- Behavioral Health
- Social Services
Maria S. Gomez, president and CEO of Mary’s Center, founded the organization in 1988 as a clinic to provide prenatal and postpartum care to Latino women living in DC’s Ward 1. Under Maria’s leadership, Mary’s Center has grown from an initial budget of $250,000, serving 200 participants a year, to an annual budget of $61 million serving nearly 50,000 participants from all over the globe at five medical locations, two senior wellness centers, and a program office throughout DC and Maryland in 2018.
Maria is among the strongest leaders in the region. As a testament to her significant commitment to her community, she was selected by the White House as one of the 18 recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. She is also frequently recognized for her role in the DC metropolitan region’s healthcare system.
Prior to establishing Mary’s Center, Maria was a public health nurse at the D.C. Department of Health. She also worked at the Red Cross, where she directed community education programming and disaster services, and at the Visiting Nurses Association. Originally from Colombia, Maria immigrated with her mother at age 13 and attended DC Public Schools. Maria obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. She currently serves as a board member for the DC Primary Care Association, the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Maria is the recipient of many awards.
To contact the Executive Office, please call Shenica Smith, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, Board Liaison, & Special Projects Coordinator at (202) 847-4247.
Dr. Elliott holds a Bachelor of Science from Howard University and a Post Baccalaureate degree from Fisk University. He attended Howard University College of Medicine and obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree in 2000. He completed his residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University in 2004 and was named Outstanding Senior Resident in Gynecology. Dr. Elliott is Board-certified. He is committed to community development, having taught in the Prince George’s County Public Schools and served as director of a mentoring program for at-risk youth early in his career. He enjoys family life, music, and travel. Prior to rejoining Mary’s Center, Dr. Elliott worked at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, where he was a Staff Physician and Co-Chair of the Ob/Gyn Department in 2014. He also served as an Associate Professor at Howard University Hospital. Dr. Elliott was recognized as a Washingtonian Top Doctor in 2016. To contact Dr. Elliott, please call Bethale Kidane (Medical Program Operations Manager) at 202-420-7163.
Dara Koppelman, Chief Nursing Officer, received her nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an Executive Masters in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown. Prior to coming to Mary’s Center, Dara had experience in both the hospital setting and the public health field, working in labor and delivery and then at a local health department doing home visits for high-risk pregnant women and children. She also spent time abroad, doing volunteer work in a community center and farmer’s cooperative in Costa Rica, and studying the Spanish language in Spain. Her nursing interests include public health nursing, women’s health, nursing leadership, working with underserved populations, and teaching and mentoring nursing students. Dara joined the Mary’s Center team in May 2012, initially working as a Nurse Manager at the Georgia Avenue clinic. Dara grew up in New York and speaks both English and Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys going to farmers’ markets, doing yoga, traveling, and singing. To contact Ms. Koppelman, please call Dalma Pimentel, MPH (Nursing Program Operations Manager) at 202-420-7125.
Alis Marachelian (pronounced Marashelián ) has been with Mary’s Center since 2001. She oversees the day-to-day management of the Community Health Education, Training, and Reseach (CHETR) department and leads trainings on a spectrum of health topics. Alis holds a Master degree in Public Health from the George Washington University and has been working in different capacities within the field of public health education, advocacy, prevention, and management with multi-cultural groups and diverse population of newcomers to this country for the last 18 years. Alis served on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign Faith Based and Neighborhood Organization’s Task Force to contribute to the development of culturally sound nutrition and physical activity educational curricula and materials. As a result, she was honored in 2011 with the Civilian Volunteer Award from President Barack Obama. In 2012, Alis was appointed by the DC Mayor, Vincent Gray, to the Ryan White Planning Council, serving as a board member to prioritize and allocate regionally, federal dollars designated for HIV care and treatment programs. Alis grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Boston, Massachusetts and she’s Armenian by heritage. Telephone: 202-420-7100.
Carlos has over ten years of experience in multiple HR disciplines including recruitment, employee relations, benefits, compensation, and strategy. He brings a consultative approach to HR, serving as an advisor to employees and the organization, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance, and working to maximize engagement and retention. Carlos firmly believes in the mission and vision of Mary’s Center. A native of El Salvador, he grew up in the neighborhood where Mary’s Center was founded and saw first-hand the mission in action and the organization's positive impact on the community. Prior to joining Mary’s Center, Carlos held management positions at both private and non-profit organizations. He is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR ) and SHRM-Senior Certified Professional ( SHRM-SCP).
Christie McKay has 20 years of experience coordinating family literacy, social services, and Head Start programs. She has directed Even Start Multicultural at Mary's Center since 1995 and has been Director of Education since 2002. She is the founder and Executive Director of Briya Public Charter School, which partners with Mary’s Center to provide educational services for children and parents. Under Christie’s leadership, Even Start Multicultural received the Verizon Tech Savvy Regional Award in 2009 and two Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year awards. The Charter School received the New Territories Award and the 2010 Washington Women’s Foundation Leadership Award. The school is ranked number #1 of 50 charter schools in D.C. on the General Performance Assessment. Christie earned a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Human Services, International Development, and Peace Studies from Bethel College. She is board chair for the Ecumenical Project for International Cooperation and founding member of Fundacion Agri-Cultura Marco Orozco. Telephone: 202-420-7074
Heather K. Morgan, CFRE, is a development professional with 30 years’ experience in generating revenue for health causes. Before joining the Mary’s Center team, Heather served as the Chief Development Officer for Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a nonprofit focused on addressing the childhood obesity crisis. Prior to that, she served as the Vice President for Development at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). During her 26 year tenure with AICR, Ms. Morgan served in various fund development roles, helping to grow and diversify AICR’s funding base. Ms. Morgan earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive certification in 1993. She received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. She resides in Maryland with her husband, two teenage children and two pugs.
Josephine Morris-Young brings to Mary’s Center more than 15 years of experience in various accounting operations. She provides executive leadership, vision, and oversight to Mary’s Center’s financial plans and accounting practices. Ms. Morris-Young’s past professional experiences include working with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Inova Health System, KPMG, ManTech Solutions, and Outsource Partners International. She received her B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland and her M.B.A. from Averett College.
Appointed in January 2020, Lisa D. Norris has been tasked with building, implementing, and managing Mary’s Center’s Corporate Compliance Program. With over 16 years of experience in the fields of ethics, compliance, corporate integrity, privacy, risk management, and regulatory affairs Lisa holds a proven track record for building and improving compliance programs for various Healthcare Organizations such as The Retina Group of Washington, St. Johns Community Services, Aria Health and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ.
Lisa continues to advocate best compliance practices through her active participation and memberships in the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE). Lisa currently holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in Management, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Corporate Compliance, a Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) with a concentration in Health Law and Policy, and a Juris Doctor (JD). She has also obtained over ten academic certifications throughout her educational journey.
With a B.A. in social communication and journalism from the University of Antioquia, Colombia, Lyda started her career in that country working in news stations and television shows as a reporter, anchor, and producer. She was also executive producer at A Noticias, one of Colombia’s leading television stations. Lyda joined Mary’s Center in 2002. She conducts outreach to local and national media outlets, and works with the development team to increase community awareness and media exposure for Mary’s Center. She is also responsible for fostering internal and external communication and for maintaining Mary’s Center’s social media and website. Lyda holds a Master's degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. Telephone: 202-420-7051
With Mary’s Center since 1998, Joan Yengo oversees the social services, behavioral health, home visitation, and education components of our work. Joan’s commitment to community work is highlighted by more than 25 years of experience working in nonprofit community programs, including work in Trenton, New Jersey, advocating for women’s right to choose and on HIV/AIDS issues. She also worked in Washington, D.C. for 15 years focusing on prevention programs. In 2002 Joan was recognized by Prevent Child Abuse America with a Service Excellence award. Ms.Yengo graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology. To contact Joan, please call Helen Conway (Manager of Program Operations) at 202-847-4270.