CHW Summit Speaker Bios

The HAP Foundation is excited to present the 2024 Community Health Worker Summit: CHWs Innovators in Social Justice, Public Health and Health Disparities. We’ve designed the day for learning, networking, and celebrating the remarkable achievements of Community Health Workers across our region. Our hope is to bring together CHWs, public health strategists, healthcare leaders, and community activists for a day of empowerment and collaboration. Thank you for joining us! 

Social Justice and Health Disparities

Dr. Otis Moss

Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III, Keynote speaker 

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, is a preacher, activist, and author. He practices and preaches a Black theology, where he unapologetically addresses issues like mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality. A third-generation civil rights advocate, Dr. Moss intertwines love and justice in his Gospel teachings, evident in his recent book "Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times" (Nov. 2022). A native from Cleveland, Ohio, he graduated from Morehouse College, Yale Divinity School, and Chicago Theological Seminary. Passionate about preaching, he educates future preachers as a homiletics professor at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. Influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., his spiritual journey embodies their legacies. 

Community Health Worker Panel: CHWs: Voices from Around the City

Colleen - Draw

Kandis Draw, CHW, moderator

Kandis works as a Community Education Associate for the HAP Foundation, with a concentration in Chatham & Englewood, where she provides Community Education surrounding end of life issues. Along with being a National Illinois Advocate for the Illinois Special Commission on Gynecological Cancers, she is also a contributor for Caregiving.comKandis was recently nominated for a 2021 Caregiving Visionary Award through and has been featured on several podcasts. 


Sahida Martinez, CHW

Sahida, with 30+ years of community engagement, began teaching in her home country, Mexico before moving to Little Village and assuming several volunteer leadership roles. Her journey at Enlace began as an early participant in the development of CHW initiatives. Starting part-time in 2014 as a health promoter and transitioning to full-time in 2017, Sahida now supervises CHWs, drives initiatives, and holds several certifications and awards. 

Neda Ahmad

Neda Ahmad, CHW

Neda has been actively serving in the community as a volunteer, and Social Determinants of Health Case Manager at Swedish Hospital, part of NorthShore. She has a background in medicine as an MD and a Masters in Healthcare Administration. She is passionate about improving health outcomes and building relationships through advocacy and strategic change. Community health work has been a fulfilling experience that provides learning experiences, introspection, and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. 

Dameka Edwards-Hart

Dameka Edwards-Hart, CHW

Dameka, a proud Chicago South Sider from Englewood, currently serves as the Supervisor of Community Health Workers and Special Programs for the Liaisons in Care (LinC) Program at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative (UHI). Eight years ago, her public health journey began as a CHW with the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she underwent extensive core skills and asthma training at the Sinai Urban Health Institute, becoming a proficient health educator. Dameka has made it her life’s missions to not only help UCM’s patient population to overcome inequalities and social determinates of health, but she has also set a goal to prove how important the role of a Community Health Worker is by recruiting, assisting and training those entering the field behind her.   

Unveiling the Genesis: The Cancer Commission's Inception and Nurturing Care - Exploring the Vital Role of CHWs in Cancer Support

Kimberly Richardson

Kimberly Richardson

Kimberly is a survivor of ovarian cancer and early stage, triple positive breast cancer. Her patient advocacy ranges from serving as pre-Reviewer for DOD, serving on external advisory boards for NCI, ACGME and several academic institutions, to creating educational content on cancer research and clinical trials. She was the 2021 recipient of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s Ellen L. Stovall Award for Patient Innovation in Cancer Care. Currently, Kimberly has established a special commission on Gynecologic Cancer in Illinois, is an appointed Board of Governors for PCORI and has recently founded the Black Cancer Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that creates partnerships between Black cancer patients and the medical and scientific communities on issues of health equity, patient inclusion and clinical trials participation. 

Kim Jay

Kim Jay, CHW

Kim Jay is a highly accomplished professional who has made a remarkable career transition from corporate accounting to public health. In 2012, Kim joined the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) as an asthma educator, marking the beginning of her journey in the field of public health. Recognizing her passion for community well-being, she pursued further education and obtained her bachelor's degree while excelling as a Community Health Worker (CHW). Kim Jay's unwavering commitment, extensive expertise, and influential leadership make her an invaluable asset in the field of public health, particularly in advocating for the role of CHWs and promoting equity in gynecological health for women of color.

Grief in the Community, an Interfaith Conversation

rev morgan dixon

Reverend Morgan Dixon, moderator

Rev. Morgan Dixon, the managing partner of Death Light Doula, specializes in end-of-life guidance, aiding individuals in their final phase while supporting their families through inevitable loss. With an ordination as an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she previously served as the Church Administrator at DuPage AME Church for over 20 years. Presently residing on Chicago's Southside, she serves as the Director of Business Operations for GirlTREK, the world's largest health organization for Black women. Completing the End-of-Life Death Doula Training Program through Going with Grace, after assisting a loved one during their final days, Rev. Dixon feels a calling to serve others in this capacity and seeks to redefine what family legacy looks like - especially for communities of color. 

Reverand Mischa Russell

Reverend Mishca R. Russell

Rev. Michca R. Russell has Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from Michigan State University, followed by a Master of Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary. As a board-certified chaplain, her journey began at RUSH University Medical Center, focusing on Emergency Department Medicine. Presently, she serves as the Regional Manager of Spiritual Care for Trinity-Health Loyola Medicine at MacNeal Hospital and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Chicagoland. She also instructs and mentor chaplains with The Coleman Palliative Care Medicine Training Program. Additionally, she holds committee memberships with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) International Health Commission and The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) Well-being Committee. She is a certified mental first aider through The National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

Rev. Harden

Reverend Allen Harden 

Rev. Allen Harden is a Unitarian Universalist minister, currently serving Beverly Unitarian Church in southwest Chicago. Rev. Harden entered ministry later in life after a long career in social policy research. He has served several congregations in northern Illinois, always residing in the Hyde Park community of Chicago.

Ozarowski pic 2022

Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski

Rabbi Dr. Joseph S. Ozarowski, a Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain at JCFS Chicago, is also an adjunct professor at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership and the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. Recognized as a "Top Jewish Chicagoan of 2013" and honored with the "Rabbi Mordechai Simon Award" in 2014, he previously presided as President of the Board of Rabbis. Holding a Board-Certified Chaplain certification, he earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola University of Chicago, rabbinic ordination from Skokie’s Hebrew Theological College and doctorate from Lancaster (PA) Theological Seminary. Rabbi Dr. Ozarowski served on boards such as the Jewish Federation of Chicago and the North Shore University HealthCare System Institutional Ethics Committee Rabbi Ozarowski is an accomplished author, having written numerous texts and articles.

Imam Tariq I. El-Amin

Imam Tariq El-Amin

Imam Tariq I. El-Amin has served as the Resident Imam of Masjid Al-Taqwa since 2013. He holds a Master of Divinity in Islamic Chaplaincy from Bayan Islamic Graduate School and Chicago Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Islamic Community Leadership, where his research interest includes end of life services in interfaith settings, and the impact that faith has on the loss of loved ones. Imam Tariq’s better half is Dr. Aisha El-Amin, and they are the proud parents of three adult daughters.  

Project REACH (Raising Education for Aging and Community Health): Results of a Community Health Worker Needs Assessment

Dr. Stacie Levine

Dr. Stacie Levine

Dr. Stacie Levine is Professor and Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the University of Chicago and a national leader in geriatrics and palliative medicine education. She Co-PI of a large-scale, multi-centered project that has been consecutively funded by the Coleman Foundation since 2010 and involves longitudinal training in palliative medicine clinical skills, program development, leadership engagement, and patient advocacy for physicians, advanced practice practitioners, psychologists, and social workers. The Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program boasts hundreds of graduates and expands to a national and international audience. Dr. Levine was honored with the Francis H. Straus Mentorship Award, University of Chicago Faculty Award for the Biological Sciences Division and AAHPM Gerald H. Holman Distinguished Service Award. She has been one of Chicago’s Top Doctors since 2013 and currently sits on the Board of Directors at AAHPM 


Dr. Lauren J. Gleason

Dr. Lauren Gleason is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine. She graduated from University at Buffalo School of Medicine, completed residency in Internal Medicine at University of Rochester before pursuing Geriatrics Fellowship in the Harvard Multicampus Program and MPH in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. At University of Chicago, Dr. Gleason is the Director the Internal Medicine Resident Geriatrics rotation and Medical Director of South Shore Rehabilitation. She is the Project Director of a HRSA-funded Geriatrics Academic Career Award (GACA). Through this project, she leads geriatrics educational initiatives for health care professionals, students, and community members around the 4Ms (Medications, Mobility, Mentation, Matters Most). Her interests involve development and implementation of IHI Age-Friendly QI initiatives and improving quality of care for older adults in the health system At University of Chicago, she is a Healthcare Delivery Science & Innovation (HDSI) Scholar. Nationally, Dr. Gleason is a member of the American Geriatrics Society Public Education Committee and serves as an Associate Editor for Aquifer Geriatrics. 

Nora Spadoni

Nora Spadoni, Medical Student

Nora Spadoni is a second-year medical student at The University of Chicago. She also attended undergrad at UChicago, where she studied anthropology. Nora recently became involved with geriatrics research and hopes to continue exploring her interests in geriatrics, community health, and interdisciplinary medical care. 

The HAP Foundation Community Health Worker Program

Colleen - Draw

Kandis Draw, CHW, moderator

Kandis works as a Community Education Associate for the HAP Foundation, with a concentration in Chatham & Englewood, where she provides Community Education surrounding end of life issues. Along with being a National Illinois Advocate for the Illinois Special Commission on Gynecological Cancers, she is also a contributor for Caregiving.comKandis was recently nominated for a 2021 Caregiving Visionary Award through and has been featured on several podcasts. 

Colleen - Burns

Maureen Burns, CHW

Maureen (she/her/ella) is the Senior Community Education Associate and CHW with The HAP Foundation. As a CHW, Maureen works in and around her community in Rogers Park and West Ridge, providing free education about serious illnesses, end-of-life care, advance directives, and cultural considerations at end-of-lifeMaureen has over 15 years of experience working in health care and a Bachelor of Arts degree in community health, culture, and aging. Maureen is also a student at Northeastern Illinois University, currently pursuing her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.  

Colleen - Downing

Kimberly Downing

Kim Downing RN, BSN, JD is the Executive Director of Program Evaluation and Research at The HAP Developed. She has developed and led the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, among the earliest state coalitions for pediatric palliative care in the country. Engaged in various research projects, Kim contributed to needs assessment tool validation and rural pediatric end-of-life care evaluations. She led quality improvement endeavors in regional nonprofit organizations, addressing serious illnesses and social determinants of health. With a nursing background, her career commenced in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the University of Rochester, followed by roles in pediatric home care and a palliative care community-based team.  

Resource Tables

Advocate for Community Wellness

Age Options

American Heart Association


Chicago Fire Department

CJE SeniorLife

Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA)

Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

Sinai Urban Health Insititute

Southside Health Organization

The HAP Foundation

The Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

The National Kidney Foundation IL

Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare

University of Illinois Cancer Center; Program: Enviromental Scan of Community Health Workers

Thank you to our sponsors!


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