Dr. Yvette MartasBoard Chair
Dr. Yvette Martas is a first-generation Puerto Rican from the South Bronx practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology for 30 years. She started this journey after graduating from Yale and then receiving her medical education from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She trained in OB-GYN at NYU-Bellevue and remained on the clinical faculty modeling the care essential to achieve quality health care for women of color.

While at NYU Bellevue (faculty practice and resident training) she ran the Women’s Health portion of the NYU medical school student health program and directed the Bellevue Teen Pregnancy clinic. She also initiated her work in global health with medical missions in Central and Latin America. Most of her time has been spent in clinical work as well as a current board member with Grounds for Health; an NGO whose mission is to eradicate cervical cancer.

She’s now in private practice at Mansfield Ob GYN Associates for 13 years. She is also currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Connecticut Storrs through EL Instituto where she teaches her course in Women’s Health issues in the Latinx and African American communities.

Jill Davies, JDBoard Vice-Chair
Attorney Jill Davies is the Deputy Director of Greater Hartford Legal Aid and an advocate on a local, state, and national level to make victims safer. She is a national thought leader on issues of importance to family violence victims, including advocacy and safety planning, poverty, and legal issues. One aspect of her work is the conception and continued development of the victim-defined approach to advocacy.

The author of numerous articles and materials regarding family violence, her writing and teaching encourages critical thinking and supports improved practice. She is co-author of the book, Domestic Violence Advocacy: Complex Lives/Difficult Choices, Sage (2014).

Will PerezBoard Treasurer

Will Perez is a Management Consulting professional who helps organizations plan and deliver on their transformational strategies. He is a Managing Director at Slalom Consulting where he has worked since 2012. He has also held prior leadership positions at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Accenture, and Virtusa. He was born in Aguada, Puerto Rico and is a lifelong Connecticut resident where he attended the University of Connecticut and earned a degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

He has volunteered his time to numerous non-profits in Hartford and is a member of the Latino Endowment Fund giving circle. He joined the Hispanic Health Council Board in 2019.

Hilary Waldman, MPHBoard Secretary
Hilary Waldman joined the board of the Hispanic Health Council after serving as Director of Communications for the council from 2008 to 2011. Hilary has a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Public Health Administration from the University of Connecticut Health Center.

She is currently the Director of Internal Communications at Hartford Healthcare. She became acquainted and impressed with the work of the council during a 20-year career as a writer for The Hartford Courant, covering health issues with a focus on underserved communities.

Dr. Luis F. Diez-MoralesBoard Member

Dr. Luis F. Diez-Morales is currently the Chief Medical Officer and Executive VP of Charter Oak Health Center. Prior to Charter Oak Health Center, he joined Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center in 1984 as Director of Medical Ambulatory Services and as Systems Medical Director of Ambulatory Services. He was also the Medical Director for the Curtis Robinson Men’s Health Institute and The Center for Health Equity. He was the Chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

He attended Notre Dame High School in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and the University of Puerto Rico for both his bachelor’s degree and medical school. He completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at Wayne State University where he was also Chief Resident, followed by a Fellowship in Endocrinology at the University of Connecticut.

Jennifer Doran, MBA-MHABoard Member
Jennifer Doran is a Senior Director of Strategy and Operations at Hartford Healthcare. She is the first in her family to go to college, getting her Bachelor’s in Business and going on to continue her education receiving her MBA-MHA from the University of Phoenix and recently Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Certification from Cornell University.

She has worked at Hartford Healthcare for sixteen years where she has held several leadership positions. She is currently the co-chair of the system Hispanic/Latinx Colleague Resource Group and Vice Chair for the Hispanic Health Council Foundation Board. She enjoys teaching, mentoring, and coaching and has a strong passion for advocacy.

Many would describe her as a compassionate and powerful force that uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and never settle. Jennifer’s personal mission is to be a trailblazer in driving sustainable change in bettering our communities and improving health inequality.

Dr. Sheila M. KearneyBoard Member
Dr. Kearney brings more than 40 years of professional experience as a life-span education leader, diversity-inclusion-belonging researcher, lecturer, and consultant and personal coach.  During her employment tenure at Gallup, she led as executive director of the International Positive Psychology Institute, Vice President of Social Audits (on topics such as Black-White Race Relations, Have and Have Nots, Drug Use and Abuse, Gambling, Child Discipline, etc.), and management consultant and leadership coach for academic, corporate, and federal agency clients.

At Gallup, she led research to develop a workplace inclusiveness audit and consulting practice. Prior to Gallup, Dr. Kearney was director of the Executive Leadership Council Foundation (an association of Fortune 200 executive-level corporate African-Americans), Education Program Officer at the Prudential Foundation, consultant for the National Medical Association, Research Associate for the Harvard University Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, the Council for Graduate Management Education (a cooperative of top-tier ivy-league graduate business schools at Harvard) to promote minority student recruitment, and a project coordinator on research for a peer-led social inoculation intervention to prevent smoking and drug use in adolescents at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She began her professional career as a Boston Public Schools special education teacher, and promotion to high school administrator.

Dr. Kearney received her Doctorate and Master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Boston College, attended Hampton University, graduating from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

David KingBoard Member
David joined the Hispanic Health Council Board of Directors in September 2019. Professionally, David works as a Vice President and Market Leader for Bank of America Merrill in Hartford, CT. He has been working in the financial services industry since 2008. David graduated from Westfield State University in 2008 with a BS in Business Management with a concentration in Finance and a minor in economics. Additionally, he holds a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designation.

He is an enthusiastic volunteer in the community and currently serves the town of East Windsor as a member of the Board of Finance and Chairman of the Pension Board.

Dr. Lisa Werkmeister RozasBoard Member
Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas is a first-generation Peruvian-American and Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She began her career as a clinical social worker at a community-based agency with Latin@ individuals and families. After receiving her Ph.D. in social work from Smith College, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine before joining the UConn faculty in 2004.

She recently served as the director of the BSW program and the Puerto Rican/Latin@ Studies Project at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Her research and teaching interests include an examination of coloniality, white supremacy, implicit bias and their effects on intersectional identities, and the importance of critical consciousness on advocacy and allyship. She is the co-author of the 3rd edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions (forthcoming 2021).

Dr. Maria Teresa Restrepo-RuizBoard Member
Dr. Mayte Restrepo-Ruiz is a Ph.D. in Public Health and a Research Associate with the Department of Public Health Sciences at UConn Health. Originally from Colombia, she has lived for the last 20 years in Connecticut, where she has worked with several non-profit organizations in the Hartford and New Haven areas.

Her areas of expertise include Latina women’s health, intimate partner violence, and program evaluation among others. She is particularly invested in advancing research to benefit individuals in situations of vulnerability such as persons with irregular migratory status. ​

Dr. Charles R. Venator-Santiago Board Member
Charles R. Venator-Santiago is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and El Instituto at the University of Connecticut. He studies U.S. territorial law and policy. He teaches courses on U.S. legal history, legal theory, Latino and Puerto Rican politics. He is founding director of the Puerto Rican Studies Initiative for Community Engagement and Public Policy (2022-2023). He is currently working on developing a series of research projects including developing a demographic profile of Puerto Ricans in Connecticut, an oral histories project, and a series of civic engagement projects. For more information on Venator-Santiago’s current projects, see https://puerto-rican-studies-initiative.clas.uconn.edu/
Karen TaylorBoard Member
Karen “Kae” Taylor has over a decade of experience shaping inclusive environments in higher education, corporate, and government sectors. Currently, she is leading the City of Hartford’s Office of Equity and Opportunity to create more equitable processes and partnerships that benefit City colleagues and communities. She is a long time Hartford resident and earned her B.A from Trinity College.
Prior to joining the City of Hartford, Karen was the Global Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Learning Advisor for Cigna corporate.
Cecilia KozlowskiBoard Member
Cecilia Kozlowski, is a humanitarian service professional in the field of Disaster Relief Operations for the Connecticut & Rhode Island Region of the American Red Cross, as former Director in Business Operations and now Sr. Recruiter in Recruitment Operations focused to recruit for every line of service and place the Red Cross volunteer workforce to deliver its humanitarian mission. She has served in a human services role for more than 20 years in the industries of non-profit environments, university, and healthcare relations, helping the underserved communities.

She currently serves as a member of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Latino Endowment Fund, Foundation Board of Director-Charter Oak State College, El Show de Analeh Production Team Member, for the American Red Cross – Leadership Training Program, Latino Resource Group serving as its Team Lead.
Cecilia has a passion to make a difference in people’s lives, and to make a difference in this world, “the beauty of helping people is the satisfaction you get to see how you’ve touched their lives.” 

Dane O’Leary-ClarkBoard Member
Dane O’Leary-Clark is a West Hartford local where he works remotely as a Corporate Account Executive. Most of his professional experience has been as a sales leader across the industries of distribution, healthcare and software.

Before this, he acquired an MFA in acting as well as studied abroad in Spain and Mexico while obtaining a BA in Spanish & International Relations.

He lives with his wife, Meghan, and their two kids. In his free time, you’ll catch Dane cooking, reading, and playing chess with his five year old while simultaneously wrestling with the three year old.

Dr. Elizabeth BirdBoard Member
Dr. Bird was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico and currently resides in CT with her husband, 3 children and 3 dogs. She practices pediatrics at The Charter Oak Health Center where she loves to provide care to a largely Hispanic population. Dr. Bird graduated from the Yale School of Medicine in 2002 where she won both the American Women’s Medical Association Glasgow Award and the New England Pediatric Society Prize. She completed her residency at the University of Michigan in 2005 where she also served as chief resident.

Upon completing her residency, Dr. Bird worked both in the Hasbro Hospital Emergency Department and as a hospitalist in the pediatric inpatient wards until 2014. During that time she was associate program director for the Brown University Department of Pediatrics Residency and was awarded the Brown Pediatric Faculty Teaching Award. In 2014, she moved to CT with her family and has been practicing pediatric primary care ever since, exploring an abiding interest in social, economic and lifestyle determinants of health.

Kenneth A. Barela, MBAChief Executive Officer

Mr. Kenneth Barela has more than 35 years of experience in the non-profit sector. He has worked in various capacities as an executive for national and regional healthcare and human service organizations.

He has experience evaluating not only prospects but entire communities to determine their primary interests and motivations, and a demonstrable track record of applying those interests to successful community projects.

Ken’s entire adult life has been defined by service. He served our country as a United States Army Infantry Officer. He was deployed in support of Desert Storm. In addition, he was the Mayor of a city in Colorado.

Ken is also a published author. His book, “Parables on Leadership Values”, was released in 2023. Ken has an MBA from the University of Denver and is a certified project manager.