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Our Staff


Office Telephone | (315) 261-4760

Office Fax | (315) 261-4728

Karen Bage

Community Coordinator

Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel

School Coordinator


David Bradford


David is trained scientist who 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 Public Library and North Country Library System boards, and gardens.

Lucy Colby

Healthy kids navigator

Julie Cooke

Program Coordinator, lifestyle program training & technical assistance center

Julie Cooke, Lifestyle Program Director, 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. Enjoying spending time by the water at camp with family and friends, Julie’s goal is to make sure they all are well fed!

Rae Hesseltine

office manager

Rae 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, her latest role was Corporate Compliance Assistant. When not at work, Rae enjoys spending time with her family and camping in the Adirondacks.

Ellen Hurlbut

Youth Development specialist, HYDE

Ellen brings programs and activities to teens to prepare them for life after high school. She enjoys sewing and crafting in her free time.

Jerome James

Program director, ADK Wellness connections coordination center & navigator


Katrina Manierre

Health educator supervisor, Teenshelp

Kat is the Health Educator Supervisor for our Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) Program. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies from the University of Delaware and is a certified 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

Health educator, teenshelp

Jamey 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. In their free time, Jamey enjoys trying new vegetarian recipes or playing with their pets.

Tracy Moody

Fiscal Manager

Tracy is the Fiscal Manager of the Health Initiative. She has worked in the nonprofit world for over 25 years, is a business graduate of SUNY Empire State College and is 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. She enjoys spending her free time with family, being an entrepreneur, and traveling to the islands of the Caribbean.

Ellen Nichols

Lifestyle educator, lifestyle program training & technical assistance center

Ellen is a Lifestyle Educator. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from SUNY Plattsburgh and is a Nationally Certified Case Manager. She also is a Master Trainer for Evidence Based Self- Management Programs. When not working she enjoys her time with grandchildren, kayaking as well as reading.

Jodi Regan

referral specialist, Adk wellness connections coordinator center, navigator

 Jodi has been with the Health Initiative since 2002. She is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor Degree in Community Health and also a graduate 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 their camp, and enjoying their extended family and friends.

Zack Regan

health educator, teenshelp

I am a graduate from SUNY Potsdam with a degree in Public Health. I work with the TEENSHelp program at the Health Initiative providing HIV and pregnancy prevention education to high school students.

Anne Marie Snell

executive director

Anne Marie has been working for the Health Initiative in a variety of roles since 2004. She thoroughly enjoys working with her “work family” during the day, and spending time with her husband and two children outside of work.

Kathy Sochia

referral specialist, adk wellness connections coordination center