Our Leadership

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Bruce Baker

Executive Director

Bruce L. Baker is co-founder and Executive Director of Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER). Bruce has led CHEER’s efforts to facilitate a community strategic plan, conduct research on community housing and health conditions, and facilitate community improvement actions to address community priorities through collaborations and partnerships. 

Lucia Zegarra

Director of Community Health Programs

Peruvian native, Lucia Zegarra, has been involved in community development projects from a very young age. From leading youth and environmental groups in Peru to developing and facilitating bilingual support groups for the homeless in DC, Lucia has become a strong advocate for peer support as a sustainable complement of formal health care services and prevention of disease.

Vanesa Pinto

Community Programs Director, Long Branch Education

Vanesa is the organizer of all CHEER programming involving community building and networks of support in Long Branch. Before finding her passion in community organizing, Vanesa was an accountant in Bolivia. She is proud to have been that profession and equally proud to have left it behind as she credits her initial career path as the trigger motivating her to leave Bolivia and find her passion in the United States.

Ray Nosbaum

Volunteer Coordinator

Ray is a CHEER volunteer.  He has been instrumental in designing and implementing the LBHFAP food delivery system that ensures that all the program participants get their weekly food distributions. Ray is also working on CHEER's volunteer development.  Ray retired from a career with the US Department of Agriculture and is the former operator of local farmers markets. 

Lisa Middleton

Administrative Manager

Lisa comes to CHEER with over 20 years of administrative experience. Prior to CHEER, she worked at a minority business certification council as the office manager, at a national veteran service organization as a career coach, and at a national community health association supporting an AmeriCorps program of community health workers. She has lived in Silver Spring for over 15 years with her husband, Darrin; girls, Casey and Abbey; and a dog, Brodie, that is very much human.

John Brill

Community Empowerment Coordinator

John supports CHEER’s efforts to cultivate community leaders, bring them together to create a shared vision for their community, and help them realize their vision through strategic community-led action. He also coordinates the integration of CHEER’s programs, and supports organizational development efforts. He has been a social entrepreneur, community organizer, and youth worker in St. Louis, MO and metro Washington for 25 years. He was founder and partner of The Farm at Our House, a local organic farm in Brookeville, MD, and has created school gardens at two local elementary schools.

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Our Community Outreach Team

Community Health Worker
Community Health Worker/
Certified Application Counselor
Certified Application Counselor
Community Health Worker
Community Health Worker
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Our Board


Professional Mediator, Takoma Park Presbyterian Church

Consultant, Former Mayor of Takoma Park
Board Member

Public Relations Consultant
Board Member

Pediatrician, Takoma Park, Maryland
Administrative Coordinator
Montgomery College
Nursing Program
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8545 Piney Branch Road, Suite H
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Phone: 301.589.3633

Fax: 240.670.7417

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