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 has helped guide TRCC's strategic direction and growth over the past several years.
TRCC Board Members
Ms. Petee has served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Coalition since its founding in 2015. Drawing from more than 34 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 70 leading organizations from various states, sectors and services. For the past decade, Ms. Petee's focus has been addressing food insecurity and other basic needs so as to help develop and lift-up sustainable solutions that can be scaled and replicated across the nation, thereby improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
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 determinants has been widely recognized across the nation. She has served on myriad local, regional and national boards and committees, and is currently a board member of the Alliance to End Hunger, an affiliate of Bread for the World; a member of the Government Relations Officers Network for the American Hospital Association; and serves on the Legislative Policy Panel for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. Follow Barbara on Twitter: @BarbaraPetee
Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President & CEO ProMedica
Randy Oostra, DM, FACHE, is the current Chair of The Root Cause Board of Trustees and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMedica, a not-for-profit mission-based, integrated health and well-being organization headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. The $7 billion organization serves communities in 27 states. Mr. Oostra is regarded as one of the nation’s top leaders in health care, and believes community and service go hand-in-hand. Under his leadership, ProMedica has received numerous national recognitions and accolades. The organization is widely known as a national leader in addressing the social determinants of health and healthy aging, and is consistently recognized by national associations and accrediting agencies for superior clinical quality, safety and patient experience.
Lisa Marsh Ryerson
Vice Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President, AARP Foundation
Lisa Marsh Ryerson has served as president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, since 2013. She is an experienced and innovative leader, responsible for setting the foundation’s strategic direction and leading its efforts to create opportunities for older Americans struggling with poverty, hunger, housing problems and social isolation. Awarded for leadership and service throughout her career, Ms. Ryerson has forged innovative collaborations with other organizations, such as the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, and helped AARP Foundation secure unprecedented funding for programs and services.
Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Sr. Vice President, Foundation 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.
Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Michigan Health and Hospital Association
Laura Appel is senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). In her current role, she focuses on healthcare policy, hospital finance, legislation and governance. At the federal level, she represents the interests of Michigan hospitals and health systems in both the legislative and regulatory arenas on key issues, including federal healthcare reform and Medicare. She is an expert in auto insurance and legislative policy and has a proven ability to influence legislation and healthcare policy through her understanding of the issues, educating influencers and policymakers, and introducing fresh ideas.
Since joining the MHA staff in 2000, Ms. Appel has focused on strategic priorities related to state and federal lobbying and healthcare policy analysis. Ms. Appel served as vice president of federal policy and advocacy, executive director of the MHA Health Reform Resource Center, and senior vice president of strategic initiatives prior to being named to her current position in October 2015.
Before joining the MHA, Appel started her career as a policy analyst at the Michigan Insurance Bureau (now the Department of Insurance and Financial Services [DIFS]) before moving to the Democratic policy staff of the Michigan House of Representatives, where she worked for 12 years, serving as director during her final year. She currently serves on the board and executive committee of the Citizens Research Council and the board of the Michigan Fitness Foundation. She previously served on the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care in Washington, DC.
Ms. Appel holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Additionally, she recently received an MBA certificate in design and innovation from Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI, to further her interest in design as it relates to creating and improving organizational systems and healthcare delivery.
Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and President, ProMedica Physicians Group and Telehealth Institute
Angela Brandt has established her career by building revenue and efficiencies through effective operational models. In her current role, as President of ProMedica Physicians Group, she manages the business operations, clinical operations, revenue cycle and value-based initiatives for northwest Ohio’s largest, employed provider group. ProMedica Physicians Group, employing more than 1,150 providers, the multispecialty group, expands more than 130 acute care and ambulatory-based locations and is a vital part of the ProMedica Health System. Ms. Brandt has also been critical in the growth and development of the strong recruitment, retention, and engagement efforts of providers and staff. Additionally, Ms. Brandt is now serving in the inaugural role as President, ProMedica Telehealth Institute. Ms. Brandt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration and holds an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Case Western Weatherhead School of Management. In 2017, Ms. Brandt was selected as one of 16 executives to be a Baldrige Executive Fellow through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She is a proud veteran of the United States Navy and active in the metro Toledo community as a volunteer and board member. Co-chairing the Toledo Communities of Excellence effort through Baldrige and serving as a board trustee for the Root Cause Coalition is consistent with her commitment to effectuate the changes needed for equitable, healthier, vibrant communities.
Rachelle Reyes Wenger
Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and System Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Engagement, CommonSpirit Health
Rachelle Reyes Wenger MPA, is System Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Engagement, CommonSpirit Health. In February 2019, CommonSpirit Health was formed by the combining of California-based Dignity Health and Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), making CommonSpirit Health one of the largest, private, not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation with 137 hospitals across 21 states.
Ms. Wenger is primarily responsible for advancing the organization’s Public Policy & Advocacy Priorities at the local, state, national and international arenas. She manages policy issues core to CommonSpirit Health’s commitment to its foundational priorities focused on social and environmental determinants of health. Her portfolio includes: health equity, economic and racial justice, immigration, housing and homelessness, climate change and the environment, nutrition and hunger. She serves on various hospital and community boards and committees. Through strong collaborations and speaking platforms, Ms. Wenger has worked to successfully provide the healthcare voice in support of landmark legislation and strategic initiatives while inspiring community and industry engagement to raise their voices in solidarity on common ground issues. She serves various leadership positions on boards, including Community Hospital of San Bernardino, Housing California, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Clean Air and NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. Ms. Wenger most recently joined the Leadership Circle of We Are Still in, a cross sectoral group of leaders committed to climate action.
Ms. Wenger received her Bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Master’s degree in public administration at California State University, Northridge.
Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Chief Operating Officer of Acenda Integrated Health
Melissa Fox, MHA, FACMPE, FACHE, serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Acenda Integrated Health where she oversees the operations and systems for over 100 programs throughout 13 counties in 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.
Ms. 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, and the Gloucester County NAACP, which presented Melissa with its prestigious Game Changer Award.