Board of Advisors

Board of Advisors

Under the guidance of our Board of Advisors, MACHW works tirelessly on behalf of the estimated 3000+Community Health Workers in the state.

Jaime Berberena, CHW, City of New Bedford Health Department, New Bedford*
Brenda Evans, Longstanding Board Member, Springfield
John Gatto, Vice President for Community Health, JRI Health, Boston
Sharon Henderson, Marketing and Communication Director, YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Worcester
Gail Hirsch, Founding Member, and Co-Director, Office of Community Health Workers, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston
Peggy Hogarty, Program Director, CHEC, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston
Lorenza Holt, Executive Director, Boston Association for Childbirth Education, Boston*
Rose Kakoza, Assistant Medical Director, The Phyllis Jen Center for Primary Care, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston
Omar Irizarry, Assistant. Director, CBHI/ CSA, Director of FS&T Services, Gandara, Springfield*
Ramon Medina, CHW Supervisor, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Worcester*
Shawn Matthews, Program Coordinator, Project ME, Whittier Street Community Health Center, Boston*
Kerry Mello, Community Benefits Manager, Southcoast Health, New Bedford
Niem Nay-Kret, CHW, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell*
Jeannette Rodriguez, CHW, Caring Health Center, Springfield*
Rainelle Walker-White, Associate Director, Mobile Family Van, Harvard Medical School, Boston*

*Currently working as or worked within the past 6 years as a CHW

About Our Board of Advisors

The Advisory Board has 13 members and each member serves a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 6 years. The Advisory Board meets 6 times per year. Three of these meetings are face to face and take place in Worcester and 3 meetings held over the phone. In addition, Advisory Board members sometimes attend workgroups to address specific issues between meetings.

Consider Serving on Our Board of Advisors

Each year, MACHW adds new Advisory Board members at the Annual Meeting. Selection of new Advisory Board members will be done by MACHW staff and existing Advisory Board members according to established criteria. Please contact Lissette Blondet at [email protected] to be considered as a candidate.

Rainelle Walker-White. is the Associate Director of Health Equity Program for the Family Van of Harvard Medical School, and holds a B.S. in Human Service. She has over twenty five years’ experience in the field of health care delivery for hard to reach populations and has been a community Health Worker for over 20 years She has a working knowledge of the effectiveness of mobile health services, particularly the effectiveness of health screenings relating to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes, (Ms. White has trained hundreds of aspiring health professionals in the Family Van’s service delivery model and in cultural competence. She has served on the advisory board of (MACHW) Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers for the last 6 years. She also conducts many workshops in the community educating people about the importance of health care and wellness. She is a passionate advocate for access to health and health care.

Jamila Xible is the Director for Health Education and Access Initiatives at the Cambridge Health Alliance. Jamila is responsible for the oversight of a number of programs including the Volunteer Health Advisors, Aging Wisely Everett, Senior Suicide Prevention, Women’s Health Network, the COVID-19 Community Education & Vaccination Programs, and the Community Health Improvement Learning Institute, which regularly offers Community Health Worker training. 

In this role, Jamila develops strategies to provide culturally responsive health education and outreach to underserved and hard-to-reach populations. The goal is to address social influencers of health, and to support the adoption of healthy behaviors and access resources. 

Jamila holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University and, in addition to her native Portuguese, Jamila speaks English and is conversant in Spanish. Jamila is a dual-certified (youth and adult) Mental Health First-Aid instructor as well as a Cultural Humility trainer.

Geovanni Vazquez, Ph.D. has been in the mental health field for over 10 years providing care in a variety of clinical, residential and public settings. Geovanni is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC I) and trained in Psychoanalysis, CBT, DBT and EMDR. Geovanni works with adults who experience various levels of anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma. 

Niem is a Bilingual -Bi-cultural Community Health Worker at Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC). She has worked in many departments at Lowell CHC, her most recent work was in pediatric behavioral health. During her 15 plus years with the Health Center, she has supported programs for refugees/immigrants, teen clinics, prenatal care/OBGYN case management, breast health education and Chronic Disease prevention/education program (CCH REACH 2010). Niem has transferred from working on Contract Tracing/Case investigation work for CHC and DPH’s Contact Tracing Initiative to fight and stop the spread of COVID-19 to join the REACH LoWELL program team at the end of 2020 to now. Niem is an active volunteer and works to improve the lives and health of people in the community.

Kerry Mello brings decades of experience in community outreach and community health improvement.  As Community Benefits Manager at Southcoast Health, a large, regional health system, she helped organize and lead coalitions and initiatives to address pressing health and social issues on the South Coast, including healthy youth development, food injustice and housing and homelessness.  She has expertise in grant writing and management, including management of a number of federal and state grants. She has been a member of the MACHW Advisory Board for the past (seven?–Lissette will know) years and has helped develop training programs and support services for Community Health Workers both regionally and statewide.  She has helped advocate for expanded recognition of the Community Health Worker profession as an essential role in health care.  A Wareham resident, she has also been active in civic engagement and for the past 15 years has helped lead fundraising efforts for the Wareham Library Foundation in support of the public library system in the town of Wareham.