2022 - 2023 Minority Leadership Program Cohort

2022-2023 MLP Cohort standing in a group in front of a building

Persons of color working in health departments and government agencies face myriad challenges as it pertains to job advancement, leadership development, and growth opportunities in these institutions. NASTAD recognizes the need to be able to increase the capacity of emerging leaders in health departments and seeks to equip them with skills, mentors, and introspection that will help them advance in their varied personal career trajectories. MLP will serve as a safe space rooted in social justice for health department staff of color to engage in critical conversations about skills necessary for job advancement, institutional barriers, managing emotions and burnout, racial- and gender-based microaggressions, triggers, staff and project management, communication and more.  Over the course of 10 months, MLP participants will hone and develop hard and soft skills that will assist them as they matriculate through a career in public health.

Anthony Green

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Anthony (he/him) serves as the Structural Intervention Coordinator at the Maryland Department of Health. He began his career as a volunteer at his local Gay and Lesbian Community Center. His dedication earned him the position coordinating an HIV testing program. While in Memphis, his program grew to include Mpowerment, ARTAS and PrEP. In his career, he has also presented at the NEASM and Ryan White Conferences on the innovative HIV Prevention methods he has employed through the arts. Five years later, I moved to work at Maryland Health Department of Health.

Antiona Bowman

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Antiona (she/her) serves as the Program Administrative Assistant at the Virginia Department of Health. Prior to entering this role, Antiona successfully established community relationships between CBO's, VDH, Planned Parenthood, and the Kaiser foundation through community engagement of testing, empowerment, and effective communication. She is a fierce advocate for her community and has worked tirelessly to break down systematic barriers at every level of the health department to allow more folx like her to move into positions of leadership and power. Antiona continues to work inside and outside of Virigina Department of Health to empower trans women of color, provide testing and linkage services to communities most at risk, and create safe spaces so folxs can thrive at their fullest potential.

Antoine Brantley, MPH

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Antoine Brantley, MPH serves as the HIV/STI Epidemiology Unit Manager at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where he manages efforts to analyze and disseminate HIV/STI data for the purpose of program planning and evaluation, resource allocation, and policymaking. He holds a BS in microbiology from the University of Michigan and an MPH in epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Disease Medicine. His interests include process and outcome evaluation of public health programs; investigating and educating stakeholders on social causes of health disparities among racial, gender, and sexual minorities; and identifying evidence-based strategies for addressing health inequities and HIV/STI disparities. Prior to working for the state of Michigan, he was an HIV epidemiologist and program evaluator at the Louisiana Department of Health. Findings from his program evaluation work in Louisiana led to the scale-up and national recognition of two innovative HIV care retention programs aimed at reducing social barriers to HIV health management.

Jasmine Lopez

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From early beginnings supporting college students, older adults, Haitian Refugees after the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and interning for the Hispanic Federation, Jasmine has dedicated her career to uplifting and addressing the needs of New York City's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community in the areas of HIV prevention, community support, economic empowerment and justice, capacity building, and transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) health research. Joining the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (The Center) in 2015 as an intern for the Gender Identity Project, an HIV prevention and trans support program, she swiftly stepped into economic empowerment and justice work, which offered employment, and immigration support services for TGNCNB, LGBQ community members, immigrants, and young people, and increased TGNCNB access to affirming employment, through partnerships with Workforce1, Bottomless Closet, Career Gear, Sephora, and creating an inaugural and follow-up TGNC Career Fair (2018, 2019). Jasmine co-led city wide TGNCNB cultural competency capacity building efforts in partnership with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYC CCHR), and was a speaker at Fashion Centered (2016). She also appeared in a them. Magazine and Lyft spot (2017) and SHADE: Queens of NYC (2017) promoting the importance of safe and affirming housing for LGBTQ+ youth.

In 2019, she joined NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) as NHBS- Trans Health Project Coordinator to lead an inaugural community health study among transgender women (NYC TRANScends, 2019, 2020) in order to guide future HIV prevention efforts, by measuring the prevalence of HIV and other STIs, behaviors and social determinants that increase risk for HIV, and exposure to and use of, and gaps in HIV prevention services, anchored by an all TGNCNB staff. As part of data dissemination efforts, she presented the study at the 2020 World AIDS Day and ETE Summit, and co-authored two research manuscripts, currently under review. In 2020, in her new role as TGNCNB Health Project Coordinator, she supports DOHMH's Division of Disease Control's efforts to advance and promote the health of TGNCNB New Yorkers through overseeing the Transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community advisory board (TCAB), periodic review of NYC Community Health Information bulletins (CHI), and TGNCNB health webpages and support Division wide sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) research, data alignment and collection efforts. She simultaneously joined the agency's COVID-19 response, conducting contact tracing, congregate setting investigations, and ongoing infection control supply efforts to adult care facilities. She led tailored engagement to NYC's TGNCNB community via community discussions sharing COVID-19 information and addressing vaccine hesitancy, increasing vaccine confidence and early mass vaccination efforts at City Points of Dispense (PODs), and appeared on Univision (2020) and Telemundo (2021). She ended the year with an agency acknowledgement of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and subsequent call to action to staff.  

 In 2021, Jasmine joined the New York State Psychiatry Institute (NYSPI) and Columbia University as Research Assistant and Recruitment Coordinator - supporting research on injectable pre- exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) delivery methods among transgender women. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Boricua College (2016), and has been honored by Boricua College (2015, 2016), Translatinx Network (2016) The Ali Forney Center (2017) and a NYC DOHMH Distinguished Service Award Nominee (2021). As of July 2022, Jasmine has joined TGNCNB tailored engagement efforts for the NYC DOHMH Monkeypox (MPX) response, ensuring equitable access to MPX related information, and vaccines for NYC's TGNCNB community, and has voiced and signed support for research efforts around HIV home test giveaway programs and HIV vaccines. Jasmine has conducted her work for marginalized communities with unfaltering commitment, empathy, passion, and transformative energy moved by her self-proclaimed mantra that "anyone's effort to destroy you, is a testament to your greatness."

Loris Mattox

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Loris Mattox is currently a Capacity Building Specialist within the Harm Reduction Unit of the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS (CDPH/OA). She works to improve the health and wellness of people who use drugs by supporting existing harm reduction programs and developing new programs across the state. Mattox has worked in HIV prevention since 2000, as an Outreach Worker in San Francisco. Her previous experience includes managing HIV prevention programs for Black Women, HIV testing and counseling services, training development and has served on various county HIV Planning Groups in California. Mattox joined CDPH/OA in 2019 and previously served 10 years as Executive Director of a harm reduction organization in Oakland, CA. Mattox has lots of experience and knowledge in realistic troubleshooting strategies from the programmatic and leadership lens and believes consistent informing and a receptive ear will slowly and gradually chip away stigma and racism – the major drivers of health disparities. Her overall goal is to contribute to the healing of people affected by the war on drugs by scaling up harm reduction services in California. Mattox also co-chairs the California State Office of AIDS Racial and Health Equity Workgroup.

Michael McNair

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Michael McNair started his 17 year public health career, after 6 years of corporate bank management for the Bank of New York, as a Supervising Prevention Intervention Specialist with a local Albany NY community based organization focusing on sexual health interventions with men who have sex with men, then onto being an HIV/STI Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) for the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), then as a Health Program Coordinator for the NYSDOH AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), and currently as part the Central Office Management Team for NYSDOH AIDS Institute’s Bureau of HIV/STI Field Services providing technical assistance on Partner Services Programming, Internet Partner Services (IPS), Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT), and Integrated Partner Services Systems.

Nicole Holmes

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Nicole Holmes is a manager on the Health Equity team at NASTAD and supports NASTAD’s internal and external health equity, anti-racism, and anti-stigma activities. Prior to NASTAD, Nicole worked in the non-profit sector as an HIV & STD HUB/Hotline resources manager training an HIV supportive services team. They received their Bachelor of Science in Health Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. They have been featured in Vice Magazine and The Consent Guidebook. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and they are currently pursuing a Master of Public Health Degree from Northern Illinois University.

Rachel Browning

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Rachel Browning is a manager on the Health Equity team. She supports the development and implementation of activities related to the HRSA SPNS project on Evidence Informed Approaches to Improving Health Outcomes for People Living with HIV. Prior to NASTAD, Rachel worked in the non-profit sector leading projects focused on sexual and reproductive health access and education. Rachel holds an M.P.H in Global Health from Boston University and a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.

Stephanie Washington

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Stephanie Washington is the HIV Planner and Evaluator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis.  Stephanie served in this capacity in the interim from 2016 through early 2018, and was awarded the Planner position later in 2018.  Previously, Stephanie worked as a Youth Health Educator for the Bureau…following in her now retired mother’s HIV prevention footsteps.  Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and later went on to earn her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Stephanie’s vibrant and outgoing personality serves her well when working with diverse community members and colleagues.  She is a true Public Health practitioner with a love for service, public speaking, education and inclusion.  In addition to contributions within her program and Bureau, Stephanie also facilitated conversation and presentations to her states health department by delivering video captured commentary for Black History month for both 2020 and 2021 and was later chosen by her health department as a Public Health hero in 2022.  She continues to fight the good fight and uplift underserved and under-heard communities and voices within her respective region. 

Syd Robinson

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Syd Robinson (he/they), is a transgender advocacy educator, speaker, and public health professional. He has a specialization in program development, organizational management, and dynamic team leadership at the federal and state level and in non-profit organizational settings. He currently serves as the HIV Prevention Coordination for the Wisconsin Department of Public Health and is the health department Co-Chair for the State-wide Action Planning Group of Wisconsin (SAPG). When he’s not in his office, Syd is a working actor, content creator and Morehouse College student majoring in Business and Black Entrepreneurship in History.

Venesha Heron

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Venesha Heron’s career path is dedicated to serving and advocating for the underserved, under-represented, and ultra-stigmatized populations. Her unwavering dream is to help alleviate health disparities and inequities within communities where she’s from and among people who look like her. Venesha values her experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and among people with varying clinical and social needs. She has over 16 years of experience working in public health. Venesha currently serves as Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) and is tasked with creating a viral hepatitis elimination plan by establishing a Viral Hepatitis Elimination Technical Advisory Committee (VHETAC). She leads the At-home HIV (Self-Testing) Initiative in her jurisdiction and provides technical assistance (TA) to other jurisdiction that wants to develop their HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) Programs. As a Contract Manager, Venesha also helps to oversee sub-recipients of the HIV/HCV federally funded prevention programs and monitors the HIV/HCV testing, Drug User Health (DUH), and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) activities and outcomes within these Routine Testing Sites (RTS) and Community Based Organizations (CBO’s). Venesha Heron earned a BA degree in Applied Psychology and Human Relations, with a minor in Fine Arts from Pace University in New York, NY, and later, a Master of Science (MS) in Human Services (Organizational Management and Leadership) from Springfield College, in Springfield, Mass. Venesha is also an eclectic Artist who appreciates creativity.

Yehoshua Ventura

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Yehoshua (he/él) serves as the Bilingual Equity Peer Navigation Supervisor at the Washington State Department of Health in the Office of Infectious Disease. He brings his shared lived experience as a person of color, living with HIV since 1998, in mental/behavioral health recovery, and over 13 years of experience as a Clinical Art Therapist. He identifies as a Hispanic/Latina/o/x-Americano, 50+, Queer Activista. He also came from the East Coast, born and raised in New York and Connecticut and moving to the Pacific Northwest from Miami at the end of 2016. He entered the field of peer work in 2017 at Cascade AIDS Project, Portland, OR & SW WA. In October 2020, and took the helm of the Peer Navigation program for WA DOH, HIV Community Services, as Bilingual Peer Navigation Consultant. In November 2021, he stepped into the role of Bilingual Equity Peer Navigation Supervisor for the HD’s HIV Disparity Reduction Project. This is their innovative response to state data showing Black American/African Born and Hispanic/Latina/o/x communities to be most affected by HIV infection and health disparities that result in loss to care, challenge in engagement with care, and barriers to achieving viral suppression or best health outcomes that impact the span and quality of life of these communities. In this role, he continues to steer the statewide community-based Peer Navigation program and begins to expand access to peer support and health equity by providing field-based Peer Navigation service delivery.