Community Leadership

Community Advisory Council

The Health Equity Zones Community Advisory Council convenes community, tribal, and sector leaders to establish the foundation of the Health Equity Zones Initiative. This group ensures efforts are community-centered and health equity-driven, with focused attention given to communities experiencing the greatest health inequities. Community representatives help identify and shape stories that provide insight on the health inequities facing communities in Washington, and the public health data that document how these groups are disproportionately impacted.

The Community Advisory Council is tasked with developing the selection process for zones and with guiding the Department of Health's Health Equity Zones work. There are 25 seats on the HEZ Community Advisory Council including community representatives, Tribal community representatives, and sector representatives. The sectors represented are Accountable Communities of Health, local health jurisdictions, the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities, and philanthropy.




Alina Swart

Community Representative

Carmen Pacheco-Jones

Community Representative

Cheryl Sanders, Lummi

Tribal Community Representative, Western Washington

Delia Gutierrez

Community Representative

Jean Scheid

Community Representative

Jessica Nye

Sector Representative, Local Health Jurisdiction

Katie Stephens

Community Representative

Leah Tanner, Nez Perce

Tribal Community Representative, At-Large

Mike McNickle

Sector Representative, Local Health Jurisdiction

Mustafa Mohammed

Community Representative

Nichole Peppers

Sector Representative, Accountable Communities of Health

Olivette Foster

Community Representative

Paul Park

Community Representative

Phinthang Yeang

Community Representative

Dr. Quyen Huynh

Sector Representative, Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities

Symetria Gongyin, Spokane

Tribal Community Representative, Eastern Washington

Taniela Tokailagi

Community Representative


Sector Representative, Philanthropy

Vacant Tribal Community Representative, Urban
Vacant Community Representative


Community Workgroup

2024 and beyond

The Community Workgroup and Community Advisory Council are currently co-designing how the two groups can continue to support and lead the Health Equity Zones Initiative in the current phase of the work now that the Rural and Urban Zones have been selected. 

2022 and 2023

In addition to the Community Advisory Council, DOH convened a Community Workgroup to facilitate more avenues for community members to engage with the HEZ Initiative. The Community Workgroup provided guidance to the Community Advisory Council on key decision points by ensuring the stories and knowledge of community members experiencing the greatest health inequities were centered in the HEZ Initiative development process.

The Community Workgroup had open membership and met monthly. There was no formal commitment to participate on the Workgroup, but members were encouraged to engage to the best of their ability to provide input ahead of key decision points.