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The Partnership Center Staff

Heidi Christensen

Heidi Christensen is the Public Affairs Specialist at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Heidi’s efforts focus on strengthening the capacity of national faith and community organizations to respond to critical public health issues.  During her tenure at the Partnership Center, Heidi has coordinated coalitions of multi-sector community-based partners to address childhood obesity, chronic disease, and the social and economic issues challenging the health of our nation’s communities.  She also has coordinated partner-based social media events, educational and training web series, and communications that equip community-level health leadership. 

Previously, at the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA), she supported U.S. based faith leaders and their communities on collaborative efforts addressing malaria and other health issues affecting the developing world.  She also managed communications and event production for the Cathedral College of Washington National Cathedral. Heidi holds a master’s degree in systematic theology from Virginia Theological Seminary.  

Ben O’Dell

Ben O’Dell is the Program Specialist at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Ben is a recognized expert on facilitating partnerships between faith-based, philanthropic, and community organizations and government at all levels. Ben’s interest in strengthening local faith-based and community leaders and community engagement principles to religious, community, and government interest has led him to develop deep relationships, knowledge, and expertise on a broad range of issues from strengthening fathers and families to strategies for bringing groups together in collaborative networks. Throughout his fourteen year tenure in the Center, Ben served in many roles including as Designated Federal Officer to the President’s Advisory Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a 25 member council of faith and community leaders making recommendations to the President and the White House.

Ben received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Development and Knowledge Management in 2007 from the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. Ben resides outside of Washington, D.C. with his wife, Kristin, and practices his own personal fatherhood initiatives with their two kids.

Content created by Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (IEA)
Content last reviewed on January 20, 2021