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Through the tireless efforts of our dedicated and hardworking team, RAICES has fostered the development and implementation of culturally competent programs and services which improve the quality of life of older adults who have traditionally been underserved.  Our team consists of 4 managers, 9 senior center directors and 25 employees who have successfully managed to maintain a clear vision of the needs of the community with the intentions of not only changing lives but undoubtedly extending them as well.

Management Staff

Lisette Sosa-Dickson, LCSW

Executive Director

Yvonne Cotto

Associate Director

Suyapa Hernandez, MSW

Deputy Director

Raquel Ortiz Terron, LCSW

Clinical Director

Lisette Sosa-Dickson, LCSW

Lisette Sosa-Dickson has held a few positions at RAICES since 2002, including Social Work Consultant and Clinical Director of Raices Casa BienEstar. She was appointed Executive Director of RAICES in 2013 and is the first female executive in the organization’s history.

As Executive Director, she leads, develops and maintains a strategic direction for ongoing local programmatic excellence and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications and systems for seven senior centers, a case management division and an outpatient licensed mental health clinic – the first geriatric clinic in Brooklyn. One of Lisette’s key accomplishments was the development of a “one stop shop” service modality. This is a unique and valuable benefit to all clients because they are able to receive their nutritional, educational, recreational, case management, psychological and psychiatric needs under one roof. This approach added a layer of accessibility to services not provided by larger non-community based providers.

Lisette received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hunter College and a Master of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work with a concentration in geriatrics. She also successfully completed the Hispanic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Program (sponsored by the Hispanic Federation) at Baruch College.  


Yvonne Cotto

Yvonne Cotto joined RAICES in 1985 as an Outreach/Caseworker. She was promoted in 1992 and assumed the role of the Associate Director. Yvonne has played a central role in RAICES’ development for over 31 years. She works closely with the Executive Director in all aspects of the organization. In addition, she was the force behind the Raices Access Program, the agency’s first publicly funded program. The Raices Access Program has been close to Yvonne’s heart since its inception in 1985.  Under her supervision, this program assists individuals and families in seeking and applying for benefits and entitlements.


Yvonne has been recognized for her passion and commitment to the aging community. In 2013, she was awarded the Community Service Award by the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and BedStuy Senior Task Force for her outstanding commitment to the aging community.  Yvonne believes that an individual should “do it from the heart or not at all.”  She is an active member of the Brooklyn Borough-Wide Interagency Council, Visions Brooklyn Advisory Board and Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Family Council. 

Suyapa Hernandez, MSW

Suyapa Blanco-Hernandez  joined RAICES in 1997 as a Caseworker. In 2004 she was promoted to Deputy Director and assumed the responsibility of supervising the daily operations of seven (7) senior centers located in Brooklyn and Queens. Suyapa performs a wide range of responsibilities including: working closely with the Program Directors with the compliance of regulation and requirements from funding sources, providing direction and input in developing and implementing long-term goals and objectives to ensure effective and efficient program delivery, communicating with clients and other stakeholders to gain community support for the programs, coordinating and participating in outreach and fundraising activities, analyzing programmatic trends, identifying  deficiencies and making recommendations to the Executive Director.   


Known for her innovative and creative style, Suyapa has represented RAICES and worked closely with City, State and funding sources in the implementation of new mandates. In addition, she was instrumental in the development of RAICES’ computer training program for seniors which is conducted in both Spanish and English.


Suyapa Hernandez received a Bachelor of Science degree from New York City Technical College and a Master of Social Work degree from Hunter School of Social Work with a concentration in geriatric health.  She also successfully completed the Hispanic Leadership Institute Emerging Leaders Program (sponsored by the Hispanic Federation) at Baruch College.

Raquel Ortiz Terron, LCSW

Raquel Ortiz-Terron began her tenure at RAICES as a social work intern and was subsequently hired as a Clinical Social Worker.   She has been a key staff member of RAICES since 2003 and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2014. In this role, Raquel oversees the day-to-day functions of the outpatient mental health clinic including developing and updating policies and procedures to ensure Office of Mental Health compliance, providing supervision to all clinical social workers and interns and providing individual and group counseling. In addition, Raquel interfaces with the community through mental health education and meeting community groups.   She is highly respected for her defining skills in engaging and treating adults, older adults, and families. Raquel’s areas of expertise are: Anxiety, Major Depression, Serious and Persistent Illness, and PTSD.   

Raquel received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The New School University and a Master of Social Work  degree from Hunter School of Social Work as a John A. Hartford Geriatric Program Scholar. 

Board of Directors


Nancy Talavera, M.D. - Chairperson

Psychiatrist, Private Practice


Ed Salas - Treasurer 

CEO/President, SalCare Home Health Services, Inc.


Rose W. Gaynus - Secretary



José Labrador


Annie McQueen


Mildred Ramos

Principal, Shen Milsom & Wilke LLC

Licet Valois, LMSW, MPS

Program Manager, Alzheimer's Association

Lisette Sosa-Dickson, LCSW

Executive Director, RAICES 

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