The Solutions, Training, and Assistance for Recruitment and Retention (STAR²) Center is a project of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) that provides resources, training, and technical assistance to help Health Center Program grantees with their clinician workforce challenges and questions. We are a National Training and Technical Assistance Partner of the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Please read through our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about us!
Meet the STAR² Center Team
Mariah Blake (she, her),
Mariah has been part of the ACU team since 2015. She supports the Solutions, Training, and Assistance for Recruitment and Retention (STAR²) Center by coordinating communications, managing the STAR² Center website, and assisting in resource production. She is the technical expert for all ACU training systems, managing the STAR² Center Learning Management System, Zoom webinar platform, and Discussion Board Additionally, she assembles materials for STAR² Center trainings and webinars and helps manage delivery of all STAR² Center projects. Mariah previously worked in nonprofit and association support and served with KEYS Service Corps in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Sabrina Edgington (she, her, hers),
Senior Director, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) Initiatives
Sabrina Edgington is the Senior Director, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) Initiatives at ACU. In this role, she leads ACU’s work to address health disparities rooted in systemic racism and discrimination, increase diversity in the workforce pipeline, and support health centers in improving workforce equity and inclusion. Sabrina has over a decade of experience working with health centers. Prior to working with ACU, Sabrina served as a facilitator for Integrated Work where she led HRSA-supported Peer Learning Teams for Primary Care Associations and Health Center Controlled Networks. Sabrina also served at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council as the Director of Special Projects where she worked closely with health centers to support the development of medical respite care and permanent supportive housing programs. During her time at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, she also served as the Project Director for a Health Care Innovation Award through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to pilot a standardized model of medical respite care in five states. She received her MSSW at the University of Tennessee and her BSW at the University of Alabama.
Michelle Fernández Gabilondo
(she, her(s), ella),
Associate Director of Workforce Development
Dr. Michelle Fernández Gabilondo, DSW, MSW is the Associate Director of Workforce Development at the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved working at the STAR² Center on training and course development to advance health center workforce retention and recruitment. As a macro-level social worker, Dr. Fernández Gabilondo has experience working with medically underserved populations and survivors of military sexual trauma. She previously worked in training development and management at the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. She earned her Doctor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California and has a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Media Studies from New York University.
HELEN RHEA VERNIER (SHE/HER),
Helen Rhea Vernier, MSc, is the Training Specialist at ACU. She joined ACU in April 2021 and works at the STAR² Center on training and course development to advance health center workforce recruitment and retention. With a Master’s degree in the Politics of Conflict, Rights, and Justice, Helen has a strong background in the underlying factors that impact individual and community health. Before joining the ACU team, Helen worked at the Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS) as the Programs Coordinator, Population Health. She received her Master’s of Science from SOAS, University of London, and her Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College.
Suzanne Speer (she/her),
Senior Director of Workforce Development
Suzanne Speer joined ACU 2017 and serves as Senior Director of Workforce Development. In this role, she oversees ACU’s National Training and Technical Assistance Partner, the STAR2 Center. She works directly with community health centers, state Primary Care Associations and other National Cooperative Agreements across the nation, addressing important issues related to workforce. She has worked with community health centers for over seven years, first by recruiting providers at the Virginia Community Healthcare Association. She received a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Commonwealth University.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Solutions, Training, and Assistance for Recruitment and Retention (STAR²) Center is a project of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved that provides resources, training, and technical assistance to help Health Center Program grantees with their clinician workforce challenges and questions.
The online resource center is a growing one-stop shop for toolkits, manuals, best practices, and other resources related to clinician recruitment and retention. Additionally, confidential health center recruitment and retention Data Profiles are updated annually and shared with health centers to help identify specific needs of individual health centers.
The STAR² Center primarily conducts training online via webinars, learning collaboratives, and self paced courses. Additionally, the STAR² Center team partners with Primary Care Associations to provide in-person trainings at state and regional conference. Keep an eye on the training calendar for information on the STAR² Center’s monthly webinar series and view previously recorded webinars on the ACU & STAR² Center Video Page.