Meet the dedicated staff, interns, and volunteers at WAHA!
Interim Executive Director
Dean has an MBA from the University of Washington. He has 40+ years of executive level management of community mental health centers and other non-profit organizations in Iowa and Washington State. He has done community organizing in underserved communities, housing development, housing advocacy and housing finance work, organized coalitions and partnerships among diverse organizations, and consulted on collective impact projects. He previously served on the board of WAHA and is now serving for the second time as Executive Director, leading the organization through its current transformation process toward an equity focus in its work, incorporating principles of targeted universalism.
Special Projects Coordinator
Molly recently moved to Bellingham from Montana and is passionate about improving access to health care. Her experiences with the clinical side of health care contribute to her interest in access, available resources, and advocating for diverse groups seeking healthcare and support. She is a graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in Anthropology and minor in Spanish. She also has Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate from Montana State University.
When not working, Molly enjoys exploring the outdoors with her dog, painting, traveling, and cooking.
AmeriCorps Health Equity Service Member
Rebeka is a Graduate from Western Washington University with a BA in Communication studies and a Minor in Anthropology, during her schooling she experienced the powerful community of Bellingham and realized she wanted to positively impact this community to help it continue to grow. In school she has done various work with local nonprofit organizations and university organizations to bring to light issues, raise funds, and outreach to the community. This made her realize where to go after graduation and becoming an Americorp service member worked perfectly. She has lived in Washington her entire life with no plan on leaving anytime soon. During her free time you can find her training to become a certified yoga teacher, baking a variety of cookies, cakes, or desserts, and taking long walks getting lost in whatever music or podcast is currently on her mind.
Lara Welker, MPH
Convener for NW Life Passages,Skilled Nursing Facility Council, & Whatcom Provider Council
Lara was the Program Manager at WAHA from 2009-2016. In 2016 she started her community health consulting practice, and is now pleased to be supporting NW Life Passages, Skilled Nursing Facility Council and the Whatcom Provider Council, three of WAHA’s collaborative initiatives. Lara has over 25 years’ experience with health education and program planning, implementation, and management in the public and non-profit sectors. She lives in Bellingham with her husband and daughter, and loves to garden.
Whatcom Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisers Program
WAHA has a group of dedicated volunteers who serve our county’s people with disabilities, and older adults, with their Medicare federal health insurance rights and options. WAHA is a sponsor of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Statewide Health Benefits Advisers program for our county. Our team includes: Amy, Bonnie, Chris, Dan, Dat, Diana, Diane, Denise, Donald, Jim, Kent, laird, Lawrence, Martina, Scott, Simon, and Trista.
Navigator Program Regional Coordinator
Jennifer has been an In Person Assister/Navigator since the Health Insurance Exchange went live in 2013. She has worked in both Skagit and Whatcom counties, providing direct enrollment assistance to clients in need of health insurance. This experience has allowed her to develop a deep knowledge of Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance and the organizations that oversee them. Jennifer now manages our North Sound Navigator Network navigators and organizations. Jennifer is committed to connecting community members with the services and resources they need, and WAHA is the perfect place to make that happen.
When not working, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and their daughter. This will often include running or mountain biking on local trails, gardening, travel, volunteering with Bellingham Public Schools and being surrounded by an amazing group of friends and family.
Michael is a graduate of Western Washington University with a B.S. in Sociology and minors in Mathematics and Economics. He was previously one of our AmeriCorps interns at WAHA. He has developed a greater knowledge of community resources and supports necessary for individuals and families to live well. He is an advocate for addressing consumers concerns by connecting them with appropriate information and health resources. Growing up in both Baltimore and Seattle, he is partial to his grandfather’s recipe of salmon baked with Old Bay. Michael is fond of photography, social dancing, and spending time with his partner discovering music new and old.
Tessa discovered WAHA as an Advance Care Planning volunteer, and later became a certified Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Facilitator. Her experiences related to end-of-life care have been incredibly rewarding and she is passionate about helping people ensure that their preferences for care are honored, known, and respected. She now serves as our Intake Specialist and helps to connect advocates, consumers, and community partners to appropriate health resources. Tessa is excited about the work that WAHA does to educate and empower people to make informed choices about their health.
Advance Care Planning
We have an amazing group of Ambassadors and Certified Facilitators that assist with future health care decision making through our WAHA’s Advance Care Planning/End-Of-Life Choices program. They provide 1:1 assistance in office, in public locations, or provide educational presentations to diverse audiences. They make sure your wishes are known to your loved ones and care team. Our team includes: Andrew, Bill, Claudia, Conner, Debbie, Gracen, Ian, Jan, Jennifer, Kim, Nancy, Susan, Mary,and Barbara.
Australia Hernández Cosby
Australia is fierce and passionate advocate for assisting individuals, families, and diverse communities, the basic resources to live well. Australia has been at WAHA for over 4 years, and now serves as our Programs Director. Australia is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in Human Services & Rehabilitation and Spanish. She oversees all of our direct service programming, community engagement, outreach and any related health equity work. She enjoys working alongside our staff, interns, and volunteers to seek the changes necessary for our Whatcom communities.
Talia graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelors of the Arts in Human Services. She has eleven years of experience working as a caregiver with Hospice clients. Talia has a love for all children and was a foster parent for four years. Her experiences have taught her how important informed choices are and having advocates to help with understanding those choices.
Talia loves the challenge of figuring out puzzles. Insurance is much like a puzzle and she enjoys learning about the pieces, so she can assist our community in what pieces could best fit for them.
Director of Finance
Jessica brings over 20 years of experience in non-profit accounting at a variety of human service agencies in Whatcom County. She has a record of achieving clean audits, creating operating efficiencies and establishing strong internal controls. She has served on a number of community Boards, including Lydia Place, Emergency Food and Shelter, and Womencare, typically as Treasurer. She loves to read, garden, go for long walks around Lake Padden and the North Lake Whatcom Trail, and loves her three, perfect cats.
Mary Ann Percy, MS
Advance Care Planning Trainer
Mary Ann lived in the New York area most of her adult life and recently moved to Bellingham after fifteen years in southern California. There she spent nearly ten years working in palliative care, hospice, and spiritual care, including medical bio-ethics, advance care planning, community and professional education, with extensive experience in clinical and educational roles. She is passionate about improving the end of life experience for patients, families and caregivers. She is a graduate of Binghamton University (BA) and Queens College (MS).