Community Coalition for Equity in Research
Leadership & Membership 



Karen Emmons, PhDKaren Emmons, PhD, is professor of social and behavioral science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She currently serves as the faculty lead of the Community Engagement program for Harvard Catalyst. She is a behavioral scientist with a strong track record of funded research in community-based approaches to cancer prevention in a variety of settings that serve under-resourced communities, including low-income housing and community health centers.

Emmons’ work targets a range of cancer risk factors, including nutrition, physical activity, sun exposure, tobacco and second-hand smoke exposure, and cancer screening. Her research teams have included interdisciplinary perspectives on cancer risk reduction and health disparities, with a focus on multiple cancer risk behaviors. Her current work and writing focus heavily on implementation science, particularly in community health settings, and she has been actively involved in national efforts to develop implementation research and training programs.


Michael Curry, Esq,Michael Curry, Esq, is president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, which represents 52 health centers, serving more than a million patients. He has worked on both state and federal health reform, substance use funding, Medicaid waivers, and reauthorizations for health center and public health programs. His role has taken him from Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury to Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill.

Curry serves on numerous boards in Massachusetts, including the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the Kids Count Advisory Committee, and the Massachusetts Non-profit Network. Nationally, he serves on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and chairs the board’s Advocacy and Policy Committee, as well as vice-chairs the Political Action and Legislation Committee. Prior to joining the Mass League, Curry worked in corporate affairs and had a 16-year career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he worked in customer service, claims, IT, audit and controls.


Madeline Stump, MPH.

Madeline Stump, MPH, is a project associate with ForHealth Consulting at UMass Chan Medical School and MassHealth Quality Office. She is also a public health professional dedicated to promoting health justice by moving beyond the step of addressing health inequities as they appear. She does this by dismantling the root causes of systemic health inequities and injustices, drawing directly from various intersectional movements (e.g., reproductive justice, disability justice, transgender liberation) around principles of community, health, and wellness. Stump is the founder and co-coordinator of the Greater Boston-based Trans Woman and Fem(me) Network (TWFN). She is a graduate of the Commonwealth Seminar, the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Fellowship, and the Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship. She received her MPH from Boston University and her BS in public health sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Tiffany Vassell, BSN, BA.

Tiffany Vassell, BSN, BA, RN, is a registered nurse who works as a labor and delivery nurse in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a Black maternal health advocate who supports midwifery care, equity, autonomy, and access to home births and birth centers. Vassell is the founder of Nurses for Black Maternal Health and Equity Org, which seeks to diversify the perinatal workforce. She is also co-author of “Preparation for a Hospital Birth,” which seeks to demystify the process of birthing in the hospital in ways only a nurse can explain. Additionally, she served as chair of the fifth and sixth Annual Black Maternal Health Conference, the country’s largest Black maternal health conference. Vassell is a board member of the Bay State Birth Coalition, and an advocate of the Out-of-Hospital Birth Access and Safety bill and the establishment of the Neighborhood Birth Center in Boston. Previously, she served as a substance use nurse assisting patients with their recovery at local clinics in Boston.


Rebekka Lee, ScD.Bekka Lee, ScD, is the director of the Community Engagement program at Harvard Catalyst. She is a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. At Harvard Catalyst, she leads capacity building on mixed methods, implementation science, and community-engaged research. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating community-based interventions that translate into real-world policy and environmental change, focusing in particular on investigating the contextual factors that impact effective implementation and promote health equity.

She has spent over a decade working at the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, where she uses mixed methods to conduct research and evaluation with partners at the Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and YMCA. At the Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity, Lee is co-director of the administrative core and leads a pilot on evidence-based cancer prevention through clinical-community partnerships. She is also co-director of the Leaders in Health community training program and teaches public health course on program planning, implementation, and design.


Shoba Ramanadhan, ScD, MPH.Shoba Ramanadhan, ScD, MPH, is program faculty for the Community Engagement program at Harvard Catalyst. She is a behavioral scientist with expertise in implementation science, cancer disparities, and community-based participatory research. Her work focuses on strengthening systems in underserved communities to leverage the best available evidence for cancer prevention and control.

Ramanadhan designs and evaluates workforce development interventions to promote the use of research evidence within community-based organizations in the U.S. and India, where she also studies the adaptation of evidence-based preventive services for use in underserved communities. Additionally, her research focuses on methods to incorporate practitioner expertise into the health promotion evidence base more effectively. This includes evaluations of strategies to identify and engage critical implementation stakeholders as well as technology-based methods to gather stakeholder insight efficiently. Much of my Ramanadhan’s work is conducted in partnership with community-based organizations and coalitions.


Abdullah Abdul-Rahim, MEdAbdullah Abdul-Rahim, MEd, is a certified chaplain on the leadership team of The Men of Color Health Awareness (MOCHA), the Baystate Community Faculty: Population-Based Urban& Rural Community Health, and BRIDGES: Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity. His work focuses on healthcare issues common in both the urban and rural populations in Massachusetts. Previously, Abdul-Rahim worked as an associate chaplain for the State of Connecticut and the Department of Corrections.


Headshot of Rosa Alemán.

Rosa Alemán, BA, is a digital communications and content strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts. They hold a cross-departmental position supporting creative community engagement and digital communication efforts on the advocacy team, as well as multimedia content development efforts for social media, events and web publications.

In 2015, Alemán designed a higher learning project titled #MyDiyMFA: A three-year self-directed education experience consisting of a year of reading, a year of writing, and a year of making. The DIY MFA project aims to empower people to learn powerful communication technology skills that amplify voice and perspective while encouraging the development of pathways and practices for proactively confronting systemic oppression, white supremacy, colonialist ideologies and institutional racism across sectors.

Alemán is currently exploring a multi-year arts residency in Concord, Massachusetts—living and working on independent and community-based projects that promote learning, connection and healing.


Jean Dolin, BAJean Dolin, BA, is a trilingual humanitarian from Haiti who works to promote LGBTQ and Immigrants’ rights. He is a recent graduate of Immigrants Lead Boston, a program by the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement that trains and empowers Boston immigrants to take civic, ownership, and leadership roles in the community. He is also an alumni of the Leaders in Health program from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

As a community advocate, he has been continuously serving for the past four years as a member of the leadership council of Success Boston, an initiative for college education access by the Boston Foundation. Dolin holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications.


Brenda Evans, MPHBrenda Evans, MPH, is the community research liaison for the Center for Community Health Equity Research in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, UMass Amherst. She has more than 20 years of education and experience in the public health field, which includes training, healthcare workforce development, coalition building, and community engagement.

Previously, she served as director of a healthcare workforce development program (Pioneer Valley Area Health Education Center) including a coalition of community health workers at the City of Springfield, Department of Health and Human Services. Evans is dedicated to population health and health equity via advocacy and intersectional systematic change to achieve optimal health for everyone.


Chien-Chi Huang, MSChien-Chi Huang, MS, is the founder of Asian Breast Cancer Project and is presently the executive director of Asian Women for Health. A skilled and passionate community advocate, Huang was the Asian community program manager at the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling from 2006 to 2011 where she spearheaded several new health initiatives addressing the unique issues and challenges facing the Asian American community. These initiatives include Asian American problem gambling outreach efforts, Asian American Women’s Mental Health Symposium, Asian American Mental Health Forum, and Immigrants and Refugees Mental Health Network.


Headshot of Mark Kennedy.

Mark Kennedy, MBA, is a senior program manager in the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division at the Boston Public Health Commission. In this role, Kennedy is leading the creation and implementation of the cancer early detection plan for the City of Boston. He is also faculty for “Shared Decision-Making: Essential Skills for Prostate, Lung and Breast Cancer Screening,” an online continuing medical education course at the Massachusetts Medical Society, and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at Regis College and Emerson College.

Additionally, he is the Boston Region Leader for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Coalition (MCCC) for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is co-chair for the Boston Medical Center Oncology Accelerator Advisory Council. Previously, Kennedy spent 13 years at Dana-Farber. He received his executive MBA from Northeastern University.


Albert W. Pless, Jr., MS,Albert W. Pless, Jr., MS, is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Town of Andover, Massachusetts. Previously, he served as the program manager for the Men’s Health League at the Cambridge Public Health Department. He is an adjunct professor at the Tufts School of Medicine MPH program. Pless has more than 20 years of experience working in community-based programs in the Greater Boston area. Previously, he directed a nationally recognized community health worker program for Black and Latino men at the Boston Public Health Commission. Pless is on boards and committees including the Men’s Health, and Black Health Care Workers Caucus of the American Public Health Association. He received his MSc from Southern New Hampshire University.


Nancy B. Smith, BS,Nancy B. Smith, BS, recently joined the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management as the program manager for community emergency response team/volunteers. As the former program manager for community resilience and engagement at Office of Public Health Preparedness, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Smith was responsible for developing community relationships in support of emergency preparedness and community resilience in close coordination with other public health departments and Boston Emergency Management Services.

Smith has worked in different departments of the BPHC, Substance Abuse Bureau, Homeless Commission, and the Child Adolescence and Family Health Bureau. She co-developed “Healthy Relationships” curriculum under the three-city Community Healthy Marriage Initiative site report that includes Boston on the Administration for Children and Families website. Smith also co-developed and manages an emergency preparedness, public safety, public health and climate adaption program called “Get Ready, Be Safe, Stay Healthy.” She is currently working on special programming exploring climate change adaption for the City of Boston.


Marie-Jacques Toussaint, MD,Marie-Jacques Toussaint, MD, is a program coordinator at True Alliance Center (TAC), Inc., a faith-based organization advocating for quality education, fair immigration policies, and access to affordable healthcare and housing in the Haitian immigrant community. She organizes campaigns for vaccination at TAC and volunteers at the Immigrant Family Services Institute.




Carolina Trujillo, MPA, MSPS,

Carolina Trujillo, MPA, MSPS, is the executive director for Citizens Inn, Inc. Previously, she worked as vice president and volunteer engagement director at Eastern Bank and the community relations director at Essex Media Group and publisher of La Voz Newspaper, their Latino newspaper. There she developed culturally sensitive media interventions that capture the specific needs of Latinos on the North Shore. She worked in the healthcare sector at the Professional Education Department at Joslin Diabetes Center & Blue Cross Blue Shield to identify opportunities to improve health disparities and service quality for minority and socio-economically deprived patients.


Shauntel Garner-Anderson, BA, M.Ed.Shauntel Garner-Anderson, BA, M.Ed., is the senior trainer for Health Equity at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), where she works to promote racial justice and health equity practices. In her role, she provides anti-racist knowledge, innovative training, and facilitation skills needed to advance racial equity and health justice within a government setting. She is an alumni of the Leaders in Health program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also holds a certification in organizational leadership from Harvard Business School. Previously, Garner-Anderson worked as the Serving Ourselves manager at the Boston Public Health Commission (Homeless Bureau), where she provided Boston’s most vulnerable population with workforce development and employment skills, and services to live beyond homelessness.


Chrismery Gonzalez, MPH. Chrismery Gonzalez, MPH, is a coordinator at the Office of Racial Equity in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Prior to this role, she served as program lead at the Office of Problem Gambling Prevention for the Department of Health and Human Services, where she was responsible for core problem gambling prevention initiatives. There she engaged the community through local champions to find root causes and utilized upstream prevention strategies to effectively address problem gambling. Gonzalez has experience addressing a broad array of public health issues, including substance addiction, sexual assault prevention, and nutrition and physical activity. She maintains positions on advisory boards and steering committees for the Duggan Academy Advisory Board, and The STOP Access Coalition. She is the founder of the Young Professional Public Health Network. Gonzalez holds an MPH with a concentration in community health education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Chellamal Keshavan, BS.Chellamal Keshavan, BS, is a dedicated and fervent advocate for racial equity and systemic change. She is chair of the Medford Human Rights Commission, and a certified doula and lactation counselor. Previously, Keshavan served as executive director of the Boston Association for Childbirth Education. She has a  background in child development, early childhood education, and public health.