HealthySteps Ambassadors 2018-2020
Meet Our Ambassadors
HealthySteps team members provide invaluable insight and on-the-ground perspective to the HealthySteps National Office. Hailing from urban and rural areas, our HealthySteps Ambassadors reflect the expansive geographical reach of our network and include newly hired and longstanding HealthySteps Specialists.
Dominique Charlot-Swilley, PhD, was born and mostly reared in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; she also spent some of her early formative years in New York City. She was educated as a budding psychologist with an interest in children and adolescents at the University of Miami, earning a BS and worked in the field at Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami assisting with the early research on attachment. She later earned her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Howard University, Washington, DC with a focus on ethnic minority mental health. She has served as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and as an adjunct professor at Howard University, George Washington University, and Montgomery College, Takoma Park. She was Assistant Director of a private practice in Maryland where she supervised clinical psychology externs. Dr. Charlot-Swilley has more than 20 years of experience working with the 0-5 population. She has extensive knowledge of the conceptualization, development, evaluation, and implementation of programs, including community-based prevention, gender-specific adolescent programs, and early intervention and crisis intervention projects. She has conducted research and clinical assessment for public and private institutions. Dr. Charlot-Swilley currently co-leads the design, implementation, and evaluation of HealthySteps at Children’s National Medical Center-Anacostia. She also supervises staff at an early childhood development site in Ward 7 on the Georgetown Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation model. She is part of the Early Childhood Innovation Network, a local collaborative of health and education providers, community-based organizations, researchers, and advocates in Washington, DC.
Rachel Herbst, PhD, is the lead psychologist over integrated behavioral health services in pediatric primary care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She also provides direct patient care at the Hopple Street Neighborhood Health Clinic, where universal HealthySteps services are provided to all children from birth to age five, to promote physical, mental, and behavioral health. Dr. Herbst also leads scholarly and advocacy efforts to enhance the capacity of pediatric primary care providers and community partners to provide effective, family-centered health promotion services.
La’Tasha Lee, MS, works at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn as a HealthySteps Specialist. La’Tasha is responsible for training Pediatric Residents, hospital and clinical staff, assisting in research projects and building ongoing supportive relationships with parents. In this role, La’Tasha provides support to families who are experiencing trauma and other stressors in today’s world. She works with families from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, socioeconomic status including but not limited to first-time parents, teen parents, grandparents, military families and medically complex. Beginning in the first week of life, La’Tasha provides direct lactation support to families in the clinic and during home visiting.
La’Tasha holds certifications as a Lactation Counselor, Safe Sleep Champion, Fussy Baby Network and Happiest Baby Educator. La’Tasha has provided direct service to children and families over the last 23 years in the field of child development. She earned an MS in Child Development with a certification in Infant Specialization from Erikson Institute in 2001. She also earned a BS in child development and family studies with a specialization in child life from Purdue University.
Kristin Meola, MSW, LCSW, began her career as a child and family therapist. She soon began to realize that many of her clients had experienced significant traumas in early childhood. From there, she became interested in early intervention and young child mental health, recognizing the huge opportunity for her work to have a lifelong impact during these critical early years. In late 2017, Kristin began piloting the HealthySteps model at Duke Children’s Primary Care in Durham, North Carolina. Duke’s Roxboro St. clinic quickly embraced HealthySteps and is fully committed to early identification of adverse social determinants of health as well as becoming a more trauma-informed clinic.
Michelle Simmons, BS, IMH-E®, currently serves as the HealthySteps Specialist for North Country HealthCare in Winslow, Arizona and has for nearly six years. Her roots in rural Arizona run deep as a fourth-generation Winslowite. Growing up in the rural and underserved portion of Arizona has given Michelle a unique perspective on where HealthySteps fits in her community. As a HealthySteps Specialist, Michelle has worked extensively with other social services agencies to meet frequently to discuss how to work best with one another and reduce the barriers to families needing services. Outside the clinic, Michelle is active in the Winslow Chamber of Commerce, the Winslow Fireworks Show, and various other community events.
Sharon Singh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in infant, toddler, and young child development. She completed her graduate degree at The University of Houston, and an internship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. In 2009, she moved to Washington, D.C., and started her post-doctoral fellowship in the Child Development Program with Penny Glass, PhD at Children’s National Hospital. After nine years, she transitioned to a new position within Children’s with the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN), a local collaborative of health and education providers, as well as community organizers and advocates, and researchers who all have one mission to promote resiliency in families and children from pregnancy to age 5 in Washington, D.C. Specifically, Dr. Singh works in Ward 8 of DC at a primary care site where she collaborates with the medical team to provide additional support and guidance to families from birth to age five. Dr. Singh is also an expert in the early detection of autism and completed her Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) training at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2016.
Ashley Smith, BS, a HealthySteps Specialist with Carolina Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center, in Greenwood, South Carolina. She provides evidence-based, integrated services to young children and their families in two pediatric clinics. Ashley has more than 17 years of experience in the field of early childhood, special needs and home visitation. Before joining Carolina Health Centers, Ashley served 13 years as an early intervention supervisor for South Carolina’s Part C program. She has also provided Parents as Teachers (PAT) services as a Parent Educator, worked as a Lead Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist, among other non-profit volunteer and advocacy work.
Ashley graduated with her BS degree in health care management from Lander University. She is currently pursuing a master of social work degree from Walden University, with an emphasis on children and families. Currently, Ashley is a member of ZERO TO THREE and the South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association. Her previous memberships include the Council for Exceptional Children, Greenwood First Steps Board Member, and Lakelands Safe Kids Board Member.