Conference presenters

Keynote speakers

Lois Smith Owens, MSW
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Adjunct Professor
Grand Valley State University

Presentation: Community Workers --- Keepin’ it Live!!!

Lois Smith Owens, MSW is currently an Adjunct Professor with Grand Valley State University, School of Social Work. From 1998 to 2015 Lois was the director of admissions. Lois has many accomplishments including; Diversity Trainer, African Folk Tales performer, published playwright and published author. She began teaching in 1968 at: Washtenaw Community College, University of Virginia, Suny Albany, Suny Cobleskill and in1970 received a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Michigan.

Ken Wasco
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Author, Catalyst, Speaker, Doer 

Presentation: Harnessing the Dynamics of Change

Ken Wasco retired as a full-time public speaker for Gordon Food Service in 2019. Having presented at over 6000 conferences. Today he stays in action a few times a month with speaking engagements across the USA. His focus is on empowering people to empower people.

Workshop presenters

Laura Bahena, CHW, CNA
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CHW Werks™

Presentation: Mental Health Training for CHWs 101

Laura Bahena,CHW/ Promotores de Salud has over 20 plus years of experience as a Community Health Worker. She is owner of her own consulting business CHW Werks™ where she provides trainings, speaking engagements, consulting & creates curriculums for Community Health Workers, Promotores de Salud and Community Navigators. 

She serves as part of an IRB Board at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago Il. She was a former Chair of the APHA CHW Section 2020! She has also served as a former Governing member there as well. She also continues to teach CPR and First aid in her other business. 

Laura Bahena also provides consulting services to organizations regarding CHW program development and grant writing.

Floyd Booker, MM
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Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Hope Network

Presentation: Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) Gatekeeper Training

Floyd Booker, MM, a certified DEI practitioner and Master QPR trainer, currently serves in the role of Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Hope Network. He draws on more than 25 years of experience facilitating positive change within corporations, human service organizations, municipalities, K-12 schools and universities to assist others in identifying and eradicating barriers to equity and inclusion.

Porsche Fischer, MA MS
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Doctoral Candidate 

Presentation: Bridging the Digital Divide with the Community Tech Worker Training Program for CHWs

Porsche Fischer is the Education and Registry Manager at MiCHWA and has served others in the non-profit sector since 2014. Porsche was a graduate research assistant in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University and has taught sociology and criminology at Henry Ford College and Oakland Community College for over 15 years. She is currently finishing her doctoral research on Community Tech Workers for her Doctorate in Human Services with a specialization in Data Analysis and Program Evaluation.

Pat Koch
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Neuro Rehabilitation Supervisor
Hope Network 

Presentation: Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) Gatekeeper Training

Pat Koch has worked in the Human Service field for nearly 30 years in a variety of different positions including direct care, dietary services and job coaching. I am currently a supervisor for Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation Grand Rapids. I supervise a variety of vocational services including job placement, job coaching and supported employment to help people with various challenges to return to work. I am a Master Facilitator for Satori Alternatives to Managing Aggression (SAMA) as well as a QPR trainer at Hope Network.

Tressa Liba, MSW, MPA, CCHW
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Executive Director
Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) 

Presentation: Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance: Current State Conversation

Tressa Liba, is a seasoned MiCHWA certified community health worker (CHW) with over 18 years in the community health profession. Ms. Liba is experienced in providing direct service and program coordination of a high-risk pregnancy program; 8 years of supervising a team of home visiting CHWs working with chronic disease, high risk pregnancy, geriatrics, infectious disease and school-based populations. Ms. Liba is a former Board President for Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) and former MiCHWA CHW Co-chair of the Policy & Finance Committee.

Mark Mann, MTS
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Director of Programming and Institutes
Catholic Information Center – Grand Rapids 

Presentation: Spiritual Wellbeing in a Time of Adversity

Mark Mann has been involved in pastoral care for 30 years, serving in roles at local, regional, and national levels. He currently serves as the director of programs and institutes for the Catholic Information Center, a ministry of the Paulist Fathers. Previously, he served as the director of Family Life, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries for the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. He received a Master of Theological Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. He and his wife Cami live here in Grand Rapids. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Gladys M. Muñoz, BS, MSA
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Language and Cultural Awareness Services of Northern Michigan, LLC 

Presentation: Intercultural Communication in the Healthcare Setting

Gladys Muñoz was born in Puerto Rico. She is the mother of 4 adult children and grandmother to 7 grandchildren. Has a Bachelor Degree in Science with a major in Home Ec and Child Development from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master in Science Administration from Central Michigan University, and a training for medical interpretation from the University of Arizona. 

Gladys lived 3 years in Japan and has traveled extensively on fact finding and immersion experiences to Ghana-Africa, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Europe. Gladys moved to Traverse City, MI in 1987 and has been actively involved with the Hispanic immigrant and migrant community in Northern Michigan since then. In 2013 Gladys Muñoz received the Sarah Hardy Humanitarian Award. 

At present, Gladys offers language interpretation services in the region through her own business, “Language and Cultural Awareness Services of Northern Michigan, LLC”. She also helped organize and is the program director for the 501(c)3 non-profit “Justice and Peace Advocacy Center” (JPAC), that strives to meet emergency, social and integration needs of the local immigrant and migrant community.

Natalia Palma, CHW
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Spectrum Health Strong Beginnings 

Presentation: A Decade in and Still Learning

Natalia Palma is an experienced Community Health Worker. She has been a Community Health for Spectrum Health for the past 17 years. She is dedicated and passionate with the families she has the privilege of working with. She strives for all mothers to get the prenatal care and support they deserve for positive birth outcomes. Her belief is it is important to not only educate mom’s but to empower them to always to be able to advocate for themselves and their families. She enjoys learning from her clients and celebrating their successes. 

Natalia is a mother of 3 children and loves spending time with them and her family and enjoying the summer weather at any beach.