The Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. (CCHERS) is a community/academic partnership for building healthy communities. Its partners are Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Public Health Commission, Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences and a network of fifteen community health centers serving the diverse racial and ethnic neighborhoods of Boston. Northeastern University serves as its host institution and sustaining partner.

Strategic Vision/Mission – Goals and Objectives -2021

Vision: Envision a healthcare system based on health equity and racial justice for optimal health of the most vulnerable populations and communities of society.

Mission: To engage institutions, communities, community health centers and other stakeholders in education, research and service partnerships to reorient health professions education, improve health of communities, and promote healthcare system change.

Health Professions Education:

Promote community based, community oriented primary care education for a range of health professions students, from high school through graduate and professional school, to improve community health services provided to underserved populations.

Community Engaged Partnered Research (CEPR):

Promote community derived and directed health services, public health, and clinical research in partnerships with academic medical centers, and university researchers that focus on health issues of diverse urban populations.

Community Health Development:

Facilitate collaborative, integrated and coordinated community focused strategies to address community health challenges to impact the related social determinants of healthy community development.

Health Workforce Development:

Promote workforce development strategies to address shortage areas, diversity, and other workforce needs of community health centers and other community health organizations.

Health Equity Policy:

Promote public and institutional policy change in health professions education, community health, and healthcare access to create an equitable healthcare system for diverse populations and communities.


Donna M. Bright, PhD, MSPH
Executive Director

Cynthia Brown, MPA
Finance and Administration Manager

Nancy Carpenter, MPH
Director, Planning and Program Development

Lauren Froomer, MSCJS
Program Manager, Community Advocacy Program

Luke Mathew, BA,
Program Coordinator, Community Voices Program

Alison Simmons, MEd
Program Supervisor, HEART Program

Board of Directors

2022 – 2023

Category/Member Affiliation Position/Expertise Term
Benita Bamgbade NU Bouvé College of Health Sciences Assistant Professor 2025
Brian Jack Boston University School of Medicine Founder Family Medicine 2023
Thea James Boston Medical Center VP & Associate CMO 2023
Jeremiah Woodberry Boston Public Health Commission Director Child & Adolescent Health   2025
Community Health Centers
Tom Kieffer - C Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center Executive Director 2022
JoAnna Rorie The Birth Center & Boston Medical Center Nurse Midwife 2022
Jay Trivedi - S/C Upham’s Corner Health Center President/CEO 2024
Guale Valdez - T Mattapan CHC President/CEO  2023
Community Stakeholder
Marisa Coleman Luse Office of City & Community Engagement Community Organizer 2022
MaryAnn Nelson - VC Mission Hill Health Movement Lawyer/Community Organizer  2021
Carmen Torres Mission Hill & Roxbury Tenants of Harvard Educator 2022
Catalina Yang Tan Boston University School of Social Work Community Based Research 2025
Elena Byhoff Tufts University School of Medicine Physician 2022
Dita Obler Community Conversations Sister-to-Sister Founder  2023
Javier Gutierrez Madison Park Development Corporation Director Resident Support 2022
Lumas Helaire Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Population Health & Health Equity 2025
Jamiah Tappin Boston Alliance for Community Health Community Organizer 2023
Donna M. Bright CCHERS Executive Director N/A

Terms end in December

Board Officers

2020 – 2022

Office Name Category
Chairman Tom Kieffer Community Health Center
Vice Chairman Mary Ann Nelson Community Stakeholder
Treasurer Guale Valdez Community Health Center
Secretary/Clerk Jay Trivedi Community Health Center


Board Standing Committees

Executive Nominating* Finance
Tom Kieffer – Chairman Jamiah Tappin – Chairman Guale Valdez  – Chairman
Mary Ann Nelson – Vice Chairman Donna M. Bright – Staff Cynthia Brown – Staff
Guale Valdez – Treasurer Dita Obler Melvin Benson
Jagdeep (Jay) Trivedi – Secretary Mary Ann Nelson Julian Scott
Donna M. Bright – Executive Director Jagdeep (Jay) Trivedi
Thea James
Dita Obler
Carmen Torres


Board Oversight Committees

Strategic Planning Research Governance Succession Planning
Donna M. Bright – Chair Benita Bamgbade, PhD – Co Chair TBD – Chair
Nancy Carpenter – Staff Dita Obler, MS, LCGC – Co Chair Donna M. Bright – Staff
Tom Kieffer VACANT – Staff
Elena Byhoff, MD
Brian Jack, MD
Mary Ann Nelson, JD
Robin Reed, MD, MBA, MPH
JoAnna Rorie, PhD
Alexis Snyder
Ronald Lammy