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Board of Trustees

Our Board Members

TRCC's Board represents the Coalition's cross-sector approach to addressing health disparities. With decades of experience working to further health equity and reduce health disparities, the Board guides TRCC's strategic direction and growth.

Barb Petee, TRCC President

Barbara Petee


Ms. Petee has served as the inaugural President of the Coalition since its founding in 2015. Drawing from more than 38 years of experience in healthcare communications and government relations, Ms. Petee leads the Coalition's efforts to unite cross-sector organizations under the common goal of achieving health equity. The Coalition's membership has grown from 17 inaugural partners into a diverse collection of more than 90 leading organizations from various states, sectors and services.  Committed to helping develop and implement a new model of healthcare delivery that considers all the various social, physical and mental needs of individuals, Ms. Petee’s work in the social drivers has been widely recognized across the nation.

Angela Brandt, TRCC Chair

Angela Brandt

Chair, The Root Cause Coalition and Chief Administrative Officer, ProMedica

Angela is a results-driven executive known for driving enterprise-wide transformations and catalyzing revenue growth within the healthcare sector. With a proven track record in strategic leadership, she aligns high-performing teams with corporate vision, fosters collaboration, and implements innovative strategies to unlock capacity within organizations.

With more than 20 years of experience, Angela has dedicated her career to serving in not-for-profit healthcare. Angela's career at ProMedica began in 2013, and her exceptional performance led to a rapid promotion to the role of Chief Operating Officer of ProMedica’s employed physician group of 1200 providers in 2016. In this capacity, she orchestrated a comprehensive operational overhaul, identifying areas for enhancement and implementing aggressive strategies to optimize processes, performance, and capitalize on revenue generation. Her efforts resulted in unprecedented growth within the division, building a cohesive group and consolidating disparate systems into a unified platform. In 2019, Angela's achievements earned her a promotion to President of the ProMedica Physicians Group, where she continued to drive transformative initiatives and spearhead strategic advancements.

In 2021, with Covid at its peak, Angela was called to lead ProMedica Senior Care as President. Her insight and her expertise enabled systematic change in an unchartered environment: the nation’s most vulnerable population in need of care and treatment during a global pandemic. Her remarkable leadership in this role led to her subsequent promotion to system Chief Administrative Officer in 2023, further solidifying her reputation as a forward-thinking leader within the healthcare landscape.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Angela is deeply committed to serving her community and advancing important causes. She is incredibly honored to serve as the Board Chair of the Root Cause Coalition, driving initiatives aimed at addressing root causes of health disparities and promoting community health and well-being. Furthermore, she holds the position of the Vice Chair, Board at Communities of Excellence, contributing her expertise to promote excellence in community performance and quality of life. Furthermore, Angela is a member of the Board of Overseers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where she contributes her insights to support the institute’s mission of advancing innovation and industrial competitiveness in the United States.

Angela holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from Kaplan University and a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She is a fellow at three prestigious organizations: the American College of Healthcare Executives, The Advisory Board and Baldrige.

As a Navy veteran and a self-proclaimed life learner, Angela brings a wealth of experience and a powerful sense of duty to her professional and personal responsibilities. She is respected and admired for her unwavering dedication to excellence and a commitment to driving positive change.

TRCC Vice Chair, Katy Crosby

Catherine "Katy" Crosby

Vice Chair, The Root Cause Coalition and Chief, Community Engagement & Institutional Accountability, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)

Catherine “Katy” Crosby serves as the Chief of Community Engagement and Institutional Accountability for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.  In this capacity, she works with NCRC’s network of member organizations, financial institutions, policymakers, and others to ensure opportunities for all Americans to build wealth.  Before joining NCRC, she spent 20 years in local government including as the Town Manager for the Town of Apex, North Carolina, and the Chief of Staff for the City of Toledo serving as the chief executive officer and city administrator overseeing day-to-day operations.

As a pragmatic leader with expertise in organizational development and change management, she is committed to ensuring equitable access to opportunity for people and communities.  Her professional experience includes civil rights enforcement, building equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems, violence reduction initiatives, and community-police relations strategies. In addition, she has consulted on developing strategies to ensure equitable investment in low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities and communities of color by financial and anchor institutions. She considers herself a convener encouraging cross-sector collaboration to foster effective strategies for community building.

She is a member of the board of the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, and The Root Cause Coalition.  She also serves on several community advisory councils for regional and community banks. She formerly served as the board chair of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)

Toni Jones, TRCC Treasurer

Toni Jones

Treasurer, The Root Cause Coalition and Senior Director, Partnerships & Programs, CareSource

Toni Jones serves as the Senior Director of Partnerships & Programs at CareSource, a member-centric managed care plan.  In this role, she works with internal market teams and external partners to address social care barriers and health inequities through the CareSource LifeServices® model by building retail and community partnerships.  Over her 15+ years at CareSource, Toni has gained a wealth of knowledge working in various progressive leadership roles in Quality, Accreditation and Business Development.  Toni works to amplify the voices of those with lived experience as pivotal informers of social strategies to improve physical, mental and social health with an emphasis on equity.

Toni earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Spelman College, a master’s in public administration from University of Delaware and a master’s degree in project management from Keller Graduate School; she is also a Certified Life Coach.  Toni has been featured on the Managed Healthcare Executive’s list of 10 Emerging Industry Leaders; this distinction was for leaders of key initiatives unique to the healthcare industry with a continued path for advanced managed care roles.

Toni channels her commitment for service by serving community organizations including the Miami Valley Child Development Center and The Root Cause Coalition (Board Treasurer) on the Board of Directors. She also serves as the member of the CarePortal Advisory Committee.

Stacy Wathen

Stacy Biddinger Wathen

Secretary, The Root Cause Coalition and Manager, Community & Child Health, Children's Hospital Association

Stacy Wathen serves as Manager of Community and Child Health at the Children’s Hospital Association where she leads the association’s work in community health, community benefit and addressing health related social needs. She joined CHA in 2009 and while her role has evolved, it has always included facilitating member affinity groups of participants focused on peer learning, sharing best practices and advancing hospitals’ work to promote optimal health, development and opportunities for children.

Stacy started her career at Children’s Hospital of Richmond, spending eight years working in public relations and marketing on behalf of the hospital. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Journalism from Randolph-Macon College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Outside of work Stacy is an avid reader, novice knitter and has been an active community volunteer. She served on the Alexandria, VA Public Health Advisory Commission from 2018 – 2022, the Randolph-Macon College Society of Alumni Board of Directors from 2013 – 2023 and led community events in her Del Ray (Alexandria) neighborhood including chairing an annual Halloween costume distribution for area children in need. Stacy and her husband Mike recently relocated to Baltimore, and she’s looking for opportunities to engage in her new community.

Emily Allen_800

Emily Allen

Immediate Past Chair, The Root Cause Coalition and Senior Vice President, Programs, AARP Foundation

Throughout her career, Emily Allen’s primary passion has been on serving the needs of those most at risk in our communities. She has served in a number of capacities in the nonprofit, education and workforce development arenas, both internationally and in the U.S., and has worked across the generations to ensure vulnerable and at-risk individuals have access to the resources and services they need to thrive.

Beginning her career as a special education teacher and school administrator on Andros Island, Bahamas, Ms. Allen later held positions with the AARP enterprise including director, economic security and workforce programs, and vice president, income security, before being named senior vice president for programs for AARP Foundation in 2016.

In her current role, Ms. Allen is responsible for overseeing AARP Foundation’s programmatic portfolio that focuses on equity in increasing economic opportunity and social connections for low-income older adults. Through innovation and the development and implementation of programs and interventions, the Foundation’s collective work focuses on ensuring that low-income older adults are able to secure the essentials in life.

Ms. Allen holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westminster College and a Master’s degree in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University.

Cihon Stephanie

Stephanie Cihon

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Director, Grants and Public Policy, ProMedica

Stephanie has been with ProMedica since 2001, when she joined the public relations department. Her role has since evolved to encompass grants and public policy. In this role she oversees a grants department responsible for raising more than $6 million dollars annually to support the clinical and community-based programs. Through her advocacy work, ProMedica’s children’s hospital was awarded a $17 million dollar capital funds grant to support pediatric behavioral health needs.

For the past year, she has been collaborating with The Root Cause Coalition and the USDA to present the regional Come to the Table Summits across the country where experts in the field convene to discuss policy and program solutions to increase access to nutritious food and improve health outcomes. Prior to her current role, Stephanie was responsible for community relations and advocacy at ProMedica where she led the health system’s hunger-free community work, working in collaboration with ProMedica’s community partners to address the social determinants of health and build a nationally recognized model. She is deeply committed to ensuring all members of the community have access to the resources they need to reach their full potential.

She and her husband have a daughter and reside in Maumee with their beloved rescue dog.

Nicole Heckman, TRCC Trustee

Nicole Heckman

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Vice President, Financial Wellbeing, AARP Foundation

Nicole Heckman is the Vice President of Financial Wellbeing Programs for AARP Foundation, the largest charitable affiliate of AARP.  AARP Foundation works with and for older adults to end poverty. Her team develops and scales programs that help older adults have more control over day-to-day finances, increase financial resilience to life shocks and be on track to meet financial goals. The current portfolio offerings make food, medicine, healthcare, and housing more affordable through increased participation in a range of safety net benefit programs and also reduce the burden of recurring debt.

Nicole was previously a Blue Ridge Labs Fellow with the Robin Hood Foundation working on solutions to increase New Yorkers’ access to quality affordable housing. She has founded and grown multiple businesses, including an impact-driven strategy and innovation firm.  Nicole has a passion for human-centered design and strategy creation honed over more than a decade leading marketing and innovation efforts for FedEx.

Nicole is a passionate lifelong learner, holding a Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School and completing multiple courses in behavioral economics. She holds a BA in psychology and an MBA from the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College. Nicole also serves on the board of the Alliance to End Hunger and was previously a commissioner with the Environmental Planning Commission of Alexandria, Virginia.

Melissa Fox

Melissa Fox

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Chief Operating Officer of Acenda Integrated Health

Melissa Fox serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Acenda Integrated Health where she oversees the operations and systems for over 120 programs across New Jersey. Under Melissa’s leadership, the Acenda team has launched several innovative measures to further integrated care models that serve vulnerable and historically disenfranchised populations, including New Jersey's first Public Health Institute.

Melissa Fox is also a Board Member of the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, the Urban Affairs Coalition, the National Wellness Institute, the New Jersey Medical Group Managment Association and the Gloucester County NAACP, which presented Melissa with its prestigious Game Changer Award.

Kim Prendergast

Kim Prendergast

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Vice President, Policy, Community Care Cooperative (C3)

Kim Prendergast is Vice President for Policy for Community Care Cooperative (C3), a Federally Qualified Health Center-led Accountable Care Organization (ACO) serving health centers in 7 states. In this role, she leads the ACO’s policy initiatives to support FQHCs to leverage value-based payments and address social drivers of health to improve health equity and health outcomes.  Kim joined the organization in 2019 and has been the architect of C3’s work to build partnerships across the healthcare and social services sectors, designing and implementing their Flexible Services program and expanding their Social Health strategy. Prior to joining C3, Kim spent two decades addressing food insecurity and health with Feeding America through roles in public policy, nutrition programs, and healthcare partnership consulting. Kim is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a BS in Dietetics from Purdue University and has a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago.  She lives in the Boston area.

Alfreda Rooks

Alfreda Rooks

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Director, Community Health Services and Program for Multicultural Health, University of Michigan Health-Michigan Medicine

Alfreda Rooks, MPA is the Director of Community Health Services (CHS) for UM Health – Michigan Medicine. She works to advance and identify creative solutions to address the health and social needs of the communities where Michigan Medicine’s patients reside.  CHS programs are designed to improve health outcomes and equity of care that address the social determinants of health (SDOH). Alfreda has expertise in program development, design, evaluation, and implementation, and a long history of deep-rooted community engagement. Her experience includes an extensive background in training, guiding and mentoring teams and building collaboration at all levels. In addition, she is a trainer on topics such as leadership development, change management, process improvement, culturally appropriate communication skills, the intersections between culture, health, and (SDOH), implicit bias, and entering and exiting community, and ageism. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration (Health Care Administration). She is on a mission to empower all people to be active participants in their health and well-being.

Jeff Smythe

Jeffrey Smythe

Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Executive Director, ARCHI 

Jeffrey Smythe is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) in Atlanta Georgia, a collaborative of more than 115 organizations aligned around a 28-year vision to invert the burden from those most marginalized from good health, engaging a broad network of intersectional partners to sustainably change the system.  In addition to his leadership as the executive director of Meals On Wheels Atlanta for twelve years, Jeff has served in leadership for mission-based organizations ranging from housing, homeless and hunger alleviation to HIV services, international development, refugee support and youth mental health.  Jeff is excited to both contribute and learn from others in such areas as systems change, fundraising, strategic planning, team-building, community voice, donor cultivation and cross-sector collaboration.

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