Select Page

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.

Recent Publications

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s publications answer frequently asked questions about homelessness, medical respite care, policy, and research. Use our fact sheets with new staff and volunteers, during governing board orientations, meetings with your legislators, as part of your agency’s press kits, or with your community partners and collaborators.

 

Publications older than 5 years are located in the Research Archives.

 

Community Information Exchange: Using Data to Coordinate Care for People Experiencing Homelessness | April 2020

As health centers continue to build innovative models to serve people experiencing homelessness, partnerships to address the social determinants of health become more crucial. A major challenge organizations face in building and sustaining these partnerships is communication and sharing relevant information to ensure coordinated care. This publication highlights what CIEs are, how they can be used, and how this could be beneficial during health care crises like COVID-19.

 

Intersections on Homelessness and Human Trafficking: A Case Study on End Slavery Tennessee | December 2019

There is a lack of knowledge regarding how pervasive trafficking is in the United States and what it looks like across the country. The clear intersection of people experiencing homelessness and trafficking makes this a logical area for Health Care for the Homeless providers to engage. This case study, highlighting the work of End Slavery Tennessee provides an example of quality services for individuals with the experience of both homelessness and human trafficking, and shares signs providers can use to identify a history of trafficking and additional health considerations.

 

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention: Considerations for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness | September 2019

Despite major advancements in HIV testing, treatment, and prevention, HIV diagnoses in the United States have remained stable since 2013. This  fact sheet explores the intersection of HIV and homelessness, focusing on subpopulations with disproportionate rates of infection. It also provides promising practices in prevention and treatment, including recommendations around the initiation of PrEP in the Health Care for the Homeless setting.

 

Oral Health and Diabetes in Patients Experiencing Homelessness | May 2019

This publication with the National Network for Oral Health Access examines the connections between periodontal disease, diabetes, and homelessness. The limited access to health care experienced by people without homes creates poor health outcomes and a lack of preventive care for chronic conditions, including diabetes and periodontal disease. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions related to this care for individuals experiencing homelessness in the fact sheet and watch our archived webinar, “Oral Health and Diabetes for Patients Experiencing Homelessness.”

 

Homelessness & Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Health and Behavioral Health Consequences of Childhood Trauma | February 2019

Childhood trauma has lasting impacts on health outcomes and development. This fact sheet explores the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and provides screening and treatment options. This resource was developed in partnership with the National Network to End Family Homelessness, an initiative of The Bassuk Center on Homelessness and Vulnerable Children and Youth.

 

Homelessness & Health: What’s the Connection? | February 2019

Homelessness can take many forms, with people living on the streets, in encampments or shelters, in transitional housing programs, or doubled up with family and friends. While the federal government reports 1.5 million people a year experience homelessness, other estimates find up to twice this number of people are actually without housing in any given year. The connection between housing and homelessness is generally intuitive, but the strong link between health and homelessness is often overlooked. This fact sheet outlines how health and homelessness are intertwined—and why housing is health care.

 

2016 Uniform Data System Summary: Profile of HCH Grantees | October 2018

The Uniform Data System (UDS) is a central repository for standardized health data from health centers funded under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. Our new report summarizes how the National HCH Council has utilized 2016 UDS data to provide technical assistance (TA) to 330(h) grantees and lookalikes to establish benchmarks, identify needs and prioritize new programs, demonstrate the value and impact of grantees and the overall HCH program, and facilitate the delivery of targeted training and TA.

 

Suicide and Homelessness: Data Trends in Suicide and Mental Health Among Homeless Populations | May 2018

Given the conditions that we know increase the likelihood of suicide in the general population, compounding factors faced when experiencing homelessness place those without homes at much higher risk. This fact sheet details common risk factors for suicidal behaviors, mental health and clinical utilization trends of HCH grantees reported in the 2016 Uniform Data System dataset, and circumstantial data reported in the National Violent Death Reporting System.

 

Demonstrating Value: Measuring the Impact of the Health Care for the Homeless Grantees | August 2017

Alaina Boyer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

Demonstrating the value of health centers is a necessary element of sustainability and measuring benefit. To help illustrate that value, this document provides an overview of the complex challenges facing homeless populations, the history of Health Care for the Homeless, and the critical impact of the work of HCH programs.

 

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: How the Opioid Crisis Affects Homeless Populations | August 2017

Brett Poe and Alaina Boyer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

This fact sheet examines how the opioid crisis affects people without homes. America is facing an opioid crisis, and that epidemic has significantly impacted people without homes. Homeless populations have higher rates of substance use disorders, poorer health, and higher mortality rates by opioid overdose than national averages. Our publication examines the social determinants of health that contribute to that increased prevalence and morbidity. It also details the systemic barriers that hinder access to care and success in recovery for people without homes, as well as best practices to address those barriers. Read the fact sheet.

 

Prevention & Response to Infectious Diseases Within the Homeless Population | May 2016

Prevention and response procedures to infectious disease outbreaks often do not address the unique circumstances of persons experiencing homelessness. This fact sheet highlights infectious diseases within this population, addresses challenges in in the event of an outbreak, and provides strategies and tools that can be used to prevent and respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

 

Using the Social Ecological Model to examine how homelessness is defined and managed in rural East Tennessee | April 2016

Claudia Davidson, Velma M Murry, Molly Meinbresse, Darlene M Jenkins, and Robert Mindrup

Often conceptualized as an urban issue, homelessness in rural communities is pervasive due to high rates of poverty, lack of affordable housing, inadequate housing quality, unemployment/underemployment, and geographic isolation. In 2014, the National HCH Council in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Cherokee Health Systems conducted a study in rural East Tennessee. The purpose of this study was to provide insight to how rural communities define and manage homelessness as well as engage unstably housed individuals on homeless services by investigating the perceptions of different levels of influence of the Social Ecological Model including the individual, organization, and government levels. This publication gives an overview of rural homelessness, methodology, results, and discussion of findings. Read the full publication.

 

Crime Victim’s Compensation | October 2015

Crime Victim’s Compensation Programs aid victims with expenses in the aftermath of a crime. This fact sheet discusses such programs, how to apply, and strategies to overcome some barriers to use by people experiencing homelessness.

 

Health and Homelessness among Veterans: Development and Pilot of a Military History Screening Tool | May 2015

Claudia Davidson and Darlene Jenkins, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

Accurate knowledge of veteran status is essential, as veterans may qualify for a number of Veteran Affair’s (VA) services and benefits that can resolve their health conditions and/or experiences of homelessness. Moreover, information regarding military service may be clinically significant to Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) providers, as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexual trauma and certain toxic environmental exposures are common among veterans. In 2013, the National HCH Council conducted a veterans needs assessment which revealed that though providers are inquiring about veteran status, their methods in doing so were inconsistent and not culturally appropriate. Based on these findings, staff at the National HCH Council in collaboration with VA experts developed and piloted a Military History Screening Tool for its use by HCH programs and potentially other organizations. This report includes the steps used in developing the tool and presents results of the pilot conducted in Boston, MA. 

Homeless Care Providers and Rapid HIV Testing | April 2015

Patrina Twilley and Darlene Jenkins, National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

HIV testing and counseling are the cornerstones of HIV prevention response, allowing individuals to know their HIV status and access appropriate services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine, voluntary HIV screening for all patients aged 13 to 65 years in all health care settings as a normal part of medical practice, similar to screening for other treatable conditions. In the spring of 2013, staff of the National HCH Council in collaboration with Dr. Cathie Fogg, Associate Nursing Professor at St. Anslem College in Manchester, NH developed a survey based on Pender’s Health Promotion Model. The survey was administered to homeless care providers  to assess their Rapid HIV testing practices. The report contains the results of the survey.

 

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.

Copyright © 2020 National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc. 

604 Gallatin Ave., Suite 106 | Nashville, TN 37206 | (615) 226-2292
Disclaimers and Payment Policies