Akosua Adu-Boahene is a full-time student who will be graduating in spring 2016 from the School of Public Health at Brown University with her Master of Public Health degree. Adu-Boahene also works part-time as a research intern at the Rhode Island Department of Health. She looks forward to applying the knowledge and skills she has acquired during her training as a MPH student in her role as a community liaison, supporting the Rhode Island Hospital community health needs assessment.
Kormasa Amos is a first-generation Liberian, born and raised in Rhode Island. She discovered upon graduation from Rhode Island College that she is an inventive force with the ability to mediate and interpret concepts through speech, sound, imagery and digital media. She envisions that throughout her career she will be influential in making community partnerships that engage local residents in decision-making processes, sustain relationships and implement change through action. She is currently a staff advocate at HMEA (Horace Mann Educational Associates) and is attending Suffolk University to obtain her master’s degree in public administration.
Guerline Aurélus is a realtor in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She is also an MBA graduate from Providence College with over 10 years of banking, sales, business operations and customer service experience, making her passionate about customer experience and satisfaction. Recently, she found her passion in working on different projects that aim to provide better housing benefits for the minority and Veterans’ communities. That same passion led her to join the “2016, Year of the Veterans” committee and to collaborate with West Elmwood Housing to assist in developing its first-time homebuyer curriculum for 2016. Her company, TransFormCredit, was founded to help a niche of potential clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who dream of becoming homebuyers but have been denied because of their credit.
Kelsey Bala has been working within the community of the East Side of Providence over the past year. After obtaining her bachelor of science degree from Gordon College, she has invested her time in helping young adults develop leadership skills through the local organization Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today. Kelsey has a passion for community health, and intends to further serve the community through public health research. As a community liaison, representing The Miriam Hospital, she hopes her efforts will help identify the health concerns of the neighborhood and find ways to mitigate those concerns.
Joemily Collazo works as a landscape gardener for Wild and Scenic, Inc. during the spring, summer and fall. She spends her winter months performing outreach and helping multiple organizations in her community of Providence. Joemily is also a lay speaker at the Open Table of Christ United Methodist Church. She was drawn to that role because it is another opportunity to do whatever she can to help improve the quality of life in her community. Though temporary, Joemily hopes that the community liaison position with allow her to help Lifespan obtain the data it needs to make decisions about the types of programs and services it should offer.
Neyda DeJesus moved to Newport in 2008 and immediately began getting to know the neighborhood and her new community. Responsible, hard-working and energetic, Neyda often goes the extra mile for anyone who needs her support. She has a genuine passion for helping people, which led her to go back to school to major in social work at the Community College of Rhode Island. When not in school, Neyda volunteers at her daughters’ school and at other community organizations such as Parent Partner Mentoring Program, Child and Family, East Bay Head Start, Family Care Community Partnership and RhodeMap RI. Volunteering gives Neyda the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people. Currently, she serves as a resident consultant for the Health Equity Zone project at the Women’s Resource Center in Newport. She says any of her free time is spent with her family, making memories that help her to stay grounded and humble.
Kenya Fullen is a passionate community advocate who operates on the belief that those with the strongest support system and resources are the ones who are best able to make through life’s challenges. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Kenya is now pursuing a master’s degree in community development from Roger Williams University. Kenya is also the owner of People’s Social Service Consulting, which has a mission of empowering marginalized communities to help improve better quality of life.
Carmela A. Geer is by profession an educator and advocate of 25 years and a consultant and trainer for the past 19. A resident of Middletown, she is currently serving as the executive director of the Edward King House Senior Center in Newport, serving seniors age 50 and older, to promote independent and healthy lifestyles. She is connected to her community by her involvement as community volunteer coordinator for the island's emergency management agencies and is active in support of the needs of seniors and children. She believes that people do better when they know better and works tirelessly to share community-building information whenever possible. Her ever-growing family is her inspiration as an advocate, keeping her grounded to the needs of families in the 21st century. She travels extensively throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts as a public speaker, spreading the word with regard to best practice, professionalism and surviving life in the digital age.
Norma V. Hardy, MEd, CHES, is a health education specialist with over 20 years of community-based research work experience in program planning and development for low-income and/or minority populations. Norma is an experienced motivational counselor for behavioral change. She is also an experienced project manager, who uses data to ensure excellent quality of data sets and tracking systems across multiple projects.
Shawn Judge is a full-time student with College Unbound, and is graduating in May 2016 with a degree in Organizational and Community Studies. Shawn heard about the opportunity of the Community Liaison position through her network at College Unbound and felt it would be very exciting and important work. Serving as a liaison for Bradley Hospital is a perfect fit for her skill set, her program of study, and complements her project work with College Unbound, which was to start a support group for parents who have children struggling with substance abuse. Judge’s hope for this work will be to better target resources to best serve the needs of this community.
Megan Leonard is originally from Long Island, New York. She moved to Newport in 2008 to attend Salve Regina University and graduated in 2012 with a major in psychology and a minor in special education. Upon graduation from Salve, Megan accepted a job at the Newport County YMCA as their adapted physical activity director. In this position, she runs programs for kids and adults with special needs and also manages the Newport County YMCA Special Olympics team. Megan is currently going back to school to earn a master’s degree in special education and plans to continue to empower the Newport community however she can. When not working or studying, Megan enjoys going for runs and paddle boarding at the beach.
Geraldine McPhee was encouraged to become a community liaison after learning about the Community Health Needs Assessment in Lifespan’s PULSE newsletter. Lifespan’s community newsletter has been a welcome resource that supports the work Geraldine does with families and professionals at Rhode Island Parent Information Network. Motivated by how community connections can encourage family partnerships that support children and youth in health and education, Geraldine looks forward to meeting with and learning from the families who will join the Bradley Hospital community forums.
Isaac Ogbomo is the executive director of Raising Hope, Inc., a community-based non-profit organization in Providence. The organization supports low-income immigrant youth to improve life skills, provide job opportunities, and support transition into colleges or chosen careers. Isaac is a licensed soccer coach, passionate about the health and physical fitness of low-income youth in Providence. Collaborating with Lifespan to assess community health needs in Rhode Island is an expression of his interest in the health and well-being of the population he serves. Isaac is also currently pursuing a doctoral program in education, with emphasis on leadership of behavioral health organizations.
Joselina Reyes currently works as the administrative secretary of a transportation business with her husband. Joselina studied psychology at Sacred Heart University in Puerto Rico and was drawn to the community liaison role because she enjoys providing useful information to those who need it. She believes that information can help all people identify solutions to their problems and improve knowledge of the environment. Joselina sees the experience as a way to express her passion for helping others.
Juliana Zapata, age 27, works at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls as the community youth worker. She pursued the position of Lifespan community liaison because she knows and understands the importance of having her voice heard. Juliana hopes that by being a part of and hosting community forums, she will be able to help other voices in her community to be heard. Juliana hopes to make a positive change for all of those who need and deserve help.
For more information about the Community Health Needs Assessment meetings or the Lifespan Community Health Institute, please contact Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH at 401-444-8009 or [email protected].