Health Equity Staff and Contact Information
General Office Information
625 Robert St. N.
PO Box 64975
Saint Paul, MN
|Center for Health Equity
Office of Minority & Multicultural Health
If you're looking for a Center for Health Equity speaker, consultation, representative on your committee, etc., please complete our request form with the details of your request. We will get back to you within 2-3 weeks.
If you're looking for a student internship, please visit our Internships page for more information.
Meet the Staff
Dr. Halkeno Tura, Director
Dr. Halkeno Tura joined MDH in October 2021 with over 15 years of experience in managing public health programs in the U.S. and abroad. He is a researcher, and his research works are published in academic peer reviewed journals. He has extensive experience in implementing and managing health equity initiatives and mobilizing stakeholders, and he values investing in building a sense of belonging in community. Dr. Tura holds a Master of Art in Public Health Education, Master of Public Health in Nutrition, Doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa, and he is a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Sara Chute, Assistant Director
Sara Chute has worked at MDH since 2006. In 2017, Sara became Assistant Director for the Center for Health Equity and the Center for Health Data. She has been a champion for communities impacted by inequities throughout her career and values the importance of building trust and developing action-oriented approaches to addressing complex public problems in partnership with community. Sara holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College. In her "free time," Sara enjoys chasing after her kids Race and Sara Evelyn with her husband Frank.
Mohamed Hassan, Budget and Grants Administrator
Mohamed joined MDH in 2016 and completed his master’s degree in Health and Human Service Administration at St. Mary’s University in 2017. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development and Business Marketing Education from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining MDH, Mohamed worked for the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota (CSCM), the largest Somali community organization in North America, where he served as a youth coordinator and advanced to employment and human service coordinator. After CSCM, Mohamed worked at Dugsi Academy Charter School in St. Paul as the dean of students.
Helen Jackson Lockett-El, Community Engagement Planner
Helen Jackson Lockett-El is a community engagement planner and is currently working on a project to address infant mortality among U.S.-born African Americans in Hennepin County through a health equity lens. Using a community-based model, Ms. Lockett-El has recruited and engaged over 20 community members for the project’s Community Voices and Solutions (CVAS) Leadership Team, which has established a shared decision-making approach in addressing infant mortality within the community. Ms. Lockett-El has an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree from Luther Seminary with over twenty years of experience working in the community on issues of health disparities.
Amy Lopez, Health Equity Planner
Amy Maheswaran Lopez (Amy Lopez) is a health equity planner at the Center for Health Equity. Previously, Amy spent four years as the state's suicide prevention coordinator in the MDH Office of Injury and Violence Prevention. Amy’s passion for health equity has been demonstrated domestically and globally during her 20+ year career, serving the homeless, juvenile and adult offenders, gang members, and survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. Amy has worked alongside communities of color, urban American Indians and Tribal Nations leading community mobilizing and community development initiatives. Amy earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in psychology and her master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in public policy, public administration and community development.
Christy Nguyen, Administrative Coordinator
Christy joined MDH in 2015 to provide administrative support for the Center for Health Equity. She supports everything and everyone, and we couldn't get our work done without her! Christy is a University of St. Catherine graduate with a nursing degree. Prior to her position at MDH, Christy worked at a pediatric clinic providing patient care for ten years. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, walking and spending time with her husband and their five children.
Ramya Palaniappan, Grant Manager
Ramya has been with the Center for Health Equity since 2018. She recently completed her Masters of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Minnesota. Ramya has a background in infant mortality, homelessness, reproductive health, domestic violence, and global health. Ramya brings a passion for racial equity and maternal health and experience in project management and community engagement. She is from Boulder, Colorado and loves cooking and hiking!
Bridget Pouladian, Grant Manager and Communications Specialist
Bridget joined MDH as a health educator in 2013 and then as a grant manager for the Center for Health Equity in 2016. Prior to joining MDH, Bridget lived in Burkina Faso, West Africa for two years where she worked as a Community Health and Development Agent with the Peace Corps. She also worked as a program assistant for the Resilient Communities Project at the University of Minnesota and as a writer, editor and designer at two local newspapers. Bridget has a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota and bachelor's degrees in journalism and international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bridget brings a passion for health and racial equity and several years of experience as a communicator, organizer and project manager.
Mia Robillos, Research Scientist
Mia joined MDH in 2014. She leads the reporting and evaluation for our grant programs and provides evaluation technical assistance to grantees and local public health departments. Previously, Mia worked as a research associate at Rainbow Research, Inc. Mia has over 25 years of experience in research and evaluation in the areas of health, education, social services and organizational capacity building for a range of entities including community-based nonprofits, government, foundations and schools. She holds a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics and has completed coursework and preliminary exams in the applied economics doctoral program at the University of Minnesota.
Meredith Cooney, Tribal Health Fellow
Meredith joined the Tribal Health Director and Center for Health Equity through the CDC Public Health Associate Program in the fall of 2020. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a joint degree in Public Health and Business Organizations of Society, where she completed a year-long honors thesis project researching the relationship between Hepatitis C and Socioeconomic Status, Comorbidities, and Known Risk Behaviors. She is passionate about how public health systems impact different communities globally, nationally, and locally. In her free time, Meredith enjoys traveling, reading, rowing, and exploring neighborhoods in the Twin Cities.
Victoria Gaines, Health Equity Fellow
Victoria joined the Center for Health Equity through the CDC Public Health Associate Program in the fall of 2020. She received an MA in sociology from the University of Memphis where she studied the sociology of mental health and self-destructive behaviors. Victoria went on to teach at the university for a year while studying trauma science and resilience as a means of preventing violence and injury, and then served for a year with AmeriCorps VISTA at a refugee service agency in Atlanta, GA. She is excited to work with CHE and aid in providing access to health resources to those who are at-risk and/or underserved. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, exploring the city, and watching Marvel movies and Lovecraft Country.
Carly Lovallo, Health Equity Fellow
Carly joined the Center for Health Equity through the CDC’s Public Health Associate Program in the fall of 2021. She completed a year of service with the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps Program in Jacksonville, Florida where she managed a pilot program at the YMCA for seniors at risk for social isolation and loneliness. In addition to managing the pilot program at the YMCA, she volunteered at various nonprofits and gained hands-on experience providing health education and access services to underserved communities. Prior to her AmeriCorps experience, Carly graduated from James Madison University where she studied public health education and health communication. In her free time, Carly enjoys volunteering at local nonprofits, playing in recreational sports leagues, and exploring new parks and restaurants around the city.
Stephanie Rosa, Health Equity Fellow
Stephanie joined the Center for Health Equity in the fall of 2021 through the CDC Public Health Associate Program. She received a BA in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. During her time at Berkeley, Stephanie led programs focused on addressing health disparities, primarily in the county of Los Angeles, California. She is excited to be working with CHE and continue her work to strive for equity amongst underserved populations. During her free time, she enjoys discovering new places to eat, exploring new neighborhoods, and finding a good show to binge watch.
Staff Video Highlights
Meet Helen Jackson Lockett-El, a community engagement planner for the Center for Health Equity.
Meet Mohamed Hassan, a grant manager for the Center for Health Equity.
Meet Bridget (Roby) Pouladian, a grant manager for the Center for Health Equity.