About Us

For 30 years Children’s Health Fund has provided high quality clinical services to children in some of the most underserved communities in the country. CHF regularly goes to more than 200 schools throughout the country every year and has long understood the connection between health and learning. The Healthy and Ready to Learn (HRL) Initiative is the next step.

HRL is a pilot initiative launched by the Children’s Health Fund in three New York City schools in 2014. HRL aims to address undiagnosed and untreated health conditions that undermine the capacity of low-income children to learn and function successfully in school and beyond.

Over the last three years, we have developed materials, protocols and best practices implemented by many of our partners across NYC.  We have worked to refine a model we believe is replicable and adaptable to other schools looking to integrate work to address health barriers to learning.

Based on recognition of the value of the model and the potential impact a scaled up program could have, the New York City Council awarded Children’s Health Fund a contract to develop a Healthy and Ready to Learn Resource and Training Center (HRLRTC). This new platform includes technical assistance, training, and this website.

Our Materials

Program Vision: Healthy, happy, productive lives for kids in New York City

Program Mission: To provide high quality health and education related trainings and materials for NYC families and educators

Our materials are designed to be useful and accessible for parents and educators throughout New York City. New York City is home to families of different financial, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Our materials are created with this beautiful diversity in mind. All materials created by Healthy and Ready to Learn have gone through a thorough review process by relevant content experts, including teachers, parents, pediatricians and mental health clinicians.

Our Partners

Healthy and Ready to Learn Resource and Training Center Advisory Committee

Sharlene Aquiler, MA
Former Educator, New York City Department of Education
Project Green Reach at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Maria Astudillo, LCSW-R
Partnership with Children

Charles Basch, PhD
Teachers College, Columbia University

Scott Bloom, LCSW-R
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Phoebe Christian, MPH
South Bronx Health Center, Montefiore Health System

Abelardo Fernandez
The Children's Aid Society

Lisa Flores
Parent Coordinator, New York City Department of Education

Sue Fothergill
Attendance Works

Nicole Gallant, MPA
United Way of New York City

Maida Galvez, MD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Kecia Hayes, PhD
Teachers College, Columbia University

Frank Hernandez, M.Ed
Principal, New York City Department of Education

Michael Hickey
Office of Community Schools, New York City Department of Education

Carmen M. Martinez, MD
Lutheran School Health Program

Allison Mathurin, MS
Guidance Counselor, New York City Department of Education

Rosa McLeish
Public School Grandparent, Harlem

Roger Platt, MD
Office of School Health
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Jennifer Pringle, JD
NYS-TEACHS at Advocates for Children

Ella Rucker
Public School Parent, Bronx

Nereida Santiago-England, M.Ed
Teacher, New York City Department of Education

Migdalia Vasquez, MSW
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan

Mayra Washington, RN
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Lukas Weinstein, MSW
National Center for Community Schools, The Children’s Aid Society

Program Partners

New York City Office of School Health

Counseling in Schools

Raising Educational Awareness Coalition of Harlem (REACH)

Meet Our Team

Karen B. Redlener, MS
Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer

Long recognized as CHF’s “third founder,” Karen Redlener was recruited by co-founders Irwin Redlener and Paul Simon to operationalize the mission of the organization, including the challenge of designing what has become CHF’s signature mobile pediatric clinic. This first fully self-contained clinic on wheels was in service for more than two decades and was the prototype that spawned a fleet of more than 50 CHF mobile clinics operating in disadvantaged urban and rural clinics throughout the U.S.

Karen also provides major leadership on CHF’s newest initiative, Healthy and Ready to Learn, a program designed to ensure that disadvantaged children are not hampered by health conditions that are known to interfere with learning.

From 2004 through 2015, in addition to her leadership roles at CHF, Karen also served as executive director of Children’s Health Fund’s nationally recognized NY Flagship Program (Community Pediatric Programs) at Montefiore Health System. In this role she had oversight responsibility for the development of the New York Children’s Health Project, a mobile program that focuses on homeless kids and families, and the community-based South Bronx Health Center and its unique Center for Child Health and Resiliency.

In June 2015, Karen was appointed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as a member of the 11 person NYC Board of Health, to fulfill the remainder of a six year term expiring May 2020. Prior to her work establishing and overseeing CHF’s New York programs, Karen’s career included work in Head Start programs, field experience developing and overseeing social services at a VISTA clinic in East Arkansas and managing special programs at the Mailman Child Development Center in Miami, Florida.

Karen is a founding board member of the Children’s Health Fund. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Pomona College and holds a Master’s of Science in Health Management and Policy from the New School University.

Delaney Gracy, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer & Senior VP, Medical Affairs

Dr. Delaney Gracy is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Children’s Health Fund, a national non-profit that provides and advocates for quality healthcare for underserved children across the country.

Delaney is a pediatrician who has spent her career as a provider and advocate for underserved children. After spending 5 years working on CHF mobile clinics serving families in New York City homeless shelters, Delaney became Chief Medical Officer of the national Children's Health Fund, leading all of CHF’s programmatic, evaluation, and disaster response activities across the country. With the National Network teams, she has designed and implemented multiple mobile primary care, mental health, and public health crisis responses, supporting families through medical and mental health programs.

Delaney frequently participates in public speaking engagements and has served as an advisor and committee member for multiple local and national initiatives as a content expert on the health of children in poverty. She also advises on program implementation and evaluation on several federally funded national pediatric quality measure development projects with organizations such as the School Based Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School and the Mobile Health Clinics Association.

Kelly Rigney, MPH
Assistant Vice President, National Programs, Medical Affairs

Kelly Rigney is public health professional with over 15 years experience in both domestic and international public health programs. In her current role as Assistant Vice President, Medical Affairs, Kelly Rigney works with CHF’s national network of pediatric primary care programs as well as the Healthy and Ready to Learn Initiative in New York City.

Prior to joining the Children’s Health Fund in the Fall of 2007, Ms. Rigney worked in public health programs at both academic medical centers and community health centers. She graduated with a Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. In her spare time she continues to work with a small public health focused NGO in Uganda, which she co-founded.

Wenimo Okoya, MPH
Director, Healthy and Ready to Learn

Wenimo Okoya, MPH is a former teacher and an advocate for school-based health. She holds a bachelor's in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed Teach for America in Newark, NJ where she taught middle school and continued teaching beyond her 2 year commitment. After seeing the health disparities that affected her students and their families, she decided to pursue her Masters of Public Health at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and is currently an Ed.D. candidate in the Health Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Wenimo came to the Children's Health Fund as a school health coordinator at our West Harlem school, but now serves as the Director of Healthy and Ready to Learn.

Nydia Santiago-Galvin, RN
PS 49 Senior Site Manager, Healthy and Ready to Learn

Nydia Santiago-Galvin currently serves as the Senior Site Manager to Children’s Health Fund’s Healthy and Ready to Learn initiative. She has been a member of the HRL team since its inception in 2014, working directly with students and staff at PS 49 in the South Bronx. In addition to her role at PS 49, Nydia began serving as a technical assistant to PS 140X for the 2016-2017 school year. Prior to joining the CHF staff, Nydia worked as a clinical nurse in New York City for over 8 years, which includes experience practicing in New York City public schools through TheraCare.

Nydia has a Nursing degree from Touro College School of Nursing and also holds a Massage Therapy degree from the New York College of Health Professions. She is currently completing her Master’s in Public Health at the CUNY School of Public Health. Nydia resides in Brooklyn and has three children who all attend New York City public schools.

Emanuela Acquafredda, MPH
Content Manager, Healthy and Ready to Learn

Emanuela (Emi) joined the Healthy and Ready to Learn team at Children’s Health Fund in September 2016 as the Content Manager. Focusing primarily on the Resource and Training Center, Emi manages the curation of the site’s content and organization. Prior to Children’s Health Fund, Emi worked with the New York City Office of School Health’s Vision Program, assisting in the creation of an evaluation plan and providing programmatic support for the program which reaches over 250,000 students throughout the city.

Emi received her BA in International Affairs and Global Public Health from The George Washington University. She recently completed her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, specializing in Health Promotion Research and Practice.

Ginelle Wynter, M.Ed.
PS 36 Site Manager, Healthy and Ready to Learn

Ginelle Wynter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Throughout her childhood, she always loved school because of the relationships she had with friends and teachers. During her time at Boston University, she realized that working with students in the classroom could be a powerful way to make an impact on their lives. Graduating with a degree in International Relations, she came home to Brooklyn and earned her Master's Degree in Education at Brooklyn College. From there, she spent 5 years teaching Middle and High School students in Harlem and Brooklyn. In the Spring of 2016, she decided to move on to pursue opportunities to support the growth of entire school communities in a role outside of the classroom. In 2016 she joined the Healthy and Ready to Learn team to pursue her passion in promoting health in education.

Site Development

Project leadership: Jeb Weisman, PhD.
Project management: Jen Pruitt.

Site design: Michael Pinto.
Application and database: Steve Manes.
Front-end: Steve Manes and Marcel Fahle.
Calculators: Bryan Olmstead.