs and desires of their families, friends, and neighbors. He is most excited about building relationships with other purpose driven Community Health Champions in the program and its alumni network.
Netsanet Temesgen Hopkins – Doctor of Dental Surgery – Dr. Netsanet Temesgen is a Doctor of Dental Surgery who recently experienced injustices and disservice in and throughout her industry after leaving the comforts of her private practice of over 10years. This was not only disheartening for her but also eye opening and she immediately thought, what can I do to make an impact in my professional community to best serve the general population. She is excited to participate in the 2019 Community Health Champions Co-hort for comprehensive awareness, partnership, and resolution for the community and the providers who have taken oath to care for the members of that community.
Jereka Thomas-Hockaday – Owner/Dean of Speciality Programs, Central Texas Allied Health Institute – I am the Dean of Specialty Programs at Central Texas Allied Health Institute. I am a Licensed Surgical Assistant and I have a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership and Management. I have a deep passion for Workforce Development in healthcare. It is my desire to see more persons of colors in both clinical and executive positions in healthcare. I’ve spent most of my career in the clinical space, I am excited to move into the policy space of healthcare.
Javier Valde – Chief Operations Officer, Karisha Community Center for Wellness – As Chief Operating Officer of Karisha Community Center for Wellness, Javier Valdez is a leader with a commitment to driving positive change and inclusivity in the fields of entrepreneurship, economic development, education, and healthcare. Through nearly 24 years of corporate & non-profit leadership roles at multiple Austin organizations supporting learning, inclusivity, and diversity, Javier brings to Karisha a talent for building strong relationships and communications between stakeholders; managing organizational operations with a focus on increasing efficiencies; reducing costs; and fostering talent in a collaborative team-centered culture.
Javier has 19+ years’ experience in non-profit board strategic leadership at several local and national non-profits including Con Mi Madre, Breakthrough Austin, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
His 24+ years’ experience as a technology and sales executive in diverse industries will also ensure sound business management as Karisha embarks on its mission to forge a new health care model in Austin. His professional resume includes leadership responsibilities at Oracle, Electronic Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), Cisco Systems, Inc., Renew Data Corporation, Toppan Photomasks, Inc., and Motorola.
Melody Valde – Administrative Supervisor, CommUnityCare Health Centers – Melody is an Administrative Supervisor for CommUnityCare. Melody’s passion is to be the voice for the underserved and homeless population. She is excited and humbled to be chosen as a Community Health Champion where she can work with other organizations and individuals who share the same passion and commitment in building a healthier community for Travis County residents.
Monique Vasquez – Research Program Coordinator, Dell Medical School – Department of Population Health – Monique is excited to learn more from community members and to build a strong network. She is passionate about addressing historical racial, social and gender inequities and is interested in the relationships between mental and physical health. She works as a Research Program Coordinator on projects focused on the mental health of Latinx immigrants at the Department of Population in the Dell Medical School. She likes to volunteer with the Institute of Chicana/o Psychology, the Texas National Association of Social Worker’s Race, Equity, Accountability & Leadership (REAL) Committee.
Alicia Roth Weigel – Director – Business Development, Notley – Alicia Roth Weigel is a change agent working to improve the political and social landscape for marginalized populations, through her service on the City of Austin’s Human Rights Commission and as Secretary of Austin Young Democrats. Alicia also serves as an advisor for interACT, which employs legal and media strategies to advocate for the human rights of children born with intersex traits like her. Her prior work as Policy and Advocacy Director for Deeds Not Words contributed to various state-level laws and city ordinances against sexual assault and human trafficking, and her firm Intrepida Strategy recently managed a campaign to attempt to elect the first out trans-person into office in Texas. Alicia now works in impact investing—supporting Notley Ventures’ mission to “scale impact and innovation wherever it lives” into new regions throughout the US.
Sonia Wright – Executive Coordinator, Austin Asian Community Health Initiative – I want to improve health equity, to make it easier for people to have access to good health in terms of prevention and treatment. Envisioning a society that values health because a healthier community means a healthier you. I’ve always been interested in community based public health intervention. My favorite course while studying at UT was an anthropology course focused on health and culture. I’m excited to learn about the specific ways Austin is currently working to try to improve health equity to all of its citizens.
Mikyung Yang – Korean Community Health Worker, Austin Asian Community Health Initiative – Mikyung works with AACHI as a Korean community health navigator. She has been working with CommUnityCare a lot and would like to learn more about Central Health. She is passionate about her community and hopes to do better with participating in this program.