WHE is a group of professionals dedicated to the education and
improvement of quality of life and health for families

WHE Staff

Gail Headshot

Gail Aronson

Development Associate

Gail Aronson

Development Associate


Hanna Beightley, MPH

Healthy Homes Program Manager

Portia Gillespie

Portia Gillespie

Healthy Early Learning Coordinator


Germaine Gooden Patterson

Community Health Worker

Lorna Head shot 2020

Lorna Rosenberg

Healthy Buildings Program Manager, Eastern PA


Talor Musil

Healthy Policy Coordinator


Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis

Executive Director of WHE

Kelsea Siter

Americorps -KEYS Service Corps

WHE Board of Directors

Ann McGuinn


Peggy King


Tracey Armant


Jodie Moore

Gina Pferdehirt

Vice Chair

Donna Evans Sebastian

Jennifer Thoma

Directors Emeriti

Susan Brownlee

Caren Glotfelty

Dorothy (Dotty) Beckwith

Nancy C. Fales

Healthy Schools PA Advisory Committee

Jessica Griggle

Food Service Director

Joe Domagala

Assistant Principal

Ameeta Schmitt

Assistant Principal

Lorna Rosenberg

LEED Green Associate

Britnee Weatherspoon

District Administrator

WHE Public Health Advisory Committee

WHE’s Public Health Advisory Committee provides consultation and input related to WHE’s three main program areas: Healthy Homes, Healthy Schools and Early Learning Centers and Healthy Communities. The committee is comprised of scientists and physicians who provide guidance to the organization, as well as review literature and materials produced by WHE staff.

  • Norman Anderson, MSPH – Anderson EH Consulting
  • David Dausey, PhD (epidemiologist) – Provost and Vice President Academic
    Affairs, Mercyhurst University
  • Deborah Gentile, MD – Pediatric Alliance, PC (allergy, asthma and immunology)
  • Ned Ketyer, MD, FAAP – Pediatric Alliance, PC; Editor of The PediaBlog, AAP
    Council on Environmental Health
  • Molly Mehling, M.En., Ph.D. – Visiting Scholar, Learning Media Center/HCII,
    Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dr. Jennifer Adibi – Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Slota, PhD – Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for
    nursing doctoral students, Georgetown University

Join Our Team


Join the WHE team and make a difference in the lives of women and their families, learn valuable skills and be a champion for a just and sustainable world.


WHE offers paid and unpaid internships to college students throughout the year. If interested in an internship connect with us by email or call 412-404-2872.


Contribute valuable skills and professional expertise as an individual or group volunteer assisting with WHE educational programs, office work or events.

WHE Ambassador Program

Our community ambassadors represent WHE by delivering educational programming to various neighborhoods throughout the City of Pittsburgh. Have one of our community ambassadors present to your group or learn how to become an ambassador yourself.

Request a Program

Our team provides programs to communities all across Southwestern PA. Whether you are a corporation seeking a lunch and learn opportunity for your staff or a faith-based group leading a community wellness initiative, we’re here to help!

Sam Balbier

Samantha Balbier became the Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) and the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum in early 2019. Prior to joining the IOP, she worked on a range of public policy issues facing the nonprofit sector as the Executive Director of the Forbes Funds’ Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP), a coalition of over 450 organizations from Southwestern Pennsylvania.

She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Business and Social Work from Mercyhurst University. She received her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in public policy and community organizing from Pitt in 1998. Samantha received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work in 2018. She is incredibly grateful to the University and her former graduate school advisor, the late Dr. Morton Coleman, Founder of the Institute of Politics, who guided her towards this career in public policy.


LaVerne Baker Hotep

LaVerne Baker Hotep is a human potential expert, inspirational speaker and founder of LaVerne Darnell International, a consultancy specializing in assisting individuals worldwide to align with their personal and universal soul purpose and reclaim their natural gifts.    

As a family development specialist for Allegheny County Family Support Center at the Kingsley Association, LaVerne works to bolster young families and specializes in historical/intergenerational trauma training, which she has also facilitated in Liberia and South Sudan.

LaVerne is founder and director of Me2 Sister Circle™, a self-care and enrichment program for mothers. She is a founding member of PA Women in Agriculture Network advisory council (PA WAgn), creator of the EVE Project: Enlightened Voices for the Environment and creative director and host of the podcast project: Black Girl Back Talk™: Stories of Racial Bias from Girlhood to Womanhood. 

Debbie Rohe

My career has been in the Early Childhood Community seeking healthy and safe environments for child cares centers. WHE does not just talk policy. WHE advocates and is action-oriented to support children and families in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Margaret (Peggy) Slota

Dr. Slota is a Professor at Georgetown University and the 

Director of Graduate Studies for nursing doctoral students. She was previously the director of critical care services at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and a board member of Stat MedEvac, Center for Emergency Medicine, and the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. Currently, she is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a consultant for the MidAtlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, and chair of the Science Advisory Committee for WHE. She is involved with WHE in appreciation for WHE’s advocacy and actions in raising awareness of environmental risk factors that impact health and educating the wider community.

Seth Wilmore

Seth has been dedicated to environmental non-profit work and support for over 20 years. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Allegheny College and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with a certificate in Non-profit Management from George Mason University. He has been in the renewable energy industry for over a decade and currently works for Oriden LLC, a Mitsubishi Power company as its Director of Sites & Permitting. Seth believes that “Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) provides a critical voice at the intersection of environmental health causes in underserved and vulnerable communities and, as the father of two young girls, WHE’s unique approach to these issues from a female empowerment perspective is refreshing and much needed.”

Joe Domagala

I currently serve as an Assistant Principal at Eden Hall Upper Elementary School in the
Pine-Richland School District. In addition, I also serve as an Adjunct Instructor of Information
Systems Management at Duquesne University and participate as a member of PA Healthy
Environment and Reopening Schools Workgroup. During my time at Eden Hall Upper
Elementary School, we have increased our focus on green school initiatives, participated yearly
in the PA-Healthy Schools Report Card award, and have been designated as a 2019 U.S.
Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Working with our students and teachers to
identify and implement initiatives that focus on a healthy and sustainable environment serve to
benefit our children, their families, and our greater community.

Sarah Fuller

I have been teaching fourth and fifth grades at Pittsburgh Urban Christian School (PUCS) in
Wilkinsburg, PA since 2007. Last year, as part of my integrated unit about the circulatory and
respiratory systems, my students and I began working with Women for a Healthy Environment
on a multi-faceted air quality project. I found myself both deeply interested and engaged in
issues of poor air quality in our region, and I want to continue learning and working towards

Judy Brand

I am a certified school nurse and have been with the Environmental Charter School for 10
years. Our school has a huge focus on green cleaning and environmental concerns, so getting
involved with Women for a Healthy Environment went right along with our school’s guiding
principles. Our school has worked with Kara and Dr. Gentile on air quality issues in the past and
are excited to continue!

Ameeta Schmitt

I am an Assistant Principal at Pittsburgh Brashear High School. Formerly, I taught grades 9-12
for 7 years as a Foreign Language instructor. I recently completed my Doctorate in Education
where my work focused on language, literacy, and culture. Throughout the program, I was also
involved in Social Justice Advocacy work. Being an employee in a highly diverse building has
stretched my thinking about what it meant to have a healthy school. The more I learned, the
stronger my drive to strive for healthy school grew. For me, a primary focus is on the prevalence
of food desserts in parts of the city and lack of public transportation to access food sources.

Lorna Rosenberg

I am Lorna Rosenberg, LEED Green Associate and recent retiree from the US EPA Region 3
office in Philadelphia after 36 years of service. In the past 20 years my focus has been green
buildings, green and healthy school, sustainable communities and disaster relief. My focus on
schools led me to be a founding member of the Pennsylvania Green and Healthy Schools
Partnership – promoting Green Ribbon Schools in Pennsylvania and have been a trainer for
EPA’s Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality Program at many conferences and events around
the Commonwealth. I headed the “green committee” in my school district – Cheltenham
Township, Montgomery County 2016-2017. My concern in my “working”retirement, as in my
time with EPA, is to see that all children and staff in schools with healthy environments in which
to teach and learn. I live in Montgomery County,

Britnee Weatherspoon

I am currently a District Administrator at Clairton City School District where I oversee
attendance, coordination of social services and school health initiatives, and serve as the
homeless and foster care liaison. I am a National Cadre Trainer for the Dove Self-Esteem
Project, and a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh completing my Doctor of
Education degree with a concentration in Health and Physical Activity. My passion and
experience align with incorporating the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)
model to improve school health policies and practices. I am passionate about creating healthier
school and community environments for underserved populations, ensuring that young people
are afforded the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Tiffany Ward

I am currently entering my 10th year of education as a Math Academic Coach at Pittsburgh
Allegheny 6-8. I previously have taught in primary self-contained classrooms and upper
elementary departmentalized math. In April 2020 I began an initiative called The Pittsburgh
Village Project, which focuses on uniting our community to create educational resources that
ensure equitable learning during the Covid-19 school closures and beyond. I am passionate
about using and creating real-world, project-based, engaging curricula as a means to racial and
economic justice. I am excited about partnering with Healthy Schools to engage in work that
gives students a voice in creating and sustaining healthy communities through learning!