Meet the NAESM, Inc. Team
Darwin Thompson | Executive Director
Darwin Thompson currently serves as the Executive Director for NAESM, Inc. a national non-profit specializing in health disparities for marginalized populations. He is a proud graduate of Morehouse College with a degree in Sociology and is a graduate of the Satcher Community Health Leadership Institute. Mr. Thompson specializes in issues related to HIV prevention with populations who are disproportionately affected by HIV. In his current role, Mr. Thompson oversees the organization’s community-based programs, provides financial oversight, manages logistics on grant applications, designs innovative programs, evaluates programs and serves as the Conference Director for NAESM’s annual leadership conference. Mr. Thompson is trained in several CDC behavioral interventions including Mpowerment, dUP, Couples HIV Counseling and Testing, and Many Men Many Voices (3MV). Before his current role at NAESM. Mr. Thompson worked in DC as a Dean of Students for DC Public Schools and managed corporate partnerships for a nonprofit specializing in housing and healthcare for homeless populations.
Damon Johnson Jr. | Associate Director of Programs
Damon Johnson Jr. currently serves as NAESM, Inc.’s. Department Prevention and Support Services Program Manager. NAESM, a local nonprofit agency dedicated to lessening the burden of HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities in communities disproportionately impacted. Damon hails from the dynamic city of Jacksonville (FL). A proud Morehouse Man class of ’13, possessing a broad knowledge of life sciences (Biology) and Social Sciences (Sociology); Damon deemed it necessary to marry the two in an effort to eradicate health disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color. As a result, Damon has been a key player in the war on HIV/AIDS in communities impacted most by this epidemic; for four years and counting. Developing a number of comprehensive prevention and education programs and initiatives; that not only focus on the biological aspects of this epidemic but also assess and address the systematic, structural, and social factors that propel the deadly affects and effects of this epidemic. In addition, to his program development, implementation, and evaluation skills, Damon also understands the role of policy in the war on HIV; therefore he actively advocates for policy implementation and modifications on a local and national level. Damon believes “passion, education, and dedication will aid us in bringing the HIV/ AIDS epidemic to its knees. Yet, commitment, honesty, understanding and respect are necessary to eliminate the epidemic. It takes multidisciplinary approaches to stop HIV; we are greater than!” His commitment is fueled by his selfish desire to negate statistics and defy the odds; while simultaneously aiding communities in doing the same.
Evan Pitts | Senior Program Coordinator
Evan Pitts, from Atlanta, Georgia, was raised by his mother and is the eldest of two. He grew up no stranger to struggle and was taught to never forget his humble beginnings. These early lessons laid the foundation that would lead to a professional path focused in Public Health. He began his journey with NAESM, Inc. three years ago as a volunteer where he was introduced to Public Health and HIV Prevention. His passion and commitment to the work propelled his progression through the ranks at NAESM. He held several positions including AmeriCorps VISTA/Volunteer Coordinator, Support Service Coordinator, Case Manager and now currently serves as Senior Program Coordinator. During his tenure with NAESM, he aided in the development and implementation of several programmatic initiatives, served as the agencies first AmeriCorps VISTA, is certified in CDC’s ARTAS behavioral intervention, currently serves as board chair/facilitator for the Ryan White CAB. Evan asserts himself as a leader and takes pride in having a strong work ethic. He has a true passion for service and a strong commitment to Public Health and the eradication of HIV/AIDS among African-American MSM. He dedicates his time and efforts to ensuring that equal access to social services is an option for everyone he serves.
Darin Allen | Director of Development & Operations
Darin Allen is a native Alabamian and alumni of the University of Alabama. After acquiring a Bachelors in Political Science and Public Administration, Allen moved to the District of Columbia as an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, working for Congressmen Artur Davis (D-AL 7, 2003-2010) and Kendrick Meek (D-FL 17, 2003-2010). He also served as Special Assistant to Dr. Jonathan Gueverra at UDC Community College, formerly known as CCDC before transitioning to the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia to serve as Director of Scheduling and Advance to former Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D-DC, 2011-2015). Shortly after his tenure with the Gray Administration, Darin founded Alan-Howell Consulting, which focuses heavily on community development initiatives and stakeholder engagement as well as business development for nonprofits and startups in the District of Columbia. Most recently, Allen worked as Special Assistant to former Mayor Anthony Williams (D-DC, 1999-2007) at the Federal City Council. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.
D’Metris Welters | Grants & Events Specialist
Hailing from Stock Island, Florida by way of Daytona Beach, D’Metris is a recent transplant to the Atlanta area. She graduated from the University of Florida in May 2010 with a Bachelors of Science in Health Education and a minor in Anthropology. Through this track, she focused on the planning and evaluation of health programming with the addition of preventing and treating communicable and chronic anomalies. D’Metris has been committed to public health since 2007 and her service has spanned across both the public and private sectors. Including campus and community involvement, she has a lot of hands-on experience in prevention and mobilization; development of Regional Minority AIDS Coordinator work plans, departmental budgeting, fund allocation, facilitation, case management, testing, quality assurance, and supervision. In her free time, D’Metris enjoys shopping and traveling. When she’s not working hard at NAESM, Incorporated she can be found further developing her brands, D’Sserts and D’Sserts Etc. She looks forward to bringing her artistic expression, through culinary design to the Atlanta area.
Amara-Nycole Sealy | Program Specialist
Amara-Nycole proudly hails from Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a proud alumna of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health Education, concentrating in Community Health Education and minoring in Women and Gender Studies. Go Spartans! She is currently in progress of earning her Master’s in Public Administration, concentrating in Public Policy at Clark Atlanta University. As the current Program Specialist at NAESM, Inc., she provides support and assistance for NAESM’s various projects and programs, as well as striving to upholding NAESM’s position as a leader in advocacy efforts as they pertain to the health and wellness of Black men who have sex with men, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the LGBT community. She coordinates and manages NAESM’s volunteer program and is always looking for volunteers from ALL backgrounds and experiences. Prior to her position as a Program Specialist, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at NAESM, Inc. Amara-Nycole has served as a Policy Fellow for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States as well as a Health Educator and Youth Leader with Advocates for Youth. She has a passion for the power of storytelling, public policy, social justice, capacity building, innovative problem solving, and improving the lives of those who have been historically and socially marginalized. When she isn’t trying to save the world, Amara-Nycole is most likely traveling, writing, or watching a movie.
Shay DeShields | Special Projects Coordinator
Born and raised in the “City of Brotherly Love” better known as Philadelphia, Shay DeShields is the youngest & only boy with 6 older sisters. In 2005, he began his journey of education that led him to Morehouse College. After his matriculation through Morehouse College, he arrived back in Philadelphia in 2010, where he taught Kindergarten and High School at Leadership Academy. In 2013, DeShields moved back to Atlanta, where he now serve as the Operations Coordinator for NAESM Inc.
Deon Hedge | MSM & Community Engagement Coordinator
Deon Hedge is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and the oldest of four which makes him a natural born leader. An active member of the Atlanta LGBTQ community, he has included himself through various avenues including, but not limited to; several community advisory boards dealing with HIV and other health disparities affecting his community, a peer health educator in the popular ballroom scene, recruiter, and counselor for HIV treatment and prevention studies. Most recently he transitioned from volunteer into a position as the MSM and Community Engagement Coordinator and co-coordinator for The Hangout Youth Center at NAESM, Inc.
Yolanda Brown | Program Assistant
Yolanda Brown is a Westville, SC native who relocated to Atlanta, GA in 2008 to pursue a degree in science at High Tech Institute in Marietta, GA. Upon graduation, she matriculated to a career as a caregiver working within a family business owned by her mother. Yolanda is currently a program assistant at NAESM where she is the heartbeat of the office, maintaining day to day duties that help the staff fulfill their civic duties throughout Metro Atlanta. Her compassion for this work comes from her desire to help homeless youth as well as her thirst for knowledge about the HIV/AIDS epidemic as she has had two close friends pass away from the virus. New to the NAESM family, she comes with a great smile, big personality and a heart of gold.
Jordan Chappell | Data Specialist
Born and raised in the suburban city of Lithonia, Georgia, Jordan Chappell was raised under the principle that one should use the knowledge and skills obtained in life, not for self-advancement alone, but to ultimately nurture and enrich the community. Growing up in a single-parent household among a society that expected the average black male to fall into a life of anarchy, Jordan found solace in education where over the years he received accolades in the multiple areas of study, music, and athletics. He later went on to attend Georgia State University where he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. His ambitious journey through life has brought him to a passionate position where he can give back to the community by using education and service as tools to combat the many health disparities faced by people of color. Jordan currently serves as NAESM Inc.’s Data Specialist and facilitates numerous testing initiatives and data analysis to discover trends among the served population and strategically plan future courses of action.
D'Angelo Morrison | PrEP Coordinator
D'Angelo Morrison is a young Activist/Advocate from Atlanta GA, who has been working for over 7 years on issues that disproportionately affect the LGBT community. His work has led him through multiple states working at a local, state and national level on issues that include HIV/AIDS, Homelessness, and Social Justice. Through incredible organizations and agency’s that include SMYAL, Us Helping us, YBGLI, Side 2 Side, Lutheran social services, TruColors Fund and the Virginia Department of Health, D’Angelo has been fulfilling his passion of helping others. D’Angelo currently serves at NAESM, Inc. as the PrEP Coordinator working on HIV Prevention efforts around the city of Atlanta, GA.
Abilash Pulicken | Mental Health Counselor
Abilash Pulicken currently serves as NAESM’s Mental Health Counselor. As a key member of the organization’s wellness team, Abilash currently serves clients by providing individual counseling, substance abuse counseling, life coaching, and psycho-educational services. He is passionate about working with disenfranchised populations, and has worked with a breadth of individuals ranging from young children adults to court-mandated sex offenders in a variety of settings ranging from college campuses to Native American reservations. In addition to the five years he has spent serving individuals and families as a mental health practitioner, Abilash has also lived in three different countries, and as a result, intimately understands the roles that race, culture, spirituality, and gender/sexual identity play in the context of mental health.
Tevin Dorsey | Health Educator/Outreach Specialist
Tevin Dorsey currently serves as The Hangout’s Health Educator Outreach Specialist. Tevin is a Spring 2016 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Tevin is also a CDC Undergraduate Program Scholar graduate of Morehouse College Project IMHOTEP Summer 2016. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy & Management at Georgia State University, where he also serves as a Graduate Research Assistant. He specializes in HIV prevention/treatment research and applies his studies to make an impact on the YMSM population. Mr. Dorsey is a military brat, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. In his leisure time, Tevin enjoys musical events, sports, and fine dining. Tevin is committed to achieving great goals in everything, while producing renowned individuals dedicated to excellence.