Meet the members of our Community Advisory Board

We are honored to collaborate with a very engaged, diverse group of community members on our Community Advisory Board. Their life stories, experiences and insight are invaluable for CHAI’s strategy and community engagement work. Our CAB members are a vital link to our many cultural and ethnic communities across Minnesota.

Amina Keinan

Amina Keinan, MBA, RN, BSN, PHN, CCM

Amina is a public health nurse, community educator and Executive Director of Point-One Home Health. In the past she also collaborated with SomaliTV of MN.

Cultural Communities: Somali, East African Immigrant

Reason for joining the CAB: “I joined the group to support and educate the Somali community about dementia and healthy aging.”

Cynthia Juarez

Cynthia Juarez

Cynthia worked as Community Outreach Specialist at CLUES for 4 years, and has more recently moved to Trellis as a Wellness Engagement Specialist. She is a member of Latino Lead for the community in Minneapolis, St Paul and surrounding areas. Cynthia has lived in Minnesota for over 35 years. Of those, she dedicated 25 to serving the Latino community and has been working with elders since 2016.

Cultural Communities: American/ Latina

Reason you joined the CAB: ““To bring ideas, strategies and advocate for the under-represented elderly immigrants and their caregivers. I want to build bridges to keep serving those in need. I want to give back to my community.”

Fatima Lawson

Fatima Lawson, PhD

Fatima currently works as an Elementary School Principal in the St. Paul school district. She volunteers in her community and is a member of All Elders United for Justice (AEUJ), an organization that focuses on bringing power to the elderly by voting, bringing up issues to politicians, and starting conversations.

Cultural Communities: Nigerian, African Immigrant

Reason you joined the CAB: “To serve and contribute my own voice to the vision and mission of CAB, representing the perspectives of elders especially from the African Immigrant community.”

Karen Webb

Karen is a caregiver. She works with the Alzehimer’s/Dementia support group in her church; through this group she also collaborates with Volunteers of America. Karen has also participated in research focus groups and community forums related to aging, racial equity in services for older adults, caregiving and health equity.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black, faith community.

Reason you joined the CAB: “To educate and learn more about the resources in the community for our Seniors, especially those caregivers who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.”

Maby Almiron

Maby Almiron, BSN, MA

Maby is a Community Outreach Specialist at Trellis. She is a member of LatinoLEAD and of the SDA Church Wellness Team. She has experience with outreach to diverse communities that are serving the elderly

Cultural Communities: Argentinian

Reason you joined the CAB: “To bring ideas, strategies and advocate for the under-represented elderly immigrants and their caregivers. I want to build bridges to keep serving those in need. I want to give back to my community.”

Mayla Yang

Mayla Yang

Mayla works as a Community Outreach Specialist at Trellis.

Cultural Communities: Hmong/Lao

Reason you joined the CAB: “I joined to use my voice to represent the Hmong Community, to educate and raise awareness about issues and concerns of my community. I also want to listen and learn how we all can work together to serve our elders and community members collectively.”

Mazel McCoy-Anderson

Mazel (May) McCoy-Anderson, RN

May is an RN and currently works as a Health Care Coordinator at the Camphor Memorial Methodist Church. She is a Camphor member, and also collaborated with the ISAIAH organization.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black, faith community.

Reason you joined the CAB: “I joined to make a difference with the elderly now and in the future. I wish to share the experiences I had with my parents to help others through the hardships associated with aging.”

Phyllis Thomas

Phyllis C. Thomas

Phyllis works at the University of Minnesota as a project coordinator for a research study with older adult participants. She has experience working in a healthcare setting with geriatric mental health patients and is trained in de-escalation and management of physical and verbal behaviors. She is active in the Alter Program at Progressive Baptist Church in St. Paul,
Minnesota, where Dementia in the African American community is the focus.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black

Reason you joined the CAB: “To advocate, collaborate, learn, support, and help raise more awareness of the aging challenges within the BIPOC communities.”

Rebecca Nelson

In addition to her work as a Client Support Specialist, Rebecca is also an active community volunteer. She has worked with East Side Elders, American Indian Family Center, Elders Lodge.

Communities: American Indian/Alaska Native

Reason for joining the CAB: “To make new connections and help raise more awareness of aging and caregiving especially in the Native American Community.”

Ron Weisman

Ron Weisman

Prior to retiring, Ron worked in senior services for 40 years. He is keenly interested in the problems of aging, specifically programs and technologies that allow people to age in whatever place they consider “home”. He continues to be actively engaged with the community through his volunteering work.

Cultural Communities: urban, greater Minnesota, rural, White

Reason for joining the CAB: “I spent almost my entire career -40 years-: in senior living healthcare, with a focus on keeping people living in their own home through the use of technology. I hope to continue progress towards this goal through being a CAB member.”

Sherri Pugh

Sherri’s career in community economic development has spanned over thirty-five years. More recently, she has worked as a City Council member of the City of Mound since 2019. Sherrie also serves on the Board of Rainbow Research and the Minnesota Board on Aging.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black

Snehalata Singh

Sneha is a passionate community professional. She aspires to help create, build, and sustain resilient communities where families can live and age with grace and be happy. She has many years of healthcare and non-profit experience. Sneha is currently consulting with Eden Pathways, a home health agency, to help caregivers bring their best when they support older adults in Asian community.

Cultural Communities
: East Indian

Sonia Aaroe

Sonia works as an investigator at the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

Cultural Communities: Latino/Hispanic

Reason you joined the CAB: “To advocate for the needs of vulnerable, invisible Latino workers who traditionally live in intergenerational families.”

Steve Chapman, BA, MA

Steve is a cultural consultant for the American Indian communities.

Cultural Communities: urban American Indian.

Reason you joined the CAB: “To continue to share the importance of American Indian culture and support plans for American Indians living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. To continue to establish respect and trust in the urban American Indian Community.”

Tedla Kefene

Cultural Communities: Ethiopian, East African Immigrant

Venoreen Browne-Boatswain

Venoreen Browne-Boatswain

Venoreen is the Director of Diversity and Multiculturalism at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She also works with a group of senior members at the Wayman AME Church to raise awareness of dementia, and has been a caregiver to her husband and mother.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black

Reason you joined the CAB: “I consider myself an Ambassador for dementia in the African American Community.Unfortunately many BIPOC individuals are not invited to the table when grants or research are
in the process. I feel I have experience and a connection to
the community that I can bring to the CAB.”

Victoria Patterson

Victoria currently works as a Licensed Social Worker, supporting olders adults and caregivers at DARTS, an aging services agency in Dakota County. Over the years, Victoria has cared for several family members, including her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her mother and her sister. She has also found time to volunteer in the community, helping members of her church and people experiencing homelessness.

Cultural Communities: Mexican American, African American

Reason you joined the CAB: “With my life and work experiences, I feel that I can offer some valuable insight to improve the lives of older adults. I am also a person of color and have witnessed how people are treated differently based on their race. I can help with outreach and be an advocate for older adults.”

Velma Harris

Velma is a small business owner and has worked with older adults in the area of fitness and wellbeing. In the past, Velma directed the Active Older Adult (ForeverWell) Program at the Cora McCorvey YMCA.

Cultural Communities: African American/Black

Reason you joined the CAB: “I believe that it is important to be a voice for those who are not often heard or seen. As I age, I can be a voice not only for myself but for others like me, and even those that are not like me. Everyone deserves to age well and be well. I work in, live in and engage with diverse communities every day, and can help connect the CAB to the community.”

Clementine Reid

Cultural Communities: African American/Black

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