Our Board

Evelyn Mantilla

President
"As a social justice issue, health equity is one of prime importance to me.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity participate in the effort to arrive at the solutions that every Connecticut family deserves."

Evelyn Mantilla is the owner of Mantilla Leadership Solutions, an independent consulting firm providing strategic communication services, as well as training and public speaking and political consulting services. She is a respected leader who served in the Connecticut General Assembly as a State Representative for 10 years (1997 – 2007). She was the first openly bisexual woman in the Connecticut General Assembly and was also the first Hispanic woman to serve as Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

As an activist and legislator, Mantilla has spent her professional career working on civil rights and equality issues – particularly focusing on her work with disenfranchised communities. During her tenure as a legislator, she represented an urban district with an overwhelming majority of Latinos / Puerto Ricans – a district with one of the highest populations living in poverty in the state.

In addition to her legislative work, Ms. Mantilla has worked as an advocate for women’s rights and as a small business owner consulting to nonprofits and electoral campaigns. She has served on numerous boards, commissions and public committees, and uses her unique combination of talents, bilingualism and activist experience to be an advocate for social justice issues.


Michele Scott, M.S.

Vice President

Michele L. Scott brings with her a background in cultural competence training, mental health, community health, and youth initiatives. This is evidenced by her ability to secure $2.5M in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Her strategic and development planning, stakeholder partnerships, and dedication to serving the underserved communities of Connecticut fits hand in hand with Eastern AHEC’s mission. Scott has worked with the Eastern AHEC family since its implementation of the Teen Health Information Literacy Program. Eastern AHEC received national recognition for her work on this program. 

Prior to joining Eastern AHEC, Scott was the Community Development Strategist for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. This appointment was the culmination of her work as the Executive Director for the Systems of Care grant and the Circles of Care project whose missions were to improve the lives of Native American children and families by ensuring that the local health care system provides culturally appropriate care to residents. For her years of work training health care professionals and community advocates, Scott was selected as a Leaders in Action Fellow through the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut in 2015. 

Her passion for giving back is reflected in her commitment to community initiatives. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Arc of New London County. She is a proud alumna of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund and serves on the Columbia University Alumni Representative Committee. She is the co-founder of the Native American Alumni Association for Columbia University. Scott is a member of the Ledyard Safe Teen Coalition and Ledyard’s Juvenile Review Board. As a co-founder of the Community Alliance for Health Equity, Scott serves as a health advocate for the community on various collaboratives. She is an active member of the Norwich Rotary Club. 

Scott received her B.A in Psychology and American Studies from Columbia University and her M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. Scott is currently an educational leadership doctoral candidate at Northeastern University. She resides on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation with her family. 

Robert Krzys, J.D.

Treasurer

Robert Krzys is an attorney and health care consultant. As an attorney, he has represented various public sector labor unions in collective bargaining negotiations for over thirty years. The subject of health care benefits has figured prominently in his work and as the spokesperson for the coalition of all state employee unions on the statewide labor-management health care cost containment committee, he proposed the establishment of the Health Enhancement Program which went into effect in 2011.  That program contains a wide array of Value Based Insurance Design provisions.

Attorney Krzys is an appointed member of the Consumer Advisory Board of the on-going Connecticut SIM initiative. The CAB is charged with ensuring that the interests of the consumer are fully considered in any health care reform initiatives. He also serves on the Value Based Insurance Design Consortium of the SIM initiative which seeks to accelerate the adoption of VBID principles within the health care delivery system.

Bob is also on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Health Foundation whose mission is to eliminate health disparities for people of color. He also serves on the Foundation’s Governance and Public Policy Committees. He is also serving as a Mentor in the Foundation’s newly launched Academy for health leaders.

Bob has been active in advocating for the interests of working people throughout his career and is familiar with the workings of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of Connecticut government. In conjunction with a local union he helped establish a coalition of assisters to promote enrollment in Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange.

Attorney Krzys has a degree in Political Science from Tufts University and a law degree from Santa Clara University.

Debra M. Borrero

Secretary

Debra currently serves as the Director of School Choice programs for the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). She has worked in education policy for over 15 years, with experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

As Director, Debra provides leadership and overall direction of the program while utilizing her background in communications and community involvement; she cultivates relationships with superintendents and boards of education to better serve students in the 29 schools districts enrolled through the Hartford Region Open Choice Program. She manages the program’s $1.3 million dollar budget, and is responsible for overseeing the support services for students and districts, marketing and recruitment, and the coordination of the program’s diverse staff.

She also functions as CREC’s representative to the Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) at the State Department of Education, facilitating the application and placement process for students interested in CREC’s magnet schools and the Hartford Region Open Choice Program. Since she became Director of School Choice Programs, the program has seen a 73% increase in enrollment. 

In 2015, she was nominated as Manager of the Year. Debra left Trinity to work for Governor M. Jodi Rell and was promoted to serve as Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. In this role, she advocated the Governor’s public policy and legislative priorities with primary focus on committees of cognizance in education, environment, housing, transportation, commerce, and energy.

Alan Aleia

Director

As a lifelong caretaker, healthcare equity is central to Alans' personal motivation for advocacy.  As an executive at one the largest operators of hospitals in the country, Alan learned that there are many stakeholders involved with healthcare service delivery and that complex regulations and numerous reimbursement models pose obstacles for marginalized patients that may not have the ability to navigate to the care they need.  Healthcare access must improve to create a more civil and equitable society and improve the wellbeing of all in our community. 

Most of Alan Aleia’s business career has focused on innovation and creating efficiencies with payment and cost reimbursement models.  After graduating from American International College, Alan joined the audit practice of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and earned his Certified Public Accountant credentials.  He later took a position in the insurance industry where he held increasingly responsible roles in financial management.  He is the lead innovator for a unique business process and technology that substantially improved the efficiency of premium recovery and claims settlement.  His innovations have resulted in 5 US Patient awards.   In addition, he led the team that brought these innovations to market, demonstrated commercial viability and later became a successful business which was acquired by a global services company.  

Alan next moved into product management and business development roles where he worked at early stage technology organizations before joining a healthcare revenue cycle services firm which was acquired by the largest publicly traded operator of hospitals and surgical centers in the United States. It was here that Alan learned the business side of healthcare delivery and came to appreciate the complexities of various cost reimbursement models and how they potentially influence the impact of health outcomes

Gwendolyn Brantley

Director

Ms. Gwendolyn Brantley lives in Bridgeport, CT and attended Bridgeport Public Schools.  After graduating from Central High School she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Corporate Communications and then later in life earned a Master of Science Degree from the University of Bridgeport in Human Resources Development. 

Gwen has worked in both the corporate and educational sectors in several different capacities.  But it is through her experiences working in the education sector as well as being a mother that has inspired her to help young people with their college and career aspirations. After attending her first National Society of Black Engineer’s (NSBE) conference in Boston she quickly realized how NSBE’s presence could be very beneficial not only to her son but also to other family members, friends, and the greater Bridgeport community. 

In 2006 with assistance of NSBE’s regional leadership board she charted the Bridgeport NSBE Jr. Chapter at a time when there was no or very little STEM academic enrichment programs being offered in the community or the school system and for many years The Bridgeport NSBE Jr. Chapter was the only active chapter in Connecticut. For the past 13 years Gwen  has been passionate about NSBE and through this role she has been able to inspire hundreds of middle and high school students in choosing STEM as a career option and achieving academic excellence.   

In 2012 she established ACCESS Educational Services, Inc. as a 501 c3 non-profit organization to allow her to expand her fundraising efforts to sustain the chapter as well as create other STEM academic enrichment activities.   In addition, to managing the Bridgeport NSBE Jr. Chapter, she has developed and offers: the Summer STEAM Camp, The Saturday STEAM Club, Girls Who Code Club, FIRST Robotics, and a service provider to Bridgeport’s Board of Education and Lighthouse after school programs.

In addition, her other civic duties include an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Fairfield County Alumnae Chapter, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, New Haven Metropolitan Chapter, CT, CT-FANS NSBE Professional Chapter and, Vice-Chair of the Alumni Board for the University of Bridgeport. Gwen also serves as a consultant to the United Way as a Youth Innovation Specialist for their Bridgeport Prospers Initiative. 

 

Lawrence Davis

Director

A resident of Hartford, Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Gettysburg College. He is an active member in greater Hartford, serving as a board member of Achieve Hartford, a corporator of the Hartford Public Library, and a board member of the MetroHartford Alliance, of which he is a former chairman of the Chamber Board. Davis has also previously served as chairman of the City of Hartford Audit Commission; secretary and executive board member of Urban League of Greater Hartford; and has volunteered with Hartford Public Schools.

Elaine O'Keefe, MS

Director

Elaine currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), the Executive Director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Yale School of Public Health, and is a lecturer of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. Prior to her work at the CIRA, Elaine served as the Health Director for Stratford, Connecticut and as the AIDS Division Director for the City of New Haven. Elaine is a founding member of the New Haven Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS and the Women’s AIDS Coalition. 

She created the City’s first dedicated AIDS unit in the New Haven Health Department during the early days of the epidemic. Elaine has also held various state and national leadership positions. She is a former president of the CT Association of Directors of health and past president of the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). While active in NACCHO she launched and chaired an HIV Advisory Committee that advocated for progressive HIV policy at the national level.

Elaine has received various awards over the years for her contributions in the AIDS/HIV and broader public health practice milieu. She is a recipient of the CT State Health Commissioner’s AIDS Leadership award, the C.E.A. Winslow award for Public Health Leadership, and co-recipient of the Franz Edelman Management Science award for her involvement in the Yale sponsored evaluation of the New Haven NEP.

Alycia Santilli

Director

Alycia Santilli, MSW, is Director of the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), co-housed at Southern CT State University and the Yale School of Public Health. Building on her previous work as a community organizer – organizing people to influence state health policy – she started her research career to explore the important link between policy change and research. She began coordinating community-engaged research projects at the Yale School of Public Health in 2005. Alycia then joined CARE shortly after its inception in 2007 and has been integral in providing administrative oversight and strategic direction for the organization, quickly rising to a leadership position. In addition to managing grants, budgets, and human resources, she directed all research and other activities conducted in community settings, including organizing with low-income communities to develop health interventions. Alycia brings research skills in survey design; recruitment of hard-to-reach study participants; project management; training lay-people in research, including data collection; IRB and data collection protocol development; and dissemination of research results to the community. In 2009, 2012, and 2015, she hired, trained, supervised, and directed 20 surveyors to complete >1200 household surveys in two months, as part of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment. In 2016, Alycia transitioned to the role of Director when CARE merged Southern CT State University, bringing with her a decade of experience in community engagement and deep ties to the New Haven community. She has authored several academic papers and numerous community reports. Alycia has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing from the University of Connecticut. She received a BA in English and was certified in K-6 from Eastern Connecticut State University. Alycia is a Connecticut native and has lived in New Haven for nearly 15 years.