Our Staff

Emily Bohmbach, She/Her

Policy & Advocacy Specialist

Emily Bohmbach joined Health Equity Solutions after working in clinical medicine throughout her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She gained significant interest in reducing health inequities and working in health policy while working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emily graduated with her bachelors in Allied Health from the University of Connecticut in 2021, and with her Masters in Public Health from Dartmouth College in 2022. Throughout her masters degree, Emily was a Health Equity Intern at the Yale New Haven Health System. Upon graduation from her masters, Emily was a recipient of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice 2022 Social Justice Award.

Ayesha R. Clarke, She/Her

Interim Executive Director

Ayesha Clarke, is a native of Hartford, CT. Ayesha has built a career centered on elevating the voices of those often left out around the city of Hartford. She is a fierce advocate who believes in the power of keeping and establishing meaningful relationships with the community and other stakeholders to accomplish tangible outcomes. Ayesha Clarke holds a master's degree in social work with a policy practice concentration (UCONN) and public health (Benedictine University) with a healthcare institution concentration. She also holds a bachelor's in economics from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in business.; Ayesha has a passion for policy and advocacy work centered on health, criminal justice, and education. Ayesha has a keen understanding of the intersection of community and policy. She is an appointed member of the Harford Community on Public Health and Addiction and worked with the State Department of Public Health to translate a report on the opioid crisis into actionable policy. She also connected with a broad spectrum of stakeholders as a Regional Field Organizer and Treasurer for political campaigns. Ayesha is a Co-Chair of the Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health for the State of Connecticut. Her public office position bolstered her professional career and community service, and Ayesha was the former Hartford Board of Education Chairperson, where she served in elected office from 2017-2021. She currently works for Health Equity Solutions as the Interim Executive Director, where they focus on residents of CT obtaining optimal health care regardless of race and society, and economic status. Ayesha is a member of The Citadel of Love, the Greater Hartford Branch NAACP, an adjunct professor, and an advisor for the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Ayesha further serves the community through her active participation as the Board Chairperson-Elect for The Children's Museum and an Executive board member of Community Health Resources (CHR). A proud member of the Hartford Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Ayesha is also a wife for 14 years and the mother of two young boys.

Ayesha enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, watching movies, and dancing.

Kevin Collins, He/Him

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.

Shantel Graves (She/Her)

Executive Assistant

Shantel Graves comes to Health Equity Solutions after working 19 years in the pharmaceutical field. A licensed and certified Pharmacy Technician in narcotic, compounding, and maintenance medications.

Shantel has worked in the Pharmacy chain Walgreens and Hospital settings. Shantel has a passion for health and making sure the community gets the proper health care they deserve. Born and raised in Hartford, CT, in her free time Shantel loves to spend time with her children, family, and friends. Shantel has a desire for travel and cooking.

Samantha Lew, She/Her

Manager of Policy & Advocacy

Samantha Lew (Sam) received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut with a concentration in policy practice. This drove her passion even further for affecting change on the policy level. Sam 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.

Prior to joining HES, Sam was a Research Assistant for the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work. Findings were presented at the 32nd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health on the 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, Sam sees a just healthcare system, in which all CT residents inform. Sam strives to learn something new every day and bring that enthusiasm into her professional capacities and personal life and enjoys traveling, food, and her family.

Ichchha Pradhan, She/Her

Policy & Advocacy Specialist

Ichchha Pradhan received her B.A. in Political Science (Policy and Development concentration) and B.A. in Psychology from University of Rochester, NY. Ichchha also completed a one-year fellowship focusing on Statistics and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She is incredibly passionate about exploring and leveraging the intersection of advocacy, data analysis and community engagement in creating equitable policies and working towards health equity.

Prior to joining HES, Ichchha worked as a Research Assistant/ Researcher at University of Rochester Medical Center on a project titled "Women on the Road to Health” (WORTH) under Dr. Diane Morse, in collaboration with Dr. Kimberly Sue (Yale University) and Dr. Karen A Johnson (Columbia University). The project explores the specific impact of trauma and social determinants of health in the lives of justice involved women as a whole and in particular, women recently released from incarceration. During her undergraduate career, she interned at non-profits in Rochester, NY and Kathmandu, Nepal while also completing a service-learning program in Procida, Italy.

Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, Ichchha enjoys traveling, taking fun classes (dance, drawing, fitness etc.), watching thriller/ drama shows and spending time with friends and family.”

Karen Siegel, She/Her

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.

LaToya Tyson, She/Her

Community Engagement Manager

LaToya Tyson, Community Engagement Manager, comes to HES with 20+ years of experience in community outreach and engagement. In her previous position, LaToya was the CT Center for Harm Reduction Director. This not-for-profit organization provided sexual health education, HIV/AIDS & other infectious disease prevention education, distribution of condoms and sexual health information, syringe services programming, and education and distribution of naloxone. LaToya is a CT DPH-certified sexual health educator, rapid HIV/Hep C counselor, and tester.

LaToya has had many years of firsthand experiences with clients and personal experiences of negative medical encounters and outcomes. She believes part of her purpose in life is to ensure people are empowered with correct, accurate information concerning healthcare to make the best, fully informed decisions for themselves.

LaToya considers her greatest accomplishment in life to be the 3 wonderful young adults she’s birthed and raised. LaToya enjoys a myriad of different activities outside of work, including acting, eating, reading, and boating.

Taylor Tucker, He/Him

Program Manager of Training & 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 equitable 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.

Namandje Wali, She/Her

Program Manager of Training & Outreach

Namandje Wali received her Bachelor of Public Health from the University of Connecticut, Masters of Healthcare Administration from the University of New Haven, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Public Health in Leadership, Equity, and Advocacy from Tulane University. Through her passion for education, Namandje committed her career to the belief that excellence in education, service, and practice are enhanced when both brewed and maintained in an inclusive and equitable environment and believes the right to health is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity.

Prior to joining HES, Namandje served as the Postpartum Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Birthright Doulas of Southern CT. In this capacity, and with the influence of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Namandje designed and implemented support groups and workshops for new families as they navigated the unknown of birthing and new parenting. Similarly, in her previous work at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Namandje served as the Equity and Organizational Culture Coordinator where she was able to continue to develop her passion for equitable care interventions. It was through these experiences, that Namandje saw first-hand barriers to not only accessible care but quality care also.

Born and raised in New Haven, CT, in her free time, Namandje loves to travel home to spend time with her family, try new recipes, and binge-watch reality TV shows and true crime documentaries. Namandje is a proud member of the Manchester/Greater Hartford Area graduate chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

Harley Webley, She/Her

Policy & Communications Specialist

Harley Webley, born in Jamaica and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she 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.