Conference Presenters

Keynote and Workshop Speaker

Sharon L. Greer, MSN, RN
Charlotte, NC

Keynote Presentation: CHW Best in Class: Approach to Population Health

Workshop Presentation: Grace Under Fire: Surviving and Thriving in Health Care (Using Resilience & Strengths-based Skillset)

Sharon L. Greer has more than twenty-plus years as a nurse, trainer and public speaker. Her background includes many non-traditional nursing roles focused around population health. Sharon’s passion in her nursing practice and personal journey is to see people whole and living their lives fully even amid chronic conditions. She has done extensive study and career development in chronic disease self-management utilizing strengths-based practice, motivational interviewing and resilience methodologies.  

Sharon has a special interest in population health and is currently working as a Clinical Practice Consultant assisting organizations to enhance their quality, cost savings and member engagement strategies. She has spent the last 17 years helping train professionals how to survive and thrive within their practice environments. Her motto is “Practice with Style & Grace and Leave the Burnout—Burned Out!”

Keynote Speaker

Jeremy Moore
Equity PAC
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: The Program Pitfall: Why Civic Engagement is Vital to Eliminating Health Disparities

Jeremy Moore’s work spans 17 years of leadership working in the social sector, with particular expertise in health care, philanthropy innovation, social equity and political action. He serves as Manager, Community Health Programs—Innovation in Healthier Communities at Spectrum Health, a Truven Health Analytics Top 15 health care system, and winner of the 2017 American Hospital Association Foster G McGaw Prize created to recognize hospitals that have distinguished themselves through efforts to improve the health and well-being of everyone in their communities. Jeremy is the architect for the Strong Beginnings Pay for Success Project focused on combating racial disparities in infant mortality. He serves on the Michigan Strong Beginnings Pay for Success (PFS) Executive Governance Committee. He co-founded Equity PAC, a local, equity-focused political action committee and a social equity activist organization called Equity Drinks. Jeremy won the 2016 LINC UP Visionary Community Spirit Award. He writes on issues related to the economy and equity for The Rapidian and sits on the Community Advisory Forum for Fifth Third Bank. 

Workshop Presenters

Valissa Armstead, MBA
Manager Inclusion and Diversity
Certified Cultural Intelligence Facilitator
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, MI

Mary Brown, MA
Senior Specialist Talent Programs
Certified Cultural Intelligence Facilitator
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Culturally Intelligent Innovation

Valissa Armstead is the Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at Spectrum Health and a Certified Cultural Intelligence Facilitator. She has been instrumental in designing, implementing and managing a broad range of initiatives and programs around equity, inclusion and diversity. One area she is passionate about is developing effective intercultural relationships. She is an Adjunct Professor for Grace Bible College where she teaches and writes curriculum on diversity and cultural intelligence. She also enjoys giving back to her community through her board relationships. Valissa has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, a M.B.A. and is currently completing her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership where her research focuses on the impact of cross cultural relationships. 

When growing up, Mary Brown’s curiosity, interest, and questions were explored, valued and nurtured. Her early fascination and interest in how things work and her innate desire to address disparities, has informed her current work at Spectrum Health Inclusion + Diversity Center of Expertise. Here, Mary uses her frameworks from Human Centered Design and Futuring in the areas of organizational learning, development and change. Mary has been an adjunct faculty member in both the psychology and business departments at Grand Rapids Community College. She is currently a doctoral candidate for Pepperdine University and holds degrees from Gonzaga University, University of Phoenix, National Institute of Technology and has studied at Case Western Reserve University. Mary also is a Certified Cultural Intelligence Facilitator. 

Mariano Avila
Inclusion Reporter and Producer
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Your Story Has Power

Mariano Avila is an award-winning journalist at WGVU Public Media in Grand Rapids. Over the course of his career, Mariano has produced two documentaries, written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, produced commercials and nonprofit campaigns. He has organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story. Mariano was born in Mexico City, Mexico, where he learned the value of civic engagement and public discourse. His life and work have taken him from refugee camps in Palestine to garbage-dump communities in Egypt and Guatemala. Mariano is a graduate of Calvin College and has an MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.

Laura Bahena, CHW
Owner and Lead Trainer
Chicago, IL

Presentation: CHWs/Promotores deSalud and Community Navigators: The Role They Can Play in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Situations in their Communities

Laura Bahena, CHW/Promotores de Salud has over 23 years of experience as a Community Health Worker. She owns a consulting business called CHW Werks™ where she provides training and curriculum 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 is part of the Office of Minority Health Steering Committee for Promotores de Salud. She is a member of the American Public Health CHW Section and has previously served on its Governing Council. 

NiKeidra Battle-DeBarge, BS
Manasseh Project Coordinator
Wedgewood Christian Services’ Manasseh Project
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: #Stop This Traffic: A Necessary Understanding of CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children)

Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge is a credible leader within the social services field with over 13 years of experience in case management, program development and advocacy for youth and families. She was recently recognized by several prestigious organizations including Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 under Forty class of 2015, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce-Top 10 Athena Finalist, United Way-People Helping People 2015 Art Prize Installation and WOOD TV’s Connecting with Community Award Finalist. Nikeidra serves as Coordinator for the Manasseh Project of Wedgwood Christian Services. The Manasseh Project is an outreach ministry dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of young women and men in West Michigan. In her role as Coordinator, Nikeidra provides support for victims of human trafficking and empowers people of West Michigan to end sex trafficking.  Nikeidra was instrumental in developing a video called "Stop This Traffic," which has been viewed by thousands.  In 2012 Nikeidra partnered with two other women with the vision to start a nonprofit organization, called New Destiny Pathways. The organization provides affordable and supportive independent living housing to young women ages 17-21 that are aging out of the foster care system.  

Kim DeLaFuente, MA, ACSM-CPD
Community Health Educator
Spectrum Health Healthier Communities
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Move More: Steps for a Healthy Life

Kim is the Community Exercise Educator and supervises exercise science intern students for Spectrum Health Healthier Communities. She also is an adjunct instructor in the Movement Science Department of Grand Valley State University. Kim earned her graduate degree from Michigan State University in Exercise Physiology and her Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Health Promotion. Her career expands 25 years and includes experience in cardiac rehabilitation, corporate wellness and community programming and childhood obesity. Kim has coauthored two childhood obesity prevention and intervention programs including FitKids360. Kim is a certified ACSM Clinical Program Director and is Well coach trained.

Leanne Mauriello, PhD
Director Behavioral Science & Lifestyle Management
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Meeting Patients Where They’re at: Using a Stage Approach to Facilitate Engagement

Leanne is a health psychologist and behavioral scientist with expertise in patient engagement, health behavior change and lifestyle management. Leanne has led the development, testing and implementation of health behavior change programs for varied populations and settings, including digital health modalities. Her work has resulted in several peer-reviewed funded grants and publications. She is an expert on utilizing the stages of change and behavior change theory to engage patients in sustained behavior modifications. Leanne currently leads program development for lifestyle management, digital health engagement and culinary medicine for Spectrum Health.  

Ruth Sanborn, DBioethics, MA
Clinical Ethicist, Advisor
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Introduction to Medical Ethics 

Ruth Sanborn, DBioethics, MA serves as the Clinical Ethicist for Spectrum Health System which is comprised of 12 hospitals, about 180 ambulatory and service sites; about 3,200 physicians and advanced practice providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 795,000 members, and employs 25,400 people throughout West Michigan. 

Ruth’s career in Bioethics includes a postdoctoral fellowship at Loyola University Chicago, Marywood, Illinois, Lecturer in Bioethics and Christian Ethics at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, California and Director of Faith Foundation at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church, Redondo Beach, California.

Ruth obtained her professional education at the following institutes of higher learning, Doctor of Bioethics and Master of Arts in Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University Chicago, Master of Arts in Religious Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Gerontology at Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles. 

Ruth also is a member of various professional associations and activities such as the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), and various committees in bioethics.

Colbert Williams, BS
Son to A Father Program and Cole Speaks Program
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: Being Intentional in the Engagement of Fathers and Male Caregivers in Your Work and Practice

Cole Williams is the CEO and Founder of “Son To A Father” and “Cole Speaks,” which are programs that work to empower and restore relationships between teens and their parents. Cole has developed curricula and workshops that explore the journey of Familyhood. Cole is a motivational speaker, trainer, facilitator, mentor, community leader and most importantly—father.

Cole’s most recent work has been dedicated to providing Fatherhood training, support and materials for the Michigan Adolescent Pregnancy and Prevention Program (MI-APPP), as well as penetrating the culture of the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center, where he provides life skills and leadership development to incarcerated youth throughout Kent County.

Additionally, Cole Williams and his sons teach inside one of Michigan’s correctional facilities where they provide a Father and Son Parenting Enrichment Workshop Series for incarcerated fathers.

Mindy Ysasi, SPHR
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: PIE: Performance Image and Exposure

Mindy Ysasi leads The SOURCE where the mission is to reduce employment barriers for employees that work for their partner organizations. The SOURCE began as an idea by local CEOs who wanted to retain talent in their companies and understood that talent is a differentiator. Their model works with the Michigan Department of Health and Human services, private caseworkers and employers by providing navigation and connection supports to employees.

Mindy joined The SOURCE in 2015 after an HR career in a variety of employment sectors and employers including Cascade Engineering, Herman Miller and Spectrum Health. She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a BBA in management and marketing. She received her Senior Professional in HR designation in 2009.

Mindy is a cofounder of the Latina Network of West Michigan, an organic collective focused on changing the Latina narrative in the region. She is an appointed member to the Civil Service Board, City of Grand Rapids. Additionally, she serves as the co-chair for the KConnect HS to Career work group. She has been recognized with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Young Professional award, the GVSU Alumni Service award, GR Business Journal 40 under forty and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network-GR DoGooder and Exemplary Executive awards.

Panel Presenters

Presentation: Panel: Community Health Workers: Telling our Stories

Tania Bermejo, BA
Programa Puente
Spectrum Health Healthier Communities
Grand Rapids, MI

Tania Bermejo was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where she was involved with different student organizations focused around the local Hispanic/Latino community. Tania’s continued passion for community involvement and social justice aligned with the mission of Spectrum Health which is to improve the health of the communities that it serves. Tania has been working for Spectrum Health for six years, starting as a Community Health Worker and now in the role of community health program specialist. Her goal is to decrease cardiovascular disease risk among the Hispanic community in the Kent County area. 

Stephanie Fuller, CHW
Strong Beginnings - Cherry Health
Grand Rapids, MI

Stephanie Fuller is a seasoned Community Health Worker with more than 10 years of experience working in the area of maternal infant health. She is a CHW with the Strong Beginnings program which addresses the issue of infant mortality among African American women. Stephanie has been a part of this very successful program in reducing infant mortality rates among African American infants. Stephanie’s passion and experience as a CHW has allowed her to positively influence the communities she serves to address the barriers of social determinants of health. She serves as a mentor to other CHWs and is an advocate for her clients. Stephanie is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in social work.

Adnoris “Bo” Torres
Fatherhood Coordinator / Coordinador de Padres, Padres Fuertes
Strong Beginnings - Family Futures
Grand Rapids, MI

Adnoris “Bo” Torres is an experienced coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Working in the city of Detroit for 15 years he honed his skills and developed a keen sense for working with at risk communities. Skilled in comparative politics, community organizing, student development, policy analysis and organizational development, Adnoris utilizes his political science background and Chicano/Boricua studies focus to affect the issues of importance to the Hispanic/Latino community.