Rev. Dr. Que English, Director
Rev. Dr. Que English serves as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department and Health and Human Services and works closely with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The HHS Center’s core focus areas include addressing COVID-19, maternal health, mental health in youth, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder inclusive of overdose prevention. Working with the Operating Divisions housed within HHS like the Center for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Rev. Dr. English and the Center seek to address the priorities identified by the Biden-Harris Administration.
As a coalition builder and network strategist, Rev. Dr. Que English joins HHS from the State of New York where she served as the Deputy Director of Faith-Based Initiatives for the Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Development Services. Here she identified opportunities to elevate strengths and identify new opportunities to build relationships with the faith-based community. She also conceptualized and was instrumental in forming the faith-based office in the Office of the Mayor of New York City. She has brought together several roundtables and interfaith coalitions to create and implement strategic plans to tackle NY’s most problematic issues.
She is the Founder and past President of Not On My Watch, Inc., an organization formed to combat human trafficking and domestic violence through education, training and community and policy advocacy.
In 2022, she was featured in City & State as 1 of the top 10 “100 Most Influential Religious Leaders in the State of New York” listing. In 2015, she was named 1 of 25 Most Influential Women in the Bronx. She was awarded the Sojourner Truth Award and the Bethune-Height Legacy Award by the National Council of Negro Women. These awards point to Dr. English’s wealth of knowledge she brings to her current role from her advocacy work with the criminal justice system, to substance abuse issues, health and mental health, human trafficking, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, civil rights and more.
She received her Master and Doctorate degrees from New York Theological Seminary where she was the recipient of the Excellence in Ministry Award, the highest award given to a graduating doctoral student.
Heidi Christensen is a Public Affairs Specialist at the HHS Partnership Center. Her efforts focus on strengthening the capacity of faith and community organizations to respond to critical public health issues. Heidi has coordinated coalitions of diverse faith and community-based partners to address critical health issues including childhood obesity, diabetes, access to health care services, and the epidemic of addiction, as well as the social and economic issues challenging the health of our nation’s communities. In response to the opioid crisis, she created the Opioid Crisis Practical Toolkit for Faith and Community and the Roadmap to Recovery Support for Faith and Community Leaders: Getting Back to Work. Previously, at the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, she supported U.S. faith-based organizations on collaborative efforts addressing malaria and other health issues affecting the developing world.
Ben O’Dell is the Management Analyst at the HHS Partnership Center. 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. Ben has served at the Partnership Center for over twenty years making him one of the longest-standing employees of any faith office across the federal government. 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 implements his own personal fatherhood initiatives with their two kids.
Katherine serves as the Special Assistant at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Partnerships Center) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Katherine provides support for the Partnerships Center as they address its core focus areas with a specific focus on maternal health. Prior to serving in IEA, Katherine worked at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Medicare Ombudsman Group where she handled inquiries from Medicare beneficiaries and their representatives involving premium direct billing issues and other Medicare related inquiries and grievances. Katherine has approximately 20 years of Federal government service, which includes her role as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where she also assisted efforts to address communities struggling with responding to disasters. Katherine is bi-lingual in Spanish and loves learning about its culture as well as learning about different cultures. She loves to spend time with her daughter, their two dogs, and traveling to the mountains.