HLM Executive Committee

Christopher Browne, LEED AP 


Associate, Department Manager, Land Planning, EHRA Engineering 

A proud Houstonian with a degree in Architecture from the University of Houston, Mr. Browne transitioned to land planning over 20 years ago and has not looked back. As Associate/Department Manager of Land Planning, Christoper manages the design and execution of master planned communities, conceptual site development, and Low Impact Development projects. His projects include master planned communities, thoroughfare planning, comprehensive and growth planning, site design, and urban redevelopment. He takes great pride in the idea that what he designs eventually becomes a place people call “home."

Mr. Browne currently serves as Chair of Healthy Living Matters, member of the Greater Houston Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committe and Executive Committee member of the Bayou Preservation Association. 


Lisa Helfman


Founder and Board Chair, Brighter Bites & Director of Real Estate, H-E-B

Lisa Helfman is the Founder and Board Chair of Brighter Bites.  In the fall of 2011, Ms. Helfman and her family took part in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op, and she watched her children’s eating habits transform—for the better.  So much so that her little boy rejected a piece of cake at a birthday party, asking for fruit instead!  She was inspired to replicate this type of positive change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas with limited access to grocery stores.  Because nutrition education in these communities is often equally lacking,

Ms. Helfman's vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools in these neighborhoods that included an educational component while also making it fun. She created a collaborative partnership between the Houston Food Bank and Dr. Shreela Sharma at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and launched the program now known as Brighter Bites.  Four years later, Brighter Bites has delivered over 13,000,000 pounds of fresh produce to more than 30,000 families at over 100 participating schools in Houston, Dallas, and Austin with great research results, and is now expanding nationally. When she isn’t pushing kids to drink kale smoothies, Ms. Helfman is Director of Real Estate for H-E-B Grocery Company and is working on the company’s significant and innovative expansion in Houston.  Lisa received her JD Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston Law Center and her BA Cum Laude from Tulane University.


Marie Arcos 

Member At-Large

Community Development Executive Director, YMCA of Greater Houston

Marie Arcos is the Community Development Executive Director, YMCA of Greater Houston. She was formally the Community Executive Director for the M.D Anderson Family YMCA Center of Greater Houston. She was born and reared in Houston’s Northside and remains very active in the community at large.  Ms. Arcos received her Masters of Social Work, specializing in political and community organizing, from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  Her undergraduate studies included Human Development and Family Studies.  Ms. Arcos began her professional career at Spindletop Charities, Inc., the largest oil industry related charity in Houston, while serving on the board of the Y.  

Ms. Arcos is committed to ensuring equity in education for children and health access for families and the aging population. She is engaged in activities that continue her family tradition of making significant volunteer contributions to our community by currently serving on the local boards of Avenue CDC , Healthy Living Matters, The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo,  and HISD’s Home Instruction for Parents of Pre School Youngsters “HIPPY”.  She also lends leadership to special committees that advance the quality of life for Houston which include Go Neighborhoods Northside/LISC, NCAA  Final Four Houston Local Organizing Committee, and served on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Transition Team Committee.  In her spare time, Ms. Arcos enjoys travel, yoga, festivals, and exploring undiscovered areas of Houston. 


Ann Barnes, MD, MPH

Member At-Large

Cheif Medical Officer, Legacy Community Health 

Dr. Ann Barnes, is a native of Houston, Texas. She is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas School of Public Health.  Ann is currently the Chief Medical Officer at the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in Southeast, TX: Legacy Community Health.  Dr. Barnes oversees clinical services provided by the health system (adult medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, Ob/Gyn, vision and dental services).  She is also responsible for nursing, quality assurance, and public health services which engages in patient education, community outreach, and linkage to care.  Dr. Barnes is an associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and maintains a clinical faculty position there. She is a board certified internist. Prior to her current role, Ann was the Medical Director of Weight Management Services and Disease Prevention for Harris Health System. 

Beyond her work in medicine and research, Dr. Barnes is involved in a variety of community efforts.  She is a senior fellow of American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter.  She writes and speaks to a wide variety of community and faith-based groups about health and wellness and serves on several boards (Early Matters, Communities in Schools Houston, Houston YMCA Association, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, Ardmore Institute of Health).  Additionally, Dr. Barnes is the immediate past chair of the executive committee of Healthy Living Matters, a local city and county-wide collaborative focused on addressing childhood obesity through smart policy efforts to improve healthy eating and active living among children and their families.  Ann is married to Matthew Barnes and has three children.

 Adeeb Barqaqwi 

 Member At-Large

 President & CEO, ProUnitas 

Adeeb Barqawi is the President & CEO of  ProUnitas, an organization that leverages the  power of technology to systematize how social  and health services are accessed in an efficient  and accountable process. The work of ProUnitas  began when Adeeb Barqawi, a 2012 Teach for    America Corps Member, became a physics teacher at Kashmere High School in Northeast Houston. During his time in the classroom, Adeeb was a recipient of numerous awards including the Kinder Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award as well as the State of Texas ACP Beginner Teacher of the Year Award. Prior to Teach for America, Adeeb worked for the pharmaceutical industry. Adeeb holds a master’s degree in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University as well as a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. 

Adeeb is an alumnus of the Center for Houston’s Future Fall 2015 Business/Civic Executive Leadership Forum, and a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum Class XXXVII.  Adeeb’s conviction toward educational equity lead him to be recognized as one of five people who are most likely to shape Houston’s future by the Houston Chronicle. In 2017 Adeeb was appointed by the Texas State Board of Education to serve on the new Texas Long Range Plan for Public Education steering committee where he worked alongside exceptional leaders to set a new vision for public education for the State of Texas. Adeeb is currently a board member of Good Reason Houston and the Executive Committee for Healthy Living Matters.

Gwen J. Sims, MEd, RD, LD

Project Director     

Director of Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention, Harris County Public Health

Gwen Sims is the Director of Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention (NCDP), a division which currently employs over 140 personnel and was established at Harris County Public Health (HCPH) in September 2014. Ms. Sims is a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 20 years of experience in public health.

As NCDP Division Director, Ms. Sims has oversight of programs and projects such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Chronic Disease Prevention Unit (CDPU), Senior Health Outreach Services, Mental Well-Being Initiative, Strategic Prevention Framework Grant, and Texas Healthy Communities Grant, which provided a funding opportunity to promote worksite wellness not only at the school-district level, but also throughout Harris County via media, including social media. Under Ms. Sims’ leadership, Harris County Public Health has received the Texas Healthy Communities Gold Award for excellence each year it has been funded. Ms. Sims also serves as Co-Project Director of Healthy Living Matters (HLM).