Staff & Board


photo of Alise Sanchez, E.D.ORCHWA  Executive Director:

Alise Marie Sanchez (Anishinaabe) is the first Executive Director of the Oregon Community Health Workers Association. She was born and raised in Helena, Montana, and is a member of the Little Shell tribe. She relocated to Portland, OR to attend Reed College, graduating in 2008 with a degree in English Literature.

Alise has over 10 years of experience in the health and human services field, and has worked extensively in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, parent education, and early childhood. She is an experienced trainer and facilitator, and believes in the transformative power of Popular Education. She is passionate about developing programs that support community self-determination, and is deeply committed to addressing systemic and institutional oppression at all levels of her work.


ORCHWA Deputy Director:

Edna Nyamu is the Deputy Director for the Oregon Community Health Workers
Association (ORCHWA). Edna received her Master of Science in Global Health at the
National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) from Portland, Oregon. She is also a
certified Community Health Worker (CHW) by the State of Oregon, and a member of the Traditional Health worker (THW) Commission under Oregon Health Authority/ Office of Equity and Inclusion. Edna speaks three languages, Swahili, Maasai, and English, and does Swahili language interpretation. She has a deep understanding of cross-cultural practice and has years of experience working closely with immigrants, refugees, and people of color.

Edna is passionate about engaging communities of color to learn about the benefits and
the association between health and outdoors activities in a way that honors their culture
and connects them to nature.

In her work with ORCHWA, Edna is able to use her position to advocate for CHWs and
communities that experience health disparities across the state of Oregon.

ORCHWA Health Systems Director:

Celia Higueras was raised in Chile, and received her BA in sociology degree from Lewis and Clark College. She has worked with community health workers in Portland, New York City and Santiago on issues ranging from gender violence, to nutrition, to chronic disease control with the elderly.

Celia is dedicated to improving health and decreasing disparities using community involvement, culturally competent care and popular education.



ORCHWA Workforce Development Director:

Ben Sanford is originally from North Carolina and is a member of the Sappony Tribe. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2003 with a BA in Industrial Technology.  In 2005 he transitioned into a career in human services, and has provided mental health support, domestic violence support, veteran’s services, and housing work.

Ben has broad experience with job development and coaching, workshop facilitation and training, and is passionate about the intersection of education, career development and social justice.


ORCHWA Community Programs Coordinator:

Chi Bui is a certified Community Health Worker. She is dedicated to advocacy work and helping her community to gain equitable resource. She supports the local Vietnamese Community everyday by bridging gaps and linking them to resources. She has a special interest in assisting underserved families, who are unfamiliar with the United State healthcare system, and resolving communication barriers/cultural gaps involving in the system.

Currently, she actively participates as a member of steering committee to provide directions and supports to Warriors of Wellness project (WOW), a Community Health Worker Program, and serves on the Oregon Community Health Workers Association Education Consortium (ORCHWEC).


ORCHWA Policy Coordinator:

Fiona Yau-Luu is the Coordinator for Policy & Advocacy Committee at the Oregon Community Health Workers Association (ORCHWA). Fiona has previously served as a Political Organizer with SEIU, and has a background in electoral politics and community organizing. She is the Vice President of the Board for Oregon Walks and a community member representative on Metro’s Public Engagement Review Committee.

Fiona has worked on several progressive campaigns including Barack Obama’s re-election. She also helped to enroll thousands union members and the general public through the Affordable Care Act, and nationally coordinated the civic engagement holiday, National Voter Registration Day.


ORCHWA Operations Coordinator:

Sossity Chiricuzio comes from a long line of women who have supported the work of healthcare while questioning and addressing the shortcomings of the healthcare system. Raised with an awareness of social justice, advocacy, and the need to help make a difference in the world, Sossity sought out education in both the traditional (BA in Women’s Studies/Humanities) and non-traditional (Take Back The Night, Act-Up, Queer Nation) realms, and applies all that she learned on a daily basis.

Sossity left the beautiful desert of Arizona for the progressive city of Portland in 2004, and has been a part of the art and activist scene ever since, with a focus on LGBTQI2S rights, body positivity, racial justice, disability, and issues related to class. She has decades of organizational, administrative, and media related skills and is excited to apply them to the vital work done by Community Health Workers and ORCHWA.


Board of Directors*

All emails for Board Members should be directed to Be sure to include the name of the Board Member in the subject line.

photo of Abdiasis MohamedORCHWA Board President: Abdiasis Mohamed; MSW, Program Coordinator for the Traditional Health Worker Program at Oregon Health Authority’s & Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Affiliations: Member of Oregon Community Health Workers Association (ORCHWA), member of Coalitions of Communities of Color, Founding member of Somali bantu Youth Coalition of Oregon, Member of Portland Public School’s Somali Education advisory Committee, Member of African Community Advocacy Council, and Alumnae of Portland state University School of Social work, and member of Society of Social Work and research.

Bio: Abdiasis Mohamed, Originally from Somalia moved to Oregon in 2006. He is currently the Program Coordinator for the Traditional health worker Program with Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. With Office of Equity and Inclusion, Mohamed is charged with developing and implementing strategic work plan to support a sustainable and effective traditional Health Worker program, THW workforce, training programs, state run website registry and its integration into Oregon health system transformation within OHA’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. He also oversee the Traditional health worker commission and its subcommittees and ensures that the Commission meets its goals, deliverable and timelines. Over the past eleven years, through his work, Mohamed has effectively promoted an understanding of the cultures and backgrounds of diverse African community members in our region.

Mohamed also led the development and implementation of the Coalitions of Communities of Color (CCC’s) first African-specific leadership development program focused on developing leaders in the African community who have the skills necessary to engage the wider African community and participate in policy advocacy that addresses disparities in the community. Mohamed is knowledgeable both at the strategic level of dealing with community partners and the policy level of dealing with elected officials and other policymakers. He is comfortable with grassroots community organizing and high-level policy negotiations.  Mohamed continues to serve on numerous advisory committees and councils that influence social and policy change.

photo of Teresa CamposVice President: Teresa Campos; Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah County Health Department

Affiliations: other workgroups, Boards, or organizations in which they are active Wood Village Baptist Church “Community after School Program” is a homework for children from Kindergarten to middle school grades. “Latino Women Easy English Classes” American Diabetes Association “Cultural Competency Work Group” and the National Diabetes Education program NDEP Hispanic/Latino Stakeholder Group

Skills and Experience: Bilingual and Bicultural skills; Customer services; Communication Skills; Conflict Resolutions skills; Teaching skills; Clergy Skills; Organization Skills; Popular Education methodology; Community Outreach; Nia Instructor; Healing arts skills

Bio: Teresa Campos is a Community Health Worker (CHW) for the Community Capacitation Center of Multnomah County Health Department’s in Portland Oregon Ms. Rios-Campos has over 25 years’ experience as a CHW. Ms. Rios-Campos has presented at over 50 states, national and International conferences and is a well-known trainer and advocate for Community Health Worker and Popular Education. She served on the Advisory Council of the National Community Health Advisor Study and she was the formal chair of the Community Health Workers Special Primary Interest Group of APHA Community Health Worker 2000-2002. At the present moment Ms. Rios-Campos serve as a Vice Chair of the Oregon Community health Worker Association and she is very involve with faith communities. Most important Ms. Rios-Campos she is a certify Nia Instructor she use those skills to teach and provide tools to several community members and groups to support and bring individual and community healing and empowerment.

Treasurer: Adriana Rodriguez

I have been living in Washington County for the past 17 years. I have had the privilege to be a parish health promoter for the past 7 years. Through this work I have had the blessing of sharing knowledge about resources with my community as well as seeing them bloom into individuals who feel that they can do what they didn’t think they could. Seeing the glow in their eyes once they become empowered is what keeps me doing this work.

Education and Training Chair: Maria Tafolla; Health Equity Coordinator at Family Care.

Affiliations: Binational Health Week- Committee Chair 2013 to 2015; SGK Latina Initiative Board Member; OHSU- Latino Outreach Committee Member

Skills and Experience: CHW 60hr training 2012; Motivational Interview; Popular Education; Health Literacy; Community Engagement; Health Education; CHW Supervisor; Program Development; Program Management; Community Outreach; Bilingual-Bicultural

 Bio: Currently, Maria serves as the Health Equity Coordinator, at Family Care Health the second largest CCO in the State of Oregon. She began her Community Health work in Oregon, as the Health Education Coordinator at a Federally Qualified Health Center, Wallace Medical (WMC) in 2011. With many different leadership roles, she was a key contributor to the success and expansion of the agency and it’s different Community programs. She establish WMC first Community Health Worker Program and Enrollment/Outreach. Led organization initiatives addressing food insecurity, language access, public housing and Jesuit Volunteer Program.  In 2012 Maria received her Community Health Worker certification. She has expertise in popular education, strategic planning, community engagement, and health equity. Maria is a founding board member of Oregon’s first Community Health Worker Association.

Policyphoto of Lakeesha Dumas Chair: Lakeesha Dumas

Affiliations: Portland African American Leadership Cohort; DELTA Leadership Cohort, Traditional Health Worker’s Commissions; PFLAG, OHA Office of Equity and Inclusion Community Advisory Council; Rising From the Flames; Oregon Public Health Institute Board Member.

Bio: LaKeesha is a Community Health Worker and a Peer Support Specialist in her Community. She works for the Multnomah County Health Department at the North Portland Clinic. LaKeesha is the Chair of The Traditional Health Workers Commission and also the Policy Chair for the Oregon Community Health Workers Association. Her Passion and Drive is in helping others get the appropriate resources needed to help them Empower themselves to become healthier. LaKeesha is the 2014 recipient of the Oregon Public Health Association Emerging Leader Award. She is a true advocate for policy and health disparities in her community.

photo of Zeenia JunkeerMembership & Communications Chair: Dr. Zeenia Junkeer

Affiliations: Adjunct faculty, National College of Naturopathic Medicine; contract OHEA CHIP, Urban League of Portland; Director/Co-Founder, Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB)

Workgroups: Healing Hurt People advisory group member, State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) advisory group member, SVP Strategy Team

Other Boards or Committees in which you are active: Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon, Oregon Women’s Campaign School.

Bio: Dr. Zeenia Junkeer is social justice focused, primary care Naturopathic physician working with the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health as the Director of Equity and Community Engagement. Her work internationally with women, children and families has been focused on sustainable community led strategies that are empowering and rooted in shifting the culture of health, to include an emphasis on the social determinants of health and education, while working to address the root cause of dis-ease. Identifying systemic barriers, dismantling oppressive practices and shifting cultural norms around reproductive health are key ways in which Dr. Junkeer fights for reproductive justice for communities who face the greatest inequities.

Ally member: Vacancy

Secretary/ Ally member: Vacancy

Region 1 Chair (Hood River/Dalles): Maria Sanchez; The Next Door Inc./ One Community Health

Job Title: Community Health Worker

Affiliations: THW Commission; Spectators; Mission Outreach Community Health Advisors – MOCHA

Skills and Experience: Toña has served communities for her entire life including health promotion, and advocacy. Upon her arrival to the US she began working as a volunteer CHW and soon after became one of the first ever paid CHW in the Nation. Toña has also served on several advisory committees as well as boards around the region. Toña’s possesses experiential leadership skills as well as leadership development skills. Additionally Toña possesses compassion, empathy and passion for her work in conducting outreach to provide health education.

Bio: María Antonia (Toña) Sánchez has been a Community Health Worker (CHW) in the Mid-Columbia since 1988.  Prior to that, when she arrived in the United States, she served her community by volunteering to help others access health and social services.  She has worked at Nuestra Comunidad Sana as a CHW in work such as breast cancer screening promotion, popular education trainer, family garden promoter, and as the Co-Facilitator for a domestic violence perpetrators program.   She also works as La Clínica’s Women’s Health Promotora, conducting outreach, education and assisting with screening access for Hispanic women in our service area. She is a highly respected member of the Latino community as well as a nationally recognized CHW.

Region 2 Chair: Vacancy

photo of Jennifer JensenRegion 3 Chair (Lane/Benton/Linn): Jennifer Jensen

Skills and Experience: Certified CHW, Community Outreach and education, Outreach Worker Organization, Program development, CHW curriculum writing and teaching at Lane Community College, BS Psychology; Family Life Education. In process of obtaining Masters in Social Work from Portland State with a concentration on Leadership with Communities and Organizations.

Bio: Jennifer’s career in Human Services began with charity work in New Orleans (Covenant House, New Orleans Mission, and working with families in various Housing Projects doing home visitations, social service connections, volunteer coordination and food outreaches). She was a Lane County foster parent from 2008 to 2015 and is now an adoptive parent of 3 young ladies. She spends her free time with her daughters and her dogs. Jennifer has worked at PeaceHealth for over ten years now, and took the role of Community Health Worker in July 2012. She helps patients navigate the medical and social service systems as well as stay healthy in the community. She also does Community Advocacy work, her recent outreach includes organizing the first FEAST in Springfield, OR. This FEAST in turn created a much needed food bank in a newly discovered food desert. Jennifer is appointed to the Traditional Health Worker Commission in an ORCHWA seat, and participates in the Systems Integration Sub-committee. As a board member for ORCHWA she actively participates in the monthly Policy and Advocacy Committee. She sits on the Lane County Equity Coalition (CHIP), and continually advises and assists with the Community Health Worker certification program at Lane Community College. Jennifer also leads the Advocacy and Outreach Workers of Lane County who meet monthly at agencies across the community.

Region 4 Chair: Jacque Doney; Siskiyou Community Health Center

Job Title: Outreach Director, Siskiyou Community Health Center

Affiliations: Southern Oregon Early Learning HUB – Executive Counsel and Advisory Board, AllCare and Primary Health CCO’s, Choices Counseling Center, Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance

Skills and Experience: 20 years home visiting, Grant writing, Management and Supervision, Program Budgeting, Certified Community Health Worker, Certified Healthy Families Support Worker, Certified in Parents as Teachers curriculum

Bio: As the Director for Siskiyou Community Healthy Center’s Outreach Programs, I oversee three sites located in both Josephine and Jackson County. Equipped with 20 plus years of experience providing home visits to families living in remote rural areas of Josephine County, I serve the families most of whom live in extreme poverty with few resources and many potential challenges. Many report multi-generational adverse conditions of poverty, food insecurity, poor housing, unemployment, inadequate education, lack of transportation, behavioral health and medical concerns, substance abuse concerns, domestic violence, criminality, and histories of their own neglect and/or abuse suffered in childhood. I strongly support and have been involved with 4H activities in Illinois Valley. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening and spending time at the Illinois River with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Region 5 Chair (Tri-County): Therese Lugano; Community Health Worker for Mid-County

Job Title: Community Health Worker Specialist

Affiliations: ORCHWA; African Family Holistic Health Organization (AFHHO), Togo Core, African Women Coalition (AWC) and Unite Oregon. Umoja Wa Wamama, Life church Ministry women group, Liberian women group, Sudanese women group. Chair of Region 5 ORCHWA  and Board member of ORCHWA;  Board President of AFHHO; Advisor Board Budget Committee of Park and Recreation (city); Adoption and Children Advisor Board Budget (DHS); Vice-Chair of African Advocacy Council

Skills and Experience: Legislative member in Congo more than 10 Years; Co-founder and Board president of the Right of single women in Africa; Manager of stores and motels business in Congo; Assistant to the manager of a foster home for adult; Certified Nurse Assistant for more than 12 years; Community Organizer in Oregon until now

Bio: Therese Lugano, BA, is a Community Health Worker at Mid-County.  Swahili, French, and English. Ms. Lugano is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and she grew up in a multilingual environment. Ms. Lugano immigrated to the United States 14 Years ago. As a former legislator in her home country, she brought with her a love of empowering her community members. She has become involved in diverse activities, such as serving on advisory boards and committees that advocate on behalf of Africans. Ms. Lugano has a Bachelor’s degree in legal Business from Ivory Coast.

She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development from PSU. She organizes workshops for diverse organizations such as Togo Core, AWC, and African Family Holistic Health organization. Therese was a co-founder and member of the first advisory Board of the African Women’s Coalition. She is the chair person for the ORCHWA Region 5 and Board member of ORCHWA. Therese is the Board president of the African Family Holistic Health organization. She also serves as member of the city advisory board of the Parks and Recreation Budget board and the RCWAC/DHS advisor board. She was among the African leaders who helped create Africa House. Ms. Lugano has worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant at OHSU for more than 13 Years and brings that experience to her work as a community health worker working in her community. Therese is passionate about empowering her communities and advocating for the underserved limited English proficient population.

Region 3 Representative (Lane/Benton/Linn): Iris Bicksler

Job Title: Family Resource Navigator

Bio: Iris graduated with honors from the University of Oregon with her Bachelor of Arts in Women and Gender Studies, and a minor in Anthropology. Iris is a certified Doula and co-founder of Doula’s Supporting Teens (DST), now known as Oregon Doula Connection, where she spent six years as a Program & Development Director. Her most recent experience includes three years at the Bethel Health Center working in a role of Mental Health Coordinator, Student Program Coordinator and providing support with grant budgets, data collection, and special projects such as transitioning from paper charts to electronic medical records. She also enjoys traveling, and spent nearly a year in Sayulita, Mexico with her family where she worked as a teacher assistant in a kindergarten classroom. Iris brings extensive knowledge of local community networks, resources, and working with families. She will work to develop systems integration and health worker programs linking healthcare and affordable housing in collaboration with United Way and the partners of the Early Learning Alliance in Lane County.

Region 5 Representatives (Clackamas County): Zuri Lopez, Lizet Gonzalez, Rosa Dominguez

Region 5 Representative (Multnomah County): Vacancy.

*Board Members are individual members and do not represent their organizations in any form or capacity on the ORCHWA board. Their employer is listed for context of the diversity of settings that our leaders work as CHWs.

ORCHWA regions 2

See larger image of map here: ORCHWA Regions

Vice Chairs

Education and Training Vice-Chair: Dawn Wallace

Policy Vice-Chair:  Vacancy

Membership & Communication Vice-Chair: Lamar Tillman