Meet Our Team

Lola Akintobi, MPH Consumer and Community Engagement Consultant

Lola Akintobi, MPHAs the Consumer and Community Engagement Consultant, Lola Akintobi provides training and coaching services that help develop and implement effective systems of consumer and community engagement in health care. Lola is passionate about health equity, racial equity, and working with communities that have been marginalized.

Throughout the span of her career, Lola has supported youth in reaching their educational goals, delivered teen pregnancy prevention curricula, provided family counseling in school-based health centers, and provided training and technical assistance for community-based organizations and community health centers.  Most recently, Lola took the lead on the Community Voices Project, a project that conducted surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews with St. Louis County residents to understand the impact of COVID-19 and inform public health services.

Lola holds an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health and a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Myriam Hernandez Jennings, MA Advisor, Consumer Engagement

As an advisor for the Center, Myriam Hernandez Jennings develops strong partnerships, both with local and national health care providers, systems and businesses, to address the social, economic and political factors that impact the health of communities. Myriam provides skill-building, training and strategic guidance to support efforts aimed at engaging consumers in order to improve health care services and the overall health of excluded populations.

Myriam has managed an eight-state project funded by Trinity Health's Transforming Communities Initiative. Recently in Hartford, CT, she led the “Well Being 360” leadership team to develop an equity-based approach to community engagement. Additionally, she guided the North Hartford Triple Aim Collaborative through a very powerful process to advance racial justice and become more inclusive, equitable and community-centric. Myriam brings extensive leadership and management expertise from previously serving as the Director of Policy & Organizing at the Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers, as the Executive Director for the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, and as the Regional and National Director of several Women’s Health Projects at JSI Research & Training Institute.

Myriam holds a Masters of Arts in Theology from Andover Newton Theological School, a certificate in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University’s School of Public Health, and is certified in HIV/AIDS & Substance Abuse Education through Boston University's School of Medicine and Public Health. She also received a Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Bentley College.

Renée Markus Hodin, JD Deputy Director

Rene Markus Hodin, JDAs Deputy Director of the Center, Renée Markus Hodin works to establish a powerful and effective consumer voice at all levels of the health care system in order to make it more responsive to consumers, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Renée’s consulting work includes providing tailored training and guidance on developing effective systems of consumer and community engagement in health care. She is a skilled facilitator with a knack for engaging people from across the spectrum of health care stakeholders in identifying solutions.

Prior to joining the Center, Renée served as the Director of Community Catalyst’s Voices for Better Health project, which brought a consumer voice to the design and implementation of new programs aimed at providing better coordinated, comprehensive, high-quality care to Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries (“dual eligibles”). Renée’s expertise extends to other areas of health care including hospital free care and community benefits and health care conversions. Before joining Community Catalyst in 1998, Renée served as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Department of the Vermont Attorney General's Office. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Alhelí Irizarry Consumer and Community Engagement Consultant

Alheli Irizarry

Alhelí Irizarry, Consumer and Community Engagement Consultant, she/her. Alheli is an experienced community organizer, program manager, trainer, facilitator, and strategist. Alhelí lives right outside of Chicago with her family and has over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector in both statewide and local community-based organizations, in coalitions and service organizations. Her work experience covers working with youth, adults and allies, advocating for the reform of immigration laws for a humane and just legalization. She has also worked in education and violence prevention programs, citizenship engagement and has trained in organizing, leadership development and racial equity. Alhelí previously worked as the manager for Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership Program, and as trainer and organizer for the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations and Enlace Chicago, a partner on the Center's medical debt work. Alhelí holds a Bachelor's Degree in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a proud immigrant from Mexico and has called the United States home for over 20 years.

Mark Rukavina, MBA Director, Business Development

Mark Rukavina, MBAAs the Business Development Director, Mark Rukavina is responsible for facilitating business opportunities with innovative health care organizations. In his years with the Center, Mark has developed skill-building trainings and strategies to improve the effectiveness of consumer and community engagement programs and structures. He has also conducted assessments of hospitals’ community benefit programming. Mark provided input and helped to organize a series of consumer discussions for a Medicaid Managed Care Learning Hub established by National Opinion Research Center. He also contributed policy expertise and strategic guidance clients such as Health Care Without Harm and the Greenlining Institute.

Mark has extensive experience advocating to ensure that consumers play an active role in designing policies and programs to improve community health. Prior to joining Community Catalyst, he ran a consultancy providing assistance to non-profit hospitals on community benefit and supporting the efforts of non-profit organizations working to address unaffordable health care costs and medical debt. He directed The Access Project, which conducted research and provided assistance to consumer groups on efforts to improve access to coverage and care. Mark’s experience also includes serving as program director at Cambridge Health Alliance, as organizing director at Health Care For All in Massachusetts, and as the lead health care organizer for the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.

Mark serves as an adjunct instructor at the Tufts University School of Medicine. He holds an MBA from Babson College and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Leena Sharma, MA Project Manager/Senior Policy Analyst

Leena Sharma, MAAs Project Manager/Senior Policy Analyst with the Center, Leena Sharma provides project leadership and policy expertise to the Center and its partners on improving programs and policies related to integrated care for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

As the lead for the Center’s efforts to improve care for Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries, Leena helps to integrate lessons learned from this work into practical knowledge to benefit Center clients. Currently, Leena is working with a client to ensure a robust stakeholder process including voices of dually eligible individuals are heard in the development of a web-based tool intended to help inform dually eligible individuals, as well as those who serve them, of the range of available integrated care options.

Prior to joining Community Catalyst and the Center, Leena worked at the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, where she served as the Public Policy, Advocacy &Volunteer Coordinator. There she worked on advancing the public policy advocacy efforts on behalf of those who struggle with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers. 

Leena holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and M.A. in Public Policy from Monmouth University.