Advisory Board

R. Bernal Cruz-Munoz


Bernal is a Case Coordinator for the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Children’s program. With nearly a decade of experience providing complex mental health services to children and families in schools, hospitals, foster care, refugee and residential facilities for diverse populations, Bernal serves as a consultant with Equityworks Northwest, promoting a greater understanding of social justice and diversity, and as a member of Multnomah County Refugee Mental Health Task Force and UNITE Oregon. He is on the Multnomah County Public Health Advisory Board and he holds a postgraduate certificate from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Bernal and his family sought refuge in the United States during the last years of the civil war in Guatemala. He is a founding member of the RISE Board.

Teo DT Cho


Teo Cho is a Tax Accountant with the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.  He earned his M.B.A in Finance and Accounting at Regis University School of Business and has worked in both the public and private sectors. Teo was born in Vietnam, and at the age of two, his family escaped the country by boat. After nine years in the refugee camp on Soko Island, Hong Kong, Teo and his family arrived in the United States in 1998. Over the years, Teo and his family were able to integrate into American culture and consider this country to be home.

Assefash Melles


Assefash Melles, a native of Ethiopia, came to the United States in 1972 and earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from Portland State University. Melles Counseling & Consulting Services has served the Portland area since 1989 and partnered with many local and national social service organizations to facilitate growth in individuals and groups by creating sustainable, culturally relevant service models. Since 2007, through her work at Lutheran Community Services, Assefash has been providing trauma- informed, strength-based, culturally appropriate, medical case management and mental health services to diverse communities.  

Nora Coon

United States

Nora Coon is a Deputy Public Defender at the Criminal Appellate Division of the Office of Public Defense Services.  She clerked for the Honorable Jack L. Landau at the Oregon Supreme Court and the Honorable Robyn Ridler Aoyagi at the Oregon Court of Appeals.  She received her J.D. summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School and earned her B.A. in English from Grinnell College. She also completed a postgraduate certificate at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Nora previously served on the Street Roots Board. She is a founding member of the RISE Board.

Dr. Bassel Beitinjaneh


Dr. Beitinjaneh is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Beitinjaneh received his M.D. from the University of Damascus, Syria in 2004.  After completing his residency training at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Dr. Beitinjaneh came to Portland and OHSU in order to pursue training in cardiology, advanced heart failure and transplantation, in addition to cardiac electrophysiology. His general practice focus is on the treatment of patients with abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, and treating and managing heart failure and coronary artery disease.

Faiza Mohamed


Faiza Mohamed earned a B.A. and an M.A. in social work from Portland State University and is a mental health provider and interpreter at the Intercultural Psychiatric Program of OHSU (IPP). She and her family came as refugees to the United States from Somalia in 1996. She became interested in social work at an early age. As a Black Muslim and former refugee, she believes it is important to be involved in working for social justice for everyone. She is passionate about mental health for immigrants, refugees, and the aging population, having worked at Kaiser Primary Care@Home with older adults.

Javid Ghorashian


Javid Ghorashian is a retired ex-hi-tech executive.  He was born in Iran; his parents are both ethnically Azerbaijani. He earned his B.S. in chemistry at Pars College and came to the United States to pursue an advanced degree in environmental engineering. Due to the turmoil in Iran at that time, he decided to remain in the U.S. and seek employment; however as he was unable to enter the work force in his field, he earned a second degree, in electrical engineering. He was employed at Reticon until he was recruited to Maxim Integrated Products, a start-up semiconductor company. He remained at Maxim for two decades until his retirement in 2009, having begun as a manufacturing engineer and worked his way up to Director of Operations. His career included the hiring, training and supervision of more than 150 engineers and technicians. 

Cheryl Coon


Cheryl earned her B.A. at Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. at Boston University School of Law, and her LL.M at the University of Washington School of Law. During forty years of law practice, Cheryl has litigated in state and federal courts and administrative tribunals; worked on public policy issues in the United States Congress; practiced as a senior assistant attorney general in the Oregon Attorney General’s office and in private practice of law representing disabled individuals, including refugees and immigrants. In June 2016, she left private practice to establish Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment (RISE).  She previously chaired the Oregon State Bar Association’s Disability Law Section. Member of the Oregon Bar.



Amelia Andersen

Staff Attorney

Amelia earned her B.A. from Hampshire College and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she graduated with a public interest certificate with honors. Prior to joining RISE, Amelia was an appellate level public defender at the Office of Public Defense Services in Salem, OR. She is a member of Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS), the Multnomah Bar Association (MBA), and sits on the MBA Young Lawyers Section Service to the Public Committee. She also volunteers regularly with Catholic Charities. Member of the Oregon Bar.

Julia Greenfield

Staff Attorney

Julia earned her B.A. at the University of San Francisco and her J.D. at Yale Law School.  Her twenty-year legal career has focused on public benefits advocacy and protecting civil rights, particularly for people with disabilities.  Before joining RISE, Julia practiced law with Disability Rights Oregon, Legal Aid Services of Oregon, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.  She is a member of the Oregon bar and has served on the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Governor's Task Force on Brain Injury.  She was born and raised in Portland.

Courtney LaManna

Legal Assistant

Courtney earned a B.A. in Education from Western Illinois University and is a former educator. In addition to her work with RISE, Courtney volunteers at a local school to support children's educational experiences.


Our Partners

We strongly believe in the value of working collaboratively. The organizations shown below are just some of those we have worked with.

If you are interested in having us visit your organization to talk about our programs or about disability, please contact us at 971-270-0755.