Phyllis Alexander, BS
Phyllis Alexander has been a champion for social justice for several decades, and civil rights professional for over twenty years working for both corporate America and city government.
Phyllis is a experienced coalition builder and trainer and credits her skills to her 29-year affiliation with the National Coalition Building Institute, an international social justice/ social change organization. Phyllis has had several roles with NCBI including senior trainer and was President of the NCBI Board of Directors from 2012-2017. In addition to facilitating NCBI workshops including their Welcoming Diversity training, Phyllis facilitates a variety of conversations ranging from courageous conversations about race, to strategic planning sessions for boards.
Phyllis has a Bachelor of Science in Economics and later received a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.
As a consultant with the Promise Neighborhood of the Lehigh Valley (PNLV), Phyllis worked as the Project Director for the Leadership Without Limits Leadership Institute. In this role, Phyllis practiced her “pass the baton” strategy by supporting the leadership of mostly millennial students.
Community engagement includes volunteering as a board member of the Freedom Memorial, a local non-profit dedicated to commemorating the life and continuing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Coretta Scott King. Phyllis is also the Vice President of the Resurrected Community Development Corporation (RCDC), a faith based non-profit dedicated to social justice. Per their vision statement, RCDC is committed to creating communities of equity, excellence and empowered residents.
A former resident of Allentown, PA, Phyllis has been recognized for her community service, receiving two awards from the Allentown Human Relations Commission, an Allentown YWCA Women’s Leadership Award, the Humanitarian Award from the Allentown NAACP, and a Distinguished Woman award from the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Phyllis has two daughters and currently resides in Temple Hills, MD.
Sharon Fraser, MBA
In the course of over twenty-five year of experience in accounting and systems control. Sharon has used her skill to improve profitability, services, and internal processes in the business, and Not for Profit industries. Sharon is also a Certified Health Coach where she assists individuals to optimize their health and well-being. Currently, Sharon is employed by PPL Electric Utilities Corporation in Allentown, PA. Sharon works in the Customer Program Group as a Customer Program Specialist where she implements and manages energy conservation programs for both residential and business segments. Sharon is currently pursuing a degree in naturopathic medicine.
Sharon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Allentown College of St Francis DeSales and her M.B.A from DeSales University. She was also successful in passing the CPA exam and is a Certified Control Assessor (CCSA). She is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, American Management Association, The Organization for Work Improvement Processes National and Delaware Valley Chapter, and a former member of the TAWPI Remittance Check Council. Sharon serves on several boards in different capacities as follows: Board member for Resurrected Community Development Corporation and Lehigh University S.T.A.R Academy, and Treasurer for the Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Memorial Project. Sharon is a former chairperson of the City of Allentown Redevelopment Authority.
Yuriko de la Cruz, MPH
Yuriko de la Cruz (she/her/ella) is a public health professional and social justice rebel with extensive experience advancing equitable health programs and services. Her dedication to advocate for the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals, families, and communities is tied to her personal journey. As the daughter of South American immigrant parents, she experienced the challenges related to immigration and grew up in poverty with no health insurance, substandard housing and education, and food insecurity. As a professional and community leader, Yuriko has leaned into the strengths and challenges of her personal story and leads with empathy, perseverance, curiosity, and joy. She is most passionate about sharing her gifts and talents in and with the community and serves on the Board of Directors of two community-based nonprofit organizations in Allentown, PA: Resurrected Community Development Corporation (2017) and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley (2019). In 2021, she joined the board of directors for the Academy of Communication in Healthcare, a membership organization that serves as the professional home for individuals who are committed to improving communication and relationships in healthcare.
Yuriko completed the Bachelor of Science in Public Health from West Chester University and the Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic where she led capacity building efforts with the provincial Ministry of Health, local community health clinics, and international non-governmental organizations to improve nutrition and hygiene, prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, and train community health workers and youth peer educators. After the Peace Corps, she worked in Newark, NJ and led community health programs at La Casa de Don Pedro and later worked as a Community Health Worker in an asthma education program at University Hospital. She then joined PROCEED, Inc. to provide training and technical assistance on a national basis to HIV/AIDS prevention providers funded by CDC and addiction prevention providers throughout the state of New Jersey. Pivoting into health care, Yuriko joined the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, a federally qualified health center in Allentown, PA to address the social determinants of health (SDOH) for patients with high utilization of health care services. Yuriko later joined Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and facilitated patient-centered medical home transformation and continuous quality improvement efforts in ambulatory primary care and specialty care practices. Efforts focused on population health, patient experience and engagement, cultural competency, and operational improvements. Yuriko served as the inaugural co-chair of the Patient Education Committee for the Lehigh Valley Physicians Group from 2017-2019.
Yuriko is currently the Social Determinants of Health Manager at the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in Alexandria, VA and partners with health centers to collect and address patient-level social needs as well as use SDOH data to inform upstream efforts that improve community health and advance health equity. In addition to her current role, she has been selected to serve as a member of external committees to share her leadership and expertise in national efforts. These committees include: SDOH Academy Steering Committee funded by the Bureau of Primary Health Care in the Health Resources and Services Administration; Equity Learning Lab Advisory Team funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support RWJF grantees with their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts; and, the National Stakeholder Work Group for the CDC-NCADD Community Health Worker Resource Center that is led by the National Association of Community Health Workers.
Brian Abel, MPH
Brian is an Applied/translational researcher with an expertise in population health management. Results oriented professional passionate about investigating opportunities to achieve health equity by the means of addressing social determinants of health. Flexible health care leader, skilled in quantitative and qualitative research methods, project management, and statistical analysis. Brian’s curiosity in the field of public health, and precisely health equity is a deeply personal nature. Growing up, a first-generation Haitian American man in the poverty-stricken communities of Newark and Trenton New Jersey, he witnessed first-hand the uninterrupted cycles of ineffective or absent public health policies. He is currently employed by LVHN as an Operations Manager for the Department of Integrated Care Coordination.
Further, Brian is also currently a Doctor of Health Science candidate at East Stroudsburg University with a concentration in advance research administration.
Hasshan Batts, DHSc, MSW
(www.hasshanbatts.com) is a prison survivor, healer, son, father, grandfather, brother, husband, and friend. He is a community epidemiologist, a community-based participatory researcher, a dynamic motivational speaker, and a leading expert on trauma-informed care, global health, reentry, and community engagement.
Hasshan is the Executive Director of the Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, a Black-led, antiracist, non-profit organization dedicated to the liberation of all people. He is the Founder and President of the Prison Survivors Network, a founding member of the Society for the Healing and Study of Historical Trauma, and a founding board member of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers. He is a distinguished Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leader and a board member of Penn State Extension and the Resurrected Community Development Corporation.
Hasshan holds a joint MSW from North Carolina A&T and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a doctorate in Health Sciences and post graduate certificate in Global Health from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He was previously an adjunct professor at Lenoir Rhyne University, Lincoln University and Lehigh University and has been awarded fellowships at Lehigh University, the Rider-Pool Foundation, and the Practitioners Research and Scholarship Institute. He currently serves as a Commissioner on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs and on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Reentry Council.
Kumari Ghafoor-Davis, MSW
Kumari Ghafoor-Davis, MSW has over 25 years of experience in social services. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Social Work, she has worked with children and families in schools, inpatient and outpatient programs, independent living/aging out programs for foster care youth, group homes, halfway houses, and hospital crisis units for adults and children as a Direct Care Manager, Crisis Social Worker and an Administrator.
She is currently the Director of the Campaign for Racial and Ethnic Justice for the Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley (CACLV). The programs she oversees include Generation Next, a college prep program that operates in Easton Area High School, Liberty High School and Freedom High School in Bethlehem and will expand to William Allen High School in Allentown in the spring. Another program Kumari oversees is, “SHE” (which stands for Self-Esteem, Health, and Education), an enrichment program for elementary and middle school girls which operates in four Bethlehem Area Schools and will expand to Allentown in the spring. These programs will serve over 400 students in these 3 school districts this school year.
Kumari also leads the Color Outside the Lines initiative to encourage racial conversations within Lehigh Valley to promote inclusion and diversity acceptance. Kumari and her phenomenal team have engaged hundreds of Lehigh Valley residents in racial conversations that highlight disparities in our community. The Implicit Bias/Cultural Humility Trainings her team leads have had over a thousand participants from Lehigh Valley and Monroe County in the past 18 months. The work her team is doing will allow the Lehigh Valley to understand the intricate ways in which systemic racism affects all of us, and not just people of color.
As a Social Worker and Parent Coach/Expert, Kumari’s consulting company Optimistic Expectations has operated for almost 15 years, offering workshops to parents to promote more tools in their parental journey and working with students to promote more personal, academic and social success. She also offers Professional Development Trainings to teachers, administrators and auxiliary staff on topics such as; Professionalism, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Sensitivity, Implicit Bias, and The Importance of Cultural Responsiveness in Schools.
Kumari’s style in all capacities is utilizing hands-on interactive discussions, with a goal to provide practical skills that will aid participants to be more efficient and productive in any role they play as parent, student and/or teacher, administrator, and training participant.
In her parent workshops, she uses her book Real Talk: Ten Parenting Strategies to Raise Confident Successful Children. The book has a curriculum that gives practical strategies to raise children who are successful academically, emotionally and socially. The book also provides insights to raising self-confident, integrity filled and resilient children. Kumari trains and facilitates workshops in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and New York.
Outside of being a facilitator, Kumari has been an adjunct professor in continuing education for Essex County, Passaic County, Montclair State, Seton Hall Universities and Hunter College in their Sociology and Social Work Departments since 2002.
Kumari is the Athena National Award Winner for Lehigh Valley Region for 2021.
Tanieka Mason, MPH
Tanieka Mason is the Senior Manager, Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and Analytics at Reading Hospital. In her role at the hospital’s Community Wellness department, she creates, manages, and leads SDOH efforts across the organization. She uses analytic skills to interpret a wealth of data used for monitoring and improvement, highlighting success and value, and implementation of strategic initiatives for the community served. She is passionate about her role in addressing barriers faced by disparate and vulnerable populations by using a diverse and cultural-competent approach to create healthier communities and achieve health equity. A proven and dedicated leader, Tanieka fosters an environment of success with strong partnerships, coordination, communication, and collaboration. While not at the virtual office, she enjoys family time, cooking, reading, and planning events. Tanieka holds a Bachelor and a Master of Public Health degree from East Stroudsburg University of PA.