Meet the Leadership Team
We are a creative and passionate team of action-focused individuals who fully embrace our mission of cultivating the health and well-being of children in Philadelphia. Our hearts all hold stories of life change because we’ve seen firsthand how access to fresh fruits and vegetables, no-cost dental care, and even a free swimsuit on a summer day can bring beauty and light into the lives of children. It’s why we devote our life’s best work to help create more stories of hope—one child at a time. Meet St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children Leadership.
Jan Shaeffer – President
Jan's contagious commitment to realizing every child's potential fortifies community partnerships and provides the backbone of SCFC's mission to remove barriers to access. Jan oversees the organization’s work of investing in the foundations of children’s health and well-being. Under her leadership, SCFC has served over 50,000 children through comprehensive initiatives that provide health equity, with an emphasis on care, prevention and early intervention strategies.
Jan has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, management and development. Prior to joining SCFC in 2004, Jan worked in investment management and client services with Morgan Stanley, CMS Companies, and City of London Investment Group PLC. She is a founding member and past Board Chair of The 21st Century Society of the Philadelphia Orchestra, a Fellow of the Non-Profit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College, and was recognized as one of Philadelphia’s 101 Emerging Connectors by Leadership Philadelphia. Jan served on the Chairman’s Council for the Philadelphia Zoo and the Treasurer for the Sunday Breakfast Club. Jan has her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Saint Joseph’s University.
Jean Rath – Community Oral Health Initiatives Program Director
Jean believes every child deserves access to a healthy smile. It’s why she works tirelessly to remove obstacles to dental care that families in North Philadelphia encounter. It’s also why many parents and caregivers smile when they see Jean in the community. Her commitment makes a difference in the lives of so many. As the COHI program director, Jean oversees all aspects of our five-point approach to community oral health services. Jean is a registered dental hygienist and a Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, Jean worked as a clinical dental hygienist specializing in pediatrics: general, special needs and medically compromised care. As a Community Oral Health Coordinator, she was involved in initiatives to establish collaborative practice between dentists and pediatricians in NJ and served as a Dental Champion Hygienists for the American Academy of Pediatrics, NJ Chapter.
Jean has been an adjunct professor at Rowan College at Burlington County Dental Hygiene Program since 2006 and a consultant member/examiner for The Commission on Dental Competency Assessment. She is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and has served her local component as President and Vice-President. Currently, she serves on the Pediatric Task Force for the New Jersey Dental Hygienists’ Association. Jean holds a Master Certificate in Public Health/Community Health Management from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Management focused in Public Health/Public Policy from Thomas Edison University.
Valerie Erwin – Farm to Families Program Manager
Valerie believes in the power of food as a tool in the fight for social justice. It’s fueled her work as a chef for decades and continues on in her role overseeing the operations of our Farm to Families program. She knows that bringing low-cost and healthy food choices into Philadelphia neighborhoods plagued by limited fresh food options can give people the power to make good choices for themselves.
As a longtime Philadelphia chef, she owned the critically acclaimed Geechee Girl Rice Cafe. For two years, Valerie was the General Manager of EAT Café, a West Philadelphia neighborhood restaurant with an innovative pay-what-you-can model. Valerie has served on the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance, the country’s premier institution for the study of food and culture. She now serves on the board of C-CAP, a culinary scholarship program for high school students and on the board of the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, an anti-homelessness organization. Valerie spends her free time catering, doing business consulting, and working on food related projects with cultural institutions such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Jazz Project. She has also worked for several years with Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller as an advocate for the rights of undocumented restaurant workers, and with Restaurant Opportunities Center, an advocacy organization for food industry employees.
Maureen Fitzgerald – My Family Kitchen Program Director
Maureen was a career journalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, from 1986 to 2017, working as a feature writer, education reporter, and for the last 14 years of her tenure, as the Food editor.
One of her greatest joys is cooking – not especially fancy meals, but simple family dinners made from whatever fresh ingredients were picked up at the market that week. In 2011, when her daughter asked for recipes for easy, affordable and healthy meals, the two began a cooking blog, My Daughter’s Kitchen. Maureen then brought those cooking lessons to a school in North Philadelphia, with the mission of sharing her love of cooking with school children and teaching them how easy, inexpensive, delicious and fun cooking can be. Since then, the program partnered with SCFC and expanded to more than 20 schools, with volunteers teaching classes in Philadelphia and Camden. After retiring from the paper, Maureen continues to run the program, now called, My Family Kitchen, to better reflect its mission of encouraging children to cook with their families.
Jazon Rusk – Operations Manager
Jazon knows firsthand that removing barriers and streamlining processes behind the scenes directly impacts the effectiveness of the overall team and our ability to live out our mission. It’s why she works tirelessly to ensure our day-to-day operations run smoothly, including grant making, basic accounting, and systems management. She recognizes that small steps forward in how we operate can lead to big leaps forward in the areas of preventative care, outreach, research, and education for children in Philadelphia. In fact, that’s why she joined the team in 2019. Her skills fit the role and the mission fit her heart.
In 2021, Jazon was selected as a Core Program Fellow of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. This prestigious opportunity allows her to increase her civic knowledge and awareness and strengthen her leadership skills alongside others who are equally committed to serving our community. Prior to joining the team, Jazon served as an operations manager for a for-profit business where she first sharpened her skills and began making positive changes in the lives of children. She loves calling Philadelphia home. When not working towards influencing positive changes in the community, she can often be found exploring the area on foot or supporting locally owned shops and restaurants.
Dustin Root, DMD – Community Oral Health Initiatives Program Dentist
Dr. Dustin Root is a board-certified pediatric dentist who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware. He then attended Temple University School of Dentistry for his Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree. During dental school, he developed a passion for pediatric and special needs dentistry. After graduating from dental school, he was accepted into the pediatric dental residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he served as chief resident.
Dr. Root is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Dental Association. He believes in encouraging children to be motivated about oral health and strives to provide a fun, relaxed, and positive experience for children in order to build trust and a long-term relationship with patients and their families.
Our Board of Trustees
Sally Wang, Chairman
Group Vice President, Global Alliances and Partnerships
Joe Stapleton, Esq., Secretary
Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP
Douglas H. Getty, Treasurer
Founding Partner, Investment Management
Callan Family Office
Rabbi Nancy E. Epstein, MPH, MAHL
Professor, Department of Community Health and Prevention
President & Chief Executive Officer
Vice President, Marketing & Communications | Americas
President & Chief Executive Officer
Health Partners Plans