Leaders in Health

Program Overview

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.


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

Past Participants and Presentations

2022 Cohort Group of professionals who participated in the 2022 Leaders in Health cohort

  • 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

2021 Cohort

  • 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

2020 Cohort

  • 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

2019 Cohort Group of professionals who participated in the 2019 Leaders in Health cohort

  • 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

2018 CohortGroup of professionals who participated in the 2018 Leaders in Health cohort

  • 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

2017 Cohort

Group of professionals who participated in the 2017 Leaders in Health cohort

2014 Cohort

Group of professionals who participated in the 2014 Leaders in Health cohort

  • 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

Group of professionals who participated in the 2012 Leaders in Health cohort2012 Cohort

2011 Cohort

  • 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