RIZE Massachusetts Foundation Appoints Five to Board of Directors and Announces New Staff

April 7, 2022

BOSTON – RIZE Massachusetts, an independent nonprofit foundation working to end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, today announced the election of five new members to its Board of Directors and the appointment of three new staff members.

The new board members are:

  • Michael Curry, President and CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
  • Christie L. Hager, Former Regional Director, New England Region, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Steven Lipiner, Chief Financial Officer, State Street Global Advisors
  • Patricia Ma, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health
  • Frank Robinson, Vice President of Public Health, Baystate Health

“Our board represents a range of interests, but we all are united in the fight to end the overdose crisis in Massachusetts by supporting evidence-based research and solutions,” said Steve Pollock, President & CEO of DentaQuest and Chair of the Board of Directors at RIZE. “We’re honored to have this group of experienced leaders join the board, as their expertise and commitment will further our mission of reaching zero stigma and zero deaths in the Commonwealth.”

The new board members were elected on Wednesday, April 6.

The new RIZE staff members are:

  • Dianne Powers, Chief Development Officer
  • Sarah Merrefield, Senior Program Officer
  • Kimberly Zelaya, Executive Assistant and Office Manager

“We’re excited to welcome these experienced professionals to the RIZE team,” said Julie Burns, President and CEO of RIZE. “We looking forward to the positive impact they will have on our efforts to empower providers and communities; bring together leaders, experts and those with lived experience; and develop new insights about the overdose crisis in Massachusetts”

New Board Members

Michael Curry is the CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, which represents 52 health centers, serving over one million patients at 314 practice sites. He previously served as Deputy CEO and General Counsel for the League. He has served on the healthcare transition teams for former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and was involved in the passage of the Massachusetts health reform law and the federal Affordable Care Act.

Curry earned a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from New England Law | Boston. His service to the community includes time as president of the Boston branch of the NAACP (2011-2016) and current service on the national NAACP Board of Directors.

Christie Hager was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the Regional Director for Region I of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she oversaw the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New England from 2010-2014. She also served in senior executive roles at Beacon Health Options, a national behavioral health organization. From 2019-2021 she led a full-time consulting engagement at MassHealth as director of behavioral health, focusing on the COVID-19 public health emergency response and community-based system reform.

Hager earned a bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Northampton, a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut.

Steven Lipiner is the CFO of State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street Corp., and is responsible for State Street’s global realty division. He previously was the global CFO of BNY Mellon Investment Management, where he was responsible for the financial management of the asset management boutiques, distribution and wealth management businesses.

Lipiner earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Buffalo and a Master of Business Administration degree from Baruch College in New York City. His service to the community includes board membership at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and Victory Programs.

Patricia Ma provides legal and executive leadership and strategic counsel to advance the work of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health in support of its mission and vision. With over 25 years of experience in navigating health care legal, regulatory and compliance matters, she has served in executive leadership roles and as general counsel for both private and publicly traded health care companies. Before joining CareQuest Institute, she was general counsel and chief compliance officer for Active Day, the country’s largest operator of adult day health centers.

Ma earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law.

Frank Robinson is responsible for integrating clinical and community care to better serve vulnerable populations and create healthier communities at Baystate Health. He leads Baystate’s efforts to expand the definition of health to include economic opportunity; access to education, nutritious food, and culture; safe neighborhoods; and other underlying essentials of a person’s and a community’s ability to thrive. Previously at Baystate Health, he served as the executive director of Partners for a Healthier Community and the director of community health planning.

Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego, a master’s degree from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. in public health from UMass Amherst.

New RIZE Staff

As chief development officer, Dianne Powers leads fundraising efforts to help achieve RIZE’s mission. She brings significant fundraising experience to RIZE, having previously served as senior director of development at Hill House, a nonprofit community center in Boston. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

As senior program officer at RIZE, Sarah Merrefield oversees grant making endeavors and other programs, which include strategy development, review facilitation and evaluation coordination. Merrefield brings 15 years of experience in grant making, public policy and community health. She most recently served as the senior program officer for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont.

As executive assistant and office manager, Kimberly Zelaya provides key administrative support for the president & CEO while also assisting with the workflow among RIZE staff. Before joining RIZE, she spent over five years assisting C-suite executives in various industries including finance, real estate and accounting. She earned an associate’s degree from Bunker Hill Community College.
About RIZE Massachusetts
RIZE Massachusetts is an independent nonprofit foundation committed to achieving zero stigma and zero deaths related to opioid use disorder by investing in meaningful solutions and employing broad perspectives that will save lives, reduce harm, and end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.rizema.org.

RIZE is marking its fifth anniversary with an Impact Report that highlights the progress made by the organization since its founding, including stories of lived experience, outcomes from grant investments and the impact of partners and supporters.