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Our Staff

The principal office of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council is in Nashville, Tennessee. Staff and contractors pursue our ambitious agenda in research, training, education, organizing, and advocacy from offices in various locations. Staff members include:

 

 

Bobby Watts

Bobby Watts, MPH, MS, CPH

Chief Executive Officer

G. Robert “Bobby” Watts is the chief executive officer of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and oversees all aspects of the Council’s activity in advocacy, training, technical assistance, research, peer support, organizing, and fund development.

A nationally recognized advocate and leader in meeting the health needs of people without homes, he has more than 25 years of experience in administration, direct service, and implementation of homeless health services. He began his work with people experiencing homelessness as a live-in staff member of the New York City Rescue Mission in Manhattan. Learn more about Bobby.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: bwatts@nhchc.org

 

Hugo Aguas, MA

Research Associate

Hugo works with the research team to research health outcomes using data driven methodologies, Hugo collaborates with other community health partners throughout the country to develop educational materials pertaining to medical care for those experiencing homelessness. Hugo also disseminates data and provides ease-of-access to community partners throughout the nation, and assists in writing publications and scheduling educational seminars on public health amongst those experiencing homelessness.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: haguas@nhchc.org

 

Lauryn Berner, MSW, MPH

Research Manager

Lauryn works with the research team to support the Health Care for the Homeless field by developing and disseminating knowledge, increasing visibility of HCH-related research through publications and external collaborations, and providing data-driven support to inter-departmental teams and workgroups. Lauryn serves as the Council’s subject matter expert on housing and HIV, and her work has focused on the social determinants of health.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 230 | Email Address: lberner@nhchc.org

 

 

Alaina Boyer, PhD

Director of Research

Alaina provides oversight and guidance for the research activities of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, which include quality improvement projects and providing educational resources for health care clinics that serve individuals experiencing homelessness. She coordinates and facilitates the Research Committee and Practice Based Research Network initiatives, which are currently focused on improving health outcomes and providing quality care across systems for vulnerable populations.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 233 | Email Address: aboyer@nhchc.org 

 

Lily Catalano, BA

Clinical Manager

Lily coordinates the work of the Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network and develops resources to improve access to and quality of health care for people experiencing homelessness.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 231 | Email Address: lcatalano@nhchc.org

 

 

Katherine Cavanaugh, MSW

Consumer Advocate

Katherine staffs the National Consumer Advisory Board (NCAB), helps to coordinate consumer initiatives, and further develops Council relationships with local Consumer Advisory Boards (CABs).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (443) 703-1320 | Email Address: kcavanaugh@nhchc.org

 

Andrea Crowe, MA

Advancement Coordinator

Andrea maintains the Council's donor and membership database; manages fundraising lists of individuals, organizations, and foundations; and provides a range of administrative services in the areas of philanthropy and member relations.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 234 | Email Address: acrowe@nhchc.org

Brandon de la Cruz, MM

Media and Technology Manager

Brandon manages media-based communication activities for the Council -- including webinars, videography, photography, and music production -- and provides guidance and support for information technology services.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 249 | Email Address: bdelacruz@nhchc.org

Barbara DiPietro, PhD

Senior Director of Policy

Barbara directs the policy and advocacy activities for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. This includes conducting policy analysis, providing educational materials and presentations to a broad range of policymakers and other stakeholders, coordinating the Council’s policy priorities with national partners, and organizing staff assistance to the Policy Committee and the National Consumer Advisory Board.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (443) 703-1346 | Email Address: bdipietro@nhchc.org

 

 

Jennifer Dix, BBA

Communications Coordinator

Jenn provides assistance with the Council’s marketing and branding efforts. This includes supporting effective communication strategies via email communications, newsletters, marketing materials, website content, and social media.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 225 | Email Address: jdix@nhchc.org

 

 

Julia Dobbins, MSW

Director of Medical Respite Care

Julia joined the Council in 2012 and leads our work on medical respite care. She provides guidance and oversight for medical respite activities including training, technical assistance, and resource and program development. Additionally, she is the staff liaison to the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN) and coordinates and facilitates the activities of the RCPN steering committee.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 232 | Email Address: jdobbins@nhchc.org

 

D. Michael Durham, MTS

Community Engagement Manager

Michael is responsible for strategic relationship-building and increasing representation of marginalized communities in all of the Council’s work. Leaning on these relationships, he coordinates the Council’s largely peer-to-peer technical assistance program, which provides support to health centers and other organizations serving people experiencing homelessness. He also supports the CEO in certain racial equity initiatives.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 246 | Email Address: mdurham@nhchc.org

 

 

Dorothy (Dott) Freeman, PhD

Senior Director of Advancement

Dott is the Council's Senior Director of Advancement and has more than 25 years of fundraising experience in a variety of areas, including service-oriented nonprofits, health care, and education. Heading the Council's Advancement Team, she leads our philanthropy, communications, membership, media, and technology initiatives.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (207) 333-8877 | Email Address: dfreeman@nhchc.org

 

 

Melanie Harper, BA, LSSGB

Director of Finance & Administration

Melanie is responsible for oversight of all the financial and administrative functions of the Council and staffs the Finance & Personnel Committee.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 229 | Email Address: mharper@nhchc.org

 

 

Darlene Jenkins, DrPH

Senior Director of Programs

Darlene oversees the work of the Education and Research Teams.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 228 | Email Address: djenkins@nhchc.org

 

 

Joseph Kenkel, BS

Research Assistant

Joey works with the research team to support the Health Care for the Homeless field by developing and disseminating information, increasing visibility of HCH-related research through publications and external collaborations, and improving the HCH field and community’s capacity for quality improvement and engagement in research. Joey also performs activities aimed to increase the knowledge base, skill set, and resources of health center staff engaged in supportive housing initiatives in partnership with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 226 | Email Address: jkenkel@nhchc.org

 

Kelli Klein, BA

Behavioral Health Coordinator

Kelli provides technical assistance and supports the Council’s work on behavioral health and homelessness, focusing on the integration of behavioral health into primary care settings. She works specifically on the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Center of Excellence (CoE) for Behavioral Health Technical Assistance (BHTA), which includes the development and execution of webinars and peer learning opportunities through communities of practice.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 247 | Email Address: kklein@nhchc.org

 

Katie League, LCSW-C

COVID-19 Project Manager (Policy Team)

Katie works with the policy team to support the Council’s efforts surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic. She works to identify and promote promising practices, common challenges, and key policy issues faced by the HCH community. 

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: kleague@nhchc.org

Cindy Manginelli, BS

Director of Community Engagement

Cindy directs the Council’s efforts to engage and create a diverse community of individuals, coalitions, and programs that directly address issues at the intersection of homelessness and health care. She also manages the Council’s ongoing work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the community of those who experience and address homelessness.  

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 239 | Email Address: cmanginelli@nhchc.org

 

Julia Nettles-Clemons, BA 

Administrative Coordinator

Julia has a variety of responsibilities in the areas of finance and administration that include accounts receivable and accounts payable, office maintenance,  clerical work, operations, and database support.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 221| Email Address: jnettles@nhchc.org

Courtney Pladsen, DNP, FNP-BC, RN

Director of Clinical and Quality Improvement

Courtney leads initiatives to improve the delivery of primary care, substance use treatment, and mental health care nationally. She directs training and quality improvement initiatives, and contributes to research and policy recommendations on emerging clinical issues affecting people experiencing homelessness.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: cpladsen@nhchc.org

 

 

Brett W. PoeBrett Poe, BS

Research Associate

Brett works with the research team to support the Health Care for the Homeless field by developing and disseminating information, increasing visibility of HCH-related research through publications and external collaborations, and providing data-driven support to inter-departmental teams and workgroups.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 242 | Email Address: bpoe@nhchc.org

 

 

Regina ReedRegina Reed, MPH

Health Policy Manager

Regina is responsible for representing the interests of the Council to policymakers and organizational partners in Washington, D.C., working with the Policy Committee to advance the Council’s advocacy agenda, developing policy positions and analyses, and mobilizing member organizations, service providers, and other advocates to end poverty and homelessness.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (443) 703-1337 | Email Address: rreed@nhchc.org

 

 

Caitlin Synovec, OTD, OTR/L, BCMH

Medical Respite Manager

Caitlin is an occupational therapist with clinical experience working with adults experiencing homelessness to improve quality of life and engagement in their preferred communities. As the Medical Respite Manager, she works with the Director of Medical Respite on projects of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC) and the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN).

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: csynovec@nhchc.org

 

Cecilia Willoughby, BA

Training and Meetings Coordinator

Cecilia manages logistics and educational content for the Council’s major training events, including our annual National Health Care for the Homeless Conference and Policy Symposium, Regional Training, and Governing Membership Meeting. She serves as the point person for these major training events working in concert with the Director of Finance and Administration, Administrators Committee, other staff members, and other stakeholders.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 241 | Email Address: cwilloughby@nhchc.org

Cecilia Willoughby, BA

Training and Meetings Coordinator

Cecilia manages logistics and educational content for the Council’s major training events, including our annual National Health Care for the Homeless Conference and Policy Symposium, Regional Training, and Governing Membership Meeting. She serves as the point person for these major training events working in concert with the Director of Finance and Administration, Administrators Committee, other staff members, and other stakeholders.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 241 | Email Address: cwilloughby@nhchc.org

Terri Woodmore, MS

Communications Manager

As part of the advancement team, Terri develops and coordinates ongoing communications and media strategies, and maintains high-quality communications including mass emails, newsletters, marketing materials, website design and content, social media, and audio/video packages.

 

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 245 | Email Address: twoodmore@nhchc.org

 

Brenda Wright

Executive Assistant

Brenda serves as Executive Assistant to the CEO and is responsible for Board meeting preparation, special projects, and administrative support including scheduling, preparing executive documents and correspondence, managing travel itineraries, maintaining files, and other administrative duties.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292, Ext. 251 | Email Address: bwright@nhchc.org

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Children, Youth & Families

According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, “just over 180,000 people in 56,000 families with children experienced homelessness, about 62,000 fewer people than in 2010, a 25 percent decline.” (p. 4) Still, children under the age of 18 comprise a fifth of all people experiencing homelessness (according to the Point-in-Time Count), and youth 18 to 24 make up 8.7% of the total population. Progress on ending homelessness among children and youth has been made in large part to federal prioritization, but serving this subpopulation remains an important challenge. Follow the links below to learn more about how to tailor services to children and youth experiencing homelessness.

 

NHCHC Publications & Resources

  • Supplemental Anticipatory Guidance for Children and Adolescents Experiencing Homelessness (2018) | Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network | A key component of well-child visits, anticipatory guidance—a proactive, age-based education and counseling technique—provides an opportunity for health care professionals, parents, and the child to ask questions and discuss issues of concern. This publication supplements standard anticipatory guidance to account for the uniquechallenges presented by homelessness that may affect a child’s health and development.
  • Engaging Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Core Practices and Services(2016) | National Health Care for the Homeless Council | This publication describes in-depth practices and services that HCH agencies have found to be helpful in engaging youth experiencing homelessness. It incorporates trauma-informed, consumer-driven principles and addresses various challenges in youth engagement, providing a multitude of resources for information and guidance.
  • In Focus: Behavioral Health among Youth Experiencing Homelessness(2015) | National Health Care for the Homeless Council | This issue of In Focus provides a synthesis of recent literature on behavioral health issues among homeless youth. It gives an overview of the homeless youth population, prevalence of behavioral health issues, factors that can impact these issues, and implications for practice and policy.
  • Engaging Homeless Youth: Recommendations and Resources (2015) | National Health Care for the Homeless Council | This webinar identifies concepts of engagement, describes how services are part of engagement for youth, explores barriers to engagement, discusses the importance of youth involvement, and provides information on locating additional resources on providing services to youth.
  • Operation CHOICES: Nutrition and Fitness Programming to Combat Obesity and Food Insecurity for Families in Shelters (2012) | National Health Care for the Homeless Council | This case report explores the issues of obesity and food insecurity experienced by families living in shelters, as well as demonstrating the impact of a shelter-based obesity prevention program.
  • Addressing Family Homelessness (2012) | Healing Hands | This issue of Healing Hands identifies models and strategies to address and end family homelessness as it reaches levels that have not been reported since the Great Depression.
  • When the Bough Breaks. Families Experiencing Homelessness (2010) | Healing Hands | This issue of Healing Hands explores the impact of homelessness and mental illness on parenting, and presents practice recommendations to support these families.

Additional Resources

  • Supportive Housing and Health Services for LGBTQIA+ Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Promising Practices (2020) | National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center – This publication addresses health disparities that LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness face and focuses on ways to increase engagement of LGBTQIA+ youth into health and housing programs.
  • America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness (2014) | National Center on Family Homelessness – This report presents the clearest snapshot yet of the 2.5 million children who are homeless each year—where they live and the consequences of their precarious situations. The report documents the extent of child homelessness, child well-being, risk for child homelessness, and policy and planning efforts for each state. Recommendations for state and federal action are also included.
  • Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (2014) | To better understand provider experiences serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) runaway and homeless youth, this case study of four local agencies receiving grants from the Administration for Children and Family’s Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Program reports on programs’ strategies for identifying and serving LGBTQ RHY, the challenges programs face in understanding and addressing the needs of this population, and potential areas for future research.
  • State Laws on Minor Consent to Routine Medical Care (Updated July 2019) | SchoolHouse Connection| This documents breaks down statutes by state related to minor consent to medical care, emancipation, and associated case laws.
  • Child Exposure to Trauma: Comparative Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing Maltreatment (2013) | Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 89. | Prepared by the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this report compares the efficacy of 24 clinical interventions for child maltreatment for children ages 0-14.
  • Emotional and Cognitive Impact of Chronic Homelessness on a Child (2011) | Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. (Baltimore, MD), Children & Families Work Group, HCH Clinicians’ Network | This case report explores the impact of homelessness on child development, from communication skills to mental health.
  • Measures Review Database | National Child Traumatic Stress Network (SAMHSA funded) – Free online searchable database that provides clinicians and researchers with in-depth information to enable them to choose the best instrument to assess children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. The Measures Review Database fills an important gap in the field. Its purpose is to promote the use of state-of-the-art measures for improved clinical intervention and research on child trauma.
  • Family Care Curriculum | Karen Hudson | This six-week program uses a train-the-trainer model, which combines attachment and trauma theory to train clinicians to help parents address their children’s developmental, emotional, and cultural needs, while experiencing the stressors of homelessness.
  • Trauma Informed Care: Perspectives and Resources | National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health | This online tool consists of eight modules offering guidance on providing trauma informed care to children, youth, and families through video interviews, issue briefs, and resource lists.

National Organizations Focusing on Children & Youth

This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,625,741 with 20 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

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