The Leaders in Health (LIH) program strengthens community health initiatives through introductory training in public health research and science. The goal of the Leaders in Health program is to build the capacity of our community partners by providing participants with an introduction to the fundamentals of community-based participatory research (CBPR), program planning, and evaluation. Participants attend interactive training sessions, complete assignments, and receive support to create an action plan to enhance their work.
Timeline & Time Commitment
The application period for a new cohort typically opens each August, and participants are chosen by mid-September. The program takes place from September through November. Participants should expect to dedicate two hours per week for training sessions as well as an additional two hours of their own time completing readings, assignments, and applying what they have learned to their project.
From 2011-2014, the HPRC partnered with the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness (BCFF), and Harvard Catalyst’s Community Engagement Program, on a training focused on nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention among children and youth. Through our conversations with community partners working to improve nutrition and physical activity, many organizations asked for a program to help better understand and use the public health approach, community-based participatory research methods, and the science underlying effective evidence-based obesity prevention strategies.
Leaders in Health was re-launched in 2017 with the Harvard T.H. Chan Office of Diversity and Inclusion under co-Directors, Bekka Lee and Ra’Shaun Nalls, with a broader focus on population health and prevention—expanding to include projects on topics such as elder wellness, health in housing, and sexual health promotion.
Topics covered during the Leaders in Health Program include:
- Public Health Principles & Practice
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Health Equity
- Project Planning & Implementation
- Program Evaluation
- Public Speaking & Policy Advocacy
Within the first few weeks of the program, members identify a project that they are working on which they think could be enhanced by LIH principles. Then, over the second half of the program, participants create action plans, construct logic models, and examine evaluation and implementation strategies to help translate their knowledge into practice.
During the final week of the program, LIH participants presented an outline of the key components of their projects, such as specific aims, target population, activities, outcomes, and LIH concepts that they applied.
Program Dates: 2011-2014, 2017-present
Contact: Rebekka Lee
Five Questions with Leaders in Health Alumni
We’re excited to regularly feature Leaders in Health alumni here on the Leaders in Health page as well as in our quarterly news stories in our news section to highlight the successes that they’ve accomplished in their cohort and beyond in their daily work.
Five Questions with Ricardo Henry
Ricardo Henry, Community Leader at Health Leads, who participated in the 2022 Leaders in Health Cohort, answered five questions about his experience and what he’s up to now.
What drew you to participate in the Leaders in Health program?
The Leaders in Health Program seemed like it would give me the tools to do exactly what I wanted to do with and for my community, and it did.
What was your Leaders in Health project about?
My project was and still is about partnering with the community to build a group of leaders who are at the forefront of all decision making about food security, by reminding everyone what eating healthy looks like, sharing resources and helping to shape policy that work for underserved communities, access to healthy produce and fruit and cooking classes, learning to cook a healthy meal that only cost $25 and 30 mins to make to feed a family of four.
What was your favorite part of participating in Leaders in Health?
I met so many nice people who were also working to improve the lives of their community members and I enjoyed learning the best way to bring the community together for a cause that’s important to everyone.
What are you up to now? Any plans for the future?
I am doing exactly what I set out to do. Having community meetings with approximately 30 members every other week, having healthy food distributions every week, cooking classes, creating access to community leadership development, building relationships with orgs who are working on policy. Plans for the future are to build relationships with schools to get more youth involved in community service.
What advice would you share to those who might be interested in applying for a future Leaders in Health cohort?
My advice would be to know or have an idea of what you want to pursue as a project first, and build on the plan as you gain the appropriate tools needed while in the classes.
Past Participants and Presentations
- Shauntel Garner-Anderson, Senior Trainer for Health Equity, Boston Public Health Commission
- Melissa Henry, Community Health Worker, Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Ric Henry, Community Leader, Health Leads
- Darris Jordan, Program Coordinator, Boston Public Health Commission
- Samantha Singh, Community Outreach, Springfield Health and Human Services
- Abdullah Abdul-Rahim, Volunteer, MOCHA
- Christopher Goffigan, Assistant Coordinator, Homeless Services, Boston Public Health Commission
- Yamira Gonzalez, Project Coordinator, Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
- Cynthia Jones, President & Founder, A Path to Wholeness
- Tatecia Smith, Sexual Health Outreach & Engagement Coordinator, Tapestry Health
- Wendy Chin, Community Health Worker, Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Ana Jaramillo, Program Coordinator, Holyoke Health Center
- Gri Saex, Community Health Worker/Transportation Specialist, Baystate Health
- Tiffany Vassell, Registered Nurse, Cambridge Hospital
- David Dankwah, Director of Faith & Religious Community Engagement, Global Collaborative for Preventing and Healing Sexual Abuse
- Moses Dixon, President & CEO, Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
- Yoel Drachman, Senior Advisor, Center to Advance Consumer Partnership
- Steven Flythe, Case Manager, City of Somerville Department of Health and Human Services
- Durrell Harris, Associate Director of Community Engagement, Urban Edge Housing Corporation
- Anaëlle Séïde, Public Health Analyst, Boston Trauma Response, JRI
- Adriana Tejada, Child Nutrition and Communications Coordinator, New Hampshire Hunger Solutions
- Areerut “Mimi” Wattanarungsun, Health Advocate
- Yessenia Alfaro, Community Engagement Director, The Chelsea Collaborative
- Mary Burns, Volunteer, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard
- Jamila Gordon, Active Living Project Manager, Boston Public Health Commission
- Aliese Lash, Youth Programs Social Worker, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Jennifer Lewis, Youth Education Services & Workforce Development, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard
- Elecia Miller, Coordinator, City of Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force
- Maame Obeng, Volunteer, Ron Burton Training Village
- Brad Phillen, Cambridge in Motion Program Specialist, Cambridge Public Health Department
- Leslie Stafford, Health Equity and Wellness Organizer, Madison Park Development Corporation
- Marie Jacques Toussaint, Volunteer, Immigrant Family Services Institute
- Lisa Walden, Outreach and Evaluation Specialist, Action for Boston Community Development
- Laura Adam, Director of Senior Services, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard
- Kenna Banda, Outreach Coordinator, Public Health Advocacy Institute Transformative Action Project
- Bria Gadsden, Wellness Peer Education Program Coordinator, Roxbury Prep
- DaVan Johnson, Director, Divine Revelations Healing and Birthing Center
- Emily Lewis, Managers of Arts, Culture & Civic Engagement, Sociedad Latina
- Laura Miller, Program Coordinator, Fenway Community Center
- Anissa Ray, Training Program Manager, Boston Public Health Commission
- Natanya Sanderson, Health Outreach Worker, Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Jholaine Simonds, Health Outreach Worker, Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Alithea Casimir, Clinical Responder, Justice Resource Institute
- Ursula DeAzevedo-Vesty, Health Education Program Coordinator, Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Elaina DeStefano, Strategic Programs Coordinator, Louis D Brown Peace Institute
- Kadian Edobar, Program Coordinator, ABCD Health Services
- Paul Francois, Resident Services Manager, Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation
- Lavell Fulks, Public Safety Coordinator, Madison Park Development Corporation
- Ominique Garner, Volunteer member, City of Boston Youth Action Board
- Sasha Heggie-Jackson, Founder and CEO, Jackson Center for Leadership
- Karen Koretsky, Coalition Director, Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition
- Alysha Noel, Community Engagement Coordinator, Boston Children’s at Martha Eliot Health Center
- Monalisa Smith, Founder and CEO, Mothers for Justice and Equality
- Elaine Adams, Registered Nurse & Exercise Instructor, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard – Healthy Moves
- Jean Dolin, Health Ambassador, Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) – Connect the Community
- Karen Gately, Executive Director, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard – Fit for Life
- Irvienne Goldson, Deputy Director, Health Services Department, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) – Assessing Food Insecurity Sister2Sister
- Ronald Lammy, Board President, Boston Elder HealthCare Disparities Coalition – Total Wellness for Elders
- Sahar Lawrence, Community Engagement Officer, Urban Edge Housing Corporation – Health in Housing
- Mary Ann Nelson, Executive Director, Mission Hill Health Movement – Know your Numbers!
- Corina Pinto, Health Ambassador, Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) – Comunidad, Equidad y Salud
- Nancy Rihan-Porter, Coordinator, Injury & Violence Prevention Program, Cambridge Public Health Department – Cambridge Prevention Coalition 2.0
- Nancy Smith, Program Manager for Community Outreach, Office of Public Health Preparedness, Boston Public Health Commission – Physical Activity Promotion as the Route to Preparedness Mindset: Muslim Women and Girl Learn How to Swim
- Rosa Beriguete, Family Partner Case Manger & Zumba Instructor – Dorchester House
- Hameen Edwards, Athletic Director – Boston Inner City Youth Tennis Program
- Kendra Graves, Founder & Instructor – Earthseed Yoga
- Mirlande Joseph, Greenway Community Organizer – Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition
- Rosamaria Olortegui, Health Educator – Commonwealth Care Alliance
- Stephanie Simmons, Foodcorps Service Member – The Food Project
- Loni Zelfon, Assistant Culinary Educator – Future Chefs
- Albert Pless, Manager Men’s Health League – Cambridge Health Alliance
- Mary Beth Byrnes, Ohrenberger Community Health Center – After School Program Healthy Choices
- Alveta Haynes, Peoples Baptist Church – Reducing the consumption of sugar by replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water
- Chien-Chi Huang, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center – Healthy Chinatown Initiative
- Robert Kordenbrock, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center – Measuring and Impacting the Physical Activity and Food Choices of Chinatown Youth
- Jennifer Munoz, Mother Caroline Academy – Project F.U.N.
- Irene O’Hayer, Brookside Community Health Center – Health Center Garden
- Daisy Ortega, Health Resources in Action – Healthy Girls, Healthy Women Evaluation
- Michael Peck, Boston Public Schools – Nourishing Kids
- Carolina Prieto, Sociedad Latina – Parents, Food, and Community Engagement
- Vickey Siggers, Mattapan Square Farmers’ Market – Promoting SNAP/EBT and Bounty Bucks
- Mary Barber, The Home for Little Wanderers – Physical Activity Plan for Residential School Programs
- Jennifer Beniquez, South End Community Health Center – Weight Initiative Now
- Aurora Cenolli, Latin American Health Institute – Comadres
- Daryl Golston, Codman Square Neighborhood Council – Codman Square Walk Group and Corner Store Initiative
- Marilyn Fulani Haynes, The Village for Education and Training – Veggie Patch Playgrounds
- Bill Loesch, Codman Square Neighborhood Council – Codman Square Walk Group and Corner Store Initiative
- Mary Lynch, Dorchester House – Healthy Weight for Life Clinic
- Karen Morson, Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center After School Enrichment Program – Project Healthy Living
- Ana Marina Vaquerano, Latin American Health Institute – Comadres
- Wenjun Zhai, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Association – Rock Your Body
- Linda Brandon, Smart from the Start Program – Adult Physical Fitness and Health Literacy Project
- Brandy K. Cruthird, Body By Brandy and Body By Brandy 4 Kidz – On My Way, On My Bike
- Hector Cruz, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) – Club Social de Ahorro Infantil
- Judith Ellen, UMass Boston – iTeen: Interlinking Technology, Exercise, Education, Nutrition
- Jen French, Bowdoin Street Health Center – Healthy Champions
- Anne Greenbaum, Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center – Healthy Dorchester
- Carmen Johnson, Boston Public Health Commission – Pink and Black Campaign