The Better Health Team includes individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise in collaborative leadership, strategic planning, program/project management, data analytics/IT security, convening/event management, quality improvement consulting, social determinant of health care coordination, finance, communications, shared learning circles, and operations.
Shari Bolen, MD, MPH
Director of Cardiovascular Disease Programs at Better Health Partnership
Shari is a practicing general internist, Director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) and Director of the Center for Health Care Research and Policy at The MetroHealth System, where she spends much of her time on health services and quality improvement research in cardiovascular risk reduction. Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, Shari helped establish a deep regional network with our community creating strong ties with members of the Health Improvement Partnership – Cuyahoga. The REACH grant was renewed for a second five-year term, where Shari is the project lead responsible for linking patients with social needs to community resources for health improvement and evaluating program impact. Among Shari's many achievements, she led the modification of an evidence-based hypertension protocol, which was adopted across the region under Better Health Partnership. Success from this work led to the funding of two Ohio Department of Medicaid projects: a statewide cardiovascular health collaborative and a state-wide hypertension and diabetes quality improvement project.
Aleece Caron, PhD
Senior Practice Consultant, Better Health Partnership Senior Medical Educator, The MetroHealth System
Aleece Caron is Co-Principal Investigator of the Heart Healthy Ohio Initiative (HHOI) and serves as the Co-Lead of the Executive, Codesign, and Implementation Teams. Dr. Caron is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) residing in the Center for Health Care Research and Policy within the Population Health Research Institute at The MetroHealth System. She is also the Co-Director of Education for the Population Health Research Institute and co-directs population health training opportunities for students, residents and fellows. Her primary research and educational interests involve quality improvement, implementation science, and workforce development. She serves as the lead of HRSA funded training grants that train primary care providers, residents, physician assistants (PA), and PA students in medically underserved communities on improving quality of care, health care disparities, systems of care, professional development and mentors practice transformation. Previously, she served as faculty member for The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement. She has co-chaired the AAMC Central Region’s committee on Quality Improvement since 2010 and is the CGEA Section Leader for Continuing Professional Development.
David brings many years of executive experience in the Cleveland healthcare market to Better Health Partnership. He is responsible for financial reporting for both internal and external constituencies and provides finanical expertise for the rest of the Better Health team. David's knowledge and experience ensures the growth of new lines of business and helps guide the financial aspects related to Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care organizations. He is a native Clevelander with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Economics.
We welcome Kirstin Craciun to the Better Health Partnership team as our Community Impact Lead. In her temporary role in 2020, Kirstin did the heavy lifting in connecting UnitedHealth Group to our Federally Qualified Health Center partners and Greater Cleveland Congregations for the S.T.O.P. COVID Cleveland initiative and continues to lead the COVID FQHC Collaborative. In 2021, we look forward to her leadership involvement with many of our mission-aligned, equitable community health impact initiatives.
Prior to this role, Kirstin served as the Director of Community Outreach for The Center for Health Affairs. In this capacity, Kirstin led the Community Health Needs Assessment Roundtable and together with Dr. Heidi Gullett brought the hospital community, public health and other essential stakeholders together to develop Cuyahoga County’s first collaborative Community Health Needs Assessment and explore opportunities for collaboration on addressing CHNA-related strategic health priorities.
Chad Garven, MD, MPH completed his undergraduate degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. He earned a master of public health and his medical degree from Wright State University. Dr. Garven completed his family medicine residency in 2015 at The Medical University of South Carolina and returned home to Cleveland to practice family medicine at Neighborhood Family Practice. In his 6+ years at Neighborhood Family Practice, he has maintained EPIC Provider builder certification working to improve workflows, provider efficiency, and a passion for health care data that shines a light on inequity, access, and clinical outcomes. He has worked in coordination with BHP throughout the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring equitable access to testing and vaccination for thousands of patients on the near west side of Cleveland. He is kept otherwise busy watching all Cleveland sports and spending time with his wife, Bridget and two young children.
Keith is responsible for data collection and data security at Better Health, which he joined in 2016 after following 16 years as an engineer in the Information Services department at MetroHealth Medical Center. His expertise in data management ensures secure sharing of quality data that enables transparency through public reporting of clinical care and outcomes. Keith has a bachelor's of science in information technology and an MBA.
Rita Horwitz is the President and CEO of Better Health Partnership (BHP), a multi-stakeholder, regional health improvement collaborative located in Northeast Ohio that accelerates data-informed improvements in equitable population and community health. Ms. Horwitz, together with the Board of Directors and the Better Health Team, leads the strategic direction, programmatic activities, and financial sustainability strategies of the organization. She joined BHP in 2011 as its Director of Business Development and later became the Chief Operating Officer – expanding the collaborative's community partners to include health care, social services, public health, business, payers, education, and other sectors across multiple counties. A graduate of The Ohio State University's School of Nursing, and Case Western Reserve University's Health Care Executive Management program, Ms. Horwitz has held leadership positions in ambulatory healthcare, corporate-based health and wellness, business development, quality improvement, non-profit, and entrepreneurial start-up ventures. She serves as executive representation for the national network of regional health improvement collaboratives, Ohio Pathways HUB network, Carmella Rose Health Foundation Board of Directors, United Way’s Community Advisory Board, Cuyahoga County’s Health Improvement Partnership(hip-Cuyahoga), First Year Cleveland, Say Yes to Education Integrated Health and Policy Task Forces, and the City of Cleveland's Lead Screening and Testing Committee. In 2018, she received recognition in Crain’s Cleveland Business, as one of Northeast Ohio’s most note-able women in health care and is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland’s class of 2019.
Working primarily in the Better Health Pathways HUB, Alvonta’ manages all client referrals and quality metrics audits, along with leading the monthly Community Health Worker meetings. He also organizes activities of numerous projects, committee meetings, and grants for Better Health Partnership and its stakeholders. Alvonta’, who joined us after completing his undergrad in Public Health at Miami University, is a South Carolina native with a passion for health and wellness.
Carol Kaschube, retired from her role as Member Relations and Business Manager in August 2022 and remains a consultant with BHP. She played an integral role in member relations, community outreach and planning, business operations, and execution of Better Health initiatives. She managed both large and small events including Learning Collaboratives, webinars and other community-wide events and meetings. She has been a member of the executive team since the organizations launch in 2007. Carol serves in the elected position of Board Secretary for Better Health Partnership's Board of Directors. Her vast experience in office management and finance ensures excellence in all facets of day-to-day operations.
Ndidi Edeh-Larberg supports the analysis, visualization, and presentation of data collected through the Pathways HUB and regional clinical partners. Prior to joining Better Health Partnership, Ndidi was an Epidemiologist Coordinator at the Summit County Health Department, focusing on Maternal and Child Health. There she worked with the Ohio Equity Institute in managing data around racial disparities in infant mortality. She also has experience in the clinical space as a registered respiratory therapist. Ndidi received her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Respiratory Care, and a Master's Degree in Public Health Epidemiology from the University of Toledo, and is a PhD Candidate in Public Health Epidemiology.
Jonathan is the Program Manager for the organization's equitable population health and community health improvement initiatives. He has helped implement the evidence-based best practice for hypertension management and Clinic to Community Linkages in the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the Centers for Disease Control. He facilitates several projects such as First Year Cleveland’s Action Team #4 extreme prematurity initiative and the Children's Mental/Behavioral Health improvement work. He spearheaded the start-up and currently oversees the operations of the Better Health Pathways HUB – a centralized, evidence-based care coordination model serving at-risk populations in Cuyahoga County. Jonathan serves on the United Way Advisory Board and serves as subject matter expert for United Way's CMS Accountable Health Communities initiative. He has a Master's of Public Health and a certificate in Evaluation of Public Health Promotion and Health Education programs. He also has a certificate in Project Management and is a nationally registered paramedic.
Tom was the founding Data Director for BHP and developed its processes for data acquisition, aggregation and analysis. He is author of many relevant publications, particularly in the design and analysis of observational and comparative effectiveness studies. Tom has led courses at clinical and statistical meetings on propensity scores, cluster randomized trials and related topics in causal effects. He has won numerous teaching awards and given multiple workshops for the American Statistical Association. Tom is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an Associate Editor of The American Statistician, and has served as Editor of Health Services Research & Outcomes Methodology. He has chaired and served on panels for the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.
Chris leads data analyses and visualizations of regional health information received from Better Health's members and partners, that inform opportunities to accelerate improvements in equitable population and community health. Before joining Better Health Partnership, Chris served as epidemiologist for the Portage County Combined General Health District and as an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Hiram College. Chris earned his Master of Public Health degree and Ph.D. from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Chris serves on multiple leadership committees for Better Health Partnership and within the community including Say Yes to Education and the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition.
Dr. Ashwini Sehgal is the Duncan Neuhauser Professor of Community Health Improvement, the inaugural Director of Research and Evaluation for the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ and Co-Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also Professor of Medicine, Bioethics, and Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, he is a nephrologist at MetroHealth Medical Center. Dr. Sehgal received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, from the University of Rochester, and his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sehgal’s research has focused on quality improvement and health disparities. He is the Principal Investigator of a $15 million program project grant funded by the National Institutes of Health to understand and address health disparities related to hypertension and kidney disease in Cleveland. He has published over 125 journal articles. Dr. Sehgal also developed an innovative course on medical activism for which he received a national teaching award from the American Medical Student Association. He was vice-chairman of the Medical Review Board of End Stage Renal Disease Networks 9 and 10, a federally mandated quality oversight organization, and served on a panel to advise the National Institutes of Health on ways to enhance clinical research in the United States. From 2006-2012, he was Co-Medical Director of the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health.
Marie is a dedicated professional with 20 years of experience in Cuyahoga County's human service systems. She is a goal-oriented leader with proven ability to coach and motivate teams and community partners to achieve outcomes. She strives to streamline processes to increase efficiency and improve service delivery. Marie has direct practice experience with children and family services at the Division of Children and Family Services, program management with victims of human trafficking, service coordination supervision with early intervention at Bright Beginnings, and most recently, clinic coordination with Cuyahoga County WIC. Marie received her Bachelor of Art in Social Work at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and her Master of Public Administration from Cleveland State University.