The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Workgroup was created to support the Project Team by providing subject matter expertise and guidance in the development of specific components of the Fellow Program. Workgroup members bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise; and have graciously offered their time to help develop transformative leadership solutions to dismantle the status quo.
Senior Fellow for Health Equity, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
David Auzenne has nearly 20 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating public health programs. He employs a data-driven, partnership-building, community-centered, systems-based approach to advance health equity and reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations. David has served in leadership roles at the local and state level leading infectious disease prevention, community health, health promotion and chronic disease prevention, and health equity initiatives. David received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Public Health degree Columbia University.
Javeed Sukhera, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Chair of Psychiatry, Institute of Living; Chief of Psychiatry, Hartford Hospital; Lecturer, Yale University School of Medicine
Javeed Sukhera is the Chair and Chief of Psychiatry at the Institute of Living and Hartford Hospital. He has pending academic affiliations with the University of Connecticut and Yale University Schools of Medicine. Dr. Sukhera is an internationally recognized health professions education researcher and thought leader. His research program explores novel approaches to addressing stigma and bias among health professionals and he has also been involved in advocacy and cross-sectoral work in education, policing, and community services.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Meaningful Minds United, Inc.
Ms. Jennifer Randal-Thorpe is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, mother of three girls and eight grandchildren. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana (Lafayette) where she earned a Bachelor’s in Applied Sciences. She is also a graduate of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health’s Peer Support Specialist Program, a Counselor in Training certified by the Louisiana Association of Substance Abuse Counselors and Trainers. She has 28 years of lived experience and has served on the National Suicide Action Alliance Panel. Ms. Randal-Thorpe is currently a member of LaPAAC, LASCT, ABCT, CBHL, and NEC. Her most exciting work, she is currently doing internationally in the UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Denmark. “People are the same worldwide, there are different cultures, but trauma exists globally.”
Carl Chadband, M. Ed.
President, RISE NOW LLC
Mr. Chadband has more than 15 years’ experience providing training and technical assistance services to a variety of State and Federal grantees. He has fought to reduce equity gaps in the fields of family strengthening, workforce development, TANF, justice reinvestment, assets for independence, and community economic development. Before forming RISE NOW LLC.,Mr. Chadband served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action Inc. (KISRA), a faith-motivated nonprofit located in Dunbar, WV. He was the Project Director for multiple federal grants including the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) Responsible Fatherhood Re-Entry, Department of Justice (DOJ) Second Chance Mentoring grantee, and the Office of Community Service (OCS) Healthy Food Financing Initiatives.
Michelle Vander Stouw, MPH, ACC (she/her)
Managing Principal, OnPointe Strategic Insights and Director of Strategy, Peg’s Foundation
Michelle has 25+ years of experience in health and healthcare, working on access to health care and reducing health disparities at the state and national level. She has led numerous collaborative efforts, hosting diverse people in co-creating better futures in the health and social sectors through building systems to create community change at the policy and individual level. Michelle is passionate about building authentic leaders and environments that support inclusion and belonging and is on a lifelong journey to develop as a culturally humble leader.
Xavier Fonz Gonzales, PhD MSPH
Director of Mental Health Programs, Nueces County Mental Health Programs
Dr. Gonzales has a breadth of experience in research and education. He has spent the last 20 years in collaborative federally funded interdisciplinary research that spans from cellular communication to public health. Further, he has spent the last 10 years in education developing and implementing programs that support individuals from marginalized populations achieve success in STEM fields. Currently, Dr. Gonzales’s efforts are targeted around leading behavioral health service providers toward developing collaboratives as a means to enhance County services by increasing efficiency and access to a continuum of care.
Liz Schoenfeld, PhD
Chief Research & Evaluation Officer, LifeWorks
Dr. Schoenfeld has nearly a decade of experience conducting applied research and program evaluations in the areas of behavioral health, housing, workforce development, and evidence-based programming. She is passionate about partnering with individuals with lived expertise to minimize disparities in outcomes and to co-create human-centered interventions and models of care. By leveraging inclusive research and design justice techniques, Dr. Schoenfeld aims to challenge the status quo and create innovative, value-based solutions.
LeShawn Arbuckle, LCSW
Division Director of Counseling Services, LifeWorks
LeShawn has over 25 years of experience in clinical social work as a clinician and supervisor working with a nonprofit organization dedicated to transitioning youth and families from crisis to safety and success and ending youth homelessness. She oversees the Counseling Division which provides counseling, psychiatric and peer support services to various populations including transition-aged youth, many whom have had systems involvement with juvenile justice or foster care. LeShawn is helping to lead her agency’s work toward becoming a more inclusive and equitable agency for staff with a commitment to improving outcomes for the youth they serve.