HIVE 2017-2018 Cohort

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2017-2018 COHORT

Kristie Bardell


Kristie Bardell is a public health practitioner with over ten years of experience in community health managing programs, assessing community health needs, overseeing social marketing campaigns and collaborating with multi-sector partners to develop and implement health improvement initiatives related to chronic diseases, maternal health and child health. Currently, she serves as the Family Health Program Manager at the Louisiana Public Health Institute working to improve sustainability of school-based health centers, building capacity of schools to improve the overall health of students, and implementing adolescent risk reduction initiatives. She also works with schools, community based organizations and faith based entities to assess and build capacity around programming, clinical services and policy change to develop strategies to address reproductive health services to adolescent at a systems level. She is a graduate of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine receiving a Masters of Public Health.

Chandra Burks


Chanda J. Burks serves as the Youth Program Specialist for Total Community Action, Inc.  In this capacity, she assists at-risk, adjudicated and low-income youth in building skills in order to reduce criminal involvement and support self-sufficiency.  She has a passion and energy for anything that involves serving and impacting others.  Chanda’s approach to serving and impacting is by using her extraordinary determination, motivation and her nurturing personality to build trusting relationships in order to effectively understand her client’s situation.  However, her most important job is that of a mother, who strives to provide her sons with love and the necessary tools to become ambitious, successful black men. She is the mother of Vaughn and Cameron Terrell and the late Jared Francis. The tragic and unexpected loss of Chanda’s oldest son Jared to senseless violence has moved her to use her pain for purpose by making her voice heard and making a powerful difference along with other mothers. Her words have a message of vision and empowerment and Chanda has truly shown her ability to inspire and impact the lives of others.

Dawn Collins



Dawn D. Collins, MPA is an advocate, public official, and small business owner. She began her professional experience at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) where she implemented the smooth decentralization of outreach strategies and application processing for the Breast and Cervical Cancer program. During her service at DHH, she also gained expertise in data management through collaborative efforts to develop software for agency specific needs. In 2008, she began work as a paid Staff Field Organizer and has continued the journey of organizing ever since. Dawn additionally collaborates with national organizations and local activists to develop grassroots training and progressive networking events in Louisiana through her volunteer organization, the Solidarity Project. As a lobbyist, Dawn D. Collins is a staunch advocate for progressive causes.  

Nicole Deggins


Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH is a masters-prepared certified nurse midwife, author and educator with over 20 years of experience in women's health care, advocacy, and empowerment.  As the founder and CEO of Sista Midwife Productions, LLC, Ms. Deggins is dedicated to eliminating perinatal disparities and bringing transparency to prenatal education.  She acts as a virtual midwife, pregnancy coach, doula trainer and community birth advocate, helping childbearing families understand their rights as they navigate the medical obstetrical system. Ms. Deggins provides education and training to communities, birth workers and organizations through teleconferences, webinars, keynotes, and live workshops.  She is also available for curriculum development and consultation in the areas of preconception care, pregnancy and birth, perinatal disparities, breastfeeding, postpartum care, and women’s empowerment. 

Michelle Erenberg


Michelle Erenberg was born in Maryland, but raised in Monroe, LA. She moved to New Orleans in 1998 and has worked as a policy advocate, community organizer, and coalition coordinator for more than a decade. She has spent more than a decade as a progressive organizer. In 2009 she was a community organizer with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. She then spent five years coordinating a diverse coalition of environmental, community and faith-based organizations across the Gulf Coast in response to the 2010 BP oil spill. She serves on the board of the National Council of Jewish Women New Orleans Section; receiving a national appointment as NCJW’s Louisiana Policy Advocate in 2013. She is a co-founder of the Louisiana Coalition of Reproductive Freedom and the Legislative Agenda for Women which advocate for social and economic justice and reproductive rights. Michelle has a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from the University of New Orleans. She co-founded Lift Louisiana in February 2016 to protect reproductive rights in her state through outreach, education, advocacy, and litigation.

Lauren Gauthier


Lauren Gauthier is a Baton Rouge, LA native, who lives in New Orleans, LA. She is the Prevention Supervisor for The Movement at CrescentCare, an HIV/STD prevention program for LGBT youth of color in New Orleans, LA. She received both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor Arts from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Master’s program at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where she concentrated in International Health and Development. Lauren is a graduate and fellow of Black AIDS Institute’s African American HIV/AIDS University: Community Mobilization College. She is also a member of Black AIDS Institute’s Black Treatment Advocates Network in New Orleans. In 2014, Lauren was named one of POZ magazine’s Top 100 HIV Youth Advocates Under 30.

Carmen Green


Carmen earned degrees in Sociology and Public Health Administration from Wake Forest University and recently earned an MPH at Tulane University, with concentrations Community Health Education and Maternal and Child Health. Currently, she is National Training Director for the National Birth Equity Collaborative. The organization’s goal to decrease Black infant and maternal mortality helped to develop her passion in race equity, reproductive health, and social justice. Carmen also does health policy analysis and advocacy for Louisiana Budget Project.

Amy Irvin


As a founding board member of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, Amy spent many evenings during the summer/fall of 2012 at a local coffee shop thinking about the organization's mission, writing the articles of incorporation, planning fundraising events and recruiting members. Amy served as the first intake coordinator of the Fund. Committed to coalition building, Amy serves on the executive committee of the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and represents NOAF at meetings of the Legislative Agenda for Women (LAW), as well as serving as a community liaison to student organizations. With a background in community and union organizing, she supports the Show Me $15 campaign in New Orleans, among other efforts. She holds a MSSW from the University of Louisville. In her off hours, she enjoys art museums, an Old Fashioned, and perusing junk shops for the rare mid-century collectible.

Eva Lessinger


Eva Lessinger brings nearly ten years of experience in the non-profit sector to her current position as Director of Program Development at the New Orleans Family Justice Center. Eva is a social worker by training and has worked in several capacities to address issues of gender inequality, violence, and reproductive health in New York, Massachusetts, Haiti, India, and Brazil. Before joining the New Orleans Family Justice Center, Eva worked for the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence in New York City. She managed an interdisciplinary team for high-risk domestic violence cases to prevent homicides, and oversaw a case management team in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens Family Justice Centers. Prior to that, she was working as a case manager, counselor, and legal advocate with the Urban Justice Center’s Domestic Violence Project. Before her social work career, Eva worked as a reproductive health counselor and is also trained as a full-spectrum doula. Eva is passionate about understanding violence and reproductive health within an intersectional and anti-oppressive framework. 

Melanie Powers


Melanie is driven by her unwavering belief that all young people deserve the opportunity to be their happiest, healthiest selves. She works at improving sexual and emotional health outcomes among youth through her roles as a program manager, educator, trainer, and advocate. She began her career in public health in 2007 at the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), where she is still currently employed as the HIV Prevention Program Manager. In her role as Program Manager, Melanie supervises an HIV counseling, testing and referral program, as well as a youth sexual health advocacy and education initiative that includes training and supporting ten high school and college students working on sex education policy. Melanie earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2007 and a Master of Public Health in 2014.

Maragaret Reynolds


A Gulf Coast native, Margaret Reynolds now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Margaret graduated with her B.A. in English from Tulane University. Following undergrad, she worked in both the DC area and Montreal, Canada. In 2012, Margaret returned to New Orleans to complete her Master in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management. Among other things, Margaret is a member of the NOLA Cherry Bombs, a graduate of the Funding Seed’s Nonprofit Fundraising Intensive Program, and is actively involved with the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans. In her professional life, Margaret serves as the Greater New Orleans Regional Director for Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR). There she oversees an office of seven employees and 50 volunteers who all work to support survivors of sexual assault, create social change, and improve the systems response to incidents of sexual violence. She has been with STAR since 2014.

Darcy Roake


The Reverend Darcy Roake works for the Unitarian Universalist Association and is the affiliated Community Minister for Community Church UU in New Orleans, LA, where she lives with her husband Adrian and son Sebastian. Rev. Roake is a member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s National Clergy Advocacy Board and the local Gulf Coast Clergy Chapter. She is involved with a variety of Reproductive Rights, Health & Justice organizations including the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and UU Voices for Reproductive Freedom, among others, and has published pieces in the Huffington Post, the Times-Picayune, and the Advocate. Darcy has a wide background in social justice and pastoral care in workplaces as varied as Oxfam America, Amnesty International, the United Nations, the Navajo Nation Public Defender's Office, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Darcy received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University and graduated with a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Rev. Roake was recently named a "Faith Leader to Watch in 2016" by the Center for American Progress.