News Release

Effective Leaders Essential for Elevating Health Equity in Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT – December 12, 2013  The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) recently selected 19 Health leaders to participate in its ninth Health Leadership Fellows (HLF) class. This 10-month program is focused on the development, practice, and application of leadership skills to the complex issue of health equity for people of color in Connecticut.

“Effective leaders are essential for elevating health equity as a priority issue in Connecticut,” said Lina Paredes vice president of program. “The class offers many opportunities for leaders to grow and expand their skillset to bring them closer to success.”

Participants are selected through a competitive process, and complete a ten-month intensive program. This year’s class includes:

  • A dentist fluent in Spanish who advocates for all Spanish-speaking patients at the community health center where she works;
  • A nurse and long-time martial arts enthusiast whose passion for health equity was ignited with the tragic loss of her mother and aunt to esophageal cancer;
  • A public health specialist who came to Connecticut by way of Jamaica, and is motivated to relieve the ravages of racial and ethnic disparities across borders.

“I have so learned so much in the first three months of this fellowship, but one thing that truly resonates with me is that ‘optimum’ health care for all of Connecticut’s residents is complex and multi-layered,” says Karen Hatcher Sneed, President, Pequot Health Care/PRxN. Hatcher Sneed, a resident of Groton, is a seasoned healthcare executive interested in how population health management can improve the health and wellness of all racial and ethnic groups.

Members of the 2014 Health Leadership Fellows Class

At commencement in June, the class of 2014 will join the diverse and powerful statewide network of 160 Health Leadership Fellows.

Applications for the 2015 Class will be accepted in January 2014.  To learn more about the program, visit

About the Connecticut Health Foundation

The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems.  Since it was established in July 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grant-making, public health policy research, technical assistance and convening to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut.   Over the past 12 years, CT Health has awarded grants totaling almost $51,000,000 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.

In April 2013, CT Health announced its five-year strategic plan to transition to expand health equity as a focus.  For CT Health, health equity means helping more people gain access to better care, especially people of color.  Better care includes physical, mental, and oral health.