Our Team

Our team is comprised of passionate experts in the field of fitness, nutrition, healthcare, social service, and policy related to making real societal change . We all share a common interest and desire to eliminating health disparities within our communities and are united to making a truly equal society .

Raheem "Rae" Baraka, ACE-CPT, BCS, Executive Director

A seasoned wellness professional with an extensive background within healthcare, exercise science, behavioral coaching and health advocacy. Prior to founding BCW, Raheem served as the Director of Fitness for the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Community Health Centers and was primarily responsible for developing and implementing health promotion and intervention programs for the hospital as well as direct to community engagements. These programs ranged from employee wellness initiatives to community wide holistic behavioral programming and throughout his tenure he trained clinicians and providers on exercise adherence, behavioral modification, health coaching and the technics on how to effectively deliver and implement these non-clinical prevention approaches to patients specific to their individual need through tailored wellness models. Raheem is actively involved in population health efforts and serves as the chairperson of The American Heart Association’s New England Healthy Equity Consortium, is a delegate for Food Solutions New England, a Healthy Boston Ambassador for a joint project with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Alliance for Community Health(BACH) and has an appointment on board of directors of the global NGO Health Care Without Harm. Additionally, Raheem has also been recognized for his work and dedication to community health and prevention initiatives by being an awardee of a 2010 and 2015 Partners in Excellence Award (Partners Healthcare), A Citation of Recognition from the Massachusetts House of Representatives Liz Malia and a 2016 Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) Community Leadership Award.

Dr. Amy Wheeler, MD, Chief Medical Advisor

A primary care physician for 15 years and the Adult Medicine Unit Chief at the Massachusetts General Hospital Revere Health Center since 2006. Dr. Wheeler completed a Primary Care Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1999 and is board certified both in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Wheeler is a member of the MGH Revere Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, Co-Director of the MGH Revere Clinic Obesity Program, Co-Director of the ONE Health (Optimal Nutrition and Exercise for Health) Program, and Co-Investigator on the REAL HEALTH – Diabetes Research Project examining healthy lifestyle interventions on diabetic patient medication use and outcomes.  She has worked in Obesity Medicine for over the past 10 years with experience in both individual and group visits for healthy lifestyles counseling, motivational interviewing, pedometer and smart phone application implementation, and obesity medication prescriptions.  Dr. Wheeler enjoys working with patients to address in a meaningful way the mechanics of making healthy lifestyle changes to prevent the downstream medical complications of obesity and preventable chronic diseases. 

Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, Dietitian & Lead Health Coach

A Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Communication Specialist, her specialties include both individual and corporate wellness. She has experience counseling clients one-on-one in hospital, gym, and workplace settings. She has also led multiple weight management programs. Lainey's nutrition communication experience includes working at the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) in Brussels, Belgium and developing content for Joy Bauer, dietitian for NBC's The TODAY Show. Lainey's work has been published in Tufts Nutrition MagazineEUFIC's Food Toda, The Friedman Sprout, and EatingWell Magazine. Lainey holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science - Nutrition & Dietetics from Clemson University. She completed her dietetics training at Massachusetts General Hospital and has a Master of Science in Nutrition Communication from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy.

Amy Velez, MSW - Director of Program and Community Engagement

A Social Worker by training, Amy has served in many crucial roles within organizations such as Horizons Childcare for the Homeless, Tenacity, and Nurtury Learning Lab. Amy is well versed in the technical approaches to engagement and program development and provides deep insight into best practices and efficient delivery to ensuring high performing measurable programs.

Cecilia Flores - Administrative Coordinator

Diana Garcia - Lead FoodCares Site Manager

Francisca Borders - Chef & Culinary Lead Community Cooking Academy

Diana Hegarty - Health Coach & Nutritionist

Nerilys Cruz - Youth Development and Lead Childcare Supervisor

Daynna Ramos - Childcare Support

Jonathan Kale - Lead FoodCares Support

Ysabel Alcantara - Lead Fitness Instructor

Elise Fletcher- Fitness Instructor Healthy Moms Healthy Kids

2017 Program Interns -

Ashley Green - Lesley College

Andrea Couture - Northeastern University

Raheem Baraka
Ruth Hennig 
Ruth is the Executive Director of The John Merck Fund, where she has lead the organization since 1988. Prior to joining JMF as its first staff member, Ruth was the Conservation Law Foundation’s Development Director. Ruth has served in management roles at Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, and the Health and Environment Funders Network. She is currently on several NGO boards: Fund for the Republic, a new organization designed to build support for reducing the influence of money in politics; and League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. In addition, Ruth was a Beldon Fund trustee, and is a former chair at the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and SmartPower.

Eileen Manning

Eileen is the former Director of Community Health Associates(CHA)/Massachusetts General Hospital and managed this division to develop, implement, and manages programs in the MGH HealthCare Centers. Her leadership was directly responsible for the success of various healthcare programs including population health management; substance use disorders; infectious diseases, cancer screening and prevention, and tobacco cessation programs to name a few. A seasoned healthcare veteran, she has worked in emergency nursing and community health roles since 1988 at MGH, Boston Medical Center, various community health centers, and brings 40 years of nursing and community health leadership expertise to her role. Eileen received her B.S. in Nursing from Boston College. She is also a graduate of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers & Suffolk University Certificate Program in Community Health and Community Health Center Management and the Massachusetts Institute for Community Health Leadership, a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. 

David Trietsch
David is the founding Director of The Combined Jewish Philanthropy Leadership Development Institute and the Chairman of the Brookline Housing Authority. He has committed his life career to the development and strategic planning for NGOs and municipalities from a leadership down approach to sustaining focus and growth within an organization.

Virginia Nelson 

Mrs. Nelson was formerly the Assistant Vice President of the TJX Companies Inc., the world’s largest off-price retailer based in Framingham, MA, parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, A. J.Wright, Winners of Canada and T.K.Maxx. During her tenure, she strengthened the TJX culture to become more inclusive of diverse groups and was a strategic member of the company’s Diversity Steering Committee.  Mrs. Nelson also introduced and implemented the company’s Minority and Women-Owned Supplier Development Program and the Advisory Board at TJX for this innovative program, which remains today under the Purchasing Department. Under her leadership, the program grew from less than $600,000 in 1992 to more than $60 million in her last 7 years in non-retail merchandise goods and services purchased from minority/women business enterprises.  She served on many committees for the Board of the New England Minority Supplier Development Council, on several committees of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Center for Women & Enterprises in Boston.

Florence W. Slepian 
Florence W. Slepian has a life long list of achievements as an advocate for civil rights, healthcare equality, and youth education. A graduate of Wellesley College, Florence has provided her leadership skills as the director of social work for Brigham & Women's hospital, Fairfax Hospital and Georgetown University hospital. She was the recipient of the the New York State Rockefeller Award as well as the Boston University school of social work's Social worker of the year.


Janyra Alvarado, LICSW - Massachusetts Department of Children & Families

Angela Gomes, Esq - Skadden / President Mass Black Lawyers Association

Vicma Lamarche - Verizon / Board Member Franklin Park Coalition

Tara McCarty - WIC Program Director Massachusetts General Hospital

Carleen Tucker - Harvard Pilgrim Health / Board Member Franklin Park Coalition

A few of our Valued Supporter




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