Community Leadership Board

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The Community Leadership Board (CLB) will help guide and inform the core activities of the National Resource Center. Our Board is made up of individuals from around the US who identify as being members of refugee, immigrant, and/or migrant communities and who have experience interfacing between communities and public health and/or health systems.

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David Adame

David Adame currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, (CPLC) one of the nation’s largest Hispanic community development corporations. Since Adame was named to this post, CPLC has experienced significant growth and expansion in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Texas, and Mexico. In between this time at CPLC, Adame crafted an impressive career in business, nonprofits and boards, including an extensive resume in real estate and development projects. Born and raised just south of downtown Phoenix, Adame holds a B.S. in Business from Arizona State University (ASU) and an MBA from the ASU School of Global Management. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Arizona, and an Honorary Doctorate from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, or the National Autonomous University of Mexico).

Claudia González

I am a Guatemalan immigrant, who at 16 years old came to the United States to reunite with my family. Since then I have gained experience in different industries, though much of my work has been in farming: cultivation, harvest and more. I’ve also done some vocational training, and I am on the board of a community clinic. 

I started my tenure at the Farmworker Association of Florida in 2009 as a volunteer, and a short time later they gave me the opportunity to join them as a member of their staff. I have continued to work in support of their mission ever since.

I have been fortunate to expand my knowledge of issues that are important to the community. I’ve visited elected officials to raise awareness about the problems that affect us, like environmental justice and damage caused by pesticides and climate change.

Now I am learning about agroecology and traditional medicine, both of which are in recognition of our ancestors’ wisdom and the great power they had.

My biggest challenge now is to ensure my son is also aware of these issues, so that in the future he can become part of the change.

Elena Ong

Elena Ong, PHN, MS, studies COVIDnomics for Ong & Associates.  She is the Manager of the Asian American & Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander COVID-19 Policy & Research Team, where she works to bring needed attention to the plight of Asian Americans who are under-tested, hence under-counted, in the COVID-19 case and death data.  She is also the Co-Lead of the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander COVID-19 Resource Team, where she works to bring attention to the high rates of COVID-19 among smaller populations - like Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders - whose numbers are often hidden because of suppression rules. She also serves as a Member of the Morehouse School of Medicine Satcher Health Leadership Institute's (SHLI) Health Equity Task Force, where she works to conceptualize the design of SHLI's Health Equity Tracker. She has an extensive public health network after serving as President & Founding CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health, Chair of the American Public Health Association's Caucus Collaborative (which includes the AI AN NH Caucus, the Asian & Pacific Isalnder Caucus for Public Health, the Black Caucus of Health Workers, the Caucus of Immigrant & Refugee Health, the Latino Caucus, etc.), and elected Executive Board Member of the American Public Health Association. 

Farah Mohamed

Farah Mohamed is the Founder of Bille Consulting, a firm that partners with governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote relevant public health communications, research and community outreach. Farah has a dual master’s degree of Public Health and Social Work from University of Washington. Before coming to the U.S. as a refugee, Farah spent nearly 18 years in Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. Farah works to alleviate health disparities that disproportionately affect new immigrants and refugees at the Somali Health Board. He also is spearheading a collaboration among the nonprofit, the UW and Somalia’s Ministry of Health to implement programs in that country, including an assessment of maternal and child health needs. UW School of Public Health recently recognized Farah as a changemaker to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the School.

Faten Rashid

Faten Rashid was born in Iraq-Baghdad and came to the United States as a refugee in 2009. She fluent in Arabic and English. She completed her master’s degree in social work at the University of Washington. She has worked for over 9 years in the field of social work, focusing on work with refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. Her great passion is bringing healing to people who have been through a traumatic stressful experience. She helps her clients to find a healthy perception of themselves and strengthen their relationships so they can know themselves as peaceful, complete, whole, and safe. She just started her own practice, Great Care for Counseling to continue with providing trauma focused therapy and advocacy with individuals and communities surviving war.

Julieta Altamirano Crosby

Julieta Altamirano Crosby serves as a City Council Member of the City of Lynnwood, and has over a decade of non-profit and community organizing experience. She was born and raised in Guerrero, Mexico, and moved to the state of Washington in 2009. Dr. Altamirano Crosby is a member of the League of Women Voters in Snohomish County and Board member of the Lynnwood Food Bank. In 2018, the Governor appointed her as a Commissioner to the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs and in 2019, to the Humanities Washington Board of Trustees. Julieta is a trained researcher who earned her Ph.D. in Social Communications, a Certificate in Race, Equity, and Leadership from Harvard University. She also holds a M.E.d. in Educational Leadership from Seattle Pacific University. She received the Snohomish County Human Rights Award in 2017, and the Seattle Pacific University Medallion Award Honoree in 2020.

Leela Nath Kuikel

Leela Nath Kuikel is a former refugee from Bhutan who left the country at the age of 13 in 1990. He has a Master's degree in Economics from the University of North Bengal in India. He worked in the Insurance industry for about 10 years in India. His last position in the industry was a Branch Manager before he resettled in Philadelphia under Refugee Resettlement Program in 2012. Leela is the founding Executive Director of Bhutanese American Organization-Philadelphia (BAO-P) a community organization serving newly resettled Bhutanese refugees in the Greater Philadelphia region. The organization was founded in 2013 and since been doing extensive work in the area of Health Case management-General and Mental, ESl for adults, Programs for Kids and Elders. Leela has also been associated with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)  for the last seven years working on different research projects and lately as a Community Health Worker.

Nadège U. Mudenge

Nadège U. Mudenge received her BS from Drexel University. Fluent in seven languages, she has been working as a professional medical interpreter in different hospitals around Philadelphia since 2014. In addition, for the past 5 years, Ms. Mudenge has been a Program Coordinator with a Philadelphia refugee and immigrant resettling agency. She is currently a student and passionate about pursuing a career in medicine.

Sheeba Shafaq

Sheeba Shafaq is a medical doctor from Afghanistan with 4 years of general practice and 3 months in OBGYN. Right after an approval of her asylum case, she connected with the IRC CP program and completed MA course. She is currently employed with Elica Health Center and is on the front line for COVID-19 response leading COVID-19 drive through center. Because of the IRC’s professional mentor connection, she is in the process of applying for PA school and continues to be a strong advocate for refugees within the community by helping other MAs who are at the very beginning of their journey to become successful through community engagement. Sheeba has recently been promoted to a supervisory role and is helping IRC to place recent medical assistant graduates. She continues to support IRC as a professional mentor for the Career Pathways program.

Sheldon Riklon

Dr. Sheldon Riklon is a Marshallese family physician, born and raised in the Marshall Islands. He is one of only two Marshallese in the world who has completed medical school and residency training at an accredited program in the United States. At home in the Marshall islands he served as a primary care physician at Majuro Hospital, chaired the national medical referral committee, chaired Majuro Hospital’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee, was a member of the institutional review committee, and directed the Special Medical Care Program that provided healthcare to the radiation affected population in the Marshall Islands. Dr. Riklon has been actively involved among the Marshallese and the other Micronesian populations in Hawai`i as one of the founding members and recent past-chair of the Micronesian Health Advisory Coalition (“MHAC”). Dr. Riklon is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and a co-investigator in the Office of Community Health and Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Northwest Campus. He is the inaugural recipient of the Peter O. Kohler, M.D., Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Health Disparities at UAMS-NW Campus. He serves as a primary care physician at Community Clinic in Springdale that serves a large patient population of Marshallese and underserved populations in NW Arkansas.

Wynfred Russell

Wynfred Russell is a global health and public policy professional. He is serving his first term as a City Councilmember in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota’s sixth-largest city. During the Ebola outbreak, Wynfred was one of many health volunteers who traveled abroad to fight the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa. He led a $7.9 million USAID-funded Ebola response international health effort for nearly two years in southeast Liberia. Wynfred returned to Minnesota and, after two months, was called up to lead a global polio eradication initiative in northern Nigeria. He managed a multi-million-dollar Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded polio program, serving 2.2 million children under five, 1.6 million parents, and distributed more than 16 million antigens and 8 million medicines and dried goods. Even though he works in the public health space, Wynfred has a deep passion for education; he taught for six years and served two years as a public health researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

Maria Matlashewski

Maria's dedication and involvement in the Ukrainian community has spanned her entire life.  She has been involved in supporting the preservation and growth of her culture in many different aspects from teaching and directing a Ukrainian School, active involvement and Church Board member at St. Michael’s and St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and managing the costuming of the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Maria traveled extensively throughout Ukraine and worked for Land O’Lakes International in Lviv, Ukraine.  After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, she organized two very successful fundraisers which raised over $25,000 for the purchase of medical supplies for Ukraine. In addition she organized and currently manages a store for Ukrainian refugees where they can come and get clothing, household supplies and hygiene products to get their lives started in the US.  

Mir Wais Esmatullah

Mir Wais Esmatullah is currently working as a cultural advisor for the Afghan Response Team, which is a network of organizations working with Afghan asylum seekers in the US. He has worked with several different United Nations-related organizations in Afghanistan and covered social challenges and conflict in remote parts of Afghanistan. He has a Master’s in Public Relations.

Muzhgan Hazara

Muzhgan Hazara was born in Ghazni, Afghanistan. She moved to the United States about one year ago after the Taliban capture of the country. She and her parents and sister spent three months in immigration camps before finally settling in Seattle. She is in the 11th grade at the Seattle World School, a public high school for newcomers learning English. She speaks Dari, Persian, Hazara and some Pashto, and is learning English. She has a strong interest in health care, and wishes to become a nurse or nurse practitioner in the future.

Dr Mehria Sayad

Dr Mehria Sayad is an internal medicine physician with a special interest in global health and refugee health. Dr Sayad played an instrumental role in welcoming and caring for our new Afghan neighbors to Minnesota. She was leading medical efforts to provide immediate healthcare access to the newly arriving Afghan families to the Twin Cities between 2021-2022. She is joining the NRC-RIM board of directors with the goal to help empower ongoing community support and programs for newly arriving families. She strongly believes that community support can strengthen the social determinants of health of newly arriving families and contribute to their overall health and wellbeing.

Former members

  • Anasthasie N. Liberiste-Osirus, Ed.D.
  • Robel Woldeab
  • Saw Htoo Wah