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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

Find Best Practices and Research

View resources on health care and homelessness.

FIND Immediate Help Now

Browse homeless service organizations near you.

TAKE ACTION TO End Homelessness

Lift your voice for health care and housing justice!

REQUEST Technical Assistance

Request advice or training in homeless health care.

Health Care for the Homeless 101

HCH 101 Pre-Test

Module 1: Course Introduction

Learning Objectives

The course participant will:

  • Participate in online learning environment
  • Describe root causes, experiences, and realities of homelessness
  • Summarize the history of the HCH program and governmental agencies that fund and provide oversight for those programs
  • List core characteristics of the HCH Model of Care
  • Identify appropriate resources and potential collaborations in your community to assist people experiencing homelessness
  • Identify ways to address common causes of stress in homeless services to support self and team care
  • List membership organizations, networking opportunities, and continuing education options available for the HCH community

Video Introduction

Module 2: What is Homelessness?

Learning Objectives

After completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Describe who homelessness affects
  • Explain two federal definition of homelessness
  • Explain three types of homelessness
  • List some causes of homelessness
  • Describe the relationship between homelessness and poor health
  • List some barriers to care for people experiencing homelessness

2.1: Who is Homeless?

Learn Ideas describing homelessness

View Presentation 2.1

Watch HCH members discussing homelessnes


2.2: What Causes Homelessness?

Learn Ideas exploring the causes of homelessness

View Presentation 2.2

Watch HCH members discussing the causes of homelessness


2.3: What is the Relationship between Homelessness and Health?

Learn Ideas explaining homelessness and health problems

View Presentation 2.3

Watch HCH members linking homelessness and health problems


Module 3: Evolution of HCH Care

Learning Objectives

After completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the origin and evolution of the federal HCH program
  • Name characteristics of care that developed from the original HCH demonstration projects
  • Name governmental agencies that fund and provide oversight for the federal HCH program
  • Describe the development of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC)

3.1: Origins

Learn Ideas explaining the origins of HCH care

View Presentation 3.1

Watch HCH members describing the origins of HCH care


3.2: Continuing the Effort

Learn Ideas explaining the growth of the Federal HCH Program

View Presentation 3.2

Watch HCH members discussing the growth of the Federal HCH Program


3.3: Approaches in the Early Years

Learn Ideas explaining what was learned about HCH care

Play Presentation 3.3

Watch HCH members discussing what was learned about HCH care


Module 4: Core Characteristics of HCH Care

Learning Objectives

View Objectives

After completion of the module, the student will be able to list core characteristics of the HCH Model of care:

  • person-centered, trauma-informed, and recovery-oriented care
  • outreach to and engagement with consumers
  • holistic care provided by inter-professional teams
  • medical respite for people experiencing homelessness
  • involvement of consumers in all aspects of the organization
  • integrating service and advocacy for all HCH workers

4.1: Core Characteristic — Person-centered, Trauma-informed, and Recovery-oriented Care


4.1.1: Person-centered Care

Learn Ideas exploring person-centered care

View Presentation 4.1.1

Watch HCH members describing person-centered care


4.1.2: Trauma-informed Care

Learn Ideas exploring trauma-informed care

View Presentation 4.1.2

Read “Trauma and Homelessness”

Handout 4.1.2

Watch HCH members explaining trauma-informed care


4.1.3: Recovery-oriented Care

Learn Ideas about recovery-oriented care

View Presentation 4.1.3

Watch HCH members explaining recovery-oriented care


4.2: Core Characteristic — Outreach and Engagement


4.2.1: Outreach

Learn Ideas explaining outreach in HCH

View Presentation 4.2.1

Read “Where Outreach Happens”

Handout 4.2.1

Watch HCH members describing outreach in HCH


4.2.2: Engagement

Learn Ideas explaining engagement in HCH

View Presentation 4.2.2

Read “Relational Stages of Outreach and Engagement”

Handout 4.2.2

Watch HCH members discussing engagement in HCH


4.3: Core Characteristic — Holistic Care and Interdisciplinary Care Teams


4.3.1: Holistic Care

Learn Ideas explaining holistic care in HCH

View Presentation 4.3.1

Read “Three Homes”

Handout 4.3.1

Watch HCH members discussing holistic care in HCH


4.3.2: Integrated Care Teams

Learn Ideas explaining interdisciplinary care teams in HCH

View Presentation 4.3.2

Read “Making Interdisciplinary Teams Work”

Handout 4.3.2

Watch HCH members discussing interdisciplinary team care in HCH


4.4: Core Characteristic — Medical Respite

Learn Ideas explaining medical respite in HCH

View Presentation 4.4

Read “Respite is Home Care for People with No Home”

Handout 4.4

Watch HCH members discussing medical respite in HCH


4.5: Core Characteristic — Consumer Involvement

Learn Ideas explaining consumer involvement in HCH

View Presentation 4.5

Read “Federal Requirements for Consumer Governance in HCH”

Handout 4.5

Watch HCH members discussing consumer involvement in HCH


4.6: Core Characteristic — Integrating Service and Advocacy

Learn Ideas explaining service and advocacy in HCH

View Presentation 4.6

Watch HCH members discussing service and advocacy


Bonus Area

Additional Resources

Module 5: Navigating Communities of Care

Learning Objectives

After completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • List actions & behaviors that help build relationships to enhance homeless services in your program and community.
  • List examples of appropriate resources and potential collaborations that exist for patients experiencing homelessness.
  • Identify local and state leaders who are potential/actual stakeholders in the mission of the HCH Program.

Learn Ideas about navigating communities of care

View Presentation 5.0

Read “Working Effectively in the Community”

Handout 5.0

Watch HCH members discussing communities of care


Module 6: Self Care and Team Care

Learning Objectives

After completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the reality of secondary traumatic stress in this work.
  • Describe the difference between secondary traumatic stress and burnout
  • Describe the ABCs of self-care · List ways to enhance team wellness/team care
  • Describe the importance of supervision in HCH work

6.1: Self Care and Secondary Trauma

Learn Ideas describing self care and secondary trauma

View Presentation 6.1

Read “Common Causes of Stress in Homeless Services”

1st Handout 6.1

Read “Signs of Secondary Traumatic Stress”

2nd Handout 6.1

Watch HCH members discussing secondary trauma in HCH


6.2: Self Care and Team Care

Learn Ideas describing self care and team care

View Presentation 6.2

Watch HCH members discussing self and team care in HCH


Bonus Area

Read Optional Handout for Administrators: “Creating Healthy Teams”

Optional 1st Handout

Read Optional Handout for Administrators: “Strategies to Support Teams”

Optional 2nd Handout


Module 7: HCH and You

Learning Objectives

In this module, learners will:

  • List membership organizations available for members of the HCH field
  • Give examples of information available on Council website for members of the HCH field
  • List ways to stay involved with networking and continuing educational activities in the HCH field

Learn Ideas describing community with HCH members

View Presentation 7.0

Watch HCH members discussing benefits of Council membership


Module 8: Course Conclusion

Learning Objectives

In this module, learners will:

  • test your change in knowledge of the course learning objectives from the beginning of the course to now
  • evaluate and provide feedback on this course so that Council staff can improve this learning experience for others

Share Activities for sharing knowledge

Course Evaluation Questionnaire

HCH 101 Post-Test

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