Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Announces 2016-17 Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership Class

Thursday, September 22, 2016


BOSTON (Sept. 22, 2016) – The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation today announced the cohort of 16 emerging community health leaders selected for the 2016-17 class of the Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership (MICHL), which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  

MICHL provides leadership training to people working on the frontlines of community health, including those working for organizations serving low-income and uninsured individuals and families.  Participants include new managers and directors of community health organizations; clinicians who are transitioning to a management role; direct service workers seeking senior management responsibilities; and advocacy and policy managers seeking leadership roles. 

 “The Institute is a pillar of the Foundation’s work, in that it ensures that we have skilled, energetic and enthusiastic leaders running important community health programs across Massachusetts,” said Audrey Shelto, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.  “As we begin our 10th year, it is important to reflect on the contributions of the nearly 150 graduates of the program, who work in public and community health agencies at the state and local level and are committed to improving access to health care.”

MICHL is an 18-day educational program presented over the course of nine months, featuring a curriculum of classroom work, peer-to-peer exchanges, and experiential and collaborative learning. Participants will conclude their tenure by identifying and proposing recommendations to address a health care issue affecting the state's low-income and vulnerable residents.

This year’s cohort, in keeping with past years, features developing leaders from state and local departments of public health, community health centers, mental health centers, advocacy groups, hospitals and academia.  

The 2016-17 participants are:


Kris Bloch

Tufts Health Public Plan - One Care

Product Manager

Alexandra DePalo

Hudson Board of Health

Director of Community Health

Tom Edwards


PCA Program Manager

Joanna Gattuso

Cambridge Health Alliance


Daniel Joo

Upham's Corner Community Health Center

Director of Strategic Planning, Quality & Risk Management

Dr. Phil Laidlaw

Brookline Mental Health

Director of Diversity Initiative/Director of Couples & Family Team

Breda McCarron

Partners Healthcare

Assistant Director, Administration & Finance

Ra'Shaun Nalls

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Director of Community Engagement

Nassira Nicola

Boston Center for Independent Living

Director, Community Integration

Tomide Oyelakin

Manet Community Health Center

Senior Director, Performance Improvement

Quyen Pham

Dorchester House

Quality & Reporting Coordinator

Claire Santarelli

Mass. Department of Public Health

Director, Office of Health Promotion & Partnerships

Eva Stahl

Community Catalyst

Project Director

Jackie Toledo

Mass. Association of Community Health Workers

Director of Leadership Development

Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal

South Jamaica Plain Community Health Center

Board Member

Louise Weed

Codman Sq. Community Health Center

Director of Med. Management & Improvement


About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation


The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families in the Commonwealth.  The Foundation was established in 2001 with an initial endowment from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.  It operates separately from the company and is governed by its own Board of Directors.



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