Board of Directors
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, with the support of City Council, created the Houston Forensic Science Center in 2012 as an independent, local government corporation whose mission it would be to provide forensic services to the city’s police department. HFSC took over management of the city’s forensic services on April 3, 2014.
HFSC is governed by a nine-member board of directors appointed by Houston’s mayor and confirmed by city council. Dr. Stacey Mitchell, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, is the chairwoman.
HFSC’s board meetings are open to the public. Nearly all meetings are held the second Friday of each month in the Houston City Council Annex Chambers at 900 Bagby Street.
STACEY MITCHELL, DNP, RN
Dr. Stacey Mitchell, chair of the Houston Forensic Science Center’s board of directors, is a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. She previously served as the administrative director for Harris Health System’s Risk Management/Patient Safety and Forensic Nursing Services. Dr. Mitchell has more than 20 years of experience as a forensic nurse, and has been a key contributor to a diverse team that helped eliminate Houston’s backlog of 6,663 sexual assault kits and researched what created the problem. In 2015, the International Association of Forensic Nursing awarded Dr. Mitchell the Virginia Lynch Award. This is the highest award the association bestows on individuals who have made exceptional contributions to forensic nursing.
Mary Lentschke is an inspector with the University of Texas Police Department and oversees the threat management team. She retired in December 2016 after a 33-year career with the Houston Police Department where she rose through the ranks and became an assistant chief in 2013. Ms. Lentschke joined HPD in 1983 as a police officer. During her tenure, Ms. Lentschke participated in a multi-disciplinary task force that received funding from the National Institute of Justice to research the reasons a massive backlog of rape kits had developed in Houston, recommend best practices to prevent such problems going forward and eliminate the backlog. Ms. Lentschke has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Sam Houston State University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Anna Vasquez is the director of outreach and education for the Innocence Project of Texas. Ms. Vasquez took on that role after serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for a crime she did not commit and never occurred. Ms. Vasquez and three of her friends, who became known as the San Antonio Four, were convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in a case that dates back to 1994 when Ms. Vasquez was 19. Ms. Vasquez and her friends spent 22 years fighting for their innocence. In 2016, the court of criminal appeals deemed all four actually innocent. Ms. Vasquez is now dedicated to sharing her experience in the hopes of improving the justice system and preventing similar occurrences.
PHILIP H. HILDER, J.D.
Philip H. Hilder is a criminal defense attorney with Hilder & Associates, P.C. Formerly, he was the attorney-in-charge of the Houston Field Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime Strike Force. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas detailed to the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Task Force. Since leaving government service, Mr. Hilder has practiced in the area of white-collar criminal defense and related litigation. He is the past former national chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) White Collar Crime Committee and executive director of the ABA White Collar Crime Committee, Criminal Justice Section. He has also served as president of the Federal Bar Association (Houston Chapter).
FRANCISCO G. MEDINA, J.D.
Francisco G. Medina is an attorney who started his career as an assistant district attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Medina later practiced criminal defense for about 20 years. He is a personal injury trial lawyer and a public finance lawyer. Mr. Medina graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, and has a political science degree from the University of Houston.
VANESSA GOODWIN, J.D.
Vanessa Goodwin is the assistant general counsel at Arnold Ventures, a non-profit dedicated to four key areas: criminal justice, education, health and public finance. Ms. Goodwin is responsible for supporting the Arnold Ventures legal affairs. Prior to joining Arnold Ventures, Ms. Goodwin was as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, where she investigated and prosecuted violent crime and weapons offenses. She also volunteered as a community prosecutor working with the Metropolitan Police Department and the community to develop programming designed to enhance public safety and improve the quality of life in Washington, D.C. Before her time in public service, Ms. Goodwin worked as an attorney with Shumaker, Loop, and Kendrick, LLP, where her practice focused primarily on commercial litigation. Ms. Goodwin went to the University of Florida for her undergraduate degree and later for law school. She is an active member of the Houston community.
Ellen Cohen has lived and worked in Houston since 1977. She served for 10 years as the executive director of the American Jewish Committee and for 18 years as the CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center, working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 2006, she was elected as the Texas State Representative for Houston District 134 and served in that capacity for two terms before pursuing public service in Houston. Beginning in January 2012, Ms. Cohen served eight years as the City Council member for District C. The last four she also served as Mayor Pro Tem. She was term limited effective December 31, 2019. As a council member, Mayor Pro Tem Cohen championed Houston’s equal rights ordinance, the elimination of the city’s backlog of more than 6,000 sexual assault kits, a historic pension reform agreement and many other initiatives designed to improve quality of life for her constituents.
LOIS JEAN MOORE, BSN, MED, FACHE
Dr. Lois Jean Moore, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Our Lady of the Lake University, is a retired health care professional who began her career as an emergency center charge nurse at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston. Dr. Moore served for more than 10 years as the president and chief executive officer of the Harris County Hospital District. Later, she was chief administrator at the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center, where she was responsible for the planning and development of all functions and activities at the hospital. Dr. Moore has been a partner of numerous organizations, is a published author and is a recipient of numerous awards. She earned her nursing diploma from Prairie View A&M’s School of Nursing and later a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She also holds a master’s of education from Texas Southern University.
VICKI HUFF, PH.D.
Dr. Vicki Huff is a professor in the genetics department at MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of the MD Anderson Advanced Technology Genomics Core facility. Dr. Huff received her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Michigan. Her research program at MD Anderson is focused on cancer genetics, primarily on the genetics of Wilms Tumor, a childhood kidney cancer.
TRACY B. CALABRESE, J.D.
Tracy B. Calabrese, the ex-officio member of the board, is the section chief of the general counsel section in the City of Houston’s Legal Department. After graduating from law school, Ms. Calabrese was on active duty in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) for six years. There, Ms. Calabrese served as a defense counsel, prosecutor, legal assistance officer, federal torts claims officer and staff judge advocate. She was stationed in California, Georgia and Iceland. Ms. Calabrese first worked for the City of Houston’s legal department from 1994 to 2001 as a senior assistant city attorney. Later, she worked for Washington state as an assistant disciplinary counsel and for the Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security before returning to the legal department in 2006. She graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law and has an English degree from Stetson University. She has been admitted to the Illinois Bar, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, the Texas Bar and the Washington State Bar.