Health Foundation Selects 43 for Cohort 11 of Health Leadership Fellows

logo for Health Leadership Fellows

Cohort 11 Is the Largest and Most Diverse in the Program’s History

(Buffalo, NY) The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York has selected 43 professionals from health care and community-based organizations to take part in Cohort 11 of its Health Leadership Fellows program.

The newest cohort, made up of professionals from throughout western and central New York, is the largest in the history of the 19-year program.

Since 2005, the Health Leadership Fellows program has been building and strengthening a network of collaborative leaders across health-related organizations in western and central New York. The goal is to enhance regional capacity to address community health issues.

“Not only is Cohort 11 our biggest group, it’s also our most diverse,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President of the Health Foundation. “Bringing together professionals who have different perspectives but common goals will facilitate meaningful change for our communities. It’s an honor for the Health Foundation to play a role in supporting these collaborative leaders.”

During the 18-month program, Health Leadership Fellows meet monthly and participate in a number of activities designed to strengthen their ability to collaborate on the region’s health care challenges. Working in small teams, they develop inter-organizational projects that address specific community health needs.

Fellows also take part in leadership development sessions focused on personal leadership, results-based leadership, change leadership, and effective communication skills. After graduating from the program, Fellows are encouraged to keep collaborating and learning with each other through the Fellows Action Network.

The Cohort 11 Health Leadership Fellows are:

  • Tania Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, ARISE
  • Melissa Archer, Chief Operating Officer, Buffalo Urban League
  • Michael Austin, Chief Operating Officer, Universal Primary Care
  • Larissa Bachman, Chief Operating Officer, Pinnacle Community Services
  • Ian C. Barrett, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer,
    Kaleida Health
  • Andrea Blowers, Population Health Specialist, Herkimer County Public Health
  • Lisa Booz, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of
    Western New York
  • Quonitra Bullock, Director of the Traditional Care Unit for Nursing,
    Upstate University Hospital
  • Jessie Butts, Program Officer, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County
  • Molly Carr, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Family Services of Western New York
  • Ashley Conti, Director of Programs, Healthy Community Alliance
  • Noel De La Rosa, Chief Program Officer, Journey’s End Refugee Services
  • Rahsaan DeLain, Executive Director, Collaborating on Poverty Elimination Western
    New York
  • Jessice DesRosiers, Senior Director of Programs and Services, Alzheimer’s
    Association of Central New York
  • Aly Evans, Executive Director, Foodnet Meals on Wheels
  • Amanda Gesing, Executive Director, YWCA Jamestown
  • Merlyn Hammer, Senior Director of Public Health, Neighborhood Health Center of
    Western New York
  • Brandi Haynes, Chief Programming Officer, Community Action Organization
    of Western New York
  • Lindsay Herndon, Chief Executive Officer, Cazenovia Recovery Systems
  • Raziya Hill, Executive Director, Every Bottom Covered
  • Marianne Hoover, Executive Director, Ovarian Cancer Project
  • Heather Hudson, Director of Strategy, Food Bank of Central New York
  • Renee Hungerford, Chief Executive Officer, Community Action Organization of
    Orleans and Genesee Counties
  • Minnie James, Chief Social Welfare Examiner, Erie County Department of Social Services
  • Anne-Marie John, Director of Wellness and Prevention, Community
    Health Center of Buffalo
  • Lisa Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer, Compeer Buffalo
  • Rachel Johnson, Program Manager, Black Health, Inc.
  • Sunny Johnson, Program Coordinator, Syracuse Healthy Start at the Onondaga
    County Health Department
  • Nekia Kemp, Executive Director, Police Athletic League of Buffalo
  • Karen Kinter, Chief Executive Officer, Oak Orchard Health
  • Jackie Leaf, Executive Director, Seven Valleys Health Coalition
  • Jill Mattson, Chief Operating Officer, Gerard Place
  • Summer Merrick, Director, Early Childhood Alliance/Help Me Grow Onondaga
  • Michael Osborne, Vice President of Strategic Growth and Portfolio
    Development, Catholic Health System
  • Christine Paul, Executive Director, Madison County Rural Health Council
  • Sarahmona Przybyla, Director of Undergraduate Public Health Programs,
    University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions
  • Daphne Ross, Chief Impact Officer, Say Yes Buffalo
  • Kate Shanks-Booth, Director, Tompkins County Youth Services Department
  • Jose Soto, Systems Transformation Manager, Ardent Solutions
  • DeWan Stroud, Chief People Office, BestSelf Behavioral Health
  • Brittany Tranello, Executive Director, Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center
  • Kelly Marie Wofford, Director of Health Equity, Erie County Office of Health Equity
  • Amanda Zwirecki, Director of Evaluation, Endeavor Health Services


The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York is an independent private foundation that advocates for continuous improvement in health and health care for the people and communities of western and central New York. Our vision is a healthy central and western New York where racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized so all people can reach their full potential and achieve equitable health outcomes. For more information, please visit