Board of Directors
“I believe the most effective solutions to systemic inequities are created by listening, meaningful partnership, and sharing power with communities that are most impacted.”
Nichole June Maher, President & CEO, Ex Officio Board Member
Nichole June Maher joined Group Health Foundation as president and CEO in October of 2018 after spending six years as the CEO of Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF). Under her guidance, NWHF became a national forerunner in equity and a champion of supporting communities to improve health by building power. Previously, Nichole served for 11 years as executive director of Native American Youth and Family Center, an organization widely recognized as having one of the most effective and innovative wrap-around family service models for Native Americans in the United States. One of Nichole’s most satisfying and impactful accomplishments has been co-founding the Coalition of Communities of Color, a powerful advocacy group in the state of Oregon and regionally.
Nichole has served on a number of governing boards, including Grantmakers in Health, Philanthropy Northwest, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, and Northwest Indian College Foundation.She holds an MPH from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. She also completed a fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Minority Medical Education program at Yale Medical School. Nichole is proud of her Alaskan heritage and her connection to rural communities across Washington and Oregon. She is an active mother of three young children.
“We have a tremendous opportunity with Group Health Foundation to take a broad view of how we advance the health of a population.”
Katie comes from the health care field, with a strong understanding of the social determinants of health. She is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Health Services. She formerly served as chief operating officer of Neighborcare Health, the largest provider of primary medical and dental care in Seattle for low-income and uninsured families and individuals. Katie also worked as the vice president of operations at Park Nicollet Health Services in Minnesota, and on the administrative teams of Heartland Health System in Missouri and Staten Island University Hospital in New York.
Katie served on the board of American Cancer Society in St. Joseph, Missouri, and on various health care advisory and working groups. She holds a BA from Washington and Jefferson College and an MHA and MBA from University of Pittsburgh.
Katie is one of four continuity members on the board. She served on the Group Health Cooperative Board of Trustees for five years.
“I am eager to be part of Group Health Foundation’s quest for equity and excellence in improving health care and tackling the myriad social determinants of health.”
Joseph is an experienced investment manager who understands the creative tension that exists between generating income for current spending and maintaining purchasing power of foundation assets. He is the chief investment officer for Casey Family Programs, which works with communities across the United States to keep children safe and families strong. Before joining Casey, Joseph was director of U.S. Pension Plans at Johnson & Johnson, managing consultant at KPMG Consulting, principal of Xerox Trust Investments, and regional development officer at AIESEC International.
Joseph is a board member of Year Up Puget Sound, which provides low-income young adults with skills development and career support. He also chairs the investment advisory committee for the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System. Joseph has served on various financial and investment advisory and working groups throughout his career. He received a BS in administration from the University of Ghana and an MBA from UCLA. He is an alumnus of the Saïd Business School at University of Oxford and a CFA Charter holder.
“I hope we can improve life expectancy among vulnerable communities by influencing social determinants of health and engaging communities in creating solutions.”
Dr. America Bracho Perez
America is a recognized expert on Latino health issues, diabetes, HIV, health education, and community organizing. She is the founder, president, and CEO of Latino Health Access, which uses community participatory approaches to promote health. America worked as a physician in her native Venezuela, before coming to the U.S. She then founded and served as the director of the AIDS project for Latino Family Services in Detroit. America has been a trainer, presenter, and consultant for government agencies, institutions, and nonprofits. She is currently a consultant to the Pan-American Health Organization.
America is on the boards of Casey Family Programs and Latino Health Access. Previously she served on the boards of City of Hope, Marguerite Casey Foundation, and National Conference of Community Outreach Workers, and on the advisory board of University of California at Irvine. She has an MPH from the University of Michigan and an MD from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
“I want to make a significant difference in the lives of people, especially children living with poverty, homelessness, and all of the related social determinants that steal their futures.”
Susan Byington, Board Chair
Susan has extensive human resources and board experience, working on health and health care from many angles. She currently volunteers as a mediator for city, county, and federal agencies. Previously she was the vice president of human resources for Providence Health & Services, as well as the chief human resources officer for UW Hospitals, City of Seattle, and Metro.
Susan previously served on the boards of the Seattle Children’s Home Society and Seattle Rotary Service Foundation. She also chaired the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials. She holds a BA in history from the University of Washington, and completed the UW School of Business management program. She is a certified mediator.
Susan is one of four continuity members on the board. She served on the Group Health Cooperative Board of Trustees for six years.
“I’m excited about the potential of Group Health Foundation to have a real and lasting impact on tackling the health inequities in our communities.”
Martha has devoted her life to public service, and possesses a deep understanding of community and economic development. She currently is principal of MCCHOE & Associates. Previously she was chief of the Global Libraries initiative and chief administrative officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Martha also served in Governor Locke’s cabinet as the director of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development, and was elected to two terms on the Seattle City Council. Early in her career, Martha was a high school teacher in Eugene, Oregon, and a banker, becoming a vice president at the Bank of California.
Martha is on the board of directors of Craft3, a nonprofit community development financial institution working to strengthen families and economies in Oregon and Washington. She previously served on the White House Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, The Seattle Foundation Board, and as an advisory board member on the Seattle Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She holds a BA in speech education and ethnic studies from the University of Washington and an MBA from Seattle University.
“We stand unified and willing to develop long-term approaches that reflect community visions for a healthy place we all call home.”
Brian is an exceptional leader and tireless advocate for Native Americans. He currently serves as the 21st president of the National Congress of American Indians and chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Brian is also the president of the Association of Washington Tribes and a former president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.
Brian serves on the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee to current Secretary Tom Price, and has served previous Secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius. He is a board advisor of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, an executive board member of the Washington Gaming Association, and co-speaker of the Coast Salish Gathering, consisting of British Columbia First Nations and Western Washington Tribes.
“It’s an honor to carry Group Health’s innovative history into a new generation of collaborative energy and strategic change.”
Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Board Vice Chair
Ben has poured his passion into improving the health and circumstances of low-income children and families, both inside the clinic he directs and externally in the broader community. He is the medical director of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. Ben also helped found the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership, which trains doctors to recognize when forces outside the examination room contribute to health problems. He is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.
Ben is very active in the community, serving on the Children’s Alliance Public Policy Council, Equal Start Community Coalition, and the Health Coalition for Children and Youth. He is also a board member for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and the United Way of King County. He earned a BA in biology from Harvard University and an MD from the University of Washington.
“Growing up in poverty, I understand how important access to health care is and how far out of reach it is for many in our communities.”
Porsche’s professional experience spans public health, education, financial services, and social services, which helps her look at complex problems broadly and identify systemic solutions. She is owner and president of Relevant Strategies, a management consulting firm. Previously, she served as CEO of Starling Systems, a software development company. Porsche is a former teacher and university administrator, and has held adjunct faculty positions at The Evergreen State College and Pacific Lutheran University.
Porsche served on the BECU board during its transition to the largest community-based credit union in the U.S. She holds a BS in mathematics from Montana State University and an MBA in technology and innovation management from Pacific Lutheran University.
Porsche is one of four continuity members on the board. She served on the Group Health Cooperative Board of Trustees for nine years.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to profoundly reduce the adverse effects of health disparities on quality of life in our region and nationally.”
Dr. David Fleming
David is a well-known public health and disease prevention expert. He currently is vice president of public health for PATH, an international health organization spurring innovation to save lives. He also is a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health. David is the former director and health officer of Public Health—Seattle and King County, and was director of global health strategies at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He worked in various roles for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He also was state epidemiologist and deputy state epidemiologist for the Oregon Health Division. He started his training in internal medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University.
David currently serves on the boards of Global to Local Partnership, Low Income Investment Fund, Trust for America’s Health, and Washington Global Health Alliance. He is also on the UW School of Public Health Dean’s Council. His former global health board service includes the Gavi: The Vaccine Alliance, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Health Metrics Network, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. He holds a BS in biology from State University of New York and an MD from State University of New York Upstate Medical University.
“I believe it’s only by working together that we can substantially improve the health of our communities.”
Leo has in-depth knowledge of and extensive experience in health care systems, public policy, and partnership-building. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Gonzaga University. For 30 years, Leo served as president and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, where he advocated for policy and quality improvements to managing health care costs, reimbursements, and availability. Previously he was vice president in government affairs at the Michigan Hospital Association and vice president of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. Leo began his career as a hospital CEO with Indian Health Service in Oklahoma. He also worked in several public policy positions in Washington, D.C.
Leo served on the American Hospital Association board of trustees and on the UW School of Public Health Dean’s Council, where he is an emeritus member. He also served on task forces for the Committee on Allied Hospital Associations, National Healthcare Reform, and State Hospital Association Executives Forum. He holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, and a JD and an MHA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Leo is one of four continuity members on the board. He served on the Group Health Cooperative Board of Trustees for five years.
“Health is an amazing gift – to believe we have the opportunity to enhance the ecosystem of health impacts with the people and communities of our state is both exciting and humbling.”
Latisha is experienced in community and economic development with specialties in regional systems planning and transportation. She is senior vice president at Avista Development in Spokane, Washington, where she works to build economic vibrancy in communities. Previously Latisha was a manager at HR Analytics, a neighborhood network coordinator at Kiemle & Hagood Company, and a business development coordinator at AHANA Business & Professional Association. She also served on the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Latisha is on the boards of Empire Health Foundation, Washington State University at Spokane, Visit Spokane, the UW School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Partnership, and Excelerate Success. Latisha has held numerous other board positions, including with the Inland Empire American Planning Association, City of Spokane, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, and Greater Spokane Inc. She has a BA in communications from Washington State University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University.
“I believe health equity happens by working in partnership with communities to find the most innovative and lasting solutions.”
Seth is a transgender man who is passionate about working together to achieve social justice. For nearly 20 years, Seth has worked and volunteered in the fields of HIV and violence prevention, policy and civil rights implementation, and youth leadership development. He is currently the executive director of Oasis Youth Center in Tacoma, which creates a safe place for LGBTQ youth and young adults to connect, learn, and grow. He previously served as legislative director at the Washington State Human Rights Commission, where he worked on a range of public policy issues, including implementation of the 2006 Anderson-Murray law that added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. He also was a community intervention specialist at Pierce County AIDS Foundation.
Seth is the current chair of Washington Won’t Discriminate. He is also the current vice president and immediate past president of the board of directors for the Pride Foundation, and is an active senior fellow with the American Leadership Forum-Pierce County Chapter. He grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska, attending a one-room school with no running water. He went on to obtain an MPA with concentrations in public policy and tribal governance from The Evergreen State College.
“This opportunity allows me to partner a lifelong commitment to service with the foundation’s mission to address critical needs in our communities.”
Carlos is a respected voice and advocate for people who are living in poverty, with a particular focus on migrant and agricultural workers. He is also actively promoting higher education for Latinos in the Yakima Valley. Carlos is the chief executive officer of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, the largest community health center in the Pacific Northwest. His former roles include executive director of Buttonwillow Health Center and associate director of California Rural Health Federation.
Carlos is on the boards of Children’s Village, Community Health Network of Washington/Community Health Plan of Washington, and Willamette Valley Community Health. He is a member of the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program and Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has served on the boards of the Northwest Primary Care Association, Oregon Primary Care Association, and The Memorial Foundation, and was a founding member of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. Carlos grew up in La Paz, Bolivia, and came to the U.S. to earn his BA in political science from Pepperdine University.
“When it comes to strategic planning and thinking about ways to foster community health, I bring a ‘seven-generation’ perspective.”
Jan Olmstead, Board Secretary
Jan understands evidence-based public health from working with tribal communities and 35 years of public sector experience in health policy, public administration, and tribal and intergovernmental affairs. She currently leads public health policy initiatives and projects for the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State. In partnership with tribal leadership, tribal health programs, and community members, Jan has helped create Native approaches to public health work that draw on unique cultural resources, community vision, and the engagement of tribal elected officials. She also teaches health policy as an adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College in the Master of Public Administration program.
Jan serves on the Community Advisory Board of University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center, and is an alternate on the Governor’s Health Disparities Council. She has a BA with an emphasis in strategic planning and leadership and an MPA with a concentration in tribal governance from The Evergreen State College.
“Healthcare access, delivery, and reimbursement are rapidly changing and collectively represent both our greatest challenge and greatest opportunity to improve people’s health.”
Peter van Oppen, Board Treasurer
Peter has a wealth of business acumen and investment savvy from nearly 40 years of experience. He is a partner at Trilogy Partnership, a venture capital and private investment firm in Bellevue, Washington. Previously, he was chairman and CEO of Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) and its predecessor companies for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, he worked in medical electronics and as a consultant at Price Waterhouse LLP and Bain & Company in New York, Boston, and London.
Peter serves as board chair of Impinj, Inc. and on the boards of several private companies. He was previously on the boards of Level 3 Communications, Inc., ADIC, Western Wireless, Isilon Systems, and the Basketball Club of Seattle (Sonics). He was chair of the finance and audit committee of UW Medicine, chair of the board of trustees of Whitman College, and an advisory board member and director of the Seattle Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Peter holds a BA in political science from Whitman College and an MBA from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar.
“I am intrigued by the advocacy and policy possibilities with Group Health Foundation to dramatically improve health equity.”
Luz knows how to build institutions and design grantmaking strategies for impact. She is president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, which aims to strengthen the voice of and mobilize low-income communities to bring about social change. Luz previously served as the executive director of the Community Technology Foundation of California, vice president and chief operating officer at the National Economic Development and Law Center, and director of grants programs and senior program officer at The James Irvine Foundation.
Luz is the founder of Hispanics in Philanthropy and currently serves on the boards of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Philanthropy Northwest, Putting Families First, and The Workers Lab. Past board service includes The California Wellness Foundation, Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, Katalysis Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, and the Women’s Foundation of California. She received a BA in modern languages from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Latin American studies from Stanford University.