Associates and advisors
Ankit Sanghavi currently serves as the executive director of Texas Health Institute. Previously, he served as the director of community and oral health program at THI. Sanghavi provides leadership and direction on all Texas Health Institute initiatives and develops collaborative efforts with its local, state, and national partners. He earned a Master of Public Health from Texas A&M University in 2014 and Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences India in 2011. His professional interests are research, innovation, and data in public health and health care.
Sherry Wilkie-Conway joined Texas Health Institute in 1996 and currently serves as chief operating officer. She is responsible for the organization’s operating activities, logistics, purchases, equipment, maintenance, personnel, contract management, and human resources. Prior to joining Texas Health Institute, Wilkie-Conway worked for Texas Hospital Association as assistant to the Medicaid director. She spent 20 years serving as staff to several Texas State Senators and two Lieutenant Governors. Wilkie-Conway also worked as a legal assistant for four years prior to her work at the legislature.
Kara Hamann brings sound operational and strategic planning skills to nonprofits and small businesses. Her experience in the accounting department of a public company and as a controller for several local nonprofits formed a solid background in financial analysis and business management. Hamann’s experience leading the accounting teams at Rodeo Austin, Texas Association of School Administrators, and Texas Tribune developed her interest for establishing accounting policies, procedures, and internal controls. She earned her Bachelor of Science in business and accounting from the University of Pittsburgh.
Stephanie Ondrias holds the inaugural role as the chief convening and education officer at Texas Health Institute. In her prior position as director of convenings and education, she was the lead on several internal and external convenings such as the Southern Obesity Summit, Texas Primary Care Consortium Annual Summit, Communities Joined in Action National Conference, the Mountain States Regional Genetics Network, National Conference on Quality Healthcare for Culturally Diverse Populations, and more. Ondrias has been a part of the THI team since 2010 with prior experience inclusive of sales, event, and pre-opening management roles at Marriott and Starwood hotel properties. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications with a focus in public relations and minor in psychology.
Katie Bradley currently serves as the convenings production manager at Texas Health Institute. She joined Texas Health Institute in September 2019 as a convenings and education coordinator. She provides logistical support for several internal and external convenings, including the Texas Primary Care Consortium Annual Summit, Mountain States Regional Genetics Network Annual Summit, James Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Humans, and various ECHO and ECHO-like programs. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, Bradley devoted herself to becoming THI’s resident wizard of virtual convenings. Previously, she held various marketing, communication, project coordination, and community outreach roles for both international and local nonprofits, including VisionTrust International and Compassion International. Bradley earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a minor in psychology from Texas A&M University in 2012 and a Master of Public Health in health promotion and community health sciences from Texas A&M University School of Public Health in 2019.
Jessica Cargill serves as THI’s director of evaluation within the research and evaluation team. Previously, she was the assistant director at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M where she oversaw program evaluation, program management, and proposal development for a broad portfolio of international and domestic One Health training and capacity development programs. Cargill has nearly a decade of experience conducting mixed methods research and program evaluations in health care, public health, and One Health. She is currently a DrPH candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in health security. Cargill has an MPH in health promotion and community health sciences and a BA in anthropology, both from Texas A&M University.
Danie Connick serves as the controller at Texas Health Institute. Previously, she served for ten years as a director of accounting and operations in the substance use disorder field and has been in the nonprofit arena for the last five years. Prior to that, she was a controller at a medium-sized home health organization in Austin. She loves accounting and exploring ways to save and thoroughly enjoys the collaboration from members of the team. Connick earned her Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Texas State University and went on to get her master’s in accounting from New Hampshire University.
Kara Hill, senior director of health integration at Texas Health Institute, has over twenty-five years of experience in the nonprofit sector, leading organizations and programs serving under-resourced populations. Her passion is to serve, support, and strengthen vulnerable communities. Her recent focus is on community-based interventions and team-based integrated behavioral health while promoting value-based care and contracting.
Hill has served the Greater Houston area over the last ten years, leading health care organizations and working collaboratively with local and state governments, funders, hospital systems, safety net clinics, clinicians, and staff to transform care delivery. She has also overseen programs that work collectively and collaboratively with communities to physician and mental health, housing stability, and resilience.
Hill started her career working with families experiencing homelessness. She leveraged funding resources from various local and state entities to convene stakeholders from multiple sectors, including federal, state, and local governments, while partnering with organizations to implement evidence-based best practice housing-first models throughout Ohio’s urban and rural areas. Replicated across the U.S., this program is now recognized nationally as Rapid Re-Housing and is funded by the Federal Government’s Housing and Urban Development offices.
Hill earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Bowling Green State University and her Master of Health Administration from Texas A&M University. She is a doctoral student in health care administration at Oklahoma State University.
Andrae Ivy is the senior project manager for health equity epidemiology at Texas Health Institute. He is an epidemiologist with nearly 18 years of public health experience across the federal, university, insurance, consulting, and nonprofit sectors. In previous roles, he served as the director of research for the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and the director of quality management for Amerigroup Community Care. In addition, Andrae served more than five years as a health research analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in CDC’s Healthy Communities Program and CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. In these roles, Ivy led and completed a myriad of projects focused on health equity, social determinants of health, chronic disease prevention, high-impact policies, disparity research, data analysis and mapping, strategic planning, and innovative project designs. In the past, he also served as a consultant for Conduent and the Center for Applied Research Solutions. Educationally, Ivy obtained his Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from Saint Louis University and his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Grambling State University. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, chess and science-fiction movies.
Susana Morales serves as the director of community health. She comes to THI with over 20 years of experience in community-driven programs and evaluation. Morales brings a strong background in strategy development, community engagement, leadership development, capacity building, and culturally responsive evaluation. Prior to joining THI, she was an organizational development consultant focusing on helping organizations strengthen their mission impact. She strives to uplift the collective voice of the community to create and nurture healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities. Morales brings a unique lifespan perspective to her work as she has done work with early childhood education, youth, adults, and older adults. She is a native Spanish speaker and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and anthropology from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in gerontology from San Francisco State University.
Amy Minze has been a member of the Texas Health Institute team since May 2014. She is currently the executive assistant to Ankit Sanghavi. Prior to working under Ankit, she was the executive assistant to Camille Miller. Minze graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a Bachelor in business management.
John Oeffinger is director of elearning and training for Texas Health Institute and co-director of TransFORWARD: Texas Transgender Health, a collaboration between Texas Health Institute and Equality Texas Foundation. He has 35 years’ experience in project management, distance education, and eLearning in for-profit, association, and nonprofit organizations. Oeffinger currently leads or co-directs five eLearning or transgender health projects for THI developing collaborative partnerships with national, state, and community partners. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Texas A&M University in 1976 and was named to Marquis Who’s Who in America in 1996. His primary research interests are in culturally competent transgender health, 3D immersive learning, mobile applications and data collection in health, and organizational knowledge development.
Emily Peterson Johnson is a senior health research analyst at Texas Health Institute. In this role, she collaborates with the research and evaluation and health equity teams of THI. Previously, Peterson Johnson worked for the Texas Department of State Health Services as well as the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. While at the state, she conducted mixed method evaluations of federally funded interventions related to diabetes, heart disease, and first episode psychosis. Peterson Johnson has experience coordinating global chronic disease research as well as providing clinical therapy in federally qualified health centers. She is a licensed social worker and earned a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Social Work and certificate in health administration and policy from the University of Chicago. Peterson Johnson is interested in the application of anti-racist, trauma-informed care, and intersectionality theories to develop identity-informed approaches to individual and public health.
Cody Price is a health policy research analyst for Texas Health Institute working with the health equity and research and evaluation teams. Previously Price worked with the Texas TransFORWARD Initiative, Texas Primary Care Consortium, and Tulane University’s Professional and Continuing Education Platform. As a graduate of both Texas A&M University (’20) and Mississippi State University (’18), he understands the value of rooting your everyday work in local culture. With a master’s degree in health policy and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Price enjoys enacting evidence-based policies to ease the lives of all Texans. His professional interests include substance abuse policy, patent policy, genomics, health insurance, and health equity.
Cristal Romero is a community health research analyst at Texas Health Institute working with the research and evaluations team. Previously, Romero worked as a city planner for the City of Houston, where she focused on multi-family and single-family developments proposed by the city’s disaster recovery and affordable housing programs. She holds a master’s degree in public policy with a specialization in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, both obtained from the University of Houston. She is a Spanish speaker and a native Houstonian.
Lauren Rosa is a research and evaluation analyst at Texas Health Institute working with the research and evaluation team. Prior to joining THI, she was the legislative director for State Representative Sergio Munoz Jr. where she drafted legislation, researched public education and community college finance, and advised on policy issues in the Ways and Means committee. While in graduate school, she worked with the Institute for Organizational Excellence conducting employee engagement and customer satisfaction research with various state agencies such as Texas Department of Family Protective Services and Texas Department of Public Safety. Rosa earned an MSSW with a focus in administration and policy practice and a BSA in Human Development and Family Science, both from The University of Texas at Austin.
Nishi Singhal comes to THI as our program officer in primary care, with a ten-year background of working with various nonprofits on bettering communities. Most recently, she led a philanthropy organization dedicated to improving the mental well-being of individuals with deep-rooted trauma. Singhal has worked with the Michigan Public Health Institute in health system transformation, helping the state of Michigan with payment and delivery system reform. She’s worked with one of the largest accountable care organizations in the country, helping Michigan health systems and providers earn a significant shared savings. Singhal has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Illinois of Chicago.
Javoszia Sterling-Lewis currently serves as a project manager in the research and evaluation team at Texas Health Institute. She is a solutions-focused leader with a remarkable track record of driving quality improvement and enhancing patient satisfaction. With a master’s degree in public health from National University San Diego, Sterling-Lewis has honed her expertise in developing, executing, evaluating, and enhancing sustainable programs centered on patient experience and safety, aiming to make a lasting impact.
Sterling-Lewis’s passion lies in making a positive difference in the health care sector, and she has successfully led various quality and process improvement projects for county, state, federal, and community-based health care organizations. Her ability to implement effective strategies has garnered commendable results and elevated the performance of these organizations.
Her previous work includes leading the quality department at Prism Health North Texas, where she engaged staff, prepared policies, and created on-site continuous quality teams. Prior to that, she managed multiple patient safety and improvement of care projects for one of CMS’s Quality Improvement Organizations, serving patients with End Stage Renal Disease across Texas. With a strong commitment to creating quality projects in response to accurate and validated data sources, Sterling-Lewis took some time in the state department to sharpen her analytical skills in the public health domain.
Misty Tijerina is a skilled and versatile visual content specialist with over 11 years of experience in events and digital marketing. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from Texas Woman’s University, she began her career in branding and events and continued to expand her skills in user experience through research, design, and development for web and data visualizations. Tijerina designs print and digital graphics, utilizing web, email, video, and social marketing for communications and both in-person and virtual events. With a diverse background and extensive experience, she aims to make a significant impact in advancing the health of all.
Brianna Tofel is a research and evaluation analyst at Texas Health Institute working with the research and evaluation team. She is passionate about community health and focused on building innovative solutions to address health disparities and promote health equity. Her experiences working with the Junior League of Bryan–College Station ignited her passion for community health and well-being. During her eleven-year tenure with the organization, she served in many leadership roles, including community vice president and as a member of the board of directors. Tofel holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing management and a master of public health degree, focusing on health promotion and community health sciences, from Texas A&M University. Additionally, she completed a maternal and child health certificate, reflecting her commitment to addressing maternal care and childhood poverty issues.
Meghan Varghese currently serves as the communications specialist at Texas Health Institute. She started at THI as a graduate intern in 2017. Since then, she has held numerous roles at the institute spanning project analysis, event coordination, and communications. Varghese competed both her undergraduate (BSW) and graduate (MSSW) studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work, she volunteers at a local Bible camp as a program director.
Blair Williams serves as the director of health equity research and innovation. Previously, she served on the child health evaluation team at the Center for Children’s Health led by Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas. She brings 15 years of experience in improving community health, with expertise in community health needs assessments, actionable data reporting for diverse audiences, mixed methods research, health disparities, impact evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity-building operations. In previous roles, she developed culturally relevant programing and conducted research to improve the wellness behaviors of families and the wellbeing of adolescents. Williams is currently working on her DrPH at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in health equity and social justice. She has a multi-disciplinary educational background in health care administration, public health, research, business, and policy. Williams received her MBA from Baylor University and her MPA from Upper Iowa University. Her professional interests include collaborative and realistic, data-driven approaches to advancing health equity—so everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
Dennis Andrulis is a senior advisor on health equity at Texas Health Institute. He is also an associate professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health. In his positions, Andrulis leads the development of initiatives on health care for vulnerable populations, racial and ethnic disparities, and cultural competence, working at community, state, and national levels. He was previously a senior research scientist at Texas Health Institute and associate dean for research of Drexel University’s School of Public Health in Philadelphia and directed its Center for Health Equality. His current and recent work have focused on the Affordable Care Act and its implications for racially and ethnically diverse populations. Andrulis also led the development of an ACA-related Marketplace Health Equity Assessment Tool.
Jennie Birkholz (she/her/ella) is the principal of Breakwater Light, a consulting firm that partners with diverse organizations to improve the health and wellbeing of others and where they play, pray, learn, work, and live. She has a diverse portfolio of work that focuses on impacting the social determinants of health at a systems level through practices of participatory grant making, trust-based philanthropy, and community-led initiatives. As part of this work, she utilizes innovative and experiential methods centering around story sharing, peer-to-peer support, and power shifting. Her passion topics include rural health, behavioral health, spirituality, and creating just economies.
Birkholz served in the community behavioral health and substance use disorder field for over 15 years before becoming a national consultant. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Texas State University. Birkholz is a SAMHSA trauma-informed trainer, Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer, and certified in Spiritual First Aid. When not working, she loves listening to audiobooks, volunteering, walking her dog in the rain, and making sandcastles on the beach with her famil
Sue Bornstein is the executive director of the Texas Medical Home Initiative and co-lead of Texas Primary Care Consortium, a statewide collaborative whose mission is to advance accessible, continuous, and coordinated person-centered care for all Texans. Bornstein is the chair-elect of the American College of Physicians representing internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. She is currently chair of ACP’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee and previously served as chair of ACP’s health and public policy committee and as governor of the Texas Northern Chapter of ACP. She has been a fellow of the American College of Physicians since 2003. Bornstein also received the 2021 Primary Care Collaborative Primary Care Community Leadership/Research Award.
She received her medical degree from Texas Tech School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Baylor University Medical Center. Her areas of professional interest and expertise include health and public policy, health care access and reform, strengthening the safety net, and government relations.
William Moore is principal at The Strategy Group, an international consulting firm supporting nonprofits, foundations, and communities, and vice-president of Youth Development Strategies Inc. He is a senior fellow at the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, senior associate for rural health at Texas Health Institute, and is the rural health advisor to the St. David’s Foundation. Moore serves on the Board of Directors for the Association for Consultants to Nonprofits.
Moore is an educational psychologist, trained at the University of Kansas, with a diverse and successful career as an educator, research and evaluation director, entrepreneur, and senior executive in philanthropy and nonprofits. He has led or been a member of interdisciplinary teams conducting research on breast cancer, mental health, community health, “hotspotting” studies of disease burden and access to health care for marginalized and isolated populations, urban education reform, and youth development.
Moore previously served as commissioner for the Human Relations Commission for the City of Olathe, KS; a member of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review – Midwest Comparative Effectiveness Advisory Council; Academy Health, Disparities Interest Group Advisory Board; Rural Patient-Centered Medical Home Initiative, National Advisory Group; and on the Council on the Future of Public Health in Kansas. He participated for several years in the White House Rural Health Council–Public-Private Partnerships sponsored by Grantmakers in Health, the National Rural Health Association, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Moore’s work has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals. His ongoing work on resident-led social impact networks can be found in this Grantmakers in Health, Voices from the Field publication and The Foundation Review and here.
Eileen Nehme is a community health consultant working to shift policies, systems, and environments towards population health and health equity. She helps clients find, collect, and use data, identify and tailor relevant evidence-based practices, build successful cross-sector partnerships, and assess impact. She has over 20 years of experience in local public health, community nonprofit, and academic settings, and teaches epidemiology and population health at the UT Austin School of Nursing. She holds a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center, a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences and behavioral biology from the Johns Hopkins University.
Laura Rapp provides evaluation, research, data collection, data translation, and strategic planning support. She is motivated to make data and evaluation useful with a focus on improving and supporting programs, communities, policies, and people’s lives. She has over 10 years of applied experience in this area working with universities, nonprofits, coalitions, health care agencies, and government agencies, and her main content areas are behavioral health and public health. Rapp earned her PhD in sociology from the University of Delaware.
Chip Riggins received his MD from the Louisiana State University at Shreveport and Master of Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health in New Orleans. He is board certified in family practice and public health and general preventive medicine, and he is a fellow of both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Preventive Medicine. Riggins is a retired USAF colonel, flight surgeon, who served as first joint surgeon for Texas Military Forces and as the air surgeon and director of medical services for the Air National Guard in Washington, D.C. A public health and family medicine practitioner and academician, Riggins has over 30 years of national, state, regional, and local leadership experience. His interests lie at the intersection of population health and primary care, health governance, and public health ethics.
Kanaka Sathasivan is the inaugural director of communications at Texas Health Institute. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning, writing, graphic design, and health education, she has used her background in both language arts and health sciences to support a variety of non-profits, community organizations, government health departments, and research institutes. She is an advocate for person-centered communications and evidence-based practices for writing about health topics. She holds an MPH from Emory University and a BA in English and a BS in molecular biology from The University of Texas at Austin. Sathasivan also sits on the board of directors for It’s Time Texas and TogetherAustin, and she is the founder and director of Natya Sabhai Arts, which has provided lighting, technical direction, and stage management to over 150 shows since 2009.
Nadia Siddiqui is a health equity advisor to Texas Health Institute with 15 years of experience designing and leading innovative and impactful national, state, and community initiatives for advancing health equity. Previously, she served as THI’s inaugural chief health equity officer, providing strategic leadership to operationalize health equity internally, while expanding cross-sector partnerships, actionable data and programs in communities across Texas and nationally to improve opportunity and health for all. Prior to this, she was director of health equity programs, implementing health equity-centered research, evaluation and policy initiatives at all levels. Siddiqui holds a Master of Public Health in health policy and management from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in economics honors from the University of Texas at Austin. Her professional interests lie at the nexus of health equity, racial justice, social determinants of health, and driving systems change.
Kim Wilson provides research, economic and program evaluation and strategy support to clients in the nonprofit, health care, government, philanthropic, academic and business sectors. She holds a Doctor of Public Health in health promotion and behavioral science from the University of Texas Health Science Center, a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in business from Washington University in St. Louis.