Community Advisory Board

The SWISH Community Advisory Board is comprised of 14 experts in Somali culture, HIV/STD prevention, or immigrant, women’s, or Somali health. Their purpose is to assist and advise our research team by:

  • Communicating the study’s goals and results to the Somali community
  • Increasing the study’s credibility in the Somali community
  • Advising on cultural attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors
  • Assisting with study design, interview development, recruitment strategies, and data analysis and interpretation

Meet Our Community Advisory Board Members

Amira AdaweAmira Adawe, BS

Health Educator
Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health

Adawe received her BS in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota and works in the family health section of Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health. She specializes in child and teen check-ups. She has strong interest in community based participatory research, especially in the area of women’s health. She is currently a community investigator for the Somali women cervical cancer pilot project through Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3). She actively participates in programs and organizations whose goals are to better the life of Somali Americans.

Zabat AwedZabat Awed

Crisis Advocate

Awed has her BA in criminal justice. She uses her skills to advocate for women who are fleeing their abusive relationships. She is a crisis advocate at Cornerstone, a domestic abuse shelter. She just recently left a second job at Simpson Housing Services as a case manager. There, she assisted women, children, and families in finding safe housing.

Der HerDer Her

Outreach Coordinator & Program Assistant
Sexual Offense Services of Ramsey County (SOS)

Her received her BA in psychology from the College of St. Catherine. She began as a volunteer at Sexual Offense Services of Ramsey County, and has progressed to outreach coordinator and program assistant. She helped SOS develop a program and curriculum designed to help empower Hmong and Latina girls. Since its start, the program has expanded to include girls of all races/ethnicities, and Her has facilitated more than forty-two empowerment groups in nine different junior high schools in Ramsey County.

Andrea Leinberger JabariAndrea Leinberger-Jabari, MPH

Office of Community Engagement for Health

Leinberger-Jabari acts as the coordinator for the Office of Community Engagement for Health at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of this office is to help Minnesota university researchers, health care organizations, and communities collaborate on research studies and health programs. Leinberger-Jabari has worked at Wellshare International in the past, developing Somali health programs.

Sharon LundSharon Lund, PhD

President/Chief Executive Officer
Global Public Health Innovations Inc. (GPHI)

Lund is the president/CEO of Global Public Health Innovations Inc. (GPHI), an international corporation that focuses on initiatives aimed at improving lives through empowering individuals and communities. GPHI’s principal goal is to develop and support social responsibility programs that make tangible differences in people and the communities they live in. Lund has a PhD in nutritional epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. She has experience interviewing HIV-positive East African-born men as a part of a study conducted at the Program in Human Sexuality and acts as a consultant for SWISH’s interview team in addition to being a community advisory board member.

Shannon PergamentShannon Pergament, MPH, MSW

Independent Consultant/Project Manager
Somali Latino and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness (SoLaHmo)

Pergament is an independent consultant on CBPR partnerships, qualitative research, project management, and strategic planning. She is currently project manager for SoLaHmo at West Side Community Clinic and is also affiliated with Centro Campesino. Both organizations focus on community strength and organizing.

Luisa Pessoa-Brandão

Senior Manager, Global Program
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)

Pessoa-Brandão is a senior manager at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Global Program. NASTAD represents the nation’s chief state health agency staff who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS healthcare, prevention, education, and supportive service programs. She moved to this position after spending several years at the Minnesota Department of Health as the epidemiology and surveillance supervisor in HIV and STDs.

Ismail Qasim

Qasim is active in the local Somali mosques. He was the first Somali refugee to move to Minnesota in 1993.

Abdullahi Sheikh

Independent Health Consultant