Project Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS), Office of Laboratory Science and Safety (OLSS)
Wesley Tahsir-Rodriguez, MPH is healthcare leader focused on innovation, technology adoption and strategic planning to achieve health equity. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) network serving primarily indigent communities in Southeast Queens and Brooklyn, NY. The health services provided at these clinics are open to all regardless of insurance or citizenship status, or ability to pay for services. The Health Center serves approximately 40,000 patients per year.
Prior to that, Wesley worked at the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency that provides direct funding for public health services at the community level. His most recent work there involved collaborating with state and local health departments to identify and address medical provider shortages in community health centers throughout U.S. Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands). This effort sought to ensure a robust workforce that reflected the cultural and linguistic needs of the communities served.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wesley was part of a small group of volunteer health policy professionals that created the COVID-19 contact tracing program Healthy Newark Inc. for Newark, New Jersey. He served as the program’s lead recruiter, trainer, and manager of the first cohort of 30 volunteer contact tracers through the most difficult time for the Newark metro area in the early days of the pandemic when contact tracing was critical. The program’s design and implementation model was eventually adopted by the entire state of New Jersey and is still in use two years into the pandemic.
Wesley has also served as national policy director for two large health advocacy organizations focused on minority health. He has worked at the local level as director of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and Housing for People Living with AIDS in Newark, NJ. He directed a technical assistance program for HIV health service providers at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He also has hospital administration experience from his time with Rutgers University Medical School/University Hospital and St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York. Each of his professional roles required Wesley’s skill in developing strong collaborative partnerships with key community stakeholders. His goal in all his work is to ensure everyone has access to comprehensive, affordable, and appropriate quality medical care.
Wesley earned a bachelor’s in American Studies at Lehigh in 2000 and an MPH at the Rutgers School of Public Health in 2006 focusing on urban health policy and administration. He had entered Lehigh with a desire to become a doctor like his sister but ended up more interested in focusing on challenges plaguing systems of care. He also played in the Lehigh University Philharmonic under the leadership of Paul Chou, a lifelong friend and mentor.