Our BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin (Board President)

Director of Connectional & Justice Ministries | Florida United Methodist Church

Rev. Austin has served as the director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) for The Florida Conference of United Methodist Church (FLUMC) since 2013, with a new focus on Justice and Multicultural Ministries. Prior to her appointment as DCM, she served as the superintendent of the South Central District. Rev. Austin was the first woman and first cross-racial/cross-cultural appointment to all of the churches that she served in the Florida Conference. She earned her Ph.D. at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.

Dr. Edward Abraham

Former CEO University of Miami Health System and Former Executive Vice President for Health Affairs University of Miami

Dr. Edward Abraham has served in leadership positions in academic medical centers across the U.S. Most recently he was Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and CEO of the University of Miami Health System. Dr. Abraham was Dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as well as Dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. He also served as Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and previously was Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine and Head of the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He has received numerous honors, including the Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments from the American Thoracic Society. He has been Associate Editor and Section Editor for the Journal of Immunology, serves on the editorial boards of 13 other journals, and is the editor emeritus of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. He has published more than 400 original research articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters, and has edited 9 books. He received both his undergraduate and medical degrees at Stanford University and trained in internal and critical care medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Immunobiology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. His passions are improving community health, eliminating food insecurity, and addressing issues related to access to health care.

Luke Barnhill

Manager of Strategic Planning | Aetna/CVS Health

Luke Barnhill is the Manager of Strategic Planning for Aetna/CVS Health with oversight of the Community Resource Directory. Luke is a dedicated health professional with a specialized background in addressing the social determinants of health. Prior to joining the Care Management team as a Strategic Planner, Luke spent several years at the Florida Department of Health and the American Cancer Society. Luke holds a Master of Public Health from Florida State University and a Global Master of Business Administration from the University of North Florida.

Dr. Patrick Bernet

Associate Professor | Florida Atlantic University

Patrick Bernet is an Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Bernet researches pregnancy outcomes, focusing on disparities, program cost effectiveness, and the impact of bias on health from the perspectives of behavioral economics and financial analysis. Beyond examining the role of traditional healthcare services, his studies demonstrate the positive health effects of a broad range of social support services such as WIC, daycare, transportation, housing and public health. His studies join a growing body of evidence showing strong supportive communities can fortify residents, giving them the emotional and physical resilience to stay healthy and thrive. Nowhere is that power more evident than in places we share food – diners, after-prayer socials, bakeries, block barbecues, trucks and restaurants – where the meal is only half of the sustenance shared by neighbors. In addition to Dr. Bernet's research, he also serves on maternal and child health committees in both Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as the Florida Impact to End Hunger board.

John Dalsimer

Regional Director | Florida Life Care Residents Association

John is currently a board member of the Florida Life Care Residents Association. He serves as Director of Region 5, which covers the 8 Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties. He was State president of the Association from 2007 to 2009. John was appointed to the Governor’s Continuing Care Advisory Council Meeting in 2018. John and Diane, his wife, have been residents of John Knox Village, Pompano Beach since 2005. He has served on and been chair of the Fiscal, Long Range Planning, Volunteer, and Library committees. John grew up in Philadelphia, attended Swarthmore College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a CPA with Haskins & Sells, a national CPA firm, president of F.A. Davis, a medical publishing company, and San-Knit-ary Textile Mills. John has taught volunteer and fiscal management, published Self Help Accounting and has had several articles published in volunteer newsletters. He started Community Accountants in Philadelphia and helped start the national office and 9 offices of Accountants for the Public Interest around the country.

Lisa Early

Director of Families, Parks and Recreation | City Of Orlando

For the past 8 years, Lisa has served as Director of the City's Families, Parks and Recreation Department. Prior to this, Lisa worked as the City's first Director of Children & Education, improving the well-being of Orlando's children and educational performance at City schools. Lisa established numerous initiatives, including the Mayor's preschool initiative, Mayor's Education Action Council, Legacy Trust for Orlando Children, and Parramore Kidz Zone. Lisa holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and served as Director of The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families for twelve years, helping Orlando's children overcome developmental delays, protecting them from abuse and providing healthcare to uninsured children.

Karis Engle

President/CEO | The Glades Initiative, Inc.

Karis is currently the President/CEO of The Glades Initiative, Inc., whose mission is to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the health and human service delivery system in the Glades area of western Palm Beach County. She has over 20 years of experience in various health and human service organizations, and has served in a leadership capacity for over 15 years. Karis has a Bachelor's degree in International Development and a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership.

Lora Gilbert

Senior Director of Food & Nutrition Services | Orange County Public Schools

While working on her master's degree at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Lora was part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture study to analyze the nutrient content in school meals. She has since continued working on child nutrition projects, serving as nutrition director/corporate nutritionist with Schwan's Food Service between 1991 and 2001, where she was in charge of nutrition labeling. In 2003, Lora was hired at Orange County Public Schools, where she currently serves as the Senior Director of Food & Nutrition Services. In 2011, she won the Silver Plate Award for Elementary and Secondary schools category.

Lucy Pride

Florida Conference President | 11th Episcopal District, AME Church

Lucy Pride has served as Program Supervisor for the Homeless Project at the Apalachee Center in Tallahassee for twenty years. She was the Florida Conference Women's Missionary Society President for the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church from 2008 to 2016 during which time she oversaw more than 120 churches and local Missionary Societies. She has a Master's degree in Education and was an elementary school teacher for eight years. Lucy has been a member of the AME church since birth, and brings to Florida Impact her passion for children and the elderly and a desire to help make a difference in the lives of children in Florida. She joined the Board in 2017.

Dr. Jenneffer Pulapaka

Podiatric Surgeon & Wound Care Physician | DeLand Foot and Leg Center

Jenneffer Pulapaka opened her podiatry practice in 2005, DeLand Foot and Leg Center (DFALC) making it the first female podiatric surgeon’s office in a community. She’s an advocate of increasing access to healthy fruits and vegetables in her community through the DFALC’s Plant to Plate Patient Garden, as well as the physician-driven RX: Veggies & Fruits Patient Program. Dr. Pulapaka is a Co-owner and the General Manager of Cress Restaurant, a business dedicated to sourcing local ingredients and sustainable practices. Her food advocacy experience with the James Beard Foundation, Seafood Watch, and Farm and Table has exposed her to powerful communities and national advocates in LA, Seattle, NOLA, New York, Charleston, Atlanta, and DC. Dr. Pulapaka was recognized in 2013 Top Influential Women in Business Volusia / Flagler County, 2014 Orlando Sentinel Culinary Hall of Fame, James Beard Foundation for her contributions over multiple years, 2014 Founding Member goFLA & #Sunshineplate, and 2014 Emeril’s Florida Season 2 Premiere of Coming to America.

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