Our Board

Evelyn Mantilla

"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.

Kristen N. Hatcher, Esq.

Vice President

“Health equity in Connecticut is something that can be achieved.  There are multiple factors that contribute to the striking disparities that exist. Accordingly, in order to achieve health equity, we must address the issue on many levels.  Health Equity Solutions will play one of the most important roles on the road to health equity, as it will lead the charge to move essential policy change forward.”

Kristen Noelle Hatcher, Managing Attorney of the Benefits Unit at Connecticut Legal Services, Inc. (CLS), oversees its Public Benefits practice.  CLS is the largest legal services program in the state.  There, she and her unit advocate through individual and class legal representation, as well as systemic advocacy on behalf of low-income people to gain access to healthcare, food assistance, income maintenance, energy assistance, child care assistance and other programs that help individuals meet their basic needs. 

Hatcher’s journey to health equity work began while attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where Hatcher completed course work that examined the history of race in the United States and its impact on health, housing, education, law and other systems in the U.S.  She drew on this knowledge working for a managed Medicaid nonprofit organization serving Connecticut and performing interventional research in the public health system in Denver, CO.  This work inspired Hatcher to attend law school, so that she could address health inequities in new forms.  Upon graduating from the University of Colorado, School of Law, Boulder CO, Hatcher returned to Connecticut and soon thereafter joined CLS.  Hatcher participated on the Health Disparities Committee of the Sustinet Board.  Since 2010, Hatcher has served on the CT Commission on Health Equity, where she served on the executive committee and chairs the youth committee.  In the spring of 2011, she completed a Health Equity Fellowship Program with the Connecticut Health Foundation and in 2012 was invited back to serve as a Senior Fellow for the program.  In August, 2011, Hatcher was appointed to the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Regional Health Equity Council for Region I, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.  In 2013, Hatcher was appointed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Regional Advisory Board for New Britain.  In 2014, Hatcher was appointed to the CT Medical Program Oversight Council.     

Bruce T. Liang, M.D.


“Health Equity is and should be front and center of any effort for excellence in quality, which all health care providers should strive to achieve.”

Dr. Bruce T. Liang is a graduate of Harvard College and Medical School.  After residency training at University of Pennsylvania and cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he joined the faculty at University of Pennsylvania.  In 2002, he assumed his current positions as Director of Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiovascular Center and Chief of Cardiology at University of Connecticut Medical Center, the Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine, and Chief of Cardiology at the University of Connecticut Health Center.  Under his leadership, the Calhoun Cardiovascular Center has won a number of awards on quality and service.  In 2011-2012, Dr. Liang served as the interim dean of the UConn School of Medicine. 

Debra M. Borrero


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.

Robert Kryzs, J.D.


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.

Elaine O'Keefe, MS


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.

Michele Scott, M.S.


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.