Community Health Coordinating Committee (CHCC)

The Community Health Coordinating Committee is a group of public health subject experts and community representatives who volunteer their time to provide guidance and leadership related to the Community Health Needs Assessment and Community grantmaking process.

Current CHCC Members

Faye-Askew King, MSW
For 30 years, Faye Askew-King has moved from one city to another working for a variety of child and family services. When the area she lived in did not have such programs, she created them. In Chicago, Faye worked with mentally handicapped children, with pregnant teenagers and in an acute psychiatric hospital unit. In New Jersey, she worked at a community health center. At Boston Children's Hospital, she worked in the developmental evaluation clinic and the children's psychiatric clinic. In Oakland County, MI, she created family and child playgroups and ran counseling groups for children and families dealing with sexual assault. From 1993 till retirement, Faye worked at Ypsilanti's SOS Community Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists homeless families and children in Washtenaw County. Even in retirement Faye remains active in the community by serving on many boards and volunteering.

Debra Chopp, JD
Professor Debra Chopp directs the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic. Her research, teaching, and legal practice focus primarily on education law, family law/domestic violence, and cross-cultural communication. Professor Chopp has presented on these and other topics at local, state, and national conferences. She also provides regular trainings to medical providers on patient advocacy, special education, and social determinants of health. As the director of the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, Professor Chopp works with medical providers and law students to provide free legal services that address the social determinants of health of families and improve child health. She is the Law School faculty representative to the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan.

Immediately prior to joining the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, Professor Chopp was a staff attorney with the Pediatric Advocacy Initiative at the Law School. She has represented survivors of domestic violence as an attorney for Sanctuary for Families: Center for Battered Women's Legal Services in New York. She earned her BA in political science with high honors from the University of Michigan and her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mary Garboden, MLIS
Mary Garboden is the Head of Outreach Services at the Ypsilanti District Library. Her work is a little different every day, but focuses on making the library accessible for underserved populations. Her time is split between working at the Superior Township Branch, on the Bookmobile, with older adults, and out and about in the community. Before starting to work in libraries, she spent time working with migrant farmworkers and their children, and served a short stint as a community organizer.

Kenneth Jamerson, MD
Dr. Jamerson is Professor of Internal Medicine and the Frederick G.L. Huetwell Collegiate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. He has been practicing internal medicine and hypertension for over 25 years. His current research continues to focus on factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Dr. Jamerson was educated in Detroit Public Schools then obtained both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he completed his internal medicine residency and held a fellowship in hypertension research.

Leo Kattari, MSW
Leo has over a decade of experience using an equity and justice lens in the areas of health education, community mobilization and organizing, policy and community advocacy, and data and evaluation. He has provided presentations, trainings, and consulting services on health equity and cultural responsiveness to organizations and agencies throughout the U.S., such as the Mayo Clinic, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the U.S. Department of Human Services Office of Adolescent Health. Leo's work continues to focus on transgender equity, LGBTQ health, social identity development, health literacy, health care rights and advocacy, and advocacy through story-telling. Additionally, he is invested in community driven and data informed action that advances health equity through public policy, funding priorities, and innovative systems change.

Anna Lemler, MSW
Anna Lemler is a nonprofit manager and racial equity professional with a background in youth development, community organizing, restorative justice, and program and policy design. Most recently, Anna served in the Racial Equity Analyst role for Washtenaw County where she led the county-wide efforts to implement a racial equity framework into all practices, policies and procedures of government, including the design and implementation of the first Racial Equity Office. For 10 years prior to this, Anna led staff and programming for youth development programs such as in her roles as Program Director of Trail Blazers Camps, Program Manager at iMentor-NYC, and as a restorative justice consultant to educators. Anna is currently the Network Manager for Race Forward's project The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) to advance racial equity in government nationally. Additionally, Anna serves as the manager for the Michigan Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Board. Anna is an organizer with The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. She received her MSW from The University of Michigan.

Erica Marsh, MD
Dr. Erica Marsh is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. She then completed her residency at the Integrated OBGYN Residency at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2005. After residency, Dr. Marsh completed a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at Northwestern University. Dr. Marsh is also a committed community advocate. She builds bridges between community organizations and academia with community based participatory research initiatives that have led to funding, publications, and awards.

Audrey Pallmeyer, MSW, MS (non-voting)
Audrey Pallmeyer is Grant Program Coordinator at the University of Michigan Community Health Services. Audrey has experience in research, program implementation, and project coordination, and is committed to responsive and transparent grant-making. She holds an MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and a MS from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.

Alfreda Rooks, MPA 
Alfreda Rooks, MPA is the Director of Community Health Services (CHS) for Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan. She works to advance and identify creative solutions to address the health and social needs of the communities where Michigan Medicine resides. CHS programs are designed to improve health outcomes and equity of care that address the social determinants of health (SDOH). Alfreda has expertise in program development, design, evaluation, and implementation, and a long history of deep-rooted community engagement. Her experience includes an extensive background in training, guiding and mentoring teams and building collaboration at all levels. In addition, she is a trainer on topics such as leadership development, change management, process improvement, culturally appropriate communication skills, the intersections between culture, health, and social determinants of health (SDOH), implicit bias and entering and exiting community. She holds a master's degree in Public Administration (Health Care Administration). She is on a mission to empower all people to be active participants in their health and well-being.

Desiraé Simmons, MS 
Desiraé Simmons lives in Ypsilanti with her husband Zander and almost 2-year-old daughter Indigo. She is originally from Chicago and Cleveland and moved to Michigan 4 years ago from Boston. Her previous professional experience is in experiential and community-based learning where she designed curriculum, created and facilitated workshops around systemic discrimination and reflective practice, and built relationships across difference. Since being in Ypsilanti, she co-hosted a resistance march focused on the love, resilience, and history of activism in the community; organized for affordable housing, keeping a school within the Ypsilanti Community School district, and a Community Benefits Ordinance; ran for City Council as a nonpartisan candidate; and she currently holds leadership positions within the Washtenaw County Democratic Party and serves on a citizen committee for housing affordability and accessibility.

Dana Thomas, MPH
Dana L. Thomas is the Director of Public Health Practice and the Future Public Health Leaders Program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She has over a decade of experience connecting and collaborating with communities and institutions to improve health, address health equity, and build capacity. Using a participatory action approach, Thomas works with organizations by listening and understanding to address community identified needs. She prepares and trains students to enter into and work alongside communities. She has traveled the world (and in her own backyard) with students to increase their public health skills, competency, and cultural awareness and appreciation. Her work with communities in the recovery stages of man-made and natural disasters has taken her to Flint, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thomas has expertise in partnership development, program development, and evaluation. Her applied work and interests include health equity; rural and island health; applied research to address community and organizational capacity building; public health preparedness; and evidence-based public health. She is not afraid of the unknown and engage in moments of discomfort to stretch her understanding of humanity. She loves a good story and uses storytelling to engage and inspire individuals, particularly the future generation of leaders.

Maria Thomas, MA, MPA
Maria Thomas is the Advocacy Director for the University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children's Hospital, as well as the Director of Community Benefit and Community Health Needs Assessment for the University of Michigan Health System. In these roles she mobilizes grassroots and grasstops advocacy within the hospital and the community, and works with community partners, advocacy organizations, health departments and policy makers to improve children's health, and address the social determinants of health that drive inequities in health. Her work especially focuses on improving the material conditions and environments where people live, so everyone has an opportunity to thrive. Prior to joining Mott, she was the Executive Director of the Alliance for Community Enhancement at Columbia University, a 501 (c) 3 that partnered with the Harlem Children's Zone to operate a successful youth mentoring program. She has also worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, on strategies for achieving the millennium development goals in Tajikistan's maternal and child health sector, and for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in rural South India on HIV/AIDS issues.

Don Vereen, MD
Dr. Vereen “ "The Don" as many call him has extensive experience in Community-based research and partnership. He also has extensive experience in mental health and drug abuse. He has both worked on the funders side at NIH but currently resides at the Director of Public Health Practice at The University of Michigan. He graduated from Harvard College and then on to complete his medical training at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He then completed a residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was appointed Chief Resident. His post-graduate work included a Masters in Public Health (M.P.H.) at the Harvard School of Public Health, an associate fellowship in health services research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene, and a research fellowship in "Clinically Relevant Medical Anthropology" in the Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Karen Zynda, MPH, RDN (non-voting)
Karen Zynda is Program Coordinator for Community Benefit and Community Health Needs Assessment at Michigan Medicine. She oversees the collection of programmatic data and evaluation for Community Benefit reporting to the IRS. She has over 10 years of public health evaluation and data management experience. Also, she possesses skills in nutrition education, research, community-based interventions and campaign management. She has worked in the West, Southeast, and Midwest regions of the US. She holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Michigan and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Former Members

Paula Lantz
Ezinne Ndukwe
Margay Britton
Maura Fulton