Phyllis Alexander

Phyllis Alexander, BS

Vice President

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.

Beatrice Karnga-Gray


Little did Beatrice Karnga -Gray know, born and raised in Liberia West Africa, a culture where
family values and morals took precedence over individuality and wealth would find herself in the
United States of America due to 14 years of civil conflict in her native Country Liberia.

Beatrice served as Site Manager for Ricoh while outsourced to CIGNA for 10 years and
recognized as Manager of the year 2008 amongst 400 hundred managers within the Philadelphia
regions. Her tenure in Cooperate America, CIGNA even though somehow acknowledged, was
marked with high resistance and lack of diversity but her work so effective spoke volumes. The
awkward experiences did not deter her but instead birthed a dream. She then vowed to be a fair
and equal opportunity employer instead of a marginalized employee.

Beatrice Karnga -Gray is the CEO and Administrator for Caring Grace Home Care Agency LLC
established January 2013. She is a non-medical home health care service provider for the elderly
and disabled, licensed by the state of Pennsylvania and Medicaid certified. Caring Grace serves 6
Counties in the Northeastern regions of Pennsylvania and employs a diverse group of people.
With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and recognition as one of the fastest growing
businesses in the region by the Dunn and Brad Street Business Credit Solution, Caring Grace
retains its service excellence by maintaining the quality of life for the elderly and disabled who
choose to live in the comfort of their homes as compared to a facility.

As a community leader, Beatrice served as President of the Liberian Community Association of
Northeastern Pennsylvania for three years. During which she collaborated with local churches,
government officials, businesses, the media and various organizations to bring awareness to the
growing Liberian immigrant community and to promote civic engagement. The awareness
boosted enormous on time support to Liberia’s Ebola crisis in 2014. The Liberian community as
the result of the collaboration contributed large consignment of preventative supplies to Liberia;
distributed to 7 counties in an effort to eradicate Ebola.

The Liberian Women Empowerment Group founded by Beatrice in 2015 united women in the
diaspora specifically Pennsylvania’s northeastern regions to a common cause; to support the
education initiatives of underprivileged girls in Liberia. The organization currently partner with
the “Nyonblee Cares Foundation” and provides backpacks filled with school supplies and
sanitary items for up to 500 girls in rural Liberia.

Beatrice attended the Liberia Christian High School, Grand Bassa County and Cuttington
University College, Bong County, Liberia. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business
Administration Health Care Management, Cum Laude and a Master of Business Administration
in Health Care Management from Colorado University, Colorado USA. Beatrice is also certified
in various disciplines; Human Resource Development, Project Management, Basic Accounting
and Finance and Business in Global Environment.

Beatrice is a Christian and a member of the Resurrected Life Community Church, UCC since
2016. She also is the Chair of the church’s Executive Council, board member and treasurer of the
Resurrected Community Development Corporation (RCDC). Beatrice is married to Glenn E.
Gray and a mother of 4 children; 3 boys and a girl. She is the daughter to Rev. Dr. Abba G.
Karnga and Mrs. Eileen W. Karnga and sister to 12 siblings.

Yuriko de la Cruz, MPH

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

Board Member

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

Hasshan Batts, DHSc, MSW

Board Member

( 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

Board Member

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

Tanieka Mason, MPH

Board Member

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.