SHELLY DEWS CHIGIER
Advisory Board Chair
Shelly earned her BA at Arizona State University and her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Boston College where she conducted research on children and adults’ processing of figurative language, as well as the social reasons for using non-literal language. She has applied her expertise at a number of high tech organizations ranging from IBM and Verizon to successful and not-so-successful start-ups, in all cases aiming to make human-computer interfaces easier for people to use.
Shelly’s work as an advocate for children extends to an ongoing, self-initiated assessment of nutritional needs and potential opportunities in her local community. She has worked with a variety of non-profits, most recently at the Open Door food pantry in Gloucester, MA. She has held leadership roles in parent education and fundraising efforts at her children’s schools, most recently The Brookwood School in Manchester, MA. This combination of the human, analytical and statistical side of problem solving gives Shelly a unique vantage point at the intersections of poverty and public policy, as well as nutrition and family health.
Shelly and her husband Ben are long time supporters of Boston Medical Center’s Grow Clinic and Program for Integrative Medicine. They have two high school age children, with whom they have travelled the world (7 continents). Besides family, in her spare time Shelly enjoys yoga, meditation, walking her dog on the beach, and skiing.
Shelly became the Advisory Board Chair at Children’s HealthWatch in January 2016.
Karen Meyerhoff Sweet was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Park School, Harvard College, and the Shady Hill School Teacher Training Course. Karen lived and worked in Europe for 11 years as a dealer in contemporary art. From 1977 to 1983 she owned and directed her own gallery in Athens, Greece. Karen resettled in the US in 1983 and married Robert W. Sweet, Jr. They have 2 adult children.
During the mid-80’s, Karen headed a grass-roots lobbying committee for the organization, Resolve, and she was instrumental in the passage of state health care legislation that requires insurers to cover the cost of infertility treatments, just as they do other pregnancy-related procedures. In about 1985, Karen began a long relationship with the Grow Clinic, starting as a fund-raising volunteer and remaining a member of the committee for “Food for Thought.”
In 2001, Karen earned her Massachusetts educator licensure and began teaching French and Spanish at both the primary and secondary level. She currently teaches both languages in special education programs in the Newton high schools.
Karen joined the advisory board of Children’s Health Watch in summer of 2015.
Marydale DeBor has been an Advisory Board member since 2016. She founded Fresh Advantage LLC after 25 years experience in health care administration and philanthropy. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to improving the health status of individuals adversely affected by poverty and lack of access to care, food and shelter. While a senior executive at a community hospital, she recognized the urgent need to revolutionize traditional institutional food service and bring considerations of nutritional status and food security into the paradigm of medical practice. Her goal is to help institutional clients to provide nutritious, wholesome, and culturally appropriate meals to those they serve.
She created Food is Primary Care® for the company tag line to emphasize the profound impact that a diet of fresh, nutritious, and affordable food produced by sustainable methods play in creating and maintaining human and environmental health and productivity. Marydale’s wide-ranging experience includes creating effective public-private-nonprofit partnerships to promote public health through food system improvement.
Marydale regularly lectures at universities and national conferences. Her advocacy work recently included leading a coalition of grassroots organizations to file public comments in the IRS rulemaking process relevant to the community health needs assessment regulatory process. The effort was successful and resulted in the inclusion, in the Final IRS Rule, of “access to adequate nutrition” and other social determinants of disease in the definition of significant health needs that can be considered by nonprofit hospitals in the development of community health needs assessments and implementation plans.
She is a lecturer in the School of Medicine at Yale University. Her work and philosophy of “Food is Primary Care ” has been featured in a variety of media articles (http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2016/01/24/food-for-thought-2/) and national news publications: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/hospital-of-tomorrow/articles/2015/12/08/some-hospitals-prescribe-food-take-other-steps-to-fight-food-insecurity and http://frac.org/blog/hospitals-can-treat-child-food-insecurity-summer-meals-programs-interview-marydale-debor-jd Marydale is a member of the Food Insecurity Task Force of the Greater Boston Food Bank. She is an active participant in the CDC-funded, national Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network.
Karen Charles Peterson has been an Advisory Board member since 2017. She is Commissioner of the Department of Telecommunications and Cable, where she serves as the principle communications regulator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to her duties at the Department, Commissioner Charles Peterson is an active board member of the North American Numbering Council, and a member of the Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Commissioner Charles Peterson is also involved in broadband policy development, and is a member of both the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner in 2014, Karen joined the Department as its Chief of Staff in 2012. Karen brings to the Department years of leadership experience in both city and state government, having served as Chief of Staff for the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Executive Office of Transportation, and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Before joining government, Karen was a producer for the award-winning news program, Greater Boston with Emily Rooney on WGBH. A graduate of Suffolk University and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Karen remains active and involved in the local Boston community where she lives with her husband, Kevin C. Peterson.
Kit Judge has been an Advisory Board member since 2016. She is the Senior Associate for Policy Reform and Advocacy at Annie E. Casey Foundation. There, she manages the portfolio of on-going and discretionary national policy grants to promote issues of importance to the Foundation in partnership with the Director; collaborates in the development of KIDS COUNT products such as policy reports, data, etc.; provides strategy and operational support for the KIDS COUNT and SFAI networks, including deployment of technical assistance to strengthen state-based advocacy efforts to promote issues that improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families; and explores and develop new policy opportunities for the Foundation. Ms. Judge previously worked as the Senior Advisor for Policy and Communications for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and as the Policy Advisor for the Office of U.S. House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt.
Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH
Charles J Homer , MD, MPH, served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation/HHS in the Obama Administration from April 2015 through December, 2016. Prior to this, he co-founded the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) in July 1999, and served as the organization’s president and CEO until going to HHS. Under his leadership, NICHQ focused not only on clinical quality, but also on the broad social conditions that contribute to childhood obesity and infant mortality. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a past member of the third US Preventive Services Taskforce, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children as well as numerous panels devoted to child health, health care and quality measurement. Charlie obtained his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH
Dr. Chatterjee is an internal-medicine and pediatrics-trained physician at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program who also teaches social medicine at Harvard Medical School. He grew up in North Carolina, attended Harvard College, and then taught high school chemistry for two years in Newark, NJ. After attending medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he did residency at Yale and then a fellowship in general internal medicine at Harvard. His clinical and research interests include family homelessness, food insecurity in vulnerable populations, and the opioid epidemic and how it impacts those experiencing homelessness. He is dedicated to developing innovative programs to improve the health of vulnerable children and families, particularly those experiencing homelessness, and to encouraging students and trainees to pursue caring for underserved populations.
Justin also serves on the board of Silver Lining Mentoring, a Boston-based organization that empowers foster youth to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of life skills. He was SLM’s founding Executive Director, and for his work there, he received an Echoing Green Fellowship. He also has worked as a nonprofit consultant with the Bridgespan Group, a consultant to the Fish Family Foundation, and a Rappaport Fellow at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Most recently before his current position, Justin served as Executive Director of Children’s HealthWatch, a data collection, research and policy center with the mission to improve the health and development of young children by informing policies to address and alleviate economic hardships (hunger, unstable housing, etc.). While there, he was selected as a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Ten Outstanding Young Leader award winner, and Children’s HealthWatch’s work, in collaboration with others, was cited as playing an important role in protecting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), supporting an increase in the Massachusetts state EITC, and supporting appropriations for the Arkansas Housing Trust fund, among other things. He currently is working on his memoir about how three families came together to enable him to flourish through his journey as a foster child and adoptee. In 2016, he received a Nantucket Project Fellowship to focus on increasing joy and well-being in East Boston.
Justin also serves on the advisory board at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He received his BA from Harvard College, and his MBA and MPA degrees from a concurrent program at Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Reynolds, George and Goldsmith Fellow.
Justin is married to Vanessa Fazio and they are proud parents to Rocco and Skye Grace.