MPCA leadership

(2012) Vanessa Santarelli - Chief Executive Officer Born and raised in Augusta, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine.  Early in her career, she lobbied on behalf of a number of social service and environmental organizations as an Associate of Moose Ridge Associates, and went on to serve as the Legislative Liaison for the Maine Department of Labor.  Vanessa became NH Public Policy Director for Bi-State Primary Care Association where she advocated on behalf of Community Health Centers for 4 and 1/2 years before returning to Maine to join the Maine Primary Care Association as CEO.  Vanessa also currently serves as the Regional Representative for the New England Primary Care Associations on the National PCA Leadership Committee. Vanessa's primary roles are Advocacy and Policy and Board Support & Liaison.

 (2003-2006; since 2010)  Darcy Shargo, MFA - Chief Operating Officer Darcy focuses on leading day to day program oversight and integration efforts, with a special emphasis on grants management and development, quality improvement, communications and collaboration. Darcy returned to MPCA in 2010, most immediately from Consumers for Affordable Health Care, where she was a policy analyst. Before this, she worked at MPCA for three years (2003-2006) as Health Care Access Program Manager, before working for MaineCare as the Director of Special Projects (2006-08), and then running the Rape Crisis Center in Waterville as its Executive Director (2008-09). Darcy's primary roles are Training and Technical Assistance, Human Resources, and Staff and Organizational Development.

(2016) Russ Begin - Chief Financial Officer Russ is responsible for maintaining the corporate finances according to generally accepted accounting principles and in accordance with policies established by the Board of Directors. Prior to joining MPCA, he worked in both the private and public sector, with extensive experience with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services as the Deputy Commissioner for Finance as well as a Director for the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services. His diverse background in healthcare and economics is a strong asset to the project team. Russ's primary roles are Finance and Compliance and Facilities Management.  

MPCA directorS

(2015) Jeff Brown, MEd - Director of Continuous Quality Improvement Jeff supports the quality and performance improvement initiatives of Maine’s CHCs. Prior to joining MPCA Jeff supported quality and safety improvement initiatives in healthcare and other high-risk domains with Applied Research Associates' cognitive engineering division. His healthcare work has ranged from the development of inter-professional practice models to assessing the state of health system readiness for accountable care. Jeff has authored and                co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and books. Jeff earned M.Ed. and B.S. degrees from the University of Maine. Jeff's primary roles are Leading QI Coaching and Support, Planning Training & Technical Assistance around QI and Partnering with Other QI Agencies.

(2014) Ashley Mills – Director of Health Center Network Advancement Ashley manages the Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) program. Previously, Ashley was the Strategic Initiatives Project Manager, working to develop and implement initiatives including Oral Health, Population Health Management, Patient Experience and Engagement, Outreach and Enrollment, Enabling Services and Vulnerable Populations. Prior to MPCA, she worked in insurance and community-based social work. Ashley has a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Southern Maine, and is currently studying for her Master’s in Health Administration at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine. Ashley's primary roles are Population Health Management, Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement initiatives.

(2016) Bryan Wyatt, MA - Director of Communications Bryan is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of a communications plan that supports agency advocacy, education and public relations efforts. In addition, Bryan leads the oversight and planning of all training assistance activities and serves as the primary communications liaison between the agency and its members. Bryan brings to his position more than 20 years of experience in public relations, strategic communications, crisis management and issues advocacy, having represented a diverse portfolio of clients including Fortune 500 companies, industry associations and nonprofit organizations. Bryan earned a BS in Government from Liberty University and a MA in Political Management from George Washington University. Bryan’s primary roles are Internal/External Communications, Media Relations, Social Media Marketing and Training & Technical Assistance Development.

(2010) Caroline Zimmerman, MPP - Director of Grants Management Caroline's primary responsibilities include seeking grants and contracts to expand the agency’s financial and human resource capacity. Major work involves researching grant opportunities, partnering with MPCA leadership and staff to identify which opportunities to pursue, and drafting successful proposals. In her previous role she directed programs supporting Maine’s CHCs in outreach and enrollment, community development and legislative issue analysis. Caroline received a BA from Bowdoin College and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Caroline's primary roles are Researching Grant Opportunities, Writing Grant Proposals and Ensuring Health Center Engagement in Proposal Development.

    MPCA program Staff

(2016) Paula Eaton - Innovation Advisor Paula brings to her position over 30 years of experience in the medical field. Her background includes practice operations for 21 years at Dr. Charles Burger’s practice in Bangor which was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the top 30 primary care practices in the Country in 2013. Most recently, Paula was a Practice Facilitator at Maine Quality Counts. Paula is certified as a Green Belt in Six Sigma Lean principles, as a coach in Dartmouth’s Institute Clinical Microsystems and has received additional training in Change Management. Paula’s primary role as Innovation Advisor is providing Technical Assistance/Training to MPCA’s Community Health Centers.


(2016) Kalie Hess - Strategic Initiatives Project Manager Kalie provides training, technical assistance, support and advocacy to Maine's CHCs. She contributes to the development and implementation of several strategic initiatives including Oral Health, Population Health Management, Patient Experience and Engagement, Outreach and Enrollment, Enabling Services and Vulnerable Populations. Previously, Kalie worked with community health coalitions both locally and as part of a training and technical support team for community health coalitions at the state level. Kalie received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Maine and her Master of Public Health from the University at Albany. Kalie's primary roles are Oral Health Training and Technical Assistance, Leading Outreach and Enrollment Efforts, and supporting the HCCN program.

Sky Vargas.jpg

(2017) Sky Vargas - Health Systems Project Manager Sky supports the health information technology (HIT) activities of MPCA's Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN). Her work includes both day-to-day oversight of individual participating health centers' projects and group projects as well as periodic analysis of health center systems and data. In her position, Sky also leads user groups in the identification of individual and/or group IT projects that advance progress toward HCCN goals, particularly, in the area of EHR improvement and optimization. Sky holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) in Project Management from Thomas College and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Maine at Augusta. Sky's primary roles are Health Information Technology and Health Systems Data.

MPCA administrative staff

(2016) Heidi Bunnell - Executive Assistant Heidi brings to her position a wealth of knowledge and years of experience having worked in a variety of fields as an Office Manager, Administrative and Executive Assistant. At MPCA, Heidi is responsible for assisting on a number of committees, providing administrative support, gathering and providing information, scheduling meetings, etc. Heidi’s primary role as Executive Assistant is supporting the CEO and serving as a day-to-day point of contact for association members.


(1991) Greta Doe - Development and Member Services Coordinator Greta is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of MPCA’s system to track grant opportunities and grant reporting requirements.  She provides administrative support to the Chief Operating Officer, Director of Health Center Network Advancement, Director of Grant Development as well as the Director of Continuous Quality Improvement and the QI team. Greta's primary roles are Supporting COO & QI/HCCN Programs and Grants Management Efforts.

(2016) Lisa Frost - Accounting and Human Resources Coordinator Lisa performs various accounting and human resources functions on behalf of the organization, and she assists the CFO with other business, financial and administrative affairs.  Her previous work experience includes bookkeeping, municipal government administration, and human resources.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Maine.

(2005) Andrea Watkins - Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator Andrea oversees the office IT and phone systems, and is the lead on all logistics regarding MPCA’s face-2-face and online events. She maintains the event registration platforms, and provides administrative support for Training & Technical Assistance work and Training Events. Andrea joined MPCA in 2005, shortly before she graduated from Kennebec Valley Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science (AAS), Computer Applications Technology. Andrea's primary roles are Supporting Training Events, Maintaining Event Registration Platforms, and Supporting Training & Technical Assistance Work.