Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) Staff Trainers
Jacquelyn Ackeifi, MA, is the Strategic Initiatives Manager in the Education Department at PPNYC. She works on projects that provide sexual and reproductive health training and capacity building to individuals and organizations throughout New York City and surrounding areas. Before working with PPNYC, she trained and coached adults working with youth in social emotional learning and its integration into effective instructional support. Ms. Ackeifi has also served as a sexuality workshop facilitator in community-based and higher education environments. Her background is in cultural studies and sociology.
Carmina Bernardo, MA, MPH, is PPNYC’s Senior Director of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs and the Family Planning Benefit Program (FPBP) Training Coordinator. Ms. Bernardo is responsible for tracking and analyzing public policies that impact access to sexual and reproductive health care and coverage, with a focus on local, state, and federal regulations, subregulations, and other government directives on policy priorities and implementation. In her role as FPBP Coordinator, Ms. Bernardo conducts outreach, training, and technical assistance about the FPBP and other New York State public health insurance programs to family planning providers as well as community and government partners throughout New York City, with the goal of maximizing coverage of and access to family planning services. Ms. Bernardo has been a PPNYC staff member since September 2000 and volunteered as a PPNYC Center Escort for six years. She has Master’s degrees in both Public Health and Sociology.
Alexandra Cerda is the Adult Role Models Program Coordinator at PPNYC. In this role she is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising the team of Adult Role Models (parent peer educators) and organizing workshops in the community. Prior to working at PPNYC, Ms. Cerda was a Health Educator Technician at Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services, where she facilitated HIV prevention workshops and conducted one-on-one counseling for both youth and adults. While completing her degree in Health Education at Lehman College, Ms. Cerda interned at various high schools in New York City, creating and implementing lesson plans, workshops, and assessments related to sexual and reproductive health.
Lisa Colarossi, PhD, LCSW is the Vice President of Research and Evaluation at PPNYC. She is a developmental psychologist and a licensed clinical social worker, with degrees from the University of Michigan. Her training and background is in interdisciplinary research collaborations between social science, medical, and legal systems. She conducts research using a variety of methods from program evaluation to longitudinal surveys and qualitative exploratory research. She has expertise in statistical and qualitative analysis, and program monitoring and development. Research foci include violence against women, sexual and reproductive health, and adolescent and adult psychosocial development. She has been a fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Society of Family Planning, and the Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan.
Randa Dean, MPH, has over fifteen years of experience in the field of public health as a leader, educator, program developer, and manager. Since 2006 she has worked at PPNYC, first as the Associate Director of Adult Education and currently as Associate Vice President of Education and Training, which includes overseeing nearly forty team members and eight program areas. Previous work includes consulting with both International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Partners in Health to support public health programs in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; acting as the health educator at the Fashion Institute of Technology creating health education programming and protocols for their college health center; training all levels of staff at the United Nations on HIV/AIDS; and serving as an outreach and education specialist for an HIV/AIDS program in California. Throughout her career, Ms. Dean has demonstrated her dedication to community, sexual, and reproductive health, rights, and justice. She received her Master's degree in Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health with a specialty in Sexuality and Health and a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Fordham University.
Ema Eyasmin is the Youth Programs Coordinator at PPNYC. She has been with the organization since 2007, starting as a Teen Advocate in the Bronx. As a Teen Advocate, she facilitated sexual health workshops and skits for her peers and adults. After four years as a Teen Advocate, Ms. Eyasmin became a part-time Sexuality Educator. She facilitates evidence-based programming in school health classes and community organizations throughout New York City. Ms. Eyasmin has a BA from Brooklyn College in Sociology and Psychology.
Kathy Hounnake is the CAPP Project Coordinator at PPNYC responsible for providing evidence-based curricula and youth development workshops (for example, "Be Proud! Be Responsible!," "Making Proud Choices," and the "Healthy Living Toolkit") for young people in public schools and community organizations throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. She also facilitates sex education workshops and trainings for youth service providers and conducts community outreach in order to raise awareness of PPNYC’s broad range of services and to link clients to services. Ms. Hounnake graduated from Hunter College with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She has more than eight years of experience in the human and social services field, including working as a case manager serving pregnant and parenting teens in Brooklyn.
Corbin Knight-Dixon, MS, is the Associate Director of Learning and Practice at PPNYC. He is committed to providing shame-free, inclusive, and participant-centered sex education. In his role at PPNYC, he manages organizational capacity building and professional training programs, as well as curriculum development initiatives. Prior to working in New York City, Mr. Knight-Dixon managed sexual health peer education and advocacy programs for young people at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Additional experience includes serving on the Executive Planning Team for the National Sex Education Conference; consulting with the Center for Sex Education to advance digital media strategy; teaching Human Sexuality courses at Montclair State University and Bronx Community College; and serving as an online instructor for Boys and Sex Ed, a course for health educators offered by Answer, a Rutgers University-based national sexuality education organization. Mr. Knight-Dixon has a Master's of Science degree in Health Communication and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Music Performance, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Danely López is a CAPP Sexuality Educator and Trainer at PPNYC. She facilitates a number of evidence-based curriculums, such as “Be Proud! Be Responsible!” and “Making Proud Choices” for young adults aged 11 through 21 in all five boroughs of New York City. Formerly, Ms. López was a PPNYC Teen Advocate in 2010, and her experiences as a Teen Advocate inspired her to continue educating her peers throughout her four years in college as a Healthguard and an assistant to the Health Promotion Coordinator. She designed and monitored metrics to measure the effectiveness of training programs on campus, such as Condom Bingo, Mock tail Mania, Sex Jeopardy and Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up! Ms. Lopez's mission as a Healthguard was to promote making healthy lifestyle choices and reducing risky behaviors throughout the college campus. She is continuing to pursue that mission now as a Sexuality Educator at PPNYC. Ms. López has a BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo in Spanish and Latin American Studies and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health, specializing in Health Policy and Management, at the CUNY School of Public Health.
Maya Nair Noonan is the Professional Programs Manager at PPNYC, where she supports all organizational capacity building work, as well as the Training Institute. Her background is in education, training, program management, and youth development. Before coming to PPNYC, Ms. Nair Noonan worked both domestically and internationally as a classroom teacher, a coordinator for experiential learning programming, and an analyst to advance policies promoting gender equity. She also has experience in developing and implementing curricula related to sexual health, wellness, and consent.
Karen Ortiz is the Adult Sexuality Coordinator for the Sex Ed for Adults Program at PPNYC. In her current role, she provides education and linkage to care support for New York City residents who are underserved and in need of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Formerly, as a member of the Promotores de Salud community health worker program, Karen and her team acted as a bridge to PPNYC services by providing culturally sensitive information on SRH topics in areas in the Bronx and Queens where a large population of immigrant Latinas and their families live. Through outreach, education, and community partnerships, she assisted the community with Spanish-language workshops and navigating the health care system for them and their families. As a first-generation American and native New Yorker, she is passionate about advocating to empower immigrant communities and foster healthy relationships.
Dolores Polanco is a Senior Sexuality Educator/Trainer at PPNYC. Ms. Polanco began her career at Bronx Aids Services as a peer educator and later became one of PPNYC's Bronx Teen Advocates. She attends New York City College of Technology, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Ms. Polanco conducts workshops for youth about sexual and reproductive health in schools and community organizations throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan with the aim of helping them to make better decisions. She teaches the “Making Proud Choices!” evidence-based curriculum as well as other curricula. She has attended trainings herself to become a certified Trainer of Trainers on breastfeeding and on evidence-based curricula.
Lauren Porsch, MPH, is the Program Director for Clinical Training, Research, and Special Projects at PPNYC. She collaborates in the planning and delivery of PPNYC's training and education programs for physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and medical students, and in the implementation of clinical research projects at the agency’s health centers. Her areas of expertise are contraception, abortion, HIV risk reduction counseling, and the provision of LGBT-sensitive reproductive and sexual health education and services.
Jessica Rivera is the Associate Director of Youth Programs for PPNYC curricula. Ms. Rivera previously coordinated PPNYC's Teen Advocate Program for both the Bronx and Lower East Side sites. She currently contributes to the development and implementation of youth programs in various communities across New York City. Prior to joining PPNYC, Ms. Rivera was the Outreach Specialist at the Adolescent AIDS Program at Montefiore Medical Center. Ms. Rivera has also presented at Ryan White conferences and at the National Youth Advocacy Coalition's Annual Youth Conference. Through education and outreach efforts, she has empowered youth to get tested, obtain information, and better understand their rights to sexual and reproductive health care.
Carissa Rountree, CLC, is the Training Institute (TI) Coordinator at PPNYC. She works to create transformative learning experiences for professionals and opportunities for community building, reflection, and change. Ms. Rountree collaborates with internal and external trainers to develop trainings and facilitate learning on a wide variety of sexual and reproductive health topics along with coordinating the TI’s daily operations. Before coming to PPNYC, Ms. Rountree conducted workshops for children and trainings for adults on recognizing and responding to child abuse in all five boroughs of New York City. Her educational background is in Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, and Technical Theater.
Nelson Santana is a Sexuality Educator/Trainer at PPNYC. Mr. Santana began his career as one of PPNYC's Lower East Side Teen Advocates and later became a part-time Sexuality Educator in the Lower East Side office. Now working full-time as a Sexuality Educator, he also attends Bronx Community College and is majoring in Radiology, but weighing other majors. Mr. Santana conducts workshops for youth and adults on sexual health topics that affect their everyday lives such as HIV, STIs, contraception, healthy relationships, abstinence, and more. He has also taught the "Making Proud Choices!" curriculum.
Peter Serrano is the Associate Director of Youth Programs at PPNYC. He began his career in community health education 18 years ago with PPNYC’s Parent Education Program. Mr. Serrano currently assists the Youth Programs Director in overseeing the Education Department’s youth programs including The Taking Care of You workshops series and PPNYC’s Male Outreach Initiative. In addition, he also coordinates PPNYC’s LGBT and “Making Proud Choices!” programs.
Alex Stevens, MPH, is Senior Director of Learning and Practice at PPNYC. In this role, she oversees the Education Department’s professional development, organizational capacity building, curriculum development, and replication initiatives. Prior to working at PPNYC, she conducted weekly sexuality education classes and counseling sessions for middle and high school students in the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. Ms. Stevens has also led education, training, and research efforts at the Young Men's Health Clinic, Columbia University’s Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She has extensive experience in curriculum development, sexuality education, and training for adolescents, college students, parents, and professionals. Ms. Stevens has an MPH in Sexuality and Health from Columbia University.
Larissa Vasquez is the Senior Director of Community Engagement at PPNYC. She oversees the adult programs that provide training, outreach, and support to adults in the communities served by PPNYC. Prior to joining PPNYC, she worked as a bilingual reproductive health educator at New York Presbyterian Hospital's family planning clinic. Ms. Vasquez studied Biological Sciences at Connecticut College and has extensive public health training and experience in birth control and options counseling.
Guest Trainers and Presenters
Johanna Burgos is the Training Super of the Early Relationship Abuse Prevention Program at Day One NY. At Day One, Ms. Burgos has facilitated workshops for youth between the ages of 11-24 to recognize, prevent, and end dating abuse. She organizes the annual You(th) Already Know! Conference and conducts outreach in the community. Ms. Burgos received her Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Plattsburg. As an undergraduate she volunteered as a Health Peer Educator and was a part of the Center for Womyn’s Concerns. In these roles she worked with students and campus faculty to develop educational programs on the topics of safe sex, sexual assault response services, sexual violence prevention, and unhealthy/healthy relationships. Ms. Burgos believes the work of Day One NY is vitally important because young people do not have enough spaces and chances to speak openly about relationships.
Lorena Jiron, Esq. joined Day One in 2017 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow to empower young mothers from immigrant communities who are survivors of intimate partner violence by providing advocacy through direct representation and educational trainings. Ms. Jiron was born and raised in Miami, Florida, by a single mother who emigrated from Nicaragua. Her upbringing taught her the strength and resilience of women like her mother and how, with the right resources, they can raise children with better outcomes and a higher quality of life. For her BA, she attended Middlebury College in Vermont. Between attending college and law school, Ms. Jiron traveled to the Middle East to learn about women’s experiences in countries seemingly dissimilar to the United States. After an extended period of teaching English in Egypt, she traveled to Afghanistan to teach and direct the academic affairs of an all-girls boarding school. In both Egypt and Afghanistan, she found that women had one core similarity to her own experience: a strength and resilience that she saw in her mother and sees in the immigrant women of today’s America. Ms. Jiron attended Fordham University School of Law where she was a Stein Scholar for the Public Interest, a competitor and Associate Editor for Fordham’s Moot Court team, an Associate Editor for Fordham’s International Law Journal, and president of Fordham’s Latin American Law Students Association. During law school she interned in the immigration unit at NYLAG, the immigration and family law unit at NYC Legal Services-Bronx; the Civil Rights Practice Group at Newman Ferrara, LLP; Day One NY; and NAACP-LDF. At graduation, she received the Monsignor James J. Murray Prize for Achievement in Public Service.
Chanel Porchia-Albert believes that everyone deserves to have equitable health care that addresses their own particular needs. Ms. Porchia-Albert has worked in infant and maternal health since 2008 when she founded Ancient Song Doula Services – an organization focused on bringing full-spectrum doula services and classes to those who are often overlooked in marginalized communities and communities of color. She founded the organization in an effort to address the disproportionately high infant and maternal mortality rate among African-American women in New York City. Ms. Porchia-Albert's experience in reproductive health includes working in Uganda as a maternal health strategist and board member of Village Birth International, serving on advisory boards for Ariadne Labs at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and working with the Colombia University Medical School. She consults on birth justice and provider engagement with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and on various independent projects with Ancient Song.
Ilene Richman, LMSW, FAE, has been a Fertility Awareness Educator since 2001. As the proprietor of the Fertility Awareness Center, she teaches women and couples how to use Fertility Awareness for pregnancy prevention, pregnancy achievement, and empowerment in their reproductive and sexual well-being. In 2014, Ms. Richman headed the re-launch of the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals, an international membership organization for trained professionals teaching Fertility Awareness in a secular context, and now serves as its director. Ms. Richman is a Licensed Master of Social Work with a specialty in organizational development and leadership. She serves as a member of the Human Rights Committee at AHRC NYC, which supports people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, and is active in a number of community organizations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she resides.
Caro Rodriguez-Fucci, LMSW, is a longtime counselor, advocate, organizer, and facilitator in the anti-violence movement. He has worked in several capacities supporting survivors of intimate partner abuse, sexual violence, state violence, and human trafficking. As the Training Manager at Day One, Mr. Rodriguez-Fucci provides trauma-informed workshops for professionals citywide, including social workers, teachers, medical providers, police, lawyers, and Administration for Children's Services personnel, among others. His role is primarily to increase empathy among professionals, develop skill sets for supporting survivors, and enrich systems to better include and respond to the experiences of young people.