Dr. Luis Diez-Morales, MDBoard Chair

Dr. Luis F. Diez-Morales joined Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center in 1984 as Director of Medical Ambulatory Services and as Systems Medical Director of Ambulatory Services. At present he is the Medical Director for the Curtis Robinson Men’s Health Institute and The Center for Health Equity. He is also 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.

Luis Federico is married to Marta P. Diez and they reside in Avon, CT.

Jill DaviesBoard Vice-Chair
Attorney Jill Davies is the deputy director of Greater Hartford Legal Aid, (GHLA) and directs Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, an initiative of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, in collaboration with GHLA. A member of the Board of Directors since 2008, Jill currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Hispanic Health Council Board and Chair of the Hispanic Health Council Foundation Board.

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. Born in Aguada, Puerto Rico and 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 WaldmanBoard Secretary
Hilary Waldman joined the board of the Hispanic Health Council after serving as director of communications for the council from 2008 to 2011. 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. Currently, she is director of internal communications for Hartford HealthCare. She lives in Andover, Ct. with her husband, Joe O’Brien, an EMT. Her grown children also have careers in healthcare, Jill as a health legislative assistant to a U.S congressman and Liam as a nurse.
Joel CruzBoard Member

Joel Cruz, Senior Director of the Institute for the Hispanic Family and Strengthening Families Programs, has over 15 years of experience in Community Outreach, Public Speaking, Nonprofits, Program Development, Case Management, Strategic Planning, Social Services, Mental Health, Healthcare, and Public Policy.

Joel authored numerous ordinances and resolutions helping to address quality of life in the City of Hartford as Council Minority Leader from 2012 to 2015. Served 8 years of honorable services in the United States Marines Corps. Currently serves as vice-chair to the Charter Oak Health Center Board of Directors (2013 to present), Commission member to the Town of Windsor’s Youth Commission (2018-Present), Reviewer for the Council of Accreditation (COA). Joel is certified as a Fatherhood Family Life Coach master trainer by the National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL). Member of the Prevention Child Abuse Advisory Committee.

David KingBoard Member
David joined the Hispanic Health Council Board of Directors in September of 2019 and also serves on the Finance Sub-Committee.

Professionally, David works as a Vice President and Market Leader for Bank of America Merrill locally here 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.

David resides in East Windsor, CT with his wife, Kelly. 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. In is free time, David enjoys playing and watching soccer and cannot wait to start traveling again!

Dr. Yvette MartasBoard Member
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 UCONN Storrs through EL Instituto where she teaches her course in Women’s Health issues in the Latinx and African American communities.
Yvette has lived through these experiences accompanied by her wonderful husband Anthony Johnson.

Maria Teresa Restrepo-RuizBoard Member
Mayte Restrepo-Ruiz is a PhD Candidate 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 other. She is particularly invested in advancing research to benefit individuals in situations of vulnerability such as persons with irregular migratory status. ​
Lisa Werkmeister RozasBoard Member
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 UConn 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).

Kenneth A. Barela Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Kenneth Barela has more than 30 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 has an MBA from the University of Denver and is a certified project manager. Ken is married to Debbie. They are the proud parents of four young adults.