Community Strategy Team
The Department of Population Health works with nine grassroots leaders, connectors and advocates — each cornerstones of their communities — to rethink strategies for meeting the health needs of underserved people and neighborhoods across Austin and Central Texas. The Community Strategy Team builds meaningful relationships, especially in underrepresented communities most directly impacted by social and health inequities and disparities.
Meet the Team
Deborah Beresky is an advocate for individuals with mental health issues. A member of Integral Care’s Planning and Network Advisory Committee, Beresky formerly provided services as a licensed chemical dependency counselor. Beresky has a special interest in helping people living below the federal poverty line receive medical and mental health services, having herself experienced obstacles such as homelessness and unemployment.
Kellee Coleman has more than 18 years of experience in equity and social justice community organizing. She co-founded the Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana prenatal clinic, which provides holistic and culturally sensitive services to lower-income black and Latinx individuals.
Lorena Sanchez Cruz
Lorena Sanchez Cruz has worked with the Sustainable Food Center as a facilitator since 2003. She focuses on improving healthy eating within the Latinx community in Central Texas. She has worked with The Cocina Feliz / Happy Kitchen program. Cruz is certified as a Promotorx de Salud / Community Health Worker and is an active member of Santa Barbara Catholic Church. She also volunteers in the Del Valle Independent School District. Cruz has lived in experience addressing barriers with transportation, medical care and access to health food.
Priscilla A. Hale, MSW
Priscilla Hale is executive director of allgo, an organization that supports queer people of color. Hale has experience in HIV/AIDS case management, community organizing, production of cultural work, nonprofit administration and program development. An East Austin native, her family has been in the Austin area for seven generations.
Gilpreet Kooner works for a tech company in downtown Austin. She used to work and still volunteers at People’s Community Clinic and is passionate about getting all individuals access to the care they need.
Ari Luna focuses on building autonomous infrastructures and cultivating shared ethics of collective care with black and brown, poor and queer folks in Central Texas. They have extensive professional and personal experience with non-profits as well as physical and mental health services. Luna earned a Bachelor of Social Work from UT Austin.
Esther Chung Martin
Esther Chung Martin is the co-founder of the Asian Behavioral Health Network. She was also the first Asian-American community archivist for the Austin History Center. Martin earned a masters of science in social work from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor of arts from Southern Methodist University.
Marva Overton is executive director of the Alliance for African-American Health in Central Texas, a nonprofit organization that engages community members to address health issues that disproportionately impact African-Americans.
Carmen Llanes Pulido
Carmen Llanes Pulido is the community director for GO! Austin/VAMOS! Austin in Dove Springs, a place-based and resident-led public health initiative improving access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities for families in Southeast Austin.
Paula X. Rojas
Paula X. Rojas, Community Strategy Team consultant, is a community organizer, licensed midwife and social justice trainer. For more than 20 years, she has worked on issues of gender violence, racial justice, women’s reproductive health, childcare access, health care access and police brutality. Rojas co-founded a number of community-based organizations, including Mamas of Color Rising, Refugio: Center for Community Organizing and the New York Organizing Support Center.
Alejandro Caceres works with immigrant communities to build collective power to challenge deportation policies. A native of Honduras, his mother traveled to the U.S. when he was two years old and returned to bring Caceres and his sisters to the country four years later. Since 2010, Caceres’ focus has been on immigrant communities in Arizona and Austin.
Lilliana Cardona-Martinez started her career in health care more than 20 years ago, working in various roles including pharmacy technician. Cardona-Martinez moved to Austin to earn her bachelor of arts degree in Mexican-American Studies. She volunteers with various organizations across the community.
Molly Wang is a licensed professional counselor and mental health educator. She leads cultural competency efforts at Integral Care, where she was previously a behavioral health program manager and intake counselor.