ECCSF Spring 2014

Yale Health Professions Students:

Kimberly Vasquez is a MPH candidate at the Yale School of Public Health, in the Social Behavioral Sciences and Global Health. Growing up in New York City, she became very intrigued by the socio-economic and health disparities present in her neighborhood. For two years, she further explored this interest as a research assistant in a HIV clinic in the Bronx. There she was involved in a NIH funded HIV research project (HPTN 065); where she used financial incentives to motivate HIV patients to engage in care and comply with medication adherence. Her goal is to create programs that address the needs of marginalized populations, particularly in issues concerning sexual and reproductive health. She is also interested in using education to empower those in low resource communities. This summer she and her team of Yale undergrads will conduct HIV medication adherence research in Leon, Nicaragua through funding from the Yale Downs Fellowship.

HAVEN Free Clinic: A Yale student-run organization that will be speaking on the challenges of providing health care to undocumented patients in New Haven.

The HAVEN Free Clinic is a student-run primary care clinic partnered with Fair Haven Community Health Center (FHCHC) and Yale University. Its model is unique in its inclusion of students across the disciplines of medicine, nursing, physician’s associates, and public health. Since opening its doors in November 2005, it has conducted over 4000 adult patient visits, representing more than 450 unique patients. Patients are seen by teams of senior and junior students with guidance from faculty preceptors. Currently, it sees an average of 20 patients per week. HAVEN operates Saturdays from 9a-12p out of the Fair Haven Community Health Center.  Its programs are targeted to residents of the Fair Haven neighborhood.

Risa Wong:
Risa is a senior medical student at the Yale School of Medicine. Since June 2013, she has served as full-time Executive Director of the HAVEN Free Clinic, a student-run free clinic administered by Yale students of many different backgrounds, including undergraduate, graduate, and health professional students. The mission of the HAVEN Free Clinic is two-fold; to provide uninsured adults in the Fair Haven neighborhood with primary care and other health services, and to educate students about primary care, community health, and patients with limited resources. 95% of patients seen at the HAVEN Free Clinic speak Spanish as their primary language, and an estimated two thirds are undocumented immigrants. It is Risa's hope that through volunteering at local organizations such as the HAVEN Free Clinic, students everywhere can learn firsthand about the unique health issues facing underserved and underinsured populations.


Project Access: A local community organization that will be speaking about the provision of specialty healthcare to the uninsured, and their mission in expanding access to New Haveners.

Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, MBA, MPH:

Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, MBA, MPH, joined Project Access as the Executive Director in May 2012. Her background includes a BA, French and Finance from Florida State University, an MBA from Georgia State University, and an MPH from Walden University. Darcey is a native of southern Connecticut (Bridgeport). Her career has balanced between the public sector, municipal government and healthcare, with a focused on community health, quality of care and health outcomes for various populations. Darcey served previously in the Mayoral appointed position of Director of Elderly Services for the City of New Haven, as the Ambulatory Care Manager for the Infectious Disease Clinic at Harlem Hospital Center and most recently as the Research Manager/Manager of Business Operations for the Yale/Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. In addition to her academic, management and research background, Darcey brings to Project Access a genuine interest in the mission of the organization and desire for increased/improved access to care for all.

Edna Cruz-Cedeno:

Edna L. Cruz-Cedeño began with Project Access August 2010 as the first patient navigator. She received formal patient navigation certification in 2011 at the Harold Freeman Institute in New York City. Prior to Project Access, Edna worked to provide financial literacy to over 30 non-profit organizations serving low-income individuals. She also volunteered her time assisting low income families with tax preparation, Medicare and Medicaid education. Edna has served as a board member of the Area Agency on Aging. In addition, she volunteers with a local Christian radio station, Radio Amor, and she has served her local church for over 20 years. Edna is currently involved in the Gateway Community College Patient Navigation certification program as an instructor.

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity is a non-profit research and public policy organization devoted to improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma. The Rudd Center serves as a leader in building broad-based consensus to change diet and activity patterns, while holding industry and government agencies responsible for safeguarding public health.

Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD:

Dr. Schwartz serves as Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. She received her PhD in Psychology from Yale University in 1996. Prior to joining the Rudd Center, she served as Co-Director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders from 1996 to 2006. Dr. Schwartz's research and community service addresses how home environments, school landscapes, neighborhoods, and the media shape the eating attitudes and behaviors of children. She has collaborated with the Connecticut State Department of Education to evaluate nutrition and physical activity policies in schools and preschools throughout the state. She co-chaired the Connecticut Obesity Task Force in 2010 and has provided expert testimony on obesity-related state policies. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Bank. Dr. Schwartz has received research grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health to study school wellness policies, the preschool nutrition environment, the effect of food marketing on children, the relationship between food insecurity and nutrition, and how federal food programs can improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods

The Connecticut Mental Health Center is an urban community mental health center with an exceptional 30-year tradition of serving individuals with serious mental illness. 

Luis Añez, PsyD:

As an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Hispanic Services, Connecticut Health Center, Dr. Añez is very active in the community. Receiving both his M.S. and Psy D. from Florida Institute of Technology, Dr. Añez is quite the accomplished doctor. He has given a Conference presentation on Latino mental health and diabetes at the XXX Interamerican Congress of Psychology in Buenos Aires  as well as practiced enhanced treatment access and adherence among women of Hispanic origin living in the US in Lima, Peru. Currently, he is working on a project that consists of researching the use of cognitive behavioral therapy and Motivational Interviewing in the treatment of monolingual Hispanic clients. In all, his current research interests include Hispanic Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Personality Disorders within the HIspanic/Latino population.

Michelle Silva, PsyD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University; Associate Director, Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System

As a licensed clinical psychologist based at the Hispanic Clinic of the CT Mental Health Center, Michelle Silva works with a multidisciplinary team of bilingual and bicultural psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and case managers in the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services for the Spanish-speaking Latino community of greater New Haven. Most recently, and with the development of the Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System, her team has been able to not only expand access to recovery-oriented clinical and social rehabilitation services to the growing Latino community of south central CT, but also offer ongoing professional training and consultation on Latino mental health issues to regional direct service providers and administrators. Her areas of professional interest include: the development of culturally congruent behavioral health service systems for Latino communities; child/adolescent/family therapy; immigration and acculturation; and professional training and supervision on Latino mental health issues.

Alvaro M. Huerta, JD

Staff Attorney, National Immigration Law Center-Los Angeles

Mr. Huerta works to defend and advance the rights of low-income immigrants and their family members through litigation, administrative advocacy, and community education. His work focuses on ensuring that low-income immigrant families are not wrongly denied access to quality health care as states and municipalities implement federal health care reform. His practice also includes litigation on due process, equal protection and civil rights, and he is currently co-counsel on cases challenging anti-immigrant state legislation. Before joining NILC as a Skadden Fellow in 2011, Mr. Huerta clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to law school, Mr. Huerta worked at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, where he directed the organization’s communications, community education, and advocacy strategies on various local, state, and federal immigration issues. Mr. Huerta holds a B.S. from Yale College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He is the son and grandson of Mexican immigrants to the United States. Follow Alvaro on Twitter: @AlvaroMHuerta

Marta Elisa Moret, MPH

President and Senior Research Consultant, Urban Policy Strategies

Ms. Moret has more than fifteen years of national, state, and local research and policy experience. She has effectively used the tools of research and policy to enhance the capacity of African American and Latino community organizations to effectively implement intervention and prevention programs on behalf of under-served children and families.

Ms. Moret conducts research and policy assessments on a wide array of health, education and human services programs in Connecticut and in other states.  She is conducting longitudinal studies of the AmeriCorps and America Reads programs.  She is the Co-Director of the State of Connecticut's HIV Evaluation Bank. She has conducted a national policy assessment of community youth development.  She works with the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for Health Care Research and Policy to train and provide technical assistance to health policy leaders on community-rooted program evaluation design issues.  Ms. Moret presents extensively throughout the United States on topics related to enhancing the research and policy capacity of African American and Latino community-based organization and is completing a bi-lingual training manual for publication on this topic.

Ms. Moret holds an MPH from Yale University's School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and is a fellow of the Yale University Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.  She is associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University where she teaches Emerging Issues in Public Health Policy.

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