Our Staff

Sandra Baker

General Operations Assistant

Sandra joined HES in 2021 having spent her career until then in fund development in the private school and social services arenas. Having seen and experienced inequities in healthcare at an early age, she is drawn to our mission to promote health equity in Connecticut. Sandra received her associate's degree from Briarwood College.

Sandra is also passionate about her volunteer work with the Simsbury Second Chance Shop and advocating for people who experience homelessness. She enjoys gardening and interior decorating in her spare time.

Ayesha R. Clarke

Deputy Director

A native and current resident of Hartford, CT, Ayesha has built a career centered on elevating the voices of those often left out around the city of Hartford. Holding master's degrees in social work with a policy practice concentration (UCONN) and public health (Benedictine University), Ayesha has a passion for policy and advocacy work centered in health and education. Her professional career was bolstered by her public office position and community service. Ayesha is currently the Hartford Board of Education Chairperson, where she has served in elected office since 2017. Ayesha is a member of The Citadel of Love, the Greater Hartford Branch NAACP, and the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. Ayesha further serves the community through her active participation as a Board of Trustees for The Children's Museum, an Executive board member of Community Health Resources (CHR), and a proud member of the Hartford Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Kevin Collins

Director of Training and Outreach

Kevin Collins comes to Health Equity Solutions after working in academia for the last 11 years. He most recently served as the Director of the Jeh Johnson ALANA Cultural Center at Vassar College where he conducted many equity, inclusion, and justice workshops for faculty, students, and administrators in addition to oversight of campus-wide cultural programming, and direct support and advocacy for and alongside students of color.

Kevin has worked in equity, inclusion, access, and belonging initiatives at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Sam Houston State University, and Texas A&M University. Kevin is passionate about justice, equity, and inclusion and motivating people and institutions to center the experiences, wellbeing, and access for those on the margins.

Kevin earned his BA in Sociology from the University of Illinois and his Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Joliet, Illinois. In his free time he loves cooking, binge-watching shows (old and new) on myriad streaming services, listening to music, and reading.

Tekisha Dwan Everette

Executive Director

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.” - bell hooks

Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette’s passion for social justice was fueled by her personal experiences and influences as a child. As a youth, she experienced delays in diagnosing asthma, and faced challenges accessing and navigating the health care system. These experiences gave Everette first-hand knowledge of the importance of health and health care access. This, combined with her admiration for social justice trailblazers such as Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Jordan, and Sandra Day O'Connor, inspired Everette to dedicate her life’s work toward eradicating health care inequities through advocacy and policy.

Everette has built a successful career in public policy, particularly health care policy, and advocacy in the non-profit, state, and private sectors. Before taking the helm of Health Equity Solutions (HES), she served as the Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs with the American Diabetes Association, where she provided strategic leadership on policy and advocacy initiatives with the White House, several federal agencies, and Congress, which led to important victories for people with and at risk for diabetes. Prior to this, Everette worked as a government relations consultant with Drinker, Biddle, and Reath, LLC, where she represented the interests of several nonprofit health care organizations on issues such as health reform, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal appropriations. Everette has also worked for the Service Employees International Union, RESI, the State of Maryland, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Everette earned her doctorate in Sociology from American University with a concentration in race, gender, and social justice as it relates to social policy.  She received her Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Center of Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from the same institution.

Everette is an alumna of the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders and the National Urban Fellows America’s Leaders of Change program. She is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Association of Black Sociologists..

When Everette is not advocating for health care policy and social justice, she enjoys fulfilling her thirst for cultural enrichment through travel. She believes seeing the world helps one to expand their worldview and cultural understanding and her goal is to visit every US city and touch every continent at least once.  In her spare time, Everette enjoys listening to music, writing poetry, dancing, and cooking.

Dawn Fuller-Ball

Community Engagement Specialist

Dawn was exposed to social action and community engagement at a young age in California as her parents were both active in the community in a variety of ways. That early exposure transferred into her becoming heavily involved in neighborhood organizing as a leader in Hartford’s West End – acquiring funding and building a community center, undoing racism training, hosting candidate forums and fighting housing discrimination. Additionally, joining and eventually chairing the board of A Better Way Foundation, she helped fight for criminal justice reform by targeting racial disparities in sentencing, and decriminalization of some nonviolent offenses. Dawn received her undergraduate degree from the University of Hartford with a concentration in African American Studies and is currently working on her MPH at Southern New Hampshire University. 

Dawn has a background in teaching and data research, as well. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, gardening, trying new recipes, and spending time with her family.

Samantha Lew

Policy Analyst & Advocacy Specialist

Samantha Lew received her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice from the University of Connecticut. This drove her passion even further of affecting change on the policy level. Samantha recognizes and highly values investigative work regarding policies on health care and service access and in creating equitable systems in which are successful and sustainable for all Connecticut residents.

In her most recent work as a Research Assistant for the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work, Samantha provided infrastructure development assistance on several grant projects, as well as recently presented at the 32nd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health with colleagues on their publication of a review and analysis of 51 State’s policies addressing substance-exposed infants.

Invigorated by her move to the United States when she was very young, Samantha sees a just health care system for Connecticut, in which all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity and socio-economic status can access. Samantha strives to learn something new every day and bring that enthusiasm into her professional capacities and personal life.

Dashni Sathasivam

Manager, Policy & Outreach

Dashni Sathasivam is compelled by the intersection of health policy and advocacy and believes engaging communities and amplifying the voices of those directly impacted by policies as central to achieving structural changes that advance health equity.

Originally from Wisconsin, her role as the Latino Outreach Coordinator with the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center's Cancer Health Disparities Initiative and service as a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps Member informed her community-based participatory approach to health and partnership building.

Dashni graduated with a Master’s in Public Health in health policy from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). She holds a Bachelors of Science in Gender & Women's Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Karen Siegel

Director of Policy

Karen Siegel, Director of Policy, comes to policy work from a prior career writing and editing health-focused material for a wide range of audiences. She conducted advocacy and policy-focused health research at Connecticut Voices for Children with a particular interest in promoting health equity in Connecticut’s Medicaid program and through state-level health systems transformation. Karen also engaged in research on infectious disease control policies in preschools in Singapore. Karen is passionate about social and racial justice in her home state of Connecticut informed by years of living in Southeast Asia, which broadened her understanding of how the structures of government impact perceptions of cultural differences. She earned an MPH from John’s Hopkins University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. In her time away from work, Karen enjoys traveling, reading, and being goofy with her family.

Taylor Tucker

Program Manager of Training and Outreach

Taylor Tucker received his Bachelors of Social Work and Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in policy practice. He is passionate about health equity and creating a place where everyone has affirming and equal healthcare access. He believes in work directly informed by the community by creating and supporting policy, training, and advocacy that fits their unique needs.

Previous to working at HES, Taylor worked with the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work where he designed and implemented training in a two-part program focused on voter engagement, knowledge and rights, support, and student political advocacy. Before his college experience, Taylor served in the U.S Navy. While in the Navy, he worked as a mechanic shop manager and led multiple trainings that focused on working and supporting various sailor identities, job advancement knowledge, and overall health and well-being while deployed.

Taylor believes in building inclusive communities through fostering intentional empathetic relationships centered on a strong sense of belonging by utilizing real human experiences and storytelling. He is excited about his role at HES and continuing his passion for working in health equity and building and delivering trainings. In his downtime, Taylor enjoys camping with his family and friends, challenging himself to try and cook new recipes, and traveling.

Victoria Tran

Policy and Advocacy Specialist

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Victoria joined HES in 2021. She graduated with her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). While at Yale, she received the opportunity to intern for a state legislator, thus, sparking her interest in health policy.

Before coming to HES, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) where she engaged with community partners to work on initiatives advancing racial equity in breastfeeding. Her research and advocacy interests lie at the intersection of maternal and child health and racial equity. In her spare time, she enjoys cross-stitching, cooking, and rock-climbing.

Harley Webley

Policy & Communications Specialist

Born in Jamaica and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Harley is no stranger to the impact of policy change on creating greater opportunities for individuals and their families. Earning her degree in Health Sciences from Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), with minors in Sociology and Healthcare Management, Harley has a passion for building healthier communities, through social action.

As an undergrad, she founded ECSU’s first-ever Minority Health Conference and was granted the 2021 Social Justice Initiative award. The conference highlighted health inequities faced by historically underrepresented groups in Connecticut. New to Health Equity Solutions, Harley is thrilled to continue fueling her passion by empowering communities through policy and advocacy work. In her free time, Harley enjoys dressing up, working out, and spending time with loved ones.