Our Staff

Office of the President

David Sandman Read more

President and CEO

David Sandman

President and CEO

David Sandman

David Sandman

President and CEO

David Sandman

David Sandman, Ph.D., is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), a private foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Since 2006, NYSHealth has invested more than $146 million in initiatives to improve health care and the public health system in New York State. Equally important, the Foundation is committed to sharing the results and lessons of its grantmaking; informing policy and practice through timely, credible analysis and commentary; and serving as a convener of health care leaders and stakeholders throughout New York State.

Dr. Sandman was named President and CEO in 2016, after serving as NYSHealth’s Senior Vice President. Previously, Dr. Sandman was appointed by the Governor of New York as Executive Director of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the “Berger Commission.” The Commission was a nonpartisan, broad-based panel charged with evaluating and reforming the State’s health care delivery and financing systems. It developed recommendations to reconfigure the supply of hospitals and nursing homes to best respond to community needs for high-quality, affordable, and accessible care.

After serving as Executive Director of the Berger Commission, Dr. Sandman became a Managing Director of Manatt Health Solutions, where he advised health care providers, foundations, payers, associations, government, and companies regarding development of new health care programs, services, and restructuring plans. Earlier, he was a Vice President at Harris Interactive, a global research and consulting firm. Prior to joining Harris Interactive, Dr. Sandman served as Assistant Vice President at the Commonwealth Fund, where he was responsible for projects related to health care coverage and access, health care in New York City, Medicare, and quality of care issues. He also served as a policy analyst with the City of New York Department of Health; at a number of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations; and as a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Sandman received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from Haverford College, and his Master of Public Administration degree and Ph.D. from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and a member of the Herman Biggs Society; he also serves on Philanthropy New York’s Board of Directors.

Olivia Williams Read more

Executive Assistant

Olivia Williams

Ph: 212-584-7674

Executive Assistant

Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams

Ph: 212-584-7674

Executive Assistant

Olivia Williams

As Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), Olivia Williams is responsible for directly supporting the president and assisting in the facilitation and execution of administrative responsibilities for NYSHealth. Her duties include coordinating meetings and travel arrangements; preparing correspondence and reports; maintaining schedules; and assisting with managing the executive office. Ms. Williams also serves as liaison to the Board of Directors.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Williams worked in the education industry for 10 years. She served as a high school teacher at Westfield Ninth Grade Center, Westfield High School, and Dekaney High School in Houston, Texas. She taught 9th–12th grade math to students in general education, special education, and the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, specializing in working with students with emotional disturbances.

Ms. Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Houston, a teaching certificate from Texas Teachers, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration.

Program

Brian Byrd Read more

Senior Program Officer

Brian Byrd

Ph: 212-292-7297

Senior Program Officer

Brian Byrd

Brian Byrd

Ph: 212-292-7297

Senior Program Officer

Brian Byrd

As Senior Program Officer, Brian Byrd manages the New York State Foundation’s (NYSHealth’s) Special Projects Fund, a $3 million annual funding opportunity that allows NYSHealth to respond to opportunities that fit the organization’s mission, but fall outside the Foundation’s two priority areas. The Special Projects Fund also serves as an opportunity to be responsive to the changing health care environment, especially to innovative ideas that emerge from the health field.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Mr. Byrd was the director for community partnerships for CARE, an international humanitarian organization. He was responsible for building relationships with policymakers, the media, and government and corporate officials. Before that, he was deputy director for membership affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Byrd has considerable experience in the health field. As a senior government relations advisor, he worked on public health policies and services in New York. He was also an assistant director with the Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed an HIV/AIDS project in Africa.

Mr. Byrd holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University and a Master of Public Administration degree from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. He is a member of Philanthropy New York’s PhilanthroPost editorial board and Health Policy Working Group Program Planning Committee. He serves on the board of the Overseas Press Club of America and the advisory committee for Witness.

Carolina Carvajal Read more

Special Projects Fund Intern

Carolina Carvajal

Ph: 212-584-7686

Special Projects Fund Intern

Carolina Carvajal

Carolina Carvajal

Ph: 212-584-7686

Special Projects Fund Intern

Carolina Carvajal

As an intern, Carolina Carvajal provides support to NYSHealth’s Special Projects Fund. She works closely with staff members to identify and support projects that address emergent health care and public health issues facing vulnerable populations in New York State that are outside the scope of the Foundation’s priority areas of empowering health care consumers and building healthy communities.

Ms. Carvajal previously worked as a pathologist office coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an institution dedicated to cancer treatment and the advancement of innovative cancer research. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, she assisted in the administrative implementation of Memorial Sloan Kettering-Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets (MSK-IMPACT), an FDA-approved 341 cancer gene panel, along with standard administrative laboratory operations. She also worked as a clinical researcher coordinator in phase 1 breast cancer clinical trials, assisting in quality assurance, regulatory management, and database maintenance.

Ms. Carvajal holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Anthropology and Psychology from CUNY Queens College. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree, concentrating in health care administration, at Rutgers University, with an expected graduation date of May 2020.

 

Nupur Chaudhury Read more

Program Officer

Nupur Chaudhury

Program Officer

Nupur Chaudhury

Nupur Chaudhury

Program Officer

Nupur Chaudhury

As Program Officer, Nupur Chaudhury focuses on NYSHealth’s priority area on building healthy communities, which leads neighborhood-level and policy interventions to increase residents’ access to healthy, affordable food options, improve the built environment, and link communities with healthy lifestyle programming.

Ms. Chaudhury brings a background in community-based health, urban planning, and community organizing. Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Chaudhury was the director of neighborhood health development at the Center for Health Equity, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In her role there, she led the expansion of the Shop Healthy program, aimed at changing the food retail environment in the City’s poorest neighborhoods, and was also part of the planning team developing the City’s Neighborhood Health Action Centers. She has also worked with Rebuild by Design as a resiliency planner post-Hurricane Sandy by building and strengthening neighborhood coalitions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Prior to that, Ms. Chaudhury was the first health coordinator for the Brownsville Partnership, developing its agenda linking the built environment, health, and violence to its work on active living and healthy eating.

Ms. Chaudhury holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College, a Master of Urban Planning degree from New York University, and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. She is a member of the American Public Health Association and American Planning Association, as well as serves on the boards of Made in Brownsville and University of Orange.

Derek Coy Read more

Veterans' Health Officer

Derek Coy

Ph: 212-292-7295

Veterans' Health Officer

Derek Coy

Derek Coy

Ph: 212-292-7295

Veterans' Health Officer

Derek Coy

As Veterans’ Health Officer, Derek Coy focuses on expanding veterans’ access to community-based services; leveraging federal and private funds to increase the dollars available to returning veterans in New York State; and serving as a thought leader, convener, and advocate to improve the health of returning veterans and their families.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Mr. Coy served as the development manager at The Doe Fund, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycles of recidivism and homelessness, where he revamped and modernized its fundraising efforts. Before that role, Mr. Coy was the annual fund officer at the American Civil Liberties Union, helping produce STAND, the organization’s bi-annual magazine, and its annual appeals. Mr. Coy has considerable experience working in the veteran space, and used his role as senior development associate at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to advocate for changes in our nation’s capital.

Mr. Coy received a Bachelor of Arts degree, Phi Alpha Theta, from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and a Master of Arts degree in Middle Eastern History from the City College of New York, where he focused on 20th century Iranian history. He is also a former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and served a yearlong deployment to Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2005.

Blandine Etienne Read more

Administrative Assistant

Blandine Etienne

Ph: 212-292-7291

Administrative Assistant

Blandine Etienne

Blandine Etienne

Ph: 212-292-7291

Administrative Assistant

Blandine Etienne

As Administrative Assistant, Blandine Etienne is responsible for supporting NYSHealth’s team of program officers. Her duties include coordinating travel arrangements; assisting with meeting and event planning; tracking expenses and submitting expense reports; and providing general administrative assistance.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Etienne has used her customer service and administrative skills in the telecommunications, allied health, and publishing industries.

Ms. Etienne has an Associate’s degree in Biology from Kingsborough Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cornell University.

Avital Havusha Read more

Vice President for Programs

Avital Havusha

Ph: 212-584-7676

Vice President for Programs

Avital Havusha

Avital Havusha

Ph: 212-584-7676

Vice President for Programs

Avital Havusha

As Vice President for Programs at the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), Avital Havusha, M.P.H., oversees and develops the Foundation’s programs and priority areas, Empowering Health Care Consumers and Building Healthy Communities, as well as its Special Projects Fund and focus on Veterans’ Health. Ms. Havusha plays a leadership role in developing and implementing the Foundation’s goals and strategies and in ensuring quality and accountability of its grantmaking. She promotes synergy across all of the Foundation’s grantmaking, contributes to the Foundation’s proactive policy agenda, and builds partnerships with other foundations and stakeholders.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Havusha held a number of leadership roles in the public health and health care sectors in New York State. At the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), Ms. Havusha oversaw operations, strategy, project execution, and business development for PCDC’s capacity-building and technical assistance programs, supporting primary care practices to provide patient-centered and coordinated care. At Public Health Solutions, Ms. Havusha oversaw and managed large-scale health and human service programs in the areas of food and nutrition, reproductive health care, maternal and child health, and health care access. Earlier, at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, she played a lead role in coordinating the department’s response to federal and State health care reform and was a member of the leadership team that developed the Take Care New York policy agenda. Ms. Havusha has also held roles at Yale University’s School of Public Health and at an anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts.

Ms. Havusha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Public Health degree from Yale University, with a concentration in health policy and administration.

Bronwyn Starr Read more

Program Officer

Bronwyn Starr

Ph: 212-292-7855

Program Officer

Bronwyn Starr

Bronwyn Starr

Ph: 212-292-7855

Program Officer

Bronwyn Starr

As Program Officer, Bronwyn Starr focuses on NYSHealth’s priority area on building healthy communities, which leads neighborhood-level and policy interventions to increase residents’ access to healthy, affordable food options, improve the built environment, and link communities with healthy lifestyle programming. Ms. Starr also has managed projects to support county health departments in reducing health disparities and preventing chronic disease; expand primary care access and capacity in the most rural parts of New York State; and increase recruitment and retention of New York State’s primary care workforce.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Starr led a program at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that helped primary care providers improve medication adherence for their patients. She previously worked in the international health sector with Catholic Relief Services and Planned Parenthood, and was a New York City emergency medical technician for 10 years.

Ms. Starr holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon and a Master of Public Health degree from New York University. She serves on the steering committee for Community Food Funders.

Jannel Tillman Read more

Program Assistant

Jannel Tillman

Ph: 212-292-7296

Program Assistant

Jannel Tillman

Jannel Tillman

Ph: 212-292-7296

Program Assistant

Jannel Tillman

As Program Assistant, Jannel Tillman provides administrative support to the Vice President of Programs, as well as program support to the Empowering Health Care Consumers and Special Projects Fund teams. She is responsible for assisting in grants management, grantee communications, event coordination, and research. She works closely with NYSHealth staff to develop and design grant opportunities.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Tillman worked as a patient advocate at the Coalition for Concerned Medical Professionals, an organization dedicated to increasing access to comprehensive medical care for  low-income workers, where she facilitated treatment planning between patients and physicians. Ms. Tillman also worked at the New York Public Library, Northside Center for Child Development, and Jefferson School-Based Health Center. Finally, she was a program scholar in the National Institutes of Health’s Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement program.

Ms. Tillman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Brooklyn College and certification as a health education specialist.

Liz Ward Read more

Senior Program Assistant

Liz Ward

Ph: 212-584-7681

Senior Program Assistant

Liz Ward

Liz Ward

Ph: 212-584-7681

Senior Program Assistant

Liz Ward

As Senior Program Assistant, Liz Ward directly supports the Vice President and the team of program officers and associates responsible for NYSHealth’s work on building healthy communities and veterans’ health. She is responsible for assisting senior management and program staff with event coordination, grants management, grantee communications, background research, and financial accounting. She works closely with program staff to help design and develop grant opportunities.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Ward worked as an executive assistant for a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm. She was responsible for assisting with event planning, communications, public relations, and general administration. Ms. Ward also worked as a paralegal for the Consumer Assistance Program at Health Law Advocates and as a development intern at Health Care for All, both in her hometown of Boston. She also worked at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the Western MA Food Bank, where she assisted people with their SNAP benefits applications and helped organize community outreach events.

Ms. Ward earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a certificate in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Policy and Research

Jessica Athens Read more

Policy and Research Officer

Jessica Athens

Ph: 212-292-7393

Policy and Research Officer

Jessica Athens

Jessica Athens

Ph: 212-292-7393

Policy and Research Officer

Jessica Athens

As Policy and Research Officer at the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), Jessica Athens, Ph.D., works with the Policy and Research Director and Program Associate to support the policy agenda of the Foundation through timely research. In particular, Dr. Athens builds the Foundation’s internal capacity for applied public health research, geospatial analysis, and program evaluation.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Dr. Athens was a faculty member in population health at New York University School of Medicine, where she served as director of metrics and analytics for its Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored City Health Dashboard project. She also served as co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health-funded grant to evaluate the relationship between New York City’s food environment and child health outcomes, and co-directed an introductory course for third- and fourth-year medical students on population health. She previously worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, where she helped launch County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

Dr. Athens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lawrence University, Master of Science degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a Ph.D. in Population Health Sciences, also from University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Sophie Wheelock Read more

Policy and Research Associate

Sophie Wheelock

Policy and Research Associate

Sophie Wheelock

Sophie Wheelock

Policy and Research Associate

Sophie Wheelock

As Policy and Research Associate, Sophie Wheelock works with the Policy and Research team to enhance the Foundation’s internal analytic capabilities. Ms. Wheelock also works with program and communications staff on conducting research and analytics to inform the Foundation’s policy agenda and contribute to internal and external publications.

Ms. Wheelock’s interest in health policy and research is shaped by her previous experience in patient care and advocacy. Prior to joining NYSHealth, she served as an AmeriCorps member at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, providing HIV testing and education to New Yorkers from the LGBTQ community. During graduate school, she led research with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England to develop the affiliate’s first childbirth education program. She conducted her graduate practicum with NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut and advanced the organization’s legislative agenda through reproductive health policy research and advocacy at the state capitol.

Ms. Wheelock has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Vassar College and a Master of Public Health degree from the Yale School of Public Health.

Mark Zezza Read more

Director of Policy and Research

Mark Zezza

Ph: 212-584-7672

Director of Policy and Research

Mark Zezza

Mark Zezza

Ph: 212-584-7672

Director of Policy and Research

Mark Zezza

As Director of Policy and Research at the New York State Health Foundation, Mark Zezza, Ph.D., works in close partnership with Foundation staff to develop the evidence base necessary to support a proactive policy agenda that advances and magnifies outcomes in the Foundation’s key programmatic areas of Empowering Health Care Consumers and Building Healthy Communities.

Dr. Zezza joined the Foundation after spending nearly two decades using advanced analytics to evaluate the impact of various health policy initiatives for private payers and providers, as well as for local and federal government agencies. As a vice president at the Lewin Group, he was responsible for applying economic, financial, and statistical tools to design and evaluate health care policies. While at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Dr. Zezza analyzed all facets of Medicare payments to private plans participating in Medicare managed care programs, as well as updates to payment systems for hospitals. Dr. Zezza has also worked as a research director for The Brookings Institution, helping to launch pilot initiatives in accountable care delivery models. At The Commonwealth Fund, he worked with leading researchers and health care provider organizations across the country to identify best practices in changing provider incentives based on concepts from behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and organizational innovation.

Dr. Zezza holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Dickinson College, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from The New School, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Communications

Maureen Cozine Read more

Senior Director, Communications

Maureen Cozine

Ph: 212-292-7752

Senior Director, Communications

Maureen Cozine

Maureen Cozine

Ph: 212-292-7752

Senior Director, Communications

Maureen Cozine

As Senior Director, Communications, Maureen Cozine oversees all communications activities for the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth). She is responsible for developing the overall communications strategy to advance NYSHealth’s mission to improve the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. The Foundation’s key communications priorities include sharing the results and lessons of the Foundation’s grantmaking; developing and disseminating timely, credible analyses of and commentary on pressing policy issues; and serving as a convener of health care leaders and stakeholders throughout New York State.

Prior to joining NYSHealth in January 2010, Ms. Cozine held a number of positions at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), most recently as senior communications officer and director of policy connections. In that role, she managed RWJF’s relationships with federal policymakers and worked with grantees to communicate effectively and build relationships with elected officials, the media, and other key audiences.

Ms. Cozine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Colgate University and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She serves on the board of the Communications Network, a national membership organization for communications professionals working in the social sector.

Stephany Fong Read more

Senior Communications Associate

Stephany Fong

Senior Communications Associate

Stephany Fong

Stephany Fong

Senior Communications Associate

Stephany Fong

As Senior Communications Associate, Stephany Fong supports NYSHealth’s communications strategies through capturing and sharing stories, news, and information relevant to NYSHealth’s mission. She is responsible for developing the Foundation’s social media presence, updating and streamlining website content, promoting the Foundation’s work, and drafting and editing written materials for external and internal audiences.

Prior to joining NYSHealth in 2015, Ms. Fong served as a Health Promotion Assistant at Columbia University’s Alice! Health Promotion office, developing and implementing health initiatives to improve physical activity, nutrition, and healthy relationships among students. Previously, Ms. Fong interned at Camino Public Relations, American Heart Association, and Orange County Health Care Agency.

Ms. Fong holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She serves on the editorial board of Philanthropy New York’s PhilanthroPost and on the Engagement Advisory Council at The New York Women’s Foundation.

Zeyneb Majid Read more

Communications Intern

Zeyneb Majid

Ph: 212-584-7688

Communications Intern

Zeyneb Majid

Zeyneb Majid

Ph: 212-584-7688

Communications Intern

Zeyneb Majid

As the Communications Intern, Zeyneb Majid works to support the Foundation’s marketing and communications initiatives. She assists the communications department in maintaining the Foundation’s website and editing NYSHealth written materials, publications, and grant outcome reports.

Ms. Majid brings a background in communications and behavioral and chronic health research. Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Majid was a communications consultant at the Global Communication Center at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where she worked one-on-one with students on becoming better written, visual, and verbal communicators. Concurrently, she was an honors fellow in the CMU Department of Psychology, working as the principal investigator of a community-based diabetes health management study. Prior to that, Ms. Majid was awarded a university research grant to conduct analyses on the impact of mindfulness meditation on various health outcomes of elderly populations.

Ms. Majid completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from CMU. Following graduation, she continued her education by pursuing her Master of Healthcare Administration degree from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is expected to graduate in May 2020.

Michele McEvoy Read more

Communications Officer

Michele McEvoy

Ph: 212-292-7293

Communications Officer

Michele McEvoy

Michele McEvoy

Ph: 212-292-7293

Communications Officer

Michele McEvoy

As Communications Officer, Michele McEvoy is responsible for supporting the New York State Health Foundation’s (NYSHealth’s) communications initiatives. Her duties include assisting with press releases and Foundation-related announcements, editing NYSHealth publications and materials, and maintaining the Foundation’s website. Ms. McEvoy serves as the liaison for reporters and researchers seeking information about the Foundation’s work.

Ms. McEvoy has more than 10 years experience in the nonprofit field. Prior to joining the Foundation in January 2011, Ms. McEvoy was director of communications and fundraising at Grace Institute, a nonprofit providing tuition-free job training to underserved New York City-area women. Ms. McEvoy has also worked for the American Society for Microbiology as part of the production team for Microbe, the Society’s monthly magazine.

Ms. McEvoy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from University of Maryland at College Park and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from New York University.

Finance, Operations, and Investment

Amy Driver Read more

Senior Director, Finance and Operations

Amy Driver

Senior Director, Finance and Operations

Amy Driver

Amy Driver

Senior Director, Finance and Operations

Amy Driver

As Senior Director, Finance and Operations, Amy Driver oversees finance and operations activities for the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth). She is responsible for implementing policies and procedures that promote good stewardship of the Foundation’s resources. Ms. Driver oversees accounting, human resources, grants management, and facilities. She is responsible for the annual audit and tax returns. Ms. Driver’s priorities are to ensure that NYSHealth is an excellent workplace, that its operations are efficient, and that its legal and financial compliance requirements are met.

Ms. Driver has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in finance, administration, fundraising, and public affairs. She joined NYSHealth after 10 years in finance and administration for Children’s Rights, an advocacy organization working to reform the child welfare system nationwide.

Ms. Driver received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Area Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Elisa Nikoloulias Read more

Senior Finance ​and HR Associate

Elisa Nikoloulias

Senior Finance ​and HR Associate

Elisa Nikoloulias

Elisa Nikoloulias

Senior Finance ​and HR Associate

Elisa Nikoloulias

As the Senior Finance and HR Associate, Elisa Nikoloulias is responsible for accounts payable and receivable, payroll, reconciliations, vendor management, grants accounting, investment accounting, and assistance with the annual audit and budget. She also assists with Human Resources, including benefits administration and annual benefits review.

Ms. Nikoloulias worked in the finance departments of two top theatrical publishing houses before transitioning her love of education, human rights, and finance to the nonprofit world where she was the finance and operations manager for the National School Climate Center, a nonprofit that helps schools integrate crucial social and emotional learning with academic instruction. Prior to joining the Foundation in June 2011, she was the finance manager for PILnet, a nonprofit focused on connecting with local partners to develop the institutions essential to rights-respecting societies.

Ms. Nikoloulias graduated from Wagner College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater/Communications. She is a Certified Non-Profit Accounting Professional.

Elena Pereira Read more

Grants Assistant

Elena Pereira

Ph: 212-584-7675

Grants Assistant

Elena Pereira

Elena Pereira

Ph: 212-584-7675

Grants Assistant

Elena Pereira

As Grants Assistant, Elena Pereira is a member of the Grants Management team. Ms. Pereira directly supports the Grants Manager, assists in all grant-related processing operations, and serves as a liaison for grantee organizations and applicants.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Ms. Pereira was a health plan operations and finance intern at Kaiser Permanente, where she supported the health plan regulatory services department. Ms. Pereira also previously interned at Room to Grow, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children born into poverty, and served as an office assistant at Boston University’s Office of the Provost for the Vice President and Associate Provost of Research.

Ms. Pereira holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management, concentrated in finance and the health and life sciences sector, from Boston University.

 

Nick Smirensky Read more

Chief Investment Officer

Nick Smirensky

Ph: 212-584-7670

Chief Investment Officer

Nick Smirensky

Nick Smirensky

Ph: 212-584-7670

Chief Investment Officer

Nick Smirensky

As Chief Investment Officer, Nick Smirensky is responsible for managing the New York State Health Foundation’s (NYSHealth’s) investment portfolio and developing its investment strategy. He works with the Foundation’s Investment Committee to develop asset allocation policy, selects investment vehicles, and evaluates performance.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Smirensky was deputy chief investment officer and director of alternative investments with the $155 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund. He was director of New York’s College Savings Program and director of budget and financial analysis at the New York State Comptroller’s Office prior to joining the Common Retirement Fund.

Mr. Smirensky holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College, and a Master of Arts degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University. Mr. Smirensky is a trustee and a member of the Investment Committee of the New York State Teachers Retirement System and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Administration. He is also a member of the board of directors of the National Health Law Program.

Ursula Stewart Read more

Grants Manager

Ursula Stewart

Grants Manager

Ursula Stewart

Ursula Stewart

Grants Manager

Ursula Stewart

As Grants Manager, Ursula Stewart is responsible for ensuring that best practices are followed in compliance with regulatory and audit requirements. In addition, Ms. Stewart oversees the overall success of the database environment by implementing strategic solutions to continuously enhance NYSHealth processes.

Ms. Stewart has more than 25 years of grants management and grants management information data systems administration experience. She serves on the Salesforce Foundation Customer Advisory Council and was recently recognized by Salesforce with a Salesforce Trailblazer Award in the category of innovation. She has keynoted and presented at numerous philanthropic and technology conferences and events; provides strategic analysis of philanthropic processes and systems data management expertise to many philanthropic organizations; and is recognized for leading NYSHealth’s innovative use of its grants management system. She was co-chair of the 2016 Grants Managers Network Conference. Previously, she served as client relations specialist at MicroEdge, a technology provider for the philanthropic community. In this role, Ms. Stewart was the liaison between MicroEdge and grants management professionals throughout the country and internationally, as well as managed the development of educational sessions for the company’s annual conference. In her earlier grants management experience, Ms. Stewart worked for the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. She was co-chair of the Grants Managers Network and led its transition to a national nonprofit organization. She is a co-author of “Best Practices in Grants Management,” a guide to administering a grantmaking program.

Ms. Stewart is president of and meeting facilitator for the Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Dr. Alvin S. Teirstein Sarcoidosis Support Group. She has also served as an advisory board member for PEAK Grantmaking New York region and chaired its program and membership committees. Ms. Stewart attended the Juilliard School with studies in French horn and music composition.

Brunnie Urena Read more

Receptionist / Senior Office Assistant

Brunnie Urena

Ph: 212-584-7682

Receptionist / Senior Office Assistant

Brunnie Urena

Brunnie Urena

Ph: 212-584-7682

Receptionist / Senior Office Assistant

Brunnie Urena

Brunnie Urena has more than 14 years of administrative experience in nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the New York State Health Foundation, Ms. Urena was an administrative assistant at the Salvation Army of Greater New York where she served in the training department and assisted with scheduling, preparing curriculum and training materials, and performing a variety of other administrative tasks.

Our Board

NYSHealth is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, with one-third (respectively) appointed by the State Governor, the President of the State Senate, and the State Assembly Leader. The Board members serve three-year renewable terms. While all Board members participate actively in the governance and guidance of the Foundation, three—Courtney Burke, Ellen Rautenberg, and Robert G. Smith—are voting members.

Ellen Rautenberg (Chair)

President and CEO (Retired)

Public Health Solutions

Courtney Burke

Chief Operating Officer

Healthcare Association of New York State

Mary E. Craig, M.S.H.C.

President & CEO

Mary Craig Consulting Services, LLC

Margaret I. Cuomo, M.D.

Radiologist, Author

Michelle A. Koury, M.D.

Physician

Crystal Run Healthcare

Francis J. McDonough

Managing Partner

Lightower Capital

Kathleen Preston

Vice President, Government Programs

New York Health Plan Association

Robert G. Smith, Ph.D.

Founder and Chief Investment Officer

Smith Affiliated Capital Corp.

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee serves to broaden community input and perspectives on the development and implementation of activities related to NYSHealth’s strategic priorities. Committee members inform the Foundation’s strategies and plans, serve as a source of local expertise and connections in communities throughout New York State, inform the Foundation of organizations that could be productive grantees and partners, and increases the visibility of the Foundation throughout the State. The Committee reflects New York State’s rich diversity in terms of geography, race and ethnicity, and areas of expertise.

Linda Beers

Public Health Director

Essex County Public Health

Chuck Bell

Programs Director

Consumers Union

Lauren Bruckner

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Oncology

University of Rochester Medical Center

Kate Ebersole

Principal

KEE Concepts Consulting

Anne Erickson

President & CEO

Empire Justice Center

Adrian Fassett

President & CEO

Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc.

Janice Harbin, D.D.S.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation

Gail Speedy Mayeaux

Principal Healthcare Consultant

Health Management Associates

Theo Oshiro

Deputy Director

Make the Road New York

Claire Parde

Executive Director

Healthcare Consortium

Amanda Parsons, M.B.A., M.D.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer

MetroPlus Health Plan

Melissa Spicer

Executive Director

Clear Path for Veterans

Susan Stuard

President

Lake Fleet Consulting

Emma K. Tsui, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor

CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy

Bridget Walsh

Senior Policy Analyst

Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

Kevin D. Watkins, M.D., M.P.H.

Public Health Director

Cattaraugus County Health Department

Carrie Whitwood

Executive Director

Ardent Solutions

Kimberly A. Williams, L.M.S.W.

President & CEO

Vibrant Emotional Health