ALYSSA DEBIASI, RN, BSN
COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE
Alyssa graduated from Kutztown University with a BS in clinical Psychology in 2014 then decided to go back for nursing. She worked at St. Luke’s hospital as a hemodialysis technician while in nursing school. She then graduated from Desales with a BS in Nursing in 2018 and went on to be a full time dialysis nurse with St.Luke’s after graduating. Alyssa began her Health Bureau career as the TB Nurse in October of 2018, and working also in Communicable Disease and Maternal Child Health. She is very passionate about public health and enjoys educating others. When not at work, she enjoys traveling and being outside.
Beth Somishka, BS, CP-FS
Sanitarian, Environmental health programs
Beth graduated from Juniata College with a BS in Environmental Science in 2004, spending the two years after college as a Laboratory Technician. She then went on to work as an Environmental Health Specialist at the Montgomery County Health Department until August 2011, when she was promoted to Environmental Health Field Supervisor. She worked as their supervisor until May 2013, when she became a part of the team here at Bethlehem Health Bureau. Here at BHB, Beth conducts various aspects of sanitary inspections of licensed food facilities in our city. She also conducts plan reviews of new and remodeled food facilities, and as a ServSafe certified Instructor & Proctor, she is able to provide ServSafe classes and administer ServSafe examinations. When she’s not at work or out inspecting facilities she enjoys being outdoors, especially camping and boating in the warmer months.
community health specialist, maternal & child health service programs
Caroline (Carrie) holds a BA from Parsons College in Spanish and Sociology. She was employed for 35 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (now Dept. of Human Services) before retiring in 2005. Since 2006, she has been a part-time employee here at Bethlehem Health Bureau, specializing in Maternal & Child Health. Carrie also works in the Women’s Health Clinic and is bilingual: speaking, writing and reading Spanish. She also handles access to care with insurance and providers, and is a member of the Workforce Development Team. She is interested in access to care and likes to travel in her spare time, visiting San Francisco frequently. She hopes to one day travel to Hawaii. Carrie is a City of Bethlehem Medical Reserve Corps volunteer.
charles sabo, bs, MPH, emt-b
community health specialist, public health preparedness
Charles graduated from the University of West Florida in 2015 with a BS in public health and in 2011 he received his EMT-B certification at Northampton Community College. In 2018, Charles also received his Master's in Public Health from the University of West Florida. Charles works under the Public Health Preparedness program area and performs duties such as the creation of various plans in the areas of disease outbreaks and natural disasters, promotes preparedness in the community, plans training exercises, and serves as the Bethlehem Medical Reserve Corps administrator. Charles enjoys spending time with his family, going to auctions, attending car shows and playing baseball and basketball.
claudia richan, bs, paphs
medical reserve corps coordinator and community health specialist, injury & disease prevention programs
Claudia graduated from PSU with a BS in Bio Behavioral Science and completed a work study as an Occupational Health Assistant for Lucent Technologies. She was previously employed as a Health Fitness Specialist at Health Fitness Corporation. Employed with the BHB since 2002, Claudia is currently involved in four different programs: Injury Prevention, where she is a master trainer and coach for “A Matter of Balance” fall prevention program for older adults, the employee wellness program for all City of Bethlehem employees, the Obesity Prevention program, where she focuses on nutrition and physical activity in the community and school settings, and lastly, the Tobacco Prevention program where she is a certified tobacco treatment specialist and cessation counselor. In the summer of 2014, she also became the Bethlehem Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator. A certified physical activity in public health specialist, she is passionate about nutrition and exercise, as well as motivating others to achieve their health goals.
donna m. novak, rn, rnp, crnp, whnp-bc
community health nurse practitioner, maternal & child health services programs
Donna is certified as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and graduated from Thomas Jefferson University with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2012. Donna’s clinical experience includes providing care at Planned Parenthood clinics in Bucks County and at Youth Health Empowerment Project in Philadelphia. Here at the Bethlehem Health Bureau, Donna provides care for clients in the family planning and STD clinics. She also provides community nursing services for families through programs such as Partners for a Healthy Baby, Cribs of Kids. Donna is also a Certified Lactation Counselor. Donna’s outside interests include hiking and traveling in the US and abroad.
community health specialist, communicable disease programs
Jose completed one year of general studies at ESU in 1973. From 1985-1987 he served as the National Treatment Director for Hogar Crea International of PA, Inc. He has been with the Bethlehem Health Bureau since 1988, where he specializes in Communicable Diseases. He works closely with the AIDS program here at BHB, providing HIV counseling/testing/referral, phlebotomy, partner services including partner elicitation, notification & referral, and surveillance in medical records audits, as well as HIV/AIDS PA NEDSS case investigations. Similar to his work with the HIV/AIDS program, Jose also conducts the health bureau’s STD program. He is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish, and provides translation services to clients as needed. Jose is a member of the Continuous Improvement Team. He has a professional interest in addiction counseling and volunteerism, and enjoys boxing and watching Pro Wrestling.
jessica l. lucas, ms, rs, hhs, cp-fs
director, environmental health programs
Jessica graduated Pre-Med/Biology with a minor in Geology from Franklin and Marshall College. She attended Duke University, pursuing graduate work in Environmental Toxicology and completed this work at The George Washington University, obtaining a master’s degree in Environmental Resources and Policy. She completed all course work for Masters of Public Administration from Kutztown University and interned with BHB during her college/graduate career. She began work for Lehigh County Conservation District as an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Technician before returning to BHB as a Sanitarian in 2000. In 2004, she was promoted to her current role, Director of Environmental Health Programs. She is responsible for the oversight and implementation of all environmental health related programs and staff, including Food Safety, Institutional Safety/Sanitation, Public Nuisance Investigation, Abatement and Enforcement, Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Reduction Program, ON-lot Septic System, Animal Control, Public Bathing Place and Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. Her primary professional interests include analysis of environmental toxicology and its health effects of an individual. Outside of work she loves spending time with her family and pets, and enjoys outdoor activities.
community health specialist, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS, NC SPECIAL POPULATIONS
kaitlyn squires, bs
community health specialist, injury and disease prevention programs
Kaitlyn graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in 2013 with a BS in Dietetics. After college she worked at Lehigh Valley Health Network for 3 years as a Medical Supply Specialist before coming to the Bethlehem Health Bureau in 2017. Kaitlyn works under the Safe and Healthy Communities grant, which includes programs such as diabetes prevention, Matter of Balance fall prevention program, and various nutrition programs. Kaitlyn is also involved with Employee Wellness and promoting the Healthy Rewards program for all City of Bethlehem employees. She is passionate about nutrition and promoting/supporting local farms, and helping members of the community. Some of her other interests include cooking and creating new recipes, golfing, and spending time with friends and family.
kristen wenrich, mph, cph
Kristen graduated from East Stroudsburg University with her BS in Community Health Education in 1998. At ESU, she also earned her Masters Degree in Public Health in 2004. She received her certification in public health in 2008, and she has been with the Bethlehem Health Bureau since 1998. In her role as Health Director, she focuses on diagnosing the most pressing health issues in Bethlehem, identifying the most effective strategies to improve health and collaborating with community partners in an effort to fulfill the Health Bureau’s mission and create a healthier Bethlehem. She is responsible for financial management, enforcement of public health regulations, programmatic grants and performance of the staff. Kristen is passionate about public health and believes that prevention is the most effective way to improve health and reduce health care costs. When she is not at work she likes spending time with her family, running & staying fit.
secretary & animal bite investigator
Lisa joined the Bethlehem Health Bureau in 2016 after working in the city’s Recycling Department for two years. She is the Health Secretary, and some of her many duties include answering phones & scheduling appointments, invoicing, and handling purchase orders. She also works as the secretary at several of the health bureau’s clinics, is on the Workforce Development Team, and conducts animal bite investigations. Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and cooking/baking.
community health specialist, injury and disease prevention programs
Employed with the health bureau since 2001, Melitza graduated as a Medical Assistant from the Allentown Business School. As a Community Health Assistant, she is involved with many of the BHB clinics, including Women’s, H.E.A.R.T.S, & STD, and works in the Healthy Woman and Immunization programs by providing clerical assistance and communicating with community partners & patients to achieve healthy, positive outcomes. Melitza is also responsible for working with NextGen as part of the BHB’s efforts to switch to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and is a Certified Application Counselor, helping clients with the online/written application for health care. She loves helping clients and when she is not at work she loves to travel, bake and spend time with family taking pictures of their many adventures.
community health specialist, injury and disease prevention programs
Employed with the health bureau since 1999, Mildred has worked with the Healthy Woman Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program for over 13 years. She is also responsible for the medical billing component of the grant funding this program. She is a certified car seat technician, where she assists with car seat installations for the City of Bethlehem residents. She works under the Injury Prevention Grant providing a senior fall prevention program and under the Highway Safety Grant for Northampton County. Mildred enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching her children play sports, mainly basketball and football, and spending time playing with her miniature pincher.
NANCY CHAMBERS, BSN-RN
community health NURSE
Nancy joined the Health Bureau team in 2019. Prior to coming to the Health Bureau she was an emergency technician for 15 years before becoming a Nurse for St. Luke's in the Emergency Department, where she still works today. Nancy graduated from St. Luke's Nursing School in 2017, and obtained her BSN from Moravian College in 2019. In addition, Nancy is a Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE) during her time off. In her spare time she loves spending time outdoors either camping and/or riding her bike.
scott l. sterner
environmental health technician, environmental HEALTH Programs
Since 2002, Scott has been our Environmental Health technician, as well as a Certified Public Pesticide Applicator for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. He is a Lead Risk Assessor for our Lead Abatement program, is trained in the use of XRF, and ServSafe certified. He handles and abates health complaints citywide including cleanups when warranted. He enforces code/ordinance and issues citations when warranted. He carries out court actions from local judges up to and including Lehigh and Northampton County Courthouses. Scott also carries multiple driver licenses,’ including CDL Class A HAZMAT, TANKER DOUBLES/TRIPLES. Previously, Scott was employed as a Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator here in Bethlehem. He enjoys talking and interacting with co-workers and members of the public.
sherri l. penchishen, mph, rdn, ldn, fand
director, injury & disease prevention, public health emergency preparedness, and health education programs
Sherri received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Nutrition from West Chester University in 1993 and her Dietetic Verification from Immaculata College in 1995. She completed the Approved Pre-Professional Practice Program through The Wood Company in 1996, earning her Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist credentials. She received her Masters of Public Health from East Stroudsburg University in 2001 and is recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2013. Previously, she has worked at several local companies, including Lehigh Valley and Easton Hospitals. She has been employed with the health bureau since 1997 in her current role, where she administratively oversees the staff of the Chronic Disease and Health Education Programs, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Violence & Injury Prevention, Diabetes Prevention, Highway Safety, Breast & Cervical Cancer, Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention, Employee Wellness and Tobacco Cessation and Prevention. She is also responsible for the development of educational materials & strategies, evaluation of programs, and community needs, as well as providing consultation for the other health disciplines. Sherri is also a Preceptor for dietetic interns, undergraduate and graduate public health interns from various dietetic and public health programs, and is a Mentor for the Embracing Community Dynamics course through the RN to BSN program at Moravian College. She is a member of the BHB Strategic Planning Team and Accreditation Coordinator. Sherri enjoys serving on the statewide planning committees for injury prevention, and serving as an Advisory Member for East Stroudsburg University’s Masters of Public Health program & Cedar Crest College’s Dietetic Internship Program. When she isn’t at work, she loves spending time with her children and family, cooking, gardening and relaxing by the pool.
stephanie oakley, rn, bsn, mph
COMMUNITY HEALTH NURSE, communicable disease programs
Stephanie graduated from Cedar Crest College with a BS in Nursing in 1998. In the following year, she graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a Master’s in Public Health. She worked as a Community Health Nurse, as well as a Clinical Services Manager at the Allentown Health Bureau from 2000 to 2008, when she became employed with the BHB. In her role as Immunization Coordinator, she coordinates BHB immunization programs, including maintaining vaccine supply, coordinating clinic schedules and advertising and data collection. Stephanie is also a backup animal bite investigator and she provides immunization education to local medical providers, the community and BHB staff, collaborates with the PA Department of Health Immunization program, conducts vaccine-preventable disease investigations as well as coordinating the flu vaccination program including advertising, community outreach, maintenance of supply, data entry and managing flu clinics. She conducts BHB clinics, providing comprehensive public health nursing services for individuals and their families in both a clinical and home setting, including administering immunizations and providing treatment to patients for communicable diseases and coordinating referrals of residents to appropriate community agencies. Stephanie is also a board member of the Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering. She is focused on the importance of vaccination promotion and advocacy, and when she is not at work she likes to travel and camp with her family. One day she would love to travel to Hawaii.
sue madeja, rn, msn, clc
director, nursing and maternal & child health, and communicable disease programs
Sue earned her BS in Nursing from Cedar Crest College and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Kutztown. She started working at BHB in 1995 after working at the Allentown Health Bureau since 1982. Sue received her certification in lactation counseling from the Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding in 2015. Sue also completed the CityLeaders Program, through CitymatCH, the National Organization of urban MCH Leaders. As our Nursing Director, she oversees the many different programs under Nursing as well as Maternal Child Health Program, and the Communicable Disease program. She is especially interested in Breastfeeding and Child Abuse Prevention. When not at work, Sue is outdoors hiking, biking and kayaking. Sue is also a huge advocate for animal rescue and enjoys spending her time with her dogs.
community health specialist, environmental health programs
COMMUNITY HEALTH ASSISTANT, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS
Before working here at BHB in 1993, Yolanda worked for the Bethlehem Housing Authority for five years. Here at the health bureau, she coordinates the City of Bethlehem’s Dental/Vision Program for patients and processes invoices for payment. She is responsible for the monthly invoicing packets sent to the State for reimbursement. She enters payroll for the staff here at BHB and handles all licenses for the retail food establishments, as well as for any temporary event involving food. She types the monthly Board of Health meeting minutes, agenda and letter. She also records citizen complaints in the Code Enforcement program and she is one of our valuable Spanish/English Translators for phone calls in the health bureau and other departments. In her spare time she like sewing, traveling and cooking.
community health specialist, communicable disease programs
Zoraida (Zory) graduated from Star Technical Institute as a Medical Assistant. Before becoming a medical assistant, she was a Para Professional for Allentown School District ESOL Class. She has been with BHB since 2000, where she is responsible for STD investigation/home visits, partner notification and outreach, HIV testing and counseling, GYN/STD/TB triage and phlebotomy. She also helps those needing to apply for the Affordable Care Act in her capacity as a Certified Application Counselor. She is in charge of data entry and record keeping, as well as Electronic Health Records (EHR). She is also one of our Spanish/English translators at BHB. When not at work, Zoraida loves being with her family and helping children in need, as she has been a foster parent since 1991. She also likes to bake and make homemade cakes with intricate icing designs.