Health Equity Advisory Council


The Health Equity Advisory Council is a pilot initiative that is part of a broader set of OPHE-led efforts to advance health equity across Maine. The Council provides invaluable connection to communities facing health inequities and seeks to ensure that OPHE’s programming and strategy are responsive to community needs, with an explicit focus on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (“BIPOC”) communities. The Council enables lasting inclusive and participatory relationships between community members and OPHE.

The initial responsibilities of the Council include the following:

  • Provide input into OPHE strategy, priorities, and structure;
  • Promote principles and policies that inform the way services are designed and delivered;
  • Amplify critical unmet needs to key leaders and propose equitable solutions;
  • Outline and advocate for community-informed actions that OPHE can take to further and deepen health equity work by addressing internal systems, processes, and programs;
  • Provide recommendations relative to health inequities which are affecting communities that are most impacted by COVID-19;
  • Examine opportunities which provide greater access to high quality medical care and improve health outcomes;
  • Develop health equity leadership and capacity within underserved communities; and
  • Provide OPHE with support, thought partnership and collaboration.

The inaugural Council, which launched in August 2022, was selected through an open application process. The Council is reflective of the communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Council members represent a broad cross-section of personal and professional experience and include community leaders, medical and dental professionals, social workers, public health professionals, healthcare administrators, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) experts. Some other highlights about the inaugural Council include:

  • The Council is overwhelmingly comprised of Black/African American community members. The Council also includes Indigenous, Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI), Latino/Latinx/Hispanic, and White community members.
  • Approximately half of Council members are over 40 years old, and half are under 40 years old.
  • Approximately half of Council members identify as immigrants, refugees, or asylum-seekers.

Future opportunities to join the Council are anticipated, with more information to be announced in 2023.


  • Abdikadir Negeye
  • Amina Hassan
  • Ayesha Hall
  • Deqa Dhalac
  • Flo Edwards
  • Humza Khan
  • Idella Glenn
  • Jennifer Monti
  • Leslie Monroy
  • Lisa Sockabasin
  • Melissa Hue
  • Ninette Irabaruta
  • Regina Phillips
  • Sana Osman
  • Selam Runyon-Baruch
  • Taiba Zahir

Please find Council member biographies here (PDF).

2022 Meeting Information

More information coming soon.