Community Advisory Board

Meet our Community Advisory Board!

Our Community Advisory Board is composed of 15+ members of our LGBTQ+ community in New York State. The purpose of the CAB is to provide the perspective of stakeholders within sexual and gender minority communities in the work that the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative is doing.

The CAB meets about 6 times per year, and tasks include reviewing drafts of materials and providing suggestions to make sure materials and plans are inclusive and sensitive to racial, ethnic, and cultural aspects, discussing the overall direction and goals for the grant, and successes and areas for improvement, etc. We have an open application for our CAB! If you are interested, or you know anyone who may be interested, please review this document and apply here!

Meet Our CAB

Luna is looking down towards the camera.

Luna (they/she/elle) aka Amanda Ureña recently joined the CAB in January of 2022 and was one of the Co-Chairs for the 2022-2023 grant year. Luna is a neurodivergent, pansexual, latinx human from New York. They have years of experience analyzing data and engaging decision makers to drive operational and organizational change. Luna started their career in supply chain operations and later transitioned into MLTC (managed long-term care) operations for an NYC-based plan. Luna is also currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in Urban Health with a minor in LGBT health at Drexel University. As a Breast Cancer survivor who had experienced fat phobic treatment from providers, Luna is passionate about ensuring that people at all intersections are believed and provided affirming, life-saving care. Let’s live with pride!

Wanda is smiling for the camera.

Wanda identifies as Lesbian, Cisgender, and Puerto Rican. Wanda was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She was one the Out Alliance (Gay Alliance) Speaker Bureau for 11 years, and is Safe Zone and Certified Train the Trainer. Wanda started the LGBTQ* at the Veterans Medical Affairs in Canandaigua NY, the Rochester Outpatient Clinic in 2009, and also later the Bath VA. She is an Advocate for the LGBTQ* Veterans, and President and CEO of the Re-lief Corporation. Wanda is a volunteer of the National Susan B Anthony Museum and House, and a volunteer in turning your community green and climate solution accelerator. She is also a trainer for the Western NY Suicide Prevention and a Member of the Board of Directors of The Partnership Ontario County, Inc.

Lucky poses shyly for the camera.

Summer Light (pronouns: they/them/theirs/she/her/hers) just finished their second year as Co-Chair and was elected to the position again for the 2023-2024 grant year. Summer is a School-Based Chemical Dependency Counselor for The Center for Youth who believes in understanding the systematic barriers that affect all humans that exist within modern times. Summer joined the CAB because she believes in equal representation in understanding the unique and countless voices who will not be heard. Summer strives to represent what it means to invite a queer multi-cultural person of color at the table that DOES NOT speak for ALL people that may fit into the aforementioned demographics. To not stress you or themselves out they can be found laughing, eating, writing, listening to select podcasts, eating some more, dancing, and loving their baby – Chase – the dog that came into their life… and the story that ends with a cliffhanger.. of not knowing who saved who!

Julia Peitzer is smiling for the camera.

Julia Peitzer is an out and proud queer transwoman with a personal and professional background in mental health and LGBTQ advocacy. She currently works and lives in Queens, NYC. Julia believes equality and power for minority groups is taken, not asked for, and her work reflects this. In her spare time, Julia enjoys the NYC Nightlife, as well as all things nerdy.

Olivia Hillary is smiling for the camera.

Olivia Hillary was the CAB Chair from Fall 2019 – Spring 2021, and joined at the CAB’s start in November of 2019. She identifies as a gay cisgender black woman. She has dedicated most of her time to supporting and educating individuals on a range of health related topics. The CAB was a natural step in her journey to a more inclusive and supportive community.

Ryan is looking at the camera with a bemused expression.

Ryan is an NYS Community Mental Health Therapist and have been developing an comprehensive clinical caseload devoted toward those with chronic illness, trauma-complex disorders, and Gender-Sexual-Racial minorities. In both the upstate NY communities and state-to-state communities; Ryan has been known to be serving the expansive Trans, Gender-diverse, and Non-binary communities thus far. Ryan have been providing primary and secondary gender affirming intervention letters with ages from 13 years old to late 80s. Ryan continues to serve the community as expansively they can by running 2-3 concurrent community outreach psychotherapy groups in a 6-month period.

Cheri is smiling for the camera.

Cheri has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years. The majority of her time has been spent in residential and program development, creating strong teams and quality housing programs for people living with mental health/addiction issues. Cheri is a member of United Way’s  2019 LGBTQ+ Leadership Development Program, and started an Anti-Racism Learning Community at a local non-profit agency, where she also was Co-Chair of the Diversity Education Committee. She is dedicated to creating true change and making space for underserved populations’ voices to be heard and invited to the table to assist with creating this change.  She is an advocate for addressing the social determinants of health for underserved populations and is dedicated to assisting to create health equity for all. Cheri is currently the owner of CRW Coaching & Consulting and specializes in life, recovery, and leadership development with a focus on marginalized communities.

Arianna Christana is smiling at the camera.

Ariana Christana (she/her) is fairly new to working within the LGBTQ+ community. Through her work as a transgender care patient navigator at the University of Rochester, Ari seeks to help provide other transgender and nonbinary people with the resources and services they might desire to help them live their most authentic and happy lives. Sacrificing a good job due to discovering an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda from the company ownership, Ari felt inspired to find work that is rewarding to her personally by acting as a resource, a supportive figure, an active voice, and an active, empathetic ear to lend to those within the community who might need it. Through kindness, understanding, patience, and a smiling face, she is very passionate about and works hard to help bring an improved social perception of the transgender community. Joining the CAB was just an organic transition for her as the purpose of the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative represents the fundamental improvement of care and handling of all people within the LGBTQ+ community!

Interested in joining our CAB?

The LGBTQ+ Health Initiative invites interested New Yorkers from anywhere in the state to apply to be a member of the Community Advisory Board, or CAB. This advisory board is open to employees of the NYS HHS Network organizations and to the general public, with a strong preferance for members of LGBQ+, TGNCNB, and/or BIPOC communities. This CAB will help ensure the LGBTQ+ Health Initiative’s work is representative of all New Yorkers.