Meet the COVID Community Coordinators Initiative Staff
The COVID Community Coordinators (CCC) team at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) works to support our CCC contract organizations working on the ground to connect communities most impacted by COVID-19 to testing, vaccination, and other critical resources.
Find a COVID Community Coordinator organization that meets your needs by cultural community, preferred language, or county on our COVID Community Coordinator Search page.
Nancy E. Lee, CCC Systems Coordinator
Nancy E. Lee’s career in collaborative community development and project management spans 20 years focusing on critical issues affecting Minnesotans, while engaging Indigenous, communities of color and marginalized groups. Most recently, Nancy led a systems change process for an early childhood initiative at Ramsey County as a Pritzker Fellow, sponsored by the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers and Pritzker Children’s Initiative.
Previously, as a Minnesota Department of Human Services grants project manager for the legislatively mandated dementia grants, Nancy successfully leveraged 20+ non-profit organizations to provide culturally responsive services. Nancy has also worked with Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, the University of Minnesota Housing and Residential Life, an affordable housing developer, and owned a home health care agency. Nancy holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a bachelor of arts degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.
Dai Vu, CCC Lead Supervisor
Dai Vu is a second generation Vietnamese-American who has lived in Minnesota for most of her life. She came with her family to Rochester, MN in 1980 as part of the boat refugees from South Vietnam. She received an undergraduate degree in biology from the College of St. Catherine and master's of public health from the University of Minnesota. She has over 20 years of public health experience including community engagement, grant and project management, and systems change coordination.
Prior to coming to MDH, she worked at the American Cancer Society in their community engagement and health equity program. For the last three years, Dai was working in the MDH Sage Cancer Programs as the community partnerships coordinator. Dai is excited to join the Center for Health Equity team in their efforts to serve our BIPOC, LGBTQ, and disability communities.
Reneka Evans, LGBTQ+ Lead
Reneka Evans is a proud member of the LGBTQAI+ community with a focus on achieving health equity by eliminating disparities and improving the health of all communities. She comes with 23 years of experience working in community health. Prior to coming to MDH, Reneka created, developed, and implemented the first transgender award ceremony in Minnesota (Transgender Stellar Awards). She also specializes in event development and outreach programming, and is a current student at Metro State University in her last semester.
In her role with the Minnesota Department of Health, she looks forward to acting as a bridge to close the gap between community liaisons and COVID-19 response work. Her goal is to fight tirelessly against COVID-19 until we overcome this pandemic together!
Aisha Galaydh, African Immigrant Lead
Aisha Galaydh has more than five years of experience in community engagement, child development, and psychosocial support. She has both international and domestic experience in improving health service delivery, capacity building and the development of local nonprofits.
Prior to joining MDH, Aisha worked as a COVID-19 community coordinator for Hennepin County where she worked alongside community organizations on health education, strategic planning and outreach. She holds a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University with a focus on population health and forced migration. Aisha is passionate about utilizing research and evaluation to improve the health care system.
Joe Geary, American Indian Lead
Joe Geary is a Turtle Mountain Ojibwa American Indian. Prior to joining MDH, Joe worked for the federal government for 24 years. He recently worked with the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education where he was responsible for student information systems for 23 states and over 80 Tribal Schools and American Indian Nations. Joe also worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for several years as a community development representative and an expert in grant management, housing, and community relations, and with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. as a civil rights specialist where he led civil rights reviews and investigations nationwide.
Joe has extensive state and national Tribal outreach and community development experience, including working with the Census Bureau and multiple nonprofits throughout the state. Joe also has multiple business degrees and has received national recognition for his federal government leadership and national onsite volunteer work after Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.
Xp Lee, Asian American and Pacific Islander Lead
Xp Lee comes to MDH from the Minnesota Council on Foundations, having helped coordinate a statewide coalition of cross-sector partners to “Get Out the Count” in Minnesota for the 2020 census. Xp has over 20 years of community engagement and leadership experience, having led projects and programs at local, state and national levels. He loves the arts and anything creative.
Ricky Livingston, African American Lead
Ricky Livingston grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina and is married with three young kids. He retired in 2011 after 24 years with the United States Navy and Marine Corps as a hospital corpsman/combat medic/medical lab technician. His partner, Carolyn, accepted a position at Carleton College and their family moved to Minnesota from Atlanta, GA in June 2015.
Ricky received his bachelor’s degree in applied sociology with a minor in African American studies from North Carolina State University, and he has 12 credits left to complete a master’s degree in public health from Emory University’s School of Public Health. He has more than three decades of broad public health experience including primary prevention of violence, health education, grant and project management, social anthropology, and group facilitation/counseling, with a passion for addressing sexual and partner violence. Ricky is honored and excited to join the Center for Health Equity team and serve our communities as the African American lead for the COVID-19 Community Coordinators initiative.
Sylvette Lopez-Ruth, Latinx Lead
Sylvette Lopez-Ruth is passionate about making a difference regarding health awareness in all communities. Her previous work experience includes working for the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota as a community engagement coordinator where she was tasked creating cancer awareness education programs for all communities (prevention, detection, and treatment), as well as developing relationships, educating health care providers about clinical research, and increasing minority enrollment in clinical trials and research studies.
Janeveva Lugumamu, Newer Refugee and Immigrant Lead
Janeveva is a graduate of Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management with a master's in Global Health Policy and Management. Janeveva was born and grew up in Tanzania, where she also received a master's degree in development studies and a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Dar es Salaam.
Janeveva has diversified work experience, mostly based in Tanzania where she worked with the Tanzania Commission for AIDS to strengthen HIV/AIDS multisectoral response to marginalized and vulnerable communities. She also worked as a national HIV/AIDS capacity support officer with the United Nations Development Program to manage and strengthen the Community Capacity Enhancement Program through community conversations. Additionally, Janeveva worked under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to ensure the provision of basic needs for refugees hosted in Tanzania refugee camps from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In addition to serving as the CCC lead for newer refugee and immigrant communities, Janeveva works to ensure language accessibility at all COVID -19 testing and vaccination sites.
Mai Thor, Disability Communities Lead
Mai Thor received a bachelor's degree from Augsburg University and a master's degree in nonprofit and public administration from Metropolitan State University. Mai has 20 years of engagement and outreach experience working with the disability community. She previously worked at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights doing statewide engagement to advance and protect the civil rights of Minnesotans. She lives in Oak Park Heights with her family.
As the disability lead for the COVID-19 Community Coordinators initiative, Mai's role is to engage and support the disability community during the COVID-19 health response by implementing systems and efforts to ensure information and access to testing and vaccination sites are welcoming and inclusive. Mai will also manage MDH contracts with disability community partners by providing technical assistance and guidance on initiatives to reduce disparate impacts of COVID-19 within the disability community.