President and Chief Executive Officer


Dr. Ann Barnes is President and CEO of Episcopal Health Foundation. She joined EHF in October of 2022. Throughout her career, Ann has led innovative care solutions that go beyond the doctor’s office to tackle social, economic, and environmental drivers of health.

Most recently, Ann served as Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer at Harris Health, the largest safety-net health system in Greater Houston. Ann was responsible for developing the system’s health equity strategy and also led the system’s efforts to improve population health, prevent disease, and address chronic conditions by integrating community resources that impact underlying, non-medical conditions like food security, safe places to exercise, poverty, and more.

Prior to Harris Health, she was Chief Medical Officer at Legacy Community Health, a large federally qualified health center system in Houston that serves more than 170,000 patients. Ann oversaw all clinic services and was instrumental in introducing the Health Leads model for patient health that focused on non-medical drivers of health.

She also served as the principal investigator for a National Institute of Health project that established a first-of-its-kind registry to understand factors that lead to successful weight loss maintenance in African Americans.

Ann is a proud native of Houston’s Fifth Ward and came back to work with Houston’s at-risk communities after graduating from Yale University and Harvard Medical School. She’s a board-certified internist who completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and also earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.

Executive Vice President for Health Policy, Research & Strategic Partnerships


Dr. Shao-Chee Sim is the Episcopal Health Foundation’s Executive Vice President for Health Policy, Research & Strategic Partnerships. He leads EHF’s work in health policy analysis, research, planning and pilot projects to advance the strategic plan of the Foundation. Current priority areas include statewide health policy public opinion surveys, managed care organizations (MCO) strategies to address non-medical drivers of health, multi-sectoral community health collaboratives, health center payment reform, rural health care service delivery, and more.

Shao-Chee joined EHF after more than 20 years of research, planning, and strategy experience within philanthropy, federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) and nonprofits. Most recently, he was the chief strategy officer of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York City. Dr. Sim also assumed research leadership roles at the Wallace Foundation and the Asian American Federation.

He currently serves on the Board of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Rural Health Resource Center, on the advisory committee of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Value Based Payment and Quality Improvement Committee, and the Asian American Policy Review at Harvard’s JFK School of Government.

Dr. Sim earned his Master’s degree in public administration from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Vice President for Community Engagement


Zahyrah Blakeney is EHF’s Vice President for Community Engagement and an experienced community health leader with more than 20 years grantmaking, management, and strategic expertise across philanthropic, government, nonprofit, and faith-based sectors.

She joined EHF’s grants division in 2020 serving as a senior program officer overseeing a $14 million portfolio of more than 60 grants. She managed many of EHF’s investments in community-based organizations across Texas that work with underserved populations to advocate for health and adopt new ways of solving health-related problems.

Before EHF, Zahyrah spent 14 years at the Houston Health Department as a Division Executive overseeing health clinics, community involvement, and public health initiatives. Prior to the City, she had key leadership roles at the Community Doula Program and the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston.

Zahyrah is a graduate of the University of Houston and a Texas Department of State Health Services certified instructor for Promotores/Community Health Workers (P/CHWs). She has specialized training from Stanford University in chronic disease self-management and advanced national disaster and mental health preparedness training, allowing her to serve in key roles as a tier one essential executive in prior disasters in the city of Houston.  Zahyrah has served on numerous community boards through-out her career and currently serves as board chair of Dia de la Mujer Latina, a national Community Health Worker non-profit organization headquartered in Houston.

Vice President for Grants


Michael T. Walsh, Jr. is EHF’s Vice President for Grants. He joined EHF in January 2024. Throughout his career, Michael has served as the principal architect for the vision, structure, financing, comprehensive evaluation, governance, and execution pathway for health equity, public health, health systems, global health, and social impact strategies spanning 22 years and 48 countries, including deep, in-country systems building and capacity strengthening in 20 countries and within 10 US states.

Michael has dedicated his entire professional career to building the systems underlying the achievement of good health and accelerating impact on populations experiencing disproportionate burden, regionally, nationally, and globally. Michael’s early career work in public health preparedness was followed by an 11-year tenure at Texas Children’s Hospital, where he was the founding director of Texas Children’s Global Health Initiative. In this capacity, he led strategic, financial, governance, and implementation portfolio in care delivery and health system capacity building spanning 10 clinical specialties and geographically focused in East Africa, West Africa, and South Africa as well as Central America and South America. This work included strategic leadership of an expansive portfolio public private partnerships with 18 foreign governments and was supported by complex interweaving of U.S federal funding streams, U.N. agencies, grants, philanthropic investments, and corporate investments. Just prior to joining EHF, Michael served the mission of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for eight years and built the institution’s community and social impact incubator from the ground up. This included field building work in novel place-based investment strategies, health systems strengthening initiatives with FQHCs and safety net systems, impact evaluation and public health intelligence, and the concurrent design of partnership ecosystems centered on high-impact public health practice and aligned, enabled capital for health in communities.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a master’s degree in health policy and management from the University of Pittsburgh. He has advanced training in nonprofit law, corporate governance, negotiation, public policy, and humanitarian strategy, in addition to formal certificates in social impact strategy from the University of Pennsylvania and in impact finance innovations / impact investing from the University of Oxford.

Director of Strategic Operations


Christina Charles is EHF’s Director of Strategic Operations. She joined the Foundation in March 2024.

Throughout her career, Christina has worked both internally and as a consultant to help philanthropic, nonprofit, and public sector organizations develop and execute major projects and strategic initiatives, especially in the areas of change management, strategy, and internal operations. Before joining EHF, she served as Special Assistant to the President and CEO of Houston Endowment, where she supported the Endowment’s equity work, internal communications, and project management. She has also worked as a consultant at PwC and as a community organizer and teacher.

Christina has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

Chief Administrative Officer


Susybelle Gosslee is the Episcopal Health Foundation’s Chief Administrative Officer. She is responsible for all business and administrative functions of the Foundation, including operations, human resources, human capital, information technology, process improvement, and facilities management.  Susybelle oversees EHF’s internal finance function and interfaces with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas which provides accounting, finance, and payroll/benefits processing support to EHF.

Susybelle’s background includes more than 10 years of experience overseeing the business and administration function in law firms in Houston, Austin and Dallas and nine years serving as a political compliance consultant for political candidates and political action committees. She served as Houston Mayor Bill White’s campaign Comptroller for six years. Susybelle has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and is a life-long Episcopalian.

Assistant Vice President for Innovation & Integration


C.J. Eisenbarth Hager is EHF’s Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Integration. With a career spanning three decades, she is dedicated to advancing equity through policy and systems change, focusing on the social determinants of health. Her expertise crosses various roles including equity advocate, lobbyist, policy analyst, researcher, and coalition-builder at national, state, and local levels.

Prior to her tenure with EHF, she was the founding director of Vitalyst Health Foundation’s healthy communities portfolio, which encompassed the built environment, food systems, housing, transportation, and heat resilience. Notable achievements include spearheading transformative neighborhood place-focused plans in Phoenix, advocating for Complete Streets ordinances, and a founding member of the Maricopa County Food System Coalition.

Prior roles include Senior Policy Analyst at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Poli[1]cy, Director of Government Relations at NeighborWorks America, a national housing and community development  intermediary, and has held positions with the Minnesota House of Representatives, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and Rapoza Associates.

She serves on the Advisory Board for The Funders Network PLACES Fellowship, which she is a proud former fellow. She also serves as Chair of LISC Houston’s Local Advisory Board. C.J. received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Marquette University and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from Kansas State University.

Chief Communications Officer



Brian Sasser is EHF’s Chief Communications Officer. He spent 20 years in television news as a reporter and investigative/special projects producer. Brian spent 13 years as the investigative producer and national field producer at KPRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Houston. At EHF, he oversees all internal and external communications, including media relations, public relations, news and research releases, website management, video production, and communications consulting with grant partners and others.

He currently serves on the board of directors at HOPE Clinic in Houston and is a charter member of the Texas Census Institute’s Accelerator Network. Brian previously served as chair of the Communications Committee for Philanthropy Southwest, co-chair of the Health Subcommittee for the Houston/Harris County 2020 Census Complete Count effort, and was a member of the board of directors at Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston.

Brian graduated from TCU with bachelor’s degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science.


Executive Assistant to CEO


Loretta Aldape is EHF’s Executive Assistant to the President and CEO providing executive administrative support and is responsible for regular and confidential communication with stakeholders. Loretta also serves as a liaison for the President with the Board of Directors, community leaders, grant recipients and grant seekers, as well as other external stakeholders. She ensures completion of projects and special assignments for the President by determining priorities, managing time, problem solving, and monitoring progress.
Loretta has more than 20 years of experience in the administrative assistant profession. One of her first opportunities was with BP Exploration where she was employed for 10 years in the Human Resources Department. Her primary responsibility was providing administrative support to a high-volume staffing effort with additional responsibilities in supporting general personnel services to the Headquarters workforce.
Loretta enjoys travel with her family. Since 2016, she and her husband mentor youth through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Her biggest accomplishment in life, in her opinion, are her two daughters.

Administrative Specialist


Sheryl Barmasse serves as EHF’s Administrative Specialist providing administrative support for the President’s Office and is the primary liaison to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Sheryl also serves as the primary administrator for the Foundation’s Fluxx software system and oversees the origination of all purchased services agreements.

Sheryl brings more than 25 years of experience as an administrative professional to EHF.

Director of Grants Management


April Barnes is EHF’s Director of Grants Management where she oversees the Foundation’s Fluxx grantmaking system, integrates its operations with other departments, and monitors all other grants management functions to ensure the overall quality of all grants processes. She creates the budgets and forecasts for the grants department, ensuring fiscal responsibility and strategically-allocated resources. April aids in creating and maintaining policies and procedures around grantmaking, always employing an equitable lens to promote fairness and inclusivity. Alongside her professional duties, April is also pursuing her doctoral degree, enhancing her expertise and bringing advanced academic insight into her pivotal role in grantmaking and management.

Senior Congregational Engagement Officer


Willie Bennett is EHF’s Senior Congregational Engagement officer supporting churches throughout the Diocese in creating healthy communities through the building of relationships and collaborative work.   Prior to the Foundation, Willie served as a Lead Organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin where he had the privilege of doing justice work with hundreds of faith communities.  Willie is a Baptist minister ordained for the work of organizing and has a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary.

Community Engagement Officer


Troy Bush-DiDonato serves as EHF’s Senior Community Engagement Officer, where he develops and implements the Foundation’s community engagement strategy through capacity-building training with community partners, grant partners, and congregations. Troy’s career has traversed many sectors including public education, pharmaceutical, and clinical research.

A native of Houston, Troy is a founding member and past Chair of the Houston-area Suicide Prevention Coalition and is currently serving on the Board of the Texas Suicide Prevention Collaborative. He is a master trainer for the QPR gatekeeper training and a trainer for Texas ASK training. Troy holds a Bachelor of Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. He is active in the recovery and the LGBTQ communities of Houston. Troy channels all his personal and professional experience to engage and facilitate so that every voice gets heard.

Director of Finance


Dale Dodds is EHF’s Director of Finance and assists with the Foundation’s accounting and finance responsibilities. Prior to joining EHF in 2019, he worked with UCSF Health, Memorial Hermann Health System, and Ernst & Young. Dale is a CPA and earned his BBA in Accounting from the University of Houston.

Grants Manager


Jimmy Donelson is EHF’s Grants Manager where he co-manages the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolio and is the system administrator for the Grants division. Before joining EHF, Jimmy was a Program Associate with the David and Lucille Packard Foundation where he provided strategic and operational support toward strengthening civil society, leadership, and racial justice in the U.S.
Jimmy began his career in philanthropy as a management consultant for the Bridgespan Group, a social impact consulting firm, where he advised some of the most influential organizations in the social sector. Jimmy is passionate about building strong organizations and leaders working at the intersection of LGBTQ rights and racial and economic justice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Carleton College. He is a proud 7th generation Texan from the Ark-La-Tex.

Administrative Assistant, Engagement


Anne Eisner is EHF’s Administrative Assistant for the Community Engagement division. She joined the Foundation after a career in Commercial Property Management and also worked as a Program Coordinator for a nonprofit nature center. Anne brings her event planning, budget management, and people relations skills to her position. She holds a BS from Unitversity of Houston, is married, and has two adult sons who share her love of the Houston Astros.

Graphic/Data Visualization Designer


Claire Elestwani is EHF’s in-house Graphic/Data Visualization Designer, designing and illustrating materials that communicate work across the Foundation. They have 10 years of experience in nonprofit and civic design. Prior to working with EHF, they served as the Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Lamar University and maintained an independent design/research practice. Claire holds an MFA in graphic design from the University of Houston, a certificate in performance art from Beaux-Arts Nantes, and a BA in linguistics from Rice University.

Director of Policy & Research


Tanweer Kaleemullah is EHF’s Director of Policy and Research. Tanweer’s expertise and methods include public policy and advocacy, legal and policy research, cultivating strategic partnerships, and convening stakeholders to advance collective solutions. His work has focused on health policy and systems, in particular around addressing the non-medical drivers of health. His experiences also include the integration of physical and mental health, health access, and public health. Tanweer is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center and South Texas College of Law. Prior to his time at EHF, he worked for more than two decades in health care and public health at various health care systems, a county health department, and a nonprofit, and he is a former high school teacher.
He has earned his JD from South Texas College of Law, LLM in National Security from Georgetown University Law Center, MHA/MBA from University of Houston-Clear Lake, BS in chemistry at Midwestern State University, secondary teaching certificate from the University of Texas-Arlington, and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Sr. Program Officer


Cindy Lucia is a Senior Program Officer at EHF. She joined the Foundation in 2016 and her diverse portfolio represents many organizations across EHF’s 80-county service area. After graduating from Duke University, Cindy moved to Houston, almost sight unseen, to become a commercial banker and later a private wealth manager at JP Morgan Chase. During these banking years, she earned an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. After almost two decades of banking experience, Cindy joined the nonprofit world, initially as Executive Director of TIRR Foundation and served on TIRR Systems executive leadership team. Cindy has worked as a senior consultant to nonprofits helping raise funds, developing board capacity, and guiding strategic planning; was Institutional Advancement Director at the Houston Symphony and Houston Museum of Natural Sciences; and raised funds for other nonprofits.
Cindy is married and is the proud mother of two adult children.

Research and Evaluation Associate


Briana Martin is a Research and Evaluation Associate at EHF. Briana advises, supports, and manages, various research, evaluation, and data projects of varied scope and size. Within her project oversight, Briana aids external partners with tool creation, data analysis, and method refinement. Interally, Briana supports EHF divisions with mapping, survey development, data analysis, and evaluation. Additionally, she works closely with EHF’s communications team to advance the research division’s communications efforts and development of the Foundation’s Digging Deeper series.

As a part of Teach for America, Briana moved to Houston and taught Rhetoric & Composition for three years. In 2022, Briana graduated in the first cohort of the Master of Social Policy Evaluation program at Rice University, complementing her bachelor’s degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in Journalism and Rhetoric. Overall, Briana is driven by her passion for influencing the status quo of health systems to make them more accessible and responsive to all.

Grants Database Coordinator


Lisa Mendoza is EHF’s Grants Database Coordinator and is responsible for maintaining its accuracy and integrity. In accordance with grant guidelines, she processes applicants’ inquiries regarding the online application process. Lisa also provides Spanish translation services to the Engagement Division.
Lisa has more than 25 years of experience in the administrative assistant and data entry profession. She previously worked at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital where she served for more than 10 years with the Episcopal Health Charities. Her primary responsibility was providing administrative support to the Grants Department with additional responsibility for supporting the Director of Grants.
Lisa enjoys time with her family. She’s married and is the proud mother of three daughters and one son.

Director of Evaluation


Jennifer Mineo is EHF’s Director of Evaluation where she guides the foundation in using evaluation as a tool for strategic learning and decision making in order to achieve impact.
Jennifer’s background is in health services research and program evaluation. Over the last 25 years, she has worked in public health with local, state, and nonprofit organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate community health programs. Jennifer’s approach to all evaluation work is rooted in social justice. She holds a Doctorate in Public Health and a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Sr. Congregational Engagement Officer


Eric Moen is EHF’s Senior Congregational Engagement Officer and is responsible for developing and implementing the Foundation’s collaborative work with the congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Eric has served in community and congregational ministry for more than 30 years working in youth ministry, world missions, and communty outreach. He is a founding member and board chair of Houston reVision, a Houston based nonprofit working alongside system-involved youth in Harris County and serves as executive chair on the board of Camp Allen Episcopal Camp and Conference Center. Eric is married to Amy, and loves adventuring with their adult children Jens and Elsa and son-in-law Jonathan.

Community Parterships Officer


Roosevelt Neely serves as EHF’s Community Partnerships Officer and draws on his experience with community and youth development to lead EHF’s capacity building efforts to support health coalitions and multi-sector collaboratives across the Foundation’s 80-county service area. Roosevelt earned a bachelors in Kinesiology from the University of Houston and a masters degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. A proud husband and father of two sweet toddlers—Roosevelt is passionate about EHF’s work related to maternal health.

Program Officer


Christy (Adriana Christine) Serrano is a Program Officer at EHF and oversees the foundation’s grantmaking strategies that advance investments in maternal and early relational health. Prior to EHF, Christy served in policy, programmatic, and philanthropic roles working to promote early childhood development and infant mental health, particularly through the intersection of maternal and child health. Christy’s expertise lies in policy analysis, program development, and nonprofit management. She has also served in volunteer leadership positions with various nonprofit advisory boards and committees. Christy holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She grew up in Missouri City, TX and now lives in Houston with her family.

Executive Assistant to Business & Communications


Laura Thewalt is EHF’s Executive Assistant to the Business and Communication departments. She provides problem-solving and project management support for the building, communications, finance, human resource, and IT functions of EHF. Prior to the Foundation, she was a Church Administrator for a local mainline denomination congregation.  She has 15 years of experience as an administrative generalist.
Laura’s first career was in automotive advertising as a subject matter expert on vehicle platforms for each of Detroit’s Big Three, working for their primary marketing agencies. Laura is a lifelong Episcopalian and an Education for Ministry Mentor. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Western Michigan University.

Congregational Engagement Officer


Melodee serves as a Congregational Engagement Officer and Equity Co-Lead for the Episcopal Health Foundation. As a member of the Engagement Team, she partners with community-based organizations and Episcopal congregations in our 80-county service area, to help build their capacity to engage in communities and build sustainable initiatives to create healthier places to live work, and play. In her role, she provides overall program management for the Congregational Engagement Team and is integral in program development for the Mental Health and Poverty Alleviation areas. As Equity Co-Lead, Melodee works closely with the Leadership Team to strengthen the organization’s culture and reinforce its commitment to equity and inclusion.
Melodee has spent over a decade in the nonprofit sector working at the intersection of public health, community engagement, and faith-based partnership. She is guided by a passion for her faith and advancing health equity. A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, she holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University, Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Louisville, and a Project Management Certification from the University of Houston. In her spare time, Melodee enjoys both domestic and international travel, exploring local restaurants and events, and boxing at local gyms.

Research Coordinator


Kirstie Valverde serves as EHF’s Research Coordinator providing administrative and contract management support to the Health Policy, Research & Strategic Partnerships division. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and served in administrative roles at various nonprofits prior to joining the Foundation.

Research and Evaluation Associate


Amy Willa is a Research and Evaluation Associate at EHF. She advises, supports, and manages various research, evaluation, and interdisciplinary convening projects. Amy serves as a thought partner on collaborative efforts and provides external partners with project coordination, research methodology, and refinement of audience-specific deliverables. Amy works closely with EHF’s grants team to advance EHF’s cross-divisional efforts in community clinic initiatives, access to care, health equity, and value-based payment.
Amy is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and before EHF, she was the lactation consultant for the Harris County Public Health Texas Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program. Amy holds a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and is a PhD Candidate in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Originally from Houston, Amy now lives in Friendswood with her husband, children, and pets, serving in volunteer leadership positions with La Leche League International and the Girl Scouts.

Administrative Assistant, Grants


Aerial Williams is EHF’s Administrative Assistant for the Grants Division. She provides comprehensive support to the department, ensuring smooth operation of both EHF’s grantmaking activities and programmatic work. Leveraging more than 10 years of administrative and operational experience in health care, Aerial offers expertise in contract management, strategic thinking, and project management, ensuring efficient and successful grant administration.