The Jegna Council is an advisory group that guides our New Jersey grantmaking team as they strive to more effectively center equity in their work and build power across the state, with an intentional focus on communities that have historically lacked opportunities to live their healthiest life.


Through a commitment to advancing health equity and deep connections in key communities and populations across the state, council members reflect the culture, character, and lived experiences of New Jersey’s diverse populations and have knowledge of one or more of the team’s focus areas in New Jersey: maternal and infant health, housing, and public health infrastructure.

“Jegna” is an ancient African concept, conveying distinction, respect, and honor. It represents one who synthesizes wisdom from lifelong experiences and formulates it into a legacy for future generations. The concept encompasses the spirit in which we ask our advisors to help us ensure accountability and strategic relevance to the people and communities of New Jersey.

Community members lead a neighborhood rehabilitation project.

Jegna Council Members

Jorge Cruz, Regional Vice President for Community Development, Citizens Bank

Dr. Nastassia Harris, DNP, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Founding President of the Perinatal Health Equity Foundation

Rev. Eric Dobson, Deputy Director, Fair Share Housing Center

Christian Estevez, New Jersey Legislative and Political Director, Communications Workers of America, District 1

Alma Garcia, LSW, MSW, Executive Director, Puerto Rican Community Center, Inc.

Ivette Guillermo-McGahee, MA, ACS, LPC, Founder and CEO, Allies in Caring, Inc.

Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, Professor and Chair of the Rutgers School of Public Health

Taiisa Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Monarch Housing Associates

DeAnna Minus-Vincent, Founder and Managing Director, The Outcomes Architect

Gisele Pemberton, DrPH, MPH, CHES, PROCEED, Inc., Director, National Center for Training, Support, and Technical Assistance

Chanel Porchia-Albert, CD, CPD, CLC, CHHC, Founder and CEO, Ancient Song Doula Services

Linda Sloan Locke, CNM, MPH, LSW, FACNM, Founding Chair, New Jersey Health Cares about Domestic and Sexual Violence Collaborative

Related Content

Members of the Jegna Council have developed pieces to highlight areas of their work that intersect with the Foundation’s priorities in New Jersey. Each of the articles reflect members’ thoughts on different areas that contribute to health inequities and ways that we can create a more equitable healthcare workforce, expand housing options, expand community research, and improve maternal health outcomes.

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A Healthier, More Equitable New Jersey

To honor the legacy started by our founder, Robert Wood Johnson II, we at RWJF remain committed to improving health and advancing health equity for all in New Jersey and beyond.