HCDC Steering Committee

Deborah Banerjee

Deborah Banerjee, Ph.D., MS

Bureau Chief, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research for Effectiveness, Houston Health and Human Services

Deborah is a public health practitioner, evaluator and researcher with Community Health Planning, Evaluation and Research at the Houston Health Department. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, School of Public Health. She also holds an adjunct faculty appointment with School of Public Health. She is involved in planning, evaluating and managing many of the City of Houston Health Department research and evaluation activities. Her special areas of interest are health disparities, chronic diseases, social epidemiology, underserved populations, contextual factors influencing disease, and measurement and structural equation modeling. She collaborates with academic and community partners to bring in diverse perspectives into her quantitative and qualitative work, in an effort to bridge the gap between practice and research.  

Ann BarnesAnn Barnes, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, Legacy Community Health

Ann Barnes is currently the Chief Medical Officer at the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in Southeast, TX, Legacy Community Health. Ann oversees clinical services provided by the health system as well as public health services, which engages in patient education, community outreach and linkage to care. She is an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and maintains a clinical faculty position there. She is a board certified internist. Beyond her work in medicine and research, Ann is involved in a variety of community efforts. She is a senior fellow of American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter. She writes and speaks to a wide variety of community and faith-based groups about health and wellness and serves on several boards (Early Matters, Communities in Schools Houston, Houston YMCA Association, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, and Ardmore Institute of Health).

Tory Gunsolley

Tory Gunsolley, MPA

President and CEO, Houston Housing Authority

Tory Gunsolley is the President and CEO of the Houston Housing Authority. Houston Housing Authority serves more than 58,000 low-income Houstonians, including over 17,000 families housed through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and another 5,700 living in 25 public housing and tax credit developments. After earning his Masters of Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, Tory began his career in housing as a housing counselor for a network of homeless shelters. After that, he served in numerous positions at the Cambridge (MA) and Newark (NJ) Housing Authorities.

Mary Lawler


Mary Lawler, MPP

Executive Director, Avenue CDC

Mary Lawler has served as Executive Director of Avenue CDC since 1996. She has a Master’s from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a B.A. from Duke University. She currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board for Bauer College of Business Graduate Real Estate Program at University of Houston, the Advisory Council for Nonprofit Management Program at University of Houston Downtown, the Board of the Greater Northside Management District, and the Real Estate Advisory Committee for NeighborWorks America.  She is a delegate to SuperNeighborhood Council 15, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Kathy Payton

Kathy Payton

President and CEO, Fifth Ward CommunityRedevelopment Corporation (CRC)

Kathy Flanagan-Payton is President and CEO of the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (FWCRC) and serves as Vice-Chair of Fifth Ward TIRZ 18. Collectively these organizations support Comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization of Houston’s Historic 5th Ward. For 22 years, Kathy has incorporated the vision of the boards of directors, the needs of pioneering and new residents, community stakeholders, and acts as catalyst in fostering the collaborative efforts of an array of community service providers with a primary goal of improving the quality of life in a traditionally underserved community.

Susan Rogers, MCP

Associate Professor and Director, Community Design Resource Center at the University of Houston

Susan Rogers, who joined UH’s faculty in 2004, directs UH’s Community Design Resource Center, which partners with Houstonians to develop strategies for areas in need of revitalization. The center’s Collaborative Community Design Initiative focuses on Houston neighborhoods in need and proposes design solutions to benefit residents. Proposed CCDI solutions have included creating pedestrian paths and bridges and incorporating functional programming and housing in public spaces. Susan, also an associate professor in the University of Houston’s Gerald D. HinesCollege of Architecture, was named AIA Houston’s Educator of the Year. Susan has her Masters of Architecture and Masters of City Planning from Berkeley.

Shao-Chee Sim

Shao-Chee Sim, Ph.D., MPA

Vice President for Applied Research, Episcopal Health Foundation

Dr. Shao-Chee Sim is the Episcopal Health Foundation's (EHF) Vice President for Applied Research.  His leads the research division at EHF by providing timely and relevant health data, research, training and technical assistance to grantees, congregations and communities.  He also oversees EHF work in rural health research and rural stakeholder engagement.  Current priority areas include health reform monitoring survey, ACA enrollment analysis, social determinants of health screening instruments, and health center payment reform issues. 

Dr. Sim comes to EHF after more than 20 years of extensive research, community engagement, planning, and strategy experience within philanthropy, federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) and nonprofit organizations.  Most recently, he was the chief strategy officer of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York City. Dr. Sim also assumed research leadership roles at several foundations and nonprofits – including The Wallace Foundation and the Asian American Federation of New York.

Dr. Sim earned his Master's degree in public administration from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Juliet Stipeche, JD

Director of Education, City of Houston

Juliet Stipeche was appointed by Mayor Turner as the Director of Education in February 2016. She grew up in the diverse East End of Houston where she continues to reside today. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in Political Science, Policy Studies and Religious Studies from Rice University. Ms. Stipeche then attended The University of Texas School of Law and received her law degree. She spent five years as a trustee on the Houston Independent School District Board, including serving as President in 2014.  Since 2007, she has been Shareholder of Counsel at Nagorny & Stipeche, P.C. Stipeche’s professional affiliations include membership in the State Bar of Texas, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Mexican American Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Texas Association of School Boards and the National School Boards Association.

Amanda Timm, MPAff

Executive Director, LISC Greater Houston

Amanda Timm, as Executive Director at LISC Greater Houston, develops strategy, leads the lending/investment process for real estate projects in the GO Neighborhoods and educates elected officials and other decision-makers about the community-led approach to neighborhood improvement. A significant portion of her work focuses on strategy, planning and partnership development.  In addition, she manages a network of relationships that spans neighborhood civic organizations and funders to business leaders and City Hall policymakers. Prior to her work with LISC, Amanda served the City of Houston as a Senior Planner with the Neighborhood Planning Services Division of the Planning and Development Department. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern University and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.