CEO and Executive Director
Deidre Johnson is the CEO and Executive Director of The Center for African American Health. Johnson is an ASCEND Aspen Institute Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellow (2017-2018), a Transformative Leadership for Change Fellow (2017-2018) and a 2018 Livingston Fellow. A results-oriented executive, Johnson has an extensive background in strategic planning, grant making, grants management, fund raising, program development, project management, strategic learning and systems evaluation. She has been recognized among peers as an exceptionally creative, innovative, collaborative, adaptive leader who consistently achieves professional and organizational goals. Prior to joining The Center in December 2015, Johnson was a Program Officer for The Colorado Trust, Vice President of Development and Marketing for Qualistar Early Learning, worked as a senior consultant with JVA Consulting, and held various leadership positions in development and communications with the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers, and the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation.
A Denver native, Johnson graduated from St. Mary’s Academy and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Princeton University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Johnson currently serves on the following boards and steering committees: St. Mary’s Academy, Mile High Health Alliance, the Colorado Nonprofit Loan Fund, the Cavity Free at Three Advisory Board, the Colorado Health Access Fund State Advisory Board, Center for Health Equity at Denver Health Steering Committee, the CDPHE Office of Health Disparities Health Equity Profile Advisory Committee, Early Childhood Mental Health Policy Coalition and the Early Childhood Policy Agenda Advisory Board. She is a member of the Denver Metro Chamber Foundation Leadership Denver Class of 2007 and co-Chair of the Denver Princeton Prize in Race Relations for the Rocky Mountain Princeton Club. Johnson’s is trained in facilitative leadership and is a certified Colorado Family Leadership Training Institute Facilitator. She is the mother of two teenage sons, Noah and Jordan.
Director of Operations
For the past 17 years, she has transformed the lives of youth, women and men from around the world in her workshops, coaching circles, and life skills coaching programs. Paula’s knowledge of personal growth, professional development, youth development, self-empowerment, and life transformation has been informed by her experience serving clients in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors as a consultant, coach, facilitator, and trainer.
Prior to this role, Paula served as a certified personal and professional skills development coach, with GJD Coaching & Consulting, LLC. There she designed and delivered programs in team building, diversity, conflict resolution, building emotional intelligence and leadership success, performance management, emotional health and well-being, and youth leadership. She maintains multiple certifications including being a Real Colors Certified Facilitator.
Paula has a deep commitment to creating new models and pathways for impactful leadership and building a community and culture where health equity and healthy individuals thrive at unprecedented levels. This commitment is reflected in her affiliation with many organizations including the Professional Women Network and the Black Life Coaches Network.
Director of Development
John Reid comes to The Center with nearly 30 years of direct nonprofit experience in the areas of donation solicitation, relationship cultivation, donor development, grants management/writing, and fund development. Throughout his career, he has developed and implemented many successful fundraising initiatives, managing diverse teams and providing support to the Board of Directors, CEOs and Fund Development Teams for several well established local non-profit organizations. He has a very established track-record increasing donor engagement, long-term stewardship of major gifts, and implementing an array of development activities that have led to his raising nearly $1 Billion dollars for the organizations he has represented throughout his career.
John is deeply honored to utilize his skills and expertise to promote The Center for African American Health and develop exponential pathways and strategies that lead to financial sustainability for The Center well into the future. His personal and professional commitment is to serve our most vulnerable populations who suffer from chronic illnesses and complex diseases. John’s fundamental belief is that communities grow stronger when all people—women, men, children, older adults, immigrants, people of color, GLBTQ+ individuals, and are afforded the knowledge and opportunities to reach their optimal health outcomes.
J. Ronald DeVries
Ron DeVries is a fourth generation Colorado native who graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Engineering from The Colorado School of Mines. He has a Master’s of Science in Health Administration from University of Colorado Denver Campus. For twenty-five years, Ron has led medical practices large and small, in both primary and specialty care, for private practices and hospital-owned offices. He specializes in change management and business process reengineering, using these tools to streamline processes, improve performance, and implement technology to improve medical practice. The shift to not-for-profit, community-based organizations occurred nine years ago when Ron became the director of a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly facility in Aurora, where he found a calling for service delivery for older adults. Since then Ron has joined the Colorado Commission on Aging, where he has served since June 2018 and is currently the Co-Chair and Chair of the Goals Committee. Ron’s favorite quote is: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
Community Engagement Program Manager
Denita Harris is passionate about making change within the community and helping the most vulnerable populations. After many years of nonprofit experience, she is excited to bring her diverse professional and personal experiences to The Center for African American Health to serve as a Community Health & Wellness Navigator.
Denita has spent the previous 10 years at Mile High United Way (MHUW) where she had the privilege of serving in several roles. First, as a Community Resource Navigator in the 2-1-1 call center, then later in fundraising on the Resource Development team. She spent the last four years at MHUW as an Independent Living Coach to the youth in Bridging the Gap and provided one-on-one support, resources, and interventions to hundreds of young people navigating the tough transitions into adulthood, independent living, and self-sufficiency.
She has a Bachelor’s in Human Services Management and will be pursuing her Master of Public Health starting spring 2020. A native of Mississippi, she is the proud mom of two teenagers, Ja’Tiyah and Jaylon.
Research and Evaluation Coordinator
Eric Moore attended the University of Colorado Denver for his Bachelors of Science in Biology and completed his Master of Science in Public Health at Southern New Hampshire University. His areas of expertise include program planning and evaluation and quantitative data analysis with an emphasis on health equity. Eric had initially worked with The Center as the BeHeard Mile High project’s Quantitative Data Analyst during the Summer of 2018. He previously interned at the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning where he facilitated household interviews in a Denver neighborhood of Southeast-Asian immigrant and refugee families for a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Eric’s favorite quote is: “If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to focus on who profits from that problem, not who suffers from the problem.” – Dr. Amos N. Wilson
Senior Living Health & Wellness Navigator
Yolanda Gotier, the new Senior Living Health & Wellness Navigator, is delighted to bring her desire to see everyone live their best life to the Center for African American Health.
Yolanda has worked in the nonprofit industry for over twenty years, always with the goal of assisting others in reaching for and achieving their goals. Whether her work has been helping women, children, and families fleeing violence and abuse or creating services that promote equity among marginalized and underserved communities, Yolanda believes that services must be provided with dignity and respect.
Yolanda currently serves as a board member for both the Stout Street Foundation and the Adams 14 Education Foundation Leadership Commerce City. Yolanda is a member and current president of the Commerce City Rotary and a trainer with the District 5450 Rotary Leadership Institute. Yolanda has previously served as a peer reviewer with the US Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, a consultant and board member for the National Women of Color Network, and a member of the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA).
Job Readiness Instructor
Charles M. Mathis is passionate about helping people, and throughout his many years of teaching, he has become the cornerstone of always do your best, never stop learning, and believe that we all make a difference in one another’s lives and the world.
Charles studied Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He then went on to work for several organizations where he engaged with diverse cultures, including TANF, ResCare, the Department of Corrections, and Lincoln College. During his nine years as a Skills Enhancement Instructor, Charles managed customized instructional programs and was responsible for course competencies and diagnostic assessments. Charles also served as the consultant for government regulatory and licensing agencies to ensure the institution’s compliance with applicable standards.
Throughout his diverse career Charles has worked to prioritize the needs of individuals by promoting higher education, addressing health issues, and helping people overcome the barriers that they encounter. Charles is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc, a fraternity that develops leaders, promotes brotherhood, and provides service to the community.