Onora Lien, is the Executive Director, of the Northwest Healthcare Response Network (the Network), a large non-profit healthcare coalition in Washington State. The Network leads a regional multi-agency, multi-sector public-private partnership to enable collaboration and coordination among healthcare and other public sector public health and emergency response organizations in Washington. Ms. Lien has led the Network since it became a non-profit organization in 2013. Prior to her tenure as Executive Director she was a program manager at Public Health Seattle & King County where she helped build the Network’s predecessor coalition. Under her leadership, the Network has developed into a nationally recognized public-private partnership, highly regarded for its continuous efforts to effectively engage and coordinate healthcare, public health and other public and private entities throughout the disaster life cycle. Ms. Lien has more than 20 years of experience working on issues of health security in the non-profit, government and academic sectors, ranging from research and public policy to local practice and non-profit administration. She has served on numerous national, regional and local advisory committees on the topics of public health, healthcare preparedness and disaster response. She is frequently involved as speaker or requested subject matter expert on these topics. Ms. Lien has a Master’s in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University where her research focused on individual and organizational disaster preparedness and response and health security. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Pacific Lutheran University.
Elya Baltazar, District Manager and Northwest District Coordinator, works with the District team to ensure district specific planning, training and exercises is implemented in support of coalition partners. Additionally, in collaboration with the Planning and Preparedness Manager, she supports the development of comprehensive training and exercise activities throughout NWHRN’s service area. As NW District Coordinator, Elya is responsible for the implementation of the Network's programs and activities throughout Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap Counties, and works in collaboration with the local community on initiatives. Elya joined the Network in July of 2017 from Kitsap Public Health (KPH) Emergency Preparedness and Response Department. At KPH, she created and taught preparedness curriculum, and bolstered emergency plans and procedures for her facility and community. Her previous experience also includes many years as an Emergency Medical Technician. Elya holds a BA in Disaster and Emergency Management.
Wilnie Charlot, Senior Accountant, is responsible for financial compliance and all accounting and bookkeeping transactions of the organization. In addition to entering transactions and preparing monthly financial reports, she monitors cash flow and ensures compliance with organizational policies, budgetary guidelines as well as GAAP and federal contract rules and regulations. Wilnie has a Masters of Science in Accounting from Suffolk University as well as a BS in Accounting.
Ashley Christoff, WATrac & Situational Awareness Implementation Coordinator, serves as the co-lead of the implementation of the WATrac system with an emphasis on training and tactical implementation within healthcare. Also, serves in the development of tactics to provide ongoing situational awareness and information sharing. Ashley joined the NWHRN in 2023 after serving as a staff member for the REDi Healthcare Coalition as the Information Management Coordinator. Ashley is a graduate of Washington State University (B.S) and the University of Idaho (M.S) with a background in community and public health.
Steven Dodson, AEM, Training & Exercise Coordinator, is responsible for organizing, planning, executing, and evaluating the Network’s Training and Exercise Program for the coalition service area. Prior to this role, Steven served in complex roles related to safety, security, accessibility, and emergency management in healthcare and K-12 settings in Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island, and San Juan counties. With over 10-years of healthcare experience, supplemented by credentials from IAHSS and IAEM, a Bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security, and hundreds of hours of professional development, Steven understands how training and exercise are integral parts of the emergency management cycle. Steven has developed and implemented a wide variety of training opportunities including verbal de-escalation, EOP/annex development, and exercise design. In addition, Steven has developed and facilitated dozens of exercises ranging from short seminars to full-scale exercises involving multiple agencies.
Erin Dufresne, MBA/HCM, Administrative Services Coordinator, is responsible for leading and supporting administrative processes and systems functions of the organization, as well as overseeing and updating contact management processes. Prior to this role, Erin was the Program Support Coordinator, supporting the Network’s coalition healthcare preparedness, response, recovery initiatives by providing comprehensive direct detailed work and coordination for program activities. Erin has an extensive background providing program and administrative support to leaders in a healthcare setting, including work at The Polyclinic. She holds an MBA/HCM from the University of Phoenix and a BA in Psychology from Argosy University.
Michael Halfen, Operational Planning Coordinator, is responsible for leading community-level planning efforts supporting multiple healthcare sectors and their partners within the NWHRN service area. Michael comes to us from the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) where he had been working as their Emergency Management Specialist. In this role, he had written and maintained comprehensive emergency management plans and operating procedures; ensured compliance of agency-wide planning doctrine with EMAP standards and protocols; coordinated partners and been activated in response to Federal and District-wide incidents; and worked in the Planning Section of their EOC. Prior to HSEMA, Michael worked as Disaster Program Manager for American Red Cross in Texas, and as Emergency Response Director- Aquatic for Camp Manitou in Maine. Michael has a MS in Emergency Management and recently completed the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) program thru IAEM.
Kelly Hill, Planning and Preparedness Manager, is responsible for the Network’s coalition healthcare preparedness, response, recovery, and information management initiatives. In partnership with the District Manager, she supports the development of comprehensive training and exercise activities, and assists healthcare members in NWHRN’s service area to meet accreditation, licensing, and regulatory compliance standards for emergency preparedness. Kelly has been serving as the North District Coordinator since October of 2018 and additionally as the District Manager since June of 2020. Kelly joined the Network in Oct 2018 from the Northwest Region of the American Red Cross. Prior to the Red Cross, Kelly worked in animal welfare, responding to large-scale disasters and cruelty cases through the ASPCA. Kelly has experience in disaster response, operational planning, preparedness, partnership management and development, and volunteer management. Her Board experience includes work with the Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies.
Kayla Lightfoot, Strategic Communications Officer, provides communication leadership which includes a focus on telling NWHRN"s story, and serves as the organization's PIO. Kayla joined NWHRN from Providence where she held multiple roles over the last four years (2018-2022) including Director of Strategy and interim Director of Government Affairs and Communications, the latter, a role she held during the start of COVID 19. While at Providence, she developed and lead numerous strategic initiatives for the multi-state system domestically and internationally ranging from a teen mental health pilot program in Oregon to international telehealth program in Nigeria and many numerous community health and community partnership driven programs in between. Prior to her work at Providence, Kayla headed community health programs with Essentia Health, a rural system in northern Minnesota. Kayla also spent many years at a healthcare coalition, leading one of the first HCC efforts in Duluth, MN as well as working as a senior advisor with the MESH coalition in Indianapolis. Kayla is a passionate community health advocate, problem-solver and strategic communicator and has deep love of working with both rural and urban communities. Kayla received her BS at University of North Dakota and her MPH from the University of Minnesota.
Susan Koppelmann, Director of Preparedness and Response, is responsible for leading comprehensive planning, development and management of the Network's programs and services to address the healthcare community's needs. Susan joined the Network in May 2016 from the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. Susan has more than twenty years of experience in disaster planning, response, and humanitarian assistance. She is a seasoned and respected disaster response leader. She has served on several boards focusing on youth issues and disaster preparedness and response, including two consecutive terms as President of Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
Bernardo Lactaoen, Executive Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator, provides senior executive administrative support to the Executive Director, and leads the development and implementation of NWHRN’s Volunteer Program. He also supports the organization’s current and future Sustaining Members. During the Network's COVID-19 response, Bernardo served as Logistics Chief. Bernardo joined NWHRN in 2016 from the Northwest Region of the American Red Cross.where he was the Senior Operations Assistant and Executive Coordinator.
Stacy Parizek, Response Operations Manager, leads the response operations team to develop and maintain NWHRN response capabilities and plans, essential elements of information (EEI), situational awareness, and readiness strategies to support healthcare systems response. Stacy joined NWHRN in 2020, working in the Situational Support Unit to support the long COVID-19 response, including overseeing an evolution of our data collection, reporting capabilities and situational awareness processes. He transitioned into a Response Operations Coordinator role before becoming a manager. Stacy has more than two decades of experience in Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as the former Director of Operations for Olympic Ambulance and volunteer Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician with two different fire agencies. Stacy has also served as an integral member of several pivotal groups throughout his career including the Medical Officers Group for Kitsap County Emergency Medical Services, Vice President of the Long Term Care Alliance, Fire Service Advisory Committee for Olympic College, and Kitsap County’s EMS Protocol Committee in 2015 and 2019. He also participated in Mass Casualty Incident and Infectious Disease planning workgroups and helped to plan exercises involving local, state and federal agencies. Stacy holds a BA from Western Washington University with an emphasis in Mental Health and Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Mariah Pede, West District Coordinator, is responsible for the implementation of the Network's programs and activities throughout Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties, and works in collaboration with the local community on initiatives. Mariah joined the Network in October 2018, and brings many years of experience in Fire and EMS. Prior to joining the Network, Mariah worked in the Emergency Room at Mason General Hospital for 13 years while aiding in the development of their Emergency Preparedness Program. She holds many certificates in specialized disciplines including Infrastructure Disaster Management through Texas A&M .
Liesa Rose, MHA, Director of Finance and Administration, is responsible for the day to day and strategic business operations of the Network. Her role includes finance, operations, human resources, administration, legal, risk management, and information technology. She has over 20 years of leadership and management experience in government, global health, healthcare and non-profit organizations, and has served on non-profit boards and advisory councils both professionally and within her community. She helped lead the transition of the Network from a government agency to a nonprofit organization in 2013-2014. Liesa holds a Master in Healthcare Administration from the University of Washington, and a BA in an international business degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Vicki Sakata, MD, FAAEM, FAAP, Senior Medical Advisor, leads clinical planning efforts and provides clinical input into the Network's initiatives. Dr. Sakata is double-boarded and residency trained in General Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics as well as sub-specialty board-certified in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her disaster response experience started with her first job after residency managing a 30-bed NICU in Sialkot, Pakistan. Since then, she has worked and volunteered her medical expertise internationally and nationally. Dr. Sakata is also medical officer for WA-1 DMAT and MAC-T NDMS response teams. She received her M.D. from the University of Colorado, received Pediatric residency training at the University of Washington, and Emergency Medicine residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Kelly Sunagel, North District Coordinator, is responsible for the implementation of NWHRN’s preparedness, response and recovery programs and activities throughout North District. Kelly joined NWHRN from almost 10 years at the NW Region of American Red Cross (ARC). Her most recent position there was as Regional Senior Engagement Specialist, where she supervised the volunteers who screen, place, and onboard all new volunteers for the NW Region, which included Washington State, part of Idaho and part of Oregon. Her work at ARC included several deployments both locally and nationally. In her different roles she helped build up the volunteer structures, bolster retention, foster culture and ensure resources and assets were available for partners. Separately, she has spent time investing in military families as a WA Army National Guard Family Readiness Group lead. She has a great passion for serving those around her and being part of the community and preparedness. Kelly has a BS from Central Washington University.
Kara Welchel, WATrac and EEI Program Coordinator, assists the Network and statewide partners as the Interim WATrac Administrator. Kara also performs vital operations support such as situational data gathering and report preparations. Prior to becoming a staff member, Kara was a volunteer with the Network assisting the COVID-19 response logistics team. Kara’s work experience includes Administrative Assistant for an engineering consulting firm, Marketing and Administrative Coordinator for The NOAH Center, Visual Co-Manager for Forever 21, Logistics Associate for Gap, and Finance Administrative Assistant for Habitat for Humanity.