Our Team

Steve Eppler-Epstein, J.D. 

Interim Executive Director

Steve is an experienced non-profit executive with a passion for equity-focused advocacy.  He has provided consulting services to COHI over the past four years, supporting strategy and hiring.

 

Steve has been providing consulting services to a wide range of nonprofit advocacy organizations, mostly on the East Coast of the U.S., for the past five years.  His services have included strategic planning, facilitation, executive search, and management coaching and supports.  Steve previously worked over 30 years at Connecticut Legal Services, including ten years as the Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Services.  In the first half of 2021 Steve served as the Interim CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Steve currently serves as the Board Chair of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law (a national organization based in Chicago).

 

Since he first started consulting with COHI, Steve has been struck by the challenges people face in accessing quality oral health, and the terrible impact the lack of access can have on individuals and communities -- challenges that are particularly severe for communities that have been historically marginalized.

In addition to serving as Interim Executive Director, Steve is assisting the COHI Board in seeking the next permanent Executive Director.

Gary Turco, MS

Community Engagement Specialist

Gary brings a wealth of experience to the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative (COHI). He has worked tirelessly to improve policies and services for those who need them most, either by helping create grassroots movements or supporting organizations providing direct services.

Gary currently serves as a State Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, to which he was elected in 2018. His primary focus has been on lowering the cost of living for Connecticut's families, expanding access to vital human services, and creating new and more equitable opportunities for prosperity. He is also an adjunct professor in communication and political science. 

Previously, Gary worked as a legislative and policy aide in the Office of the Speaker of the House in the Connecticut General Assembly. He helped staff several committees, including Human Services and Children. He also worked in strategic communications with non-profit clients that focused on improving the health of children and adults and volunteered as an early childhood education teacher in Uganda, Africa.

Gary strongly believes that every resident of Connecticut deserves equal access to quality and affordable oral health care services. By building a coalition of community voices, he feels we can achieve this goal together.

  

Gary received a bachelor's degree in political science from Sacred Heart University and a master's degree in communication from Central Connecticut State University.  

Sandra Kaye Baker

Office Manager

Sandra brings to COHI a depth of experience in fund development and nonprofit stewardship. She has devoted her career to the private school and social services arenas. Having seen and experienced inequities in oral healthcare at an early age, she is drawn to our mission to advance oral health access and equity. Sandra received her associate's degree from Briarwood College.

Sandra is also passionate about her volunteer work with the Simsbury Second Chance Shop and advocating for people who experience homelessness.