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Leadership Team

Anderson, Daren—Chief Quality Officer

Dr. Daren Anderson is a general internist and has worked in safety net practices for his entire career. He is VP/Chief Quality Officer of Community Health Center, Inc., a large, multisite community health center providing primary care to over 145,000 medically underserved patients across Connecticut. In addition, Dr. Anderson is the Director of CHCI’s Weitzman Institute, a research and innovations center dedicated to improving primary care for underserved populations.  The Weitzman Institute leads a range of initiatives focused on practice transformation and workforce development and has created an eConsult process that is now being used across Connecticut and in ten additional states. In addition, Weitzman researchers are engaged in a range of research projects focused on health disparities, telehealth, and pain and opioid abuse treatment in primary care.

Dr. Anderson obtained his undergraduate degree at Harvard College and his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

 

Blackburn, Joseph—Vice President of Human Resources

Joseph Blackburn serves as Vice President of Human Resources at Community Health Center, Inc. Joe has more than 15 years of diverse HR experience, most recently as a Human Resources Director at Ridgefield’s Boehringer Ingelheim. He previously held senior HR roles at Pepsico and General Electric. Joe received a BA in history and an MS in Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University, where he played Division I hockey and was named a first team All-American.

Blankson, Mary—Chief Nursing Officer

Mary Blankson DNP, APRN, FNP-C is the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for Community Health Center, Inc., overseeing diverse nursing services across the CHC network, including primary care, health care for the homeless, and school based health services. As CNO she ensures the quality and expansion of nursing services, the development of nursing policy, and continuing nurse education. Mary also works collaboratively to ensure Joint Commission and Patient Centered Medical Home compliance throughout CHC.
 

Building upon her service in various mission organizations, Mary continued to develop her passion for meeting the needs of the underserved by earning her MSN at Yale University in 2005. Mary joined CHC as a family nurse practitioner shortly after graduation. While at CHC, Mary has served as the On-Site Medical Director of the New London County Sites, the Vice President of the Medical Staff, the Chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, and has served as a preceptor for CHC’s Nurse Practitioner Residency Program. She completed her DNP education at Johns Hopkins University in 2015 with her capstone focusing on “Increasing Identification and Treatment Referral of Individuals with Hepatitis C (HCV) in the Primary Care Setting Through Clinical Dashboards.” Mary is certified and holds professional membership in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She continues to support various quality improvement projects throughout the agency to increase the visibility of nursing’s contribution to the Medical Home.

Block, Robert —Chief Financial Officer

Robert Block, CPA is the Chief Financial Officer of Community Health Center, Inc. In this role, Bob is responsible for all CHC financial operations, revenue cycle, supply chain, payroll and treasury services.

Bob brings over 30 years of experience in finance, accounting, and operations. He previously served as Vice President of Finance at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Chief Financial Officer of the Jewish Home for the Aged, Chief Administrative Officer at the APT Foundation, Director of Finance at American Medical Response, Manager: Budget and Finance at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and CEO of The AuctionBlocks (a company he founded and ran for ten years).

Bob obtained his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in Public Policy from the Graduate School of Fine Arts of the University of Pennsylvania. Bob was Controller of a behavioral health research group (Center for the Study of Adult Development, later Integra Inc.) during his final four years at Penn. He subsequently earned his CPA license at Arthur Young and Company (currently Ernst & Young).

Bob is an avid skier and golfer, as well as an antique collector. He has written eight books for Schiffer Publishing Ltd. and appeared on numerous radio and television programs including Martha Stuart Living and Storage Wars.

Channamsetty, Veena—Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Veena Channamsetty is the Chief Medical Officer of Community Health Center, Inc. In this role, she is responsible for the clinical leadership of a large staff of medical providers and caregivers for the state’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center. She is responsible for the delivery of evidence-based medical standards, the medical staff recruitment and retention, and provider affairs. Dr. Channamsetty oversees the clinical and non-clinical training orientation, training, and onboarding for all new CHC medical providers. With the vision of a stable and solid medical staff, Dr. Channamsetty coordinates clinical care with provider professional interests, promoting provider well-being and work-life balance, overseeing clinical and non-clinical affairs of Physicians, APRNs, and Physician Assistants. She is responsible for ensuring Joint Commission and Patient Centered Medical Home compliance throughout CHC. 

Dr. Channamsetty also served as the Vice President of the Medical Staff, and is presently the President of the Medical Staff and the Chair of the Medical Quality Improvement Committee. She is a clinical preceptor for the APRN residency. Dr. Channamsetty works closely with the chiefs of Behavioral Health, Dentistry, and Nursing to promote interprofessional care, supporting the successful integration of multiple disciplines for the team-based care of patients. She works to implement multiple care delivery initiatives states-wide. 

Dr. Channamsetty received her medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean and her Family Practice Residency from Central Maine Medical Center. Dr. Channamsetty is board certified with the American Board of Family Medicine. She worked at both private and hospital-based practices prior to beginning her career at the Community Health Center in 2007, in Meriden, CT. She served as the on-site Medical Director for the Meriden and Waterbury sites for four years, during which she medically managed her full patient panel and directly supervised the Physicians and APRNs both clinically and administratively. She went on to serve as CHC’s Associate Chief Medical Officer for 1 year, prior to taking on the role of Chief Medical Officer.

Ciaburri, Nicholas—Director of Business Intelligence


Nicholas Ciaburri is the Director of Business Intelligence at Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC). He has been with CHC since 2011 and leads a team that has developed a business intelligence dashboard and reporting platform for the organization. The team delivers actionable data to CHC’s providers and leadership so that they can efficiently provide the highest quality of care possible. He also provides data to support the organization’s quality improvement and research initiatives. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University.
Nicholas is currently a resident of Southington, CT.

Gianelli, Leslie—Director, PR and Communications


Leslie Gianelli is Director of PR and Communications, responsible for promoting CHC’s message and brand to a variety of audiences, including media and the public. She manages a wide portfolio of internal and external communications, including messaging, thought leadership, social media, the website, and multi-media assets.

Leslie has deep experience in health care spanning nearly 20 years and several continents. Most recently, she served as Communications Director at AmeriCares, overseeing communications initiatives in the U.S. and globally. In this capacity she promoted the work of AmeriCares Free Clinics in Southern Connecticut and emergency response activities in the U.S., Japan, Haiti, India and several other countries. With the Connecticut Hospital Association, she led industry work groups focused on public relations, fundraising, and issues of concern to patients. Previous work with Jhpiego/Johns Hopkins University and the Global Health Council gave her the opportunity to travel to more than 40 countries and regularly engage with global health experts, advocating for programs addressing maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, malaria, and other diseases and conditions endemic to the developing world.

Leslie holds a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law and is a member of the Connecticut Bar. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College cum laude with a degree in American Studies. She received the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association’s Medal of Honor and currently serves on the Association’s External Achievement Awards Committee. She is an active volunteer for U.S. Figure Skating as a member of the Judges Committee and a National Judge and Referee. Leslie is on the board of Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Skating Fund and Proud Nation, a Community Olympic Development Program, and is a past board member of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

Gordon, Adele—Assistant to the President for Strategic Developments

Adele Gordon,  a graduate of Boston University,  began her career as a Speech and Hearing therapist in the Stratford, CT School System, and worked for many years in non-profit agencies, such as the Kennedy Center and the Rehabilitation Center in Bridgeport and ARI in Stamford.
A long-standing advocate for public education, Adele served on the Stamford Board of Education for ten years, two years as its president, and was also president of the Connecticut Association of Boards Of Education.

She is a founding member of The Connecticut Association of Children With Learning Disabilities (CACLD), the Stamford Public Education Foundation. Over the years she has served on many boards and commissions, including: Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Stamford Partnership, ARI, Red Cross, Literacy Volunteers, the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission and the Stamford Police Commission.

As a natural transition from education and social service, Adele became a partner in a unique company called The Training Connection that improved women’s self esteem and helped them to become self-sufficient. It was through her efforts to get dental care for Training Connection clients that she realized the absence of dental providers for low-income people.

In 1999 she led a group of committed community people to open a dental clinic, The Dental Center of Stamford. The mission of the Dental Center was to provide high-quality, cost-effective oral health care, and to ensure that patients were treated with dignity and respect. She first served as the chair of the Board of Directors and subsequently became the executive director. The Board of Directors determined that CHC was an organization that would continue the mission and philosophy of the Dental Center and joined CHC in November, 2005.

Adele became Faifield County Site Director when Norwalk Smiles opened in 2006 and the Danbury Community Health Center opened in 2008. She continues to promote and provide health care for CHC as the Assistant to the President for Strategic Development.

Haddad, Marwan—Medical Director, Center for Key Populations

Marwan Haddad is the Medical Director of the Center for Key Populations. He joined Community Health Center, Inc. in July 2006. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and his medical degree from McGill University. He completed his family medicine residency at University of Toronto and obtained his Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. He is board certified in Family Medicine. He is certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine as an HIV specialist. He was also the recipient of the 2011 Primary Care Leadership Award presented by the Connecticut Center for Primary Care. Dr. Haddad is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Since January 2012, Dr. Haddad has led the CHC Project ECHO HIV, Hepatitis C, and Buprenorphine programs which expand the integration of these programs not only within CHC but nationwide. This model of care utilizes didactic and case-based learning via video conferences with medical providers, offering ongoing support, consultation and guidance to aid in delivering care to the HIV, Hepatitis C, and opioid using populations. Moreover, Dr. Haddad has taught and lectured at state and national conferences on HIV, Hepatitis C, medication assisted treatment and substance use management, and integrated care. He has published research on the integration of medication assisted treatment such as buprenorphine in community health centers examining both substance use as well as primary care outcomes.

Harding-Wheeler, Kasey—Director, Center for Key Populations

Ms. Harding-Wheeler began her career at CHC as the Director of the Ryan White Program. Since then, she has taken administrative and programmatic responsibility for Healthcare for the Homeless (WYA), Hepatitis C, and TEACH–BMT Programs. She was responsible for the development & implementation of CHC’s HIV prevention and PrEP programs, providing health care services for vulnerable populations.

Hickey, Kevin—Director of Facilities

Kevin Hickey is the Director of Facilities at Community Health Center, Inc. Kevin’s career spans more than 20 years managing facilities, construction, and operations for nonprofit healthcare and hospitality organizations. He comes to CHC from Compass Group, where he managed comprehensive facility operations and support services for a partnership between Hebrew Healthcare, Hartford Healthcare, and Morrison Community Living. Kevin served in the U.S. Air Force as a civil engineer and received a BS in Industrial Engineering from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Highsmith-Francis, Yvette—Vice President, Eastern Region

 

Yvette is the Vice President of Community Health Center, Inc.’s Eastern Region. Yvette has worked with CHCI for 24 years in a variety of capacities. In her current role, she oversees eight of the fourteen CHCI locations in New Britain, Enfield, Hartford, Middletown, Clinton, Old Saybrook, New London and Groton as well as the School Based Health services across the state.

Yvette has been instrumental in the openings of the CHCI locations in Enfield, Waterbury and Bristol. In the early phases of her career, Yvette worked directly with countless individuals and families providing support to address the social determinants of health and to improve the quality of life for those she worked with.

Committed to the elimination of racial/ethnic health care disparities; Yvette works diligently to ensure that the community’s most vulnerable residents continue to have access to quality medical, dental, mental health and school-based services and that those services are delivered with dignity and respect. Yvette is actively engaged in the communities she serves and is committed to public and civic service in her personal time as well. Yvette currently oversees Community Advisory committees and is the co-chair of the PCMH+ Oversight Committee.

Yvette is a graduate of the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive program as well as the Connecticut Health Foundation’s 2009 Health Leadership Fellows Program.

Yvette was a Martin Luther King Scholar at Long Island University and received her Master’s Degree in Management from Cambridge College. She has received recognition on the local, state and national level for her work with individuals living with HIV and AIDS. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work within CHCI and in the community at large.

Hylan, Jane E. —Director of School-Based Services

Managing more than 170 programs statewide, Jane enjoys the opportunity this position offers to oversee programs and staff that deliver barrier-free, comprehensive primary, dental and behavioral health care to students in a variety of Connecticut communities.
Hylan began her career in the human service field. For more than 20 years, she served as a member of the administrative team for an agency that supports people with developmental and physical disabilities. After completing her Master’s degree, Jane served as residential director at a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed adolescents and taught middle school students at risk for failure.

Hylan earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Salem State College in Salem, Mass., and a Master’s in public health from Southern Connecticut State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Ing, JaDeane—Chief Development Officer

JaDeane Ing is Chief Development Officer for Community Health Center, Inc., responsible for generating philanthropic funding from individuals, foundations, and corporations. JaDeane has an extensive background in the financial sector, having held senior positions with several New York City-based funds. Her clients included state and corporate pension plans, financial institutions and foundations. She has also successfully built donor support for prominent nonprofit organizations. JaDeane holds a BA from McGill University and an MBA from Wharton.

Kearney, Timothy—Chief Behavioral Health Officer

Dr. Kearney earned his BA with a combined major in Psychology and Spanish Literature at Yale University and pursued graduate work at Fuller Theological Seminary where he earned his MA (Theology) from the Graduate School of Theology and his Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) from the Graduate School of Psychology. He has also completed the post graduate Primary Care Behavioral Health training program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. He is a licensed psychologist in Connecticut, New York, and California.
He joined the Community Health Center behavioral health staff in 1998. He is the author of Caring for Sexually Abused Children: A Handbook for Families and Churches (Intervarsity Press, 2001). In addition to administrative and clinical leadership of the Behavioral Health programs at CHC, Dr. Kearney supervises and trains postdoctoral psychology residents, co-leads psychotherapy groups with students and younger staff to train them in the provision of child group therapy, and provides direct client care with the clinical focus of providing care to children and adolescents and their families, especially those impacted by medical illness, trauma, and abuse.

Koproske, Karen—Vice President of Practice Administration

Karen Koproske is the Vice President of Practice Administration at Community Health Center, Inc. She is accountable for all aspects of practice management in support of the strategic mission, including excellence in service delivery, patient experience and access. Her role is to lead cross-functional projects to improve practice performance across all health centers.

Prior to joining CHC, Karen was most recently with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where she served for 20 years as director of the Specialty Group, CCMC’s physician group practice. During that time, she helped grow the practice from 60 to more than 200 providers. Karen holds a B.S. from Boston University and an MBA from Bryant University.

Karen resides in Canton, CT, and enjoys yoga, biking, and kayaking on her free weekends.

Lake, Nicole—Vice President and General Counsel

 

Nicole Lake is Community Health Center, Inc.'s first Vice President and General Counsel. Nicole brings outstanding credentials and experience to the role. Her career spans over 10 years of diverse legal experience.

Most recently, Nicole served as Associate General Counsel to the Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy.  Previously she has served as an attorney for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Greater Hartford Legal Aid and the National Labor Relations Board in New York City.  She has also worked as an Assistant Director at the University of Connecticut School of Law.   

Nicole holds a BA from the University of Iowa, a Masters of Divinity from Harvard, and earned her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law.  She is a board member of the Capitol Child Development Center, a frequent volunteer with local and statewide political campaigns, and the yoga instructor for a high school football team.  



 

Rettie, Candice—Executive Director, NNPRFTC

Dr. Candice Rettie was appointed Executive Director of the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium Washington, DC in 2015.

The Consortium is one of the four subsidiaries of CHC and is a private, nonprofit entity that was separately incorporated in July 2015. It was founded to advance postgraduate residency and fellowship training for nurse practitionersDr. Rettie is responsible for the development and growth of the Consortium’s key initiatives, including the accreditation program for postgraduate nurse practitioner residency and fellowship programs and the national membership program.

Prior to joining the NNPRFTC, Dr. Rettie was the co-founding partner of C&FC Consultants in Washington, DC. where she consulted with various nonprofit organizations about strategic analysis and assessment, leadership, evaluation and alignment of programs and services. Dr. Rettie has served as Vice President of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter and the Provost-designee at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. She served as the Director of Continuing Medical Education for the Inova Health System and was an Examination Officer at the National Board of Medical Examiners.  As an administrator and faculty member at two medical schools, her focus was behavioral science, faculty development, and medical education.  She is the author of numerous publications, books, technical papers and presentations.

Dr. Rettie attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Education focusing on rehabilitation psychology and behavioral disabilities. She obtained her PhD at the University of Iowa in Education: Instructional Design and Educational Psychology. Dr. Rettie completed her postdoctoral studies in developmental/school psychology at Bryn Mawr College and is a licensed psychologist focusing on learning across the lifespan.

She and her husband live on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland where she is an avid bird-watcher who dreams of gardens that survive the inundations of high tides and the frequent trimming of voracious 4-legged neighbors. 

Rohde, Michael S. – Director of Community Relations

Michael Rohde joined the Community Health Center, Inc. in 2011 after serving 40 years in Executive Management positions in non-profit agencies serving children and families. Mike’s role with CHC is to engage with community providers to improve health care access to community resources, assist with CHC events and activities, help to develop robust site Advisory Councils, and assist with service expansion.

Mike Rohde’s leadership in the field of child welfare included tenures as President of the Connecticut Child Caring Association; Chairman of the Connecticut Association of Non-Profits; Chairman of the Connecticut Association of Human Services, and Vice Chair of the Connecticut Commission on Children. As a community leader, Rohde provided leadership for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life; Meriden Puerto Rican Festival; Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast, Meriden Black Expo; Project Graduation, and the Meriden Farmers Market.

In 1989, Rohde was elected to the Meriden City Council serving 18 years before being elected for three terms as Mayor of Meriden. Mike played a key role in the Flood Control Project, the downtown redevelopment effort, and the establishment of the Linear Trails.

Rohde received his B.A. in Economics and Psychology at St. John Fisher College, and Masters in Human Services Administration at Antioch University.

Taylor, Amy —Vice President Western Region

Amy Taylor is the Vice President of the Community Health Center, Inc.’s Western Region, which includes mobile, school based and fixed sites in Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury, Meriden, Bristol and Waterbury. Amy joined CHC in 2011 because of her belief in promoting the health and wellness of all people, including those typically marginalized and disenfranchised from health care. At CHC, Amy has been actively involved in the daily operations of the practices, with a focus on making improvements in workflows and processes to enhance patient experience and improve health outcomes. Amy also serves as PI on the All of Us Research Program, which is a National Institutes for Health initiative that seeks to accelerate health research by collecting multiple data points from one million people living in the United States, creating the largest health data resource ever.   

Amy is the Director of Client Relations for CeCN, the Community eConsult Network, a fully owned subsidiary of CHCI.  In this capacity, Amy works with partners across the country to implement and sustain their utilization of asynchronous electronic consult services, eConsults.  eConsults provide a link between specialty medicine and primary care, which allows for the transfer of knowledge from a specialist to the PCP and results in increased patient satisfaction, improved clinical outcomes, and lower cost of care.

Recognizing that the social determinants of health play a significant role in the wellness of a community, Amy is engaged with many local and regional associations that aim to improve the social and economic conditions of the cities within the Western Region.  She leads Community Advisory Councils in each site in the region and is the co-chairperson for the Oversight Committee for the PCMH+ Initiative at CHCI. Amy graduated from Bowdoin College as a James Bowdoin Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa and is a Geiger Gibson Capstone Fellow from George Washington University and a Dartmouth-trained Microsystems coach.

Tummala, Sheela—DDS, MPH, Chief Dental Officer

Sheela Tummala, DDS, MPH is the Chief Dental Officer for the Community Health Center, Inc. Prior to joining CHC in 2006, Dr. Tummala worked as a general dentist at Meri Care Dental in Meriden and also served as an onsite dental director since 2006. Dr. Tummala also worked in her own private practice in Woodbury until 2015. 
 
In her roll at CHC, Dr. Tummala treats patients, supervises staff, and maintains the goals and needs of the staff. Dr. Tummala also serves as the Dental Quality Improvement Chairman for CHC, where she is responsible for conducting meetings, writing policies, maintaining quality improvement, and assessing the needs for quality improvement from the patient and staff perspective. 

Dr. Tummala has served on a number of committees such as the Electronic Dental Records Committee where she was responsible for the creation of templates in open dental and consent forms. Dr. Tummala, who has a passion for research, was involved in the research study “Side effects of Triazolam in Children” published in American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry 21:1, 1999. She is also involved in organizing many events such as the Mission of Mercy events at CHC.
 
Dr. Tummala completed her DDS degree at New York University and her General Practice Residency at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, N.Y. She also completed her MPH at Western Kentucky University. 
 
She says her favorite part of providing dental services to CHC patients is “Patients appreciating the work you do for them, changing their smiles, and helping to take them out of pain.”

Dr. Tummala also loves to sing, dance, hike and cook! 

Vinikas, Matt—Chief Operating Officer, CeCN

Matt Vinikas is a seasoned health care executive and current Chief Operating Officer for CeCN.  He has been a leader of innovative health initiatives since his graduation from Wesleyan University.  In the early 1970’s, he was an organizer of the Community Health Center, Inc., now one the largest FQHCs in the country.  After leaving CHCI in 1977, Mr. Vinikas moved to West Virginia to organize rural health delivery and financing systems, including serving as Executive Director of the Associated Clinics of Appalachia, a 7-state coalition of non-profit primary care organizations and managed care entities.

He moved to Boston in 1986, helping to organize the Neighborhood Health Plan as its second employee and Chief Operating Officer.  NHP was a non-profit collaborative effort of the Community Health Centers in Massachusetts, and one of the country’s first Medicaid managed care plans.  He led the effort to replicate the model, working with the primary care association of Rhode Island to organize the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.

Mr. Vinikas is a co-founder of Core Health, Inc. which provided technical and executive support to non-profit and government entities in multiple states in support of primary care centers and efforts to bring managed care services to Medicaid populations.  Along with other Core Health principles, Mr. Vinikas was co-founder of Senior Whole Health, Inc., one of the first managed care plans to provide care solely to the dually eligible population.  Senior Whole Health was recognized in 2008 by Inc. Magazine as the country’s fastest growing company. 

Before returning full time to CHCI and CeCN in 2017, he served as an FQHC site director, worked to organize development of a non-profit dual eligible plan in Illinois and consulted on Medicaid ACO development with both managed care and provider entities.  Mr. Vinikas currently resides in Boulder, CO and works primarily from the Denver, CO Weitzman Institute offices.