Name: Constantine Alleyne

Occupation: Health Services Administrator II, University of Connecticut Correctional Managed Health Care

Why does health equity matter to you? 

I understand the complex interplay of cumulative social disadvantages have an adverse impact on health equity. And personally, I’ve experienced walking into executive meetings where I am the only black woman at the table, seeing folks regroup when I open my mouth to advocate for the disenfranchised populations and not to automatically agree to strategically placed policy changes.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

Aside from being educated, culturally and socially aware, I am compassionate, empathetic, and have vision. I communicate clear, concise instruction and do not hesitate to ask questions when I am uncertain; receptive to learning. I’m tactful in addressing sensitive matters and unapologetic about doing the right thing.

Where do you want to be in ten years, personally and professionally?

In the next ten years I intend on completing my doctorate in Public Health, taking my experiences, and love for empowering women to empower women globally. When women are empowered, whole families benefit, and these benefits often have ripple effects to future generations.




Constantine Alleyne

Name: Supriyo “SB” Chatterjee, MBA, MSc, MA

Occupation: Healthcare Technology Consultant and Entrepreneur

Why does health equity matter to you?

I was born in India, then spent several years in the United Kingdom before moving to Connecticut, where I’ve spent the last three decades. As such, I’ve lived through varying healthcare systems and encountered relatively distinct health inequities and disparities in each one.

What’s in your health leadership toolkit?

A real passion for seeing policy-making, entrepreneurship, and technologies come together to improve the health care system in Connecticut. I’ve worked over 20 years in health-related organizations like Aetna Health, IBM Research, US Army Medical Corps, the State of Connecticut, and UNICEF. I’m proud to say I actively pursued legislation for social entrepreneurship in public health, and the bill passed in May 2014.

Where do you want to be in ten years, personally and professionally?

Even more involved in health policy efforts. I’d like to see my entrepreneurial ventures in the health care arena really have taken off. And as a private pilot, I hope to fly coast-to-coast over the Lewis & Clark expedition in a small Piper J-3 Cub.


Supriyo “SB” Chatterjee, MBA, MSc, MA

Name: Faina Dookh

Occupation: Project Manager, Department of Social Services

Why does health equity matter to you?

Growing up in a low-income community, I witnessed the heart breaking effects of being underinsured and uninsured. Health equity means that all people, including the people I love, will never have to suffer in silence for health conditions that can and should be treated in a timely and dignifying way.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

My personal experience and academic background studying poverty and inequality gives me urgency and passion to create change and challenge preconceptions. Also, I hope to bring a multidisciplinary perspective to health equity from my interests and work in education, housing, and economic development. Most importantly, I bring an inquisitive approach and constant curiosity to understand how inequities are perpetuated, how societal patterns become institutionalized, and how change happens.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

I love board games and other “in-person” games – chess, Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, cards, etc. As long as I don’t have to clean up!

Faina Dookh

Name: Tevonne T. Ellis

Occupation: Community Partner Coach, Greater Hartford REACH (Racial Ethnic Approach to Community Health) Coalition

Why does health equity matter to you?

I am a living health disparity statistic. My personal journey is one of learning to be a healthy woman of color living in an urban community, surrounded by people who struggle with the barriers created by inequities of health. I’m a big believer in the saying, “Your greatest wealth is your health.” I’m passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to be wealthy!

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I am a jack-in-the-box! Crank me up and I am filled with all types of unique qualities. I love to engage others in conversations. I see myself as a team player that finds ways to involve everyone so each person has a good experience. My enthusiasm is contagious and often adds to getting others excited about task at hand.

Which fictional character inspires you?

Wonder Woman, of course! She is a strong and resourceful Amazon warrior princess, with a rope trick for every problem. In addition, she was gifted with a range of superhuman powers and superior combat and battle skills. Like Wonder Woman, I am a majestic AMAZON woman with a diversity of talents and strengths.



Tevonne T. Ellis

Name: Kenny Feder

Occupation: Policy Analyst, Connecticut Voices for Children

Why does health equity matter to you?

Kids can’t learn when they have mental health issues they can’t get treated due to inequitable access to mental healthcare. I saw it with my fellow classmates at my public high school in Philadelphia, and I saw it with the students in foster care I worked with after I graduated. Working with those students grew my understanding of the source of these disparities.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

During a two-year fellowship at Connecticut Voices for Children, I developed many of the skills for turning research into policy. A major part of my work was also working with youth in foster care to help them have a voice in the state policy making process.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

I do math for fun, and sometimes spend hours reading Wikipedia articles (which I don’t really understand) about calculus or statistics.





Kenny Feder

Name: Alice Nelson Ferguson

Occupation: Consumer Advocate, Chair, Hartford Commission on HIV/AIDS

Why does health equity matter to you?

As an HIV/AIDS Survivor and Advocate, I’ve seen how many people in my community did not receive the same high-quality healthcare that I did. I’ve been an outspoken advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. I seek out and join decision-making bodies whose goal is to address the complete healthcare needs and concerns of consumers..

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I am a rebel…. I respect authority, policies, rules and regulations; however, when they are at odds with what I truly believe is required, I have no issue with challenging the process. To thine own self be true and serving the cause for the greater good even when it may not be easy.

What fictional character inspires you?

Alicia Florrick, the complex protagonist of “The Good Wife.” I have always been so intrigued by the concepts of justice and law, so much so that I got my associate’s degree in criminal justice. Alicia is fascinating to watch as she tries to strike the balance between living and doing what’s right, both legally and morally. There’s also the interplay of her daughter’s strong faith with her own lack of faith. For me, my strong faith is how I weathered many a health-related storm. I wish I could share that with Alicia.





Alice Ferguson

Name: Venton B. Forbes

Occupation: Executive Director, FaithCare Inc.

Why does health equity matter to you?

Through FaithCare’s community outreach program and our international medical mission projects, I have seen too many patients who are in desperate need of medical and dental treatment because they haven’t seen a doctor or dentist in years due to the lack of adequate medical coverage . In the day and time we are living in, it shouldn’t be so. But the reality is, each and every day we talk to or walk by someone that is uninsured or underinsured.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

From many years of service in the US Army, the corporate sector and now the non-profit arena, I have learned the following things about leadership:

  • Sacrifice – leaders surrender their egos to accomplish the mission of the team
  • Perspective – leaders paint the big picture for others
  • Team building – leaders are brokers of the talents and gifts of their team members
  • Teachability – leaders learn from their past successes and failures

Which character from a novel inspires you?

Mark Thackeray, Sidney Poitier’s character in To Sir, With Love inspired me to see the best in people and appreciate them for their unique contribution to society.


Venton B. Forbes

Name: Tonya Irby-Langley

Occupation: Community Collaboration Manager, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Why does health equity matter to you?

I can’t sit back anymore and watch entirely preventable diseases from attacking yet another one of my loved ones or community members.

What’s your leadership toolkit?

I know the healthcare field inside and out, thanks to the more than 20 years I’ve spent working in it. I believe my knowledge and expertise can inform the work of my cohort. I’m also the oldest sister of three strong women, and you know what they say about the oldest child! We know how to get things done. I may or may not have the nickname “Boss Lady” amongst my friends.

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Whenever I have a free moment I head to the beach. I love the ocean. But if I can’t find time to get to the beach, I relax through meditation, singing, and praying.


Tonya Irby-Langley

Name: Russell Melmed

Occupation: Epidemiologist, Ledge Light Health District

Why does health equity matter to you?

What can I say, I’m a recovering younger brother who still bristles in empathy at all forms of injustice. As an employee of a public health department, I have the agency backing to make a real impact in eliminating health inequities. Take that, older brother (name withheld to protect his guilty).

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I like to keep a heavy pipe wrench in my toolkit. It is useful for dealing with old, rigid structures that don’t tend to loosen with anything other than the most firm, consistent pressure applied at just the right point.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet. It took me more than a year to build what was an ultimately poorly-constructed, over-budget treehouse for my own kids. The show reminds me what a person with real knowledge and skill can do and it gives me pause before I start the next cockamamie plan for my family!

Russell Melmed

Name: Jacqueline Ortiz Miller

Occupation: Community Health Worker, Center for Community Research, C3R at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center.

Why does health equity matter to you?

Families in my community who are low-income, have linguistic barriers, lack of transportation, and a fear of diagnosis continue to have unequal access to healthcare. I believe everyone deserve to have equal access regardless of their environment. Anything less is unacceptable.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

As a Hispanic from Puerto Rico who migrated to Brooklyn, NY, I have personal knowledge of what it means to have inequitable access to healthcare. My personal experiences, my voice, and my passion for my community are the tools that I have to lead in bringing forth their message to the powers that be.

Which TV show character inspires you?

I am inspired by Sydney Bristow, a female action hero from the television show Alias. I like Sydney am an agent in the community, whose secret weapon is the fearlessness I have each day, as I navigate through my community regardless of the danger, emotional and physical challenges that I face with every mission. Every day I throw on my cape, with the letters H.E. on my chest, and I fight the bad guys in this world who continue to allow inequitable access to healthcare.


Jacqueline Ortiz Miller

Name: Fernando Morales

Occupation: Executive Director, Latino Community Services, Inc.

Why does health equity matter to you?

In the community I serve, I have seen so many people struggle to understand and make decisions about their health. Language is one barrier, but it goes deeper than that. My clients do not always understand what HIV progression means, let alone to them, and how to make good choices for their health. I want to make sure every person has the tools necessary to understand any health decision so they can make the informed choice.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I bring commitment, dedication and genuineness to all of the work I do. I also hope to bring a little of the knowledge I gained while participating in the experiential concept of community building. As a group we need to communicate openly and effectively; and to work together toward common goals in a safe space.

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

I love sweets. I have an utter need for sweets. And while I love all sweets, I do have a favorite. Homemade chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. I love it!


Fernando Morales

Name: Stella Ntate

Occupation: Regional Network Manager, ValueOptions, CT

Why does health equity matter to you?

In the last two years, I’ve found my voice in advocating and educating myself about the type of health care I need and deserve. I want to empower others to be able to do the same for themselves and their families.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

During my 2 and a half years at the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership I got my initial exposure to health systems change and learnt that the ability to listen to and work with people with different perspectives was so important in achieving change. The experience has left me fascinated with systems change!

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Shoe shopping! But I also love good jazz music.



Stella Ntate

Name: Phyllis Akua Odoom

Occupation: Dentist, Community Health Center, Inc.

Why does health equity matter to you?

It breaks my heart when I have to remove a five-year-old’s baby tooth because they’re in tremendous pain and cannot eat. No child should ever have to go through that! Health care is a right, not a privilege.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

Growing up in Ghana, West Africa, I hope to bring a little bit of my unique upbringing to this fellowship. I especially hope that by the end of the fellowship everyone would be doing the AZONTO dance (look it up!) whenever they are stressed out and need to relax.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

When you look out of your car window at 7:30 am in the morning, I am probably that 5″2, 130 Ib woman fist pumping to “Summer time,” “Wake Me Up” or “Burn” …getting pumped up for my awesome day at work!


Phyllis Akua Odoom

Name: MaryAnn Perez-Brescia MSN, RN

Occupation: Assistant Professor, Three Rivers Community College Nursing Program

Why does health equity matter to you?

Working in healthcare has exposed me to an overwhelming abundance of preventable and inexcusable health care disparities. I have witnessed first hand the result of poor health on people’s lives as well as their families and communities. I believe it is a human right to be well. One can say that it is “not our problem” but the health of others is. As it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to maintain health in our communities.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I have taught and led new nurses in and out of the classroom. I was the president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses-Hartford Chapter for two years.

Where do you want to be in ten years personally and professionally? 

I’d like to have completed my Doctorate in Nursing so that I may provide leadership and change in many areas of healthcare. Personally, I would like to begin chipping away at my “Bucket list” and learn how to play guitar, swim, and travel to another country on a mission.

MaryAnn Perez-Brescia MSN, RN

Name: Eric Rey

Occupation: Executive Director, Beulah Heights Social Integration Program

Why does health equity matter to you?

Not having proper healthcare can be devastating. I see it all the time through my work with those coming out of incarceration. Illness can affect someone’s life and profound and unpredictable ways. I believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at being healthy.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

Communication. I make every effort to be succinct and focused with my thoughts while being careful with my words. I try to use emotional intelligence to gauge the situation so I can decide the best way to get my message across

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a self-proclaimed pizza snob! I am from New Haven which happens to be home to some of the finest pizza in the world. You read that right….the whole world, and as such I take is as my duty to spread the “gospel” of great pizza.


Eric Rey

Name: Jeanette Goyzueta Rhodes, MPH

Occupation: Research Associate I, Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health

Why does health equity matter to you?

My family is from another country, and the members who have the greatest healthcare needs are also the ones who don’t speak English fluently. They work, contribute to their communities, pay taxes, and yet are treated differently when they need help. I’ve seen it and it is not fair.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

Good listening skills. I believe everyone’s point of view should be heard. As an immigrant, I bring another culture’s perspective in terms of language, health, alternative medicine, and the impact of community and family.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

I never realized how interested I am in celebrity news! After having a baby I needed quick reading material for in-between/during feedings and naps and learned a lot about celebrity lives. I also kept up with the royal family and the baby prince who is a few months older than my daughter.

Jeanette Goyzueta Rhodes, MPH

Name: DeLita Rose-Daniels

Occupation: Medical Case Manager, HIV Wellness Center, Human Resource Agency

Why does health equity matter to you?

Health and wellness belong to everyone. Color, ethnicity, and/or race should not be barriers to being well and accessing healthcare.

What’s in your leadership toolkit:

Optimism. Where there is a will there is a way. A challenge or obstacle is simply a new opportunity to achieve something greater! Cheers to the glass that’s half full!

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Singing! My entire family is musically inclined.. Except me! So what do I do? Pretend I can sing and pretend it sounds good. I even joined a choir at church once. Not so much as a singer but what I like to call “making a joyful noise.”



DeLita Rose-Daniels

Name: Andrea Silber

Occupation: Medical Oncologist, Yale University

Why does health equity matter to you?

Inner-city residents were some of my first patients in the teaching hospitals where I worked. In an age with many advances in medical technology, I care for cancer patients who have little access to these developments and can’t afford their medications.

Now that my skills are more mature, I want to advocate for the community who helped me get where I am.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I understand well the factors that influence health care outcomes in New Haven, where I’ve worked for more than two decades. I am persuasive / stubborn and able to convince individuals to quit smoking and develop healthy habits. During the fellowship, I want to amplify and globalize these skills in order to have an impact on cancer health policy.

What is your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

Lifetime Movies. All the issues are resolved in 90 minutes and the heroine always triumphs at the end of the day.




Andrea Silber

Name: Stacy-Ann Walker, MPH, MBA

Occupation: Director of Community Outreach Services, Seabury At Home

Why does health equity matter to you?

Everyone should have the same right to health care regardless of their skin color or where they were born. As a Jamaican, I see members of my community struggle everyday to navigate the healthcare system. I dream of a country where everyone has equal access to health care services. Achieving health equity is personal for me.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

I have a knack for creating strategic relationships and partnerships. I look forward to making new ones with my cohort as we share our experiences and learn from each other.

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

If I am not sleeping, I am eating. I am a certified foodie who loves to try different dishes! I love Asian cuisine, particularly Thai. Order me up some spring rolls and basil fried rice..yum.



Stacy-Ann Walker, MPH, MBA

Name: Maya G. Welfare

Occupation: Office of the Mayor, City of New Haven

Why does health equity matter to you?

A kindergartner, in my classroom, was humiliated because students taunted him after realizing that he had numerous teeth discolored from cavities and amalgam. The students intuitively knew that his discolored, amalgam-filled teeth symbolized poverty. This display of health inequity had a lasting impression on me. Patients shouldn’t be denied quality health care based on income.

What’s in your leadership toolkit?

Traveling has afforded me the opportunity to study Spanish and become more culturally sensitive. These experiences have been significant in respecting the importance of different customs and health disparities that are culture specific. I better understand that culture is important to people and it shapes their views on health and medicine.

What’s your not-so-secret guilty pleasure?

In my spare time, in order to increase my mental agility and memory, I relish playing: academic, mind, strategy, and Spanish vocabulary games on my iPhone. Some of my frequently played games are BrainWars, Duolingo, and Word Scramble.




Maya G. Welfare