Meet Our Team

Sarah Goff, Project Leader

Goff Photo (2)

Dr. Sarah Goff is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center. She grew up in Chicopee and her first real job was working in the kitchen at Baystate Medical Center. She went to medical school at UMASS and did her residency training here at Baystate. After practicing in community health centers in Western MA for a three years, she felt she needed to do more to improve health care for underserved populations and embarked on a research career focused on health care quality and equity. She continues to care for patients at Brightwood Health Center in the North End of Springfield.

Elissa Griffith-Johnson, Project Leader


My name is Elissa Griffith-Johnson and I am the Patient Representative for Project ACCCES. Born and raised in New York City, I moved to the Pioneer Valley 35 years ago. Trained as a teacher I have been fortunate to have taught all through Western MA. I believe that it is very important for communities to have the opportunity to work closely with researchers. Together we will be able to make positive changes in our communities.


Kathleen Szegda, Project Leader


Kathleen Szegda, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S. is the Director of Community Research and Evaluation at Partners for a Healthier Community (PHC), the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. Dr. Szegda is an epidemiologist with over 15 years of public health/research experience working at the national, state and local levels at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University, Baystate Children’s Hospital, University of Massachusetts, and Partners for a Healthier Community. She oversees PHC research and evaluation activities which focus on: fostering equitable community-engaged research that improves health; making data more accessible to community partners; and building capacity for data-driven approaches to implementing and evaluating programs. Dr. Szegda holds a Ph.D. in Public Health in Epidemiology from University of Massachusetts, an M.P.H. from Emory University, and an M.S. in Counseling from Georgia State University. Her research focuses on health disparities, mental health and maternal/child health.

Bettye Anderson Frederic, Project Leader

Bettye Anderson-Frederic is the former Deputy Director of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services (SDHHS) and a career nurse clinician. After pursuing her undergraduate degree at Dillard University, a Historical Black College, she obtained a graduate degree from Boston University. Her ensuing work has centered on social justice, health equity and disparities in health care and health outcomes. She has practiced in acute care settings, taught at the college level, and worked to promote community health. In her current position at SDHHS, she oversees population based health services for the residents of Springfield. In this role, she has developed a population-based nursing service, created and structured the Maternal Child Health Commission, secured CLIA certification for population based health screening and integrated all health units into a cooperative force for health prevention. She has been involved in the following projects, many of which required community engagement: Mason Square Neighborhoods Assessment of Community Participation and Health Needs, Health Updates on Springfield HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse Treatment Among Springfield Residents, Profile of the AIDS Epidemic In the City of Springfield, Health Profiles of Springfield Pregnancies and Births, working with faculty from the University of Massachusetts on cultural/racial diversity in the field of nursing, The Public Health Network Project: Rural Public Health, served on design team for the Baystate CHNA, and served as faculty for a community health and capacity building grant and on the Advisory Board of a Health Communications in Cancer Control Project.

Haley Guhn-Knight, Project Coordinator 

Haley joined the Center for Quality of Care Research at Baystate in June 2014 as a Clinical Research Assistant. She graduated with high honors from Mount Holyoke College with her BA in Psychology and History. She began her work with the Center with Dr. Sarah Goff on her study, “IDEAS for a Healthy Baby: Reducing Disparities in Consumer Use of Quality Data,” funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to determine if health care quality information can influence patient choice of provider. More recently, Haley has been serving as the coordinator for Dr. Goff’s “Project ACCCES: A Collaboration to develop Capacity for Community Engaged research in Springfield,” funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She is also currently enrolled in the Postbaccalaureate Pre-Med Program at Elms College and plans to apply for Ph.D./DVM programs upon completion of her coursework.