Karen Bage

Creating Healthy Schools and Communities
(CHSC) Community Coordinator

Karen (she/her) has been at the Health Initiative since 2008, working on over 100 projects with nearly every community in St. Lawrence County. Among her favorite projects are those that have improved free or low-cost recreation opportunities for families. Projects have brought rental ice skates to seventeen ice rinks and arenas across the county, swing sets and other equipment to neglected playgrounds, rental kayaks to public beaches, and even the county’s first disc golf course. Karen also finds her work with food access programs very rewarding. She has formed an Alliance of food access program staff and volunteers to network and share best practices and challenges. In her free time, Karen enjoys cross-country skiing in the winter, swimming and kayaking in the summer, and being outdoors as much as possible.

Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel

Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC)
Program and Engagement Coordinator

Sarah (she/her) is the Health Initiative’s School and Early Care and Education Program Coordinator, currently in the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities project. Sarah has been with the agency since 2008, partnering with area schools and coordinating the North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition among other programs. Sarah is especially enthusiastic about collaborations that enhance opportunities for well-being, serving on various coalitions and committees. She enjoys cooking, yoga, and digging in the dirt of her small perennial gardens. Most of all, she is delighted to be a parent and an aunt to kiddos from infant to young adult.

Angelina Blank

Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA)
Program Coordinator

Angelina is the coordinator for the Cancer Prevention in Action Program. Prior to joining the Health Initiative in 2022, she taught at SUNY Potsdam in the department of English and Communication for six years, teaching courses in film studies, composition, and public speaking. She earned her B.M. from Temple University and M.M. from Penn State University. She lives in Potsdam with her two children, Louis and Elliott, and her Bluetick Coonhound named Blue. Outside of work, Angelina enjoys hiking, playing games on Nintendo Switch, and practicing her flute. 

David Bradford

Health Insurance Navigator

David (he/him) has worked with a wide range of people from teaching English as a second language to running STEM programming for children. He currently serves on both the Potsdam Food Co-op and North Country Library System boards, and gardens.

Lucy Colby

Health Insurance Navigator

Lucy (she/her) has been with the Health Initiative since 2019. She is a graduate of SUNY Canton with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Services Management. Her current position is as a NYS Department of Heatlh Navigator, enrolling adults and children into various programs that they offer through the state. When not working she loves spending time with her family, attending her kids and grandkids sporting events, kayaking, and spending time outdoors with her basset hounds.

Julie Cooke

Lifestyle Program Training &
Technical Assistance Center Program Coordinator

Julie (she/her earned a Bachelor’s Degree at SUNY Potsdam, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Society and Human Services. She has been fortunate to witness the great strides achieved in the field of preventive health through her 25+ years as a Health Educator. Julie especially enjoys spending time by the water at camp with family and friends. Her ultimate goal is to make sure they all are well fed!

Rae Hesseltine

Office Manager

Rae (she/her) is the Office Manager at the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative. Prior to working at the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative, Rae worked for 21 years at United Helpers in various roles, including Corporate Compliance Assistant. When not at work, Rae enjoys spending time with her family and camping in the Adirondacks.

Jerome James

NYSOH Navigator Program Director &
Lifestyles Program Master Trainer

Jerome (he/him) began his career with the Health Initiative in October 2016 as a Health Benefits Specialist and become the Navigator coordinator in October 2018. Jerome has been involved in Human Services for over twenty years and has worked with federal agencies on Medicare, Medicaid, the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, and community-based organizations.

Kat Manierre

Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy
Prevention (CAPP) Health Educator Supervisor

Kat (she/her) is the Health Educator Supervisor for our Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) Program. She has a dual B.A. in Sociology and Gender/Sexuality Studies from the University of Delaware and is a certified EDSE Sex Educator and Domestic Violence Specialist. She believes in the transformative power of youth and loves watching adolescents make the world a better place. Kat is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady and baking enthusiast. When she is not working, Kat can be found snuggling her fur babies and making cupcakes (but not at the same time).

Jamey Merkel

Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy
Prevention (CAPP) Health Educator

Jamey (they/them) is a Sexual Health Educator at the Health Initiative, working under the Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) grant. They have a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies and a master’s degree in Community Health, both from SUNY Potsdam. Jamey has been living in the North Country since 2014 with their partner and several pets, including two cats, a rabbit, a bird, and snakes! In their free time, Jamey enjoys baking, trying new vegetarian recipes, and staying active by playing Pokémon Go!

Tracy Moody

Fiscal Manager

Tracy (she/her) is the Fiscal Manager of the Health Initiative. She has worked in the nonprofit world for over 30 years, is a business graduate of SUNY Empire State College. Tracy is also a certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional through FMA Institute. She is the agency’s full charge bookkeeper and controller and has been with the organization since 2008. Tracy enjoys spending her free time with family, being an entrepreneur, and traveling to the islands of the Caribbean.

Jodi Regan

Health Insurance Navigator

 Jodi (she/her) has been with the Health Initiative since 2002. She is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and also of SUNY Canton with a Medical Laboratory Technologist degree. Her current position is a NYS Department of Health Navigator for enrollment into health insurance for adults and Child Health Plus for children. When not working she loves traveling, spending time at camp, and enjoying time with extended family and friends.

Anne Marie Snell

Executive Director

Anne Marie (she/her) has been working for the Health Initiative in a variety of roles since 2004. Currently, she serves as the Health Initiative’s Executive Director. Anne Marie thoroughly enjoys working with her “work family” during the day, and spending time with her husband and two children outside of work.

Kathy Sochia

Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA)
Community Educator

Kathy (she/her) retired in 2018 from Lewis County Public Health, after a 20 year career, working in the Cancer Services Program. She now works part time as a community educator in the Cancer Prevention in Action program. Kathy and her husband, Bill, have three adult children and two grandchildren.  Together they all enjoy spending time at the St. Lawrence River at our camp, canning our own vegetables, and cooking.

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