NYC Hep C Task Force Leadership

The Hep C Task Force is guided by an Advisory Board, Community Chairs, Health Department organizers and annual work plan and report.

NYC Hep C Task Force Leadership

To contact Hep Free NYC, click here

Community Chairs

Bronx Community Chairs
Courtney Dower
, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (,  is a project manager for the Department of Family Medicine at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, focusing on the HIV and Hepatitis B and C initiatives for the Department.

Douglas Reich, MD, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (, is the Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.

Queens Community Chair
Shellyann Vassell, Zucker Hillside Hospital ( is an Assistant Nurse Manager in the Methadone Treatment Program at Zucker Hillside Hospital.

Brooklyn Community Chair
Position currently open

Staten Island Community Chair
Jazmin RiveraStaten Island Partnership for Community Wellness – Tackling Youth Substance Abuse  (  leads the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success grant as Project Coordinator for Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA).

Harlem Community Chair
Melissa Baker
, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (  is the Vice-President of Administration/Special Projects at NBLCA.

Health Department Organizer

Nirah Johnson, LCSW, Director of Program Implementation & Capacity Building,  NYC Health Department, Viral Hepatitis Program ( serves as the lead organizer of the NYC Hep B Coalition and Hep C Task Force since 2007. She has a background in graphic design, clinical social work with HIV and viral hepatitis, and treatment readiness and adherence program management.

Ad Board Members

Caroline Davidson, MPH, Communications Coordinator,  NYC Health Department, Viral Hepatitis Program ( manages communications for Hep Free NYC, including website, social media, and new resources.  She has a background in Hep C/HIV testing and counseling, as well as human subjects research.

Colleen Flanigan, NYS DOH, Adult Viral Hepatitis Coordinator ( serves as the Director of the Viral Hepatitis Section for the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

Daniel Leyva, Deputy to the President, Latino Commission on AIDS, ( is currently Deputy to the President at the Latino Commission on AIDS and founding member of the Hispanic Health Network. He is also the Director of the Latino Religious Leadership Program of the Latino Commission on AIDS/Hispanic Health Network. Originally from Mexico City, Daniel has been working on the field of health prevention and education for over twenty years, focusing primarily on the health prevention and education needs in Hispanic communities, communities of color, communities of faith and the LGBT immigrant communities.

Daniel Raymond, National Policy Director, Harm Reduction Coalition ( works with a broad range of local, state, and national coalitions and advocacy groups to ensure sound harm reduction focused public health policy.  He previously served on the steering committee of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.

Emily Winkelstein, MSW, Cross Systems Program Specialist, NYC Health Department, Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Use Prevention, Care & Treatment. ( is currently working in the NYC Health Department Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment Program as the Cross Systems Program Specialist. She  was most recently the  Project Director of the Collaborative Hepatitis Outreach and Integrated Care Evaluation Study (CHOICES) in NDRI’s Institute for Infectious Disease Research. She has been working in the field of harm reduction and public health since 1996, and since then has worked as Harm Reduction Coalition’s National Training Coordinator and with the SWAN Project, an epidemiological study investigating correlates of hepatitis C infection among younger injection drug users in New York City.

Eric Rude, Policy and Development , NYC Health Dept. ( is currently working to advance hepatitis C policy in NYC as well as increase funding for viral hepatitis services at the Health Department. Eric Rude served as the CDC-funded Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator at the NYC Health Department for many years.

Farma Pene, Patient Navigation Specialist, NYC Health Dept. ( is the Chair for the Coalition against Hepatitis in People of African Origin (CHIPO) NYC, and is a patient navigator for the Hep B Moms project at the NYC Health Dept., which provides care coordination for Hep B-infected pregnant women.

Hector Quinones, Director of Social Services, After Hours Project ( has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis for over seventeen years. At After Hours, Hector provides supervision of HIV/STI testing, case management, linkage to care, medical transportation, treatment readiness, syringe exchange and hepatitis C screening and linkage to care. He is the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee of the NYS Prevention Planning Group.

Henry Chang, Global Health Consultant (  is a public health consultant with more than 25 years of experience in patient advocacy, program development, implementation and evaluation related to HIV/AIDS, and more recently, HBV and HCV. He also serves as Chair of Hep B Coalition’s Hep B Patients for a Cure Committee. Henry is one of the top 10 Twitter influencers on scientific, medical and patient advocacy topics related to viral hepatitis and serves as Twitter Ambassador for European Association for the Study of the Liver.

Jeff Weiss, Mount Sinai ( is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Hepatitis C Clinical and Research Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Mantsetse Kgama, Project SUCCEED, NYC Health Dept ( is the Chair of the Public Education Committee, and is currently coordinating for Project SUCCEED, a project to increase testing and linkage to care for people of color co-infected with HIV and Hep C.

Robert Suarez, Harm Reduction Community Organizer, VOCAL-NY (

Shanaz Hosein, CUNY Brooklyn College ( is Chair of the Communications Committee, and is currently interning with both Hep Free NYC and Team HOPE.

Sue Preziotti ( ) is a communications/public affairs professional, viral hepatitis advocate, and MPH candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. With over 20 years experience in healthcare media relations, Sue helps generate news stories about local and state advocacy initiatives and has contributed to educating community members and legislators by sharing the impact of viral hepatitis on her family

Vinh Pham, MD, Bellevue Hospital ( is Medical Director for the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program of NYULMC, a member of the Infection Prevention and Control Dept of NYULMC, and a provider in the Infectious Diseases Faculty Group Practice of NYULMC and Hospital for Joint Diseases. He is also a Clinical Instructor at Bellevue Hospital.

>> Advisory Board Members Log In Here.

Guiding Documents and Reports

Former Ad Board Members

Carlos Rosario, Hepatitis C Organizer, formerly of VOCAL-NY, ( is a Bronx Community Activist working to raise awareness about Hepatitis throughout New York State. 

Daniel Calder MPH, Outreach and Community Education Coordinator,  NYC Health Department, Viral Hepatitis Program ( managed the implementation of NYC Hep B Coalition and Hep C Task Force meetings and initiatives until mid-2017.  He has a background in health education and behavioral science and is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Fabienne Laraque, MD,  Medical Director at Department of Homeless Services. Fabienne  worked for the NYC Health Department since 1997 in the Bureaus of Maternal & Child Health, TB, and HIV and is currently the Medical Director of the Viral Hepatitis Surveillance, Prevention & Control Program.

Katie Bornschlegel, MPH,  NYC DOHMH  coordinated hepatitis B and C surveillance projects for the NYC Health Department for many years. She has developed and conducted numerous projects aimed at using surveillance data to identify gaps in care for New Yorkers living with chronic hepatitis B or C.

Jamie Favaro, LMSW, IDUHA Coordinator ( previously worked in homeless services, transitioning from providing case management to running a self-started 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the Washington Heights CORNER Project, which provides resources and targeted services to a population base of homeless individuals who are also injection drug users and/or sex workers. She currently provides consulting services to the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance (IDUHA). 

Joshua Sippen, VP Community Health, Community Health Action of Staten Island  ( Joshua Sippen has been working in HIV prevention and care work since volunteering at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, conducting all-day safer sex workshops. He has served as the Executive Director of FROSTD and the Managing Director of FROSTD/Harlem United’s Housing Division. Josh currently serves as the Director of Health Education for Community Health Action of Staten Island.

Natalie Kil, MPH, Mount Sinai – Harlem Community Chair ( Natalie Kil, MPH, oversaw the grants management of the Mount Sinai Primary Care Hepatitis C Program Clinical, Outreach, and Research programs. Natalie was a founding member of the Harlem Hep C Task Force.

Mike Duncan, PA, VOCAL-NY (mjsduncan@gmail.comis a physician assistant who has been serving New York City residents who inject drugs since 1998.

Margarita Cabral – NYCHA, NAACP, New American Chamber of Commerce, Christian in Business Radio    ( is an Administrative Staff Analyst for the New York City Housing Authority.  She is also Vice President for Clergy Affairs at the New American Chamber of Commerce.

Natalie DiRocco MPH, Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness 

Hema Santhanam NP, Damian Family Health Center

Mary O’ConnorStaten Island University Hospital 

Rick Anthony Richards, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

Veronika Dubrovskaya MD, Gotham Medical Associates


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