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Bobby Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and Director of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care

Bobby Watts, MPH, MS, CPH

Chief Executive Officer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council

Director, National Institute for Medical Respite Care

Bobby Watts is a nationally recognized leader in the field of health care for people experiencing homelessness. Trained as a health administrator and epidemiologist at Columbia University, he brings more than 25 years of executive experience and Board service combating health care crises, addressing state and federal funding challenges and developing safeguards for people without housing. Bobby also directed New York City’s Care for the Homeless from 2005–2017.

A proponent of “housing is health care”, Bobby Watts is a much sought-after speaker and advisor on issues facing people experiencing homelessness who acts and advocates on behalf of organizations around the US working at the intersection of health care and homelessness. Expanding medical respite care from the current number of 100+ programs to all regions of the nation stands among the most urgent needs in the field of health care for the homeless in the era of COVID-19. Learn more about Bobby.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 ext. 224 | Email Address: bobby.watts@nimrc.org


Julia Dobbins, MSW

Julia Dobbins, MSW

Director of Programs & Services

Julia Dobbins holds a Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She began her career working with community advocates responding to domestic violence and sexual assault. She joined the National Health Care for the Homeless Council in 2012 and leads the Council’s work on medical respite care including training, technical assistance, resource and program development.

As NIMRC’s Director of Programs & Services, Julia Dobbins brings years of hands-on experience assisting medical respite care programs at all stages of development in communities of all sizes on matters of program design, financing, and best practices.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 ext. 232 | Email Address: JDobbins@nhchc.org


Barbara DiPietro, PhD

Senior Director of Policy

Having directed the Council’s nationwide efforts in public policy and advocacy for more than a decade, Barbara DiPietro serves as NIMRC’s Director of Policy, leading legislative, regulatory and administrative policy priorities at the county, state, and national levels.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (443) 703-1346 | Email Address: barbara.dipietro@nimrc.org


Samantha Marco, MA

Medical Respite Coordinator

she/her/hers

Samantha works with the medical respite team on projects of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC) and the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: smarco@nhchc.org


Courtney Pladsen, DNP, FNP-BC, RN

Director of Clinical & Quality Improvement

Courtney Pladsen leads initiatives to improve the delivery of primary care, substance use treatment, and mental health care nationally. She directs training and quality improvement initiatives and contributes to research and policy recommendations on emerging clinical issues affecting people experiencing homelessness.

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: cpladsen@nhchc.org


Christa Signor -Medical Respite Program Manager

Christa Signor, MSRLS CTRS

Medical Respite Program Manager

Christa works with the Director of Medical Respite on projects of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC) and the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: csignor@nhchc.org


Caitlin Synovec, OTD, OTR/L, BCMH

Medical Respite Manager

Caitlin Synovec is an occupational therapist with clinical experience working with adults experiencing homelessness to improve quality of life and engagement in their preferred communities. As the Medical Respite Manager, Caitlin works on projects of NIMRC and the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: csynovec@nhchc.org


Stephen Wilder, LMSW

Medical Respite Manager

Stephen works with the Director of Medical Respite on projects of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC) and the Respite Care Providers’ Network (RCPN).

Contact Information

Phone Number: (615) 226-2292 | Email Address: swilder@nhchc.org