Join us for a glorious day of renewal as the region's leading clinicians and advocates convene to inspire you to get healthy, and stay healthy, now. Enjoy information on conditions that impact African Americans - Asthma, Breast Cancer, Clinical Trials, COVID Vax & Variants, Dental Health, Hair Loss, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Liver Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Skin Discoloration, Stroke and much more!
Prizes | Fitness Class | Networking | Building Community | Resources
Senior Director Patient Access Support Systems Bristol Myers Squibb
Alma Howard, Senior Director Patient Access Support Services with Bristol Myers Squibb leads a National team of Access & Reimbursement Managers. After a physician has written a prescription for his/her patient, Alma’s team is responsible for educating that healthcare providers office around patient affordability programs that BMS offers for eligible patients.
Those programs include copay assistance, insurance verification, prior authorization, insurance appeals support and more. During her 30 years at BMS, Alma has worked in market access roles covering customers such as insurance payers and large hospital systems, she was an Advocacy Health Alliance Liaison focused on HIV, mental health, rheumatology & oncology patients, and has held numerous sales and sales leadership roles throughout her career. Alma lives in south Florida with her family where she enjoys the ocean, and has a love for travel as she explores other cultures
Nurse Practitioner, Johns Hopkins
Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center
Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence
Arita McCoy, MSN, CRNP is a Nurse Practitioner at the Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center. She has worked at the center for the past 14 years in multiple roles, including outreach assistant and research nurse. In her current role as a nurse practitioner, Arita splits her time between regular clinical care of patients and rating/performing procedures in clinical trials. She is also the coordinator of the Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, which allows her to play an active role in community outreach and education. She has special clinical interest in the advanced therapeutic treatment options for individuals with movement disorders.
Dean, National School of
Tropical MedicineCo-Director, Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development Baylor College of Medicine
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is also University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.
Dr. Hotez is an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. As head of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads a team and product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and SARS/MERS/SARS-2 coronavirus, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide, while championing access to vaccines globally and in the United States. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people
He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (phi beta kappa), followed by a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Rockefeller University in 1986, and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987. Dr. Hotez has authored more than 500 original papers and is the author of four single-author books, including Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press); Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth (Johns Hopkins University Press); Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism (Johns Hopkins University Press); and a forthcoming 2020 book on vaccine diplomacy in an age of war, political collapse, climate change and antiscience (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Dr. Hotez served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and he is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (Public Health Section) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Public Policy Section). In 2011, he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO. In 2014-16, he served in the Obama Administration as US Envoy, focusing on vaccine diplomacy initiatives between the US Government and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, he was appointed by the US State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the US Israel Binational Science Foundation, and is frequently called upon frequently to testify before US Congress. He has served on infectious disease task forces for two consecutive Texas Governors. For these efforts in 2017 he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research!America. In 2019 he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities Award for Medical Excellence.
Most recently as both a vaccine scientist and autism parent, he has led national efforts to defend vaccines and to serve as an ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat. In 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews (including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal).
Southeast Region Director
Patient Access Support
Bristol Myers Squibb
Rayshida Taylor is the Southeast Region Director to a team of Access and Reimbursement Managers, with the Patient Access Support Service organization at Bristol Myers Squibb. Her region spans Florida to New Mexico, and her team shares a united purpose to clear the path to access and affordability for patients on a BMS medication. Rayshida’s team works directly with providers, financial counselors and social workers to identify ways to ensure that a patient is able to access medication, once the doctor has decided on the appropriate treatment for the patient. Rayshida has been with BMS for 17 years and during that time, has held positions in Sales, Legal & Compliance, Operations, Community Affairs, Access & Reimbursement as well as various leadership positions. Rayshida is from Connecticut, and currently resides in Palm Beach County, FL.
Health Equity & New Partnerships
Bristol Myers Squibb
Feyikemi (Kemi) Osundina, PharmD, MS is the Associate Director of Health Equity & New Partnerships at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).
In her current role, Kemi is responsible for supporting the implementation of BMS’s Health Equity patient advocacy strategy and relationships across BMS’s therapeutic areas. Through collaborations with advocacy stakeholders invested in health equity and various internal matrix teams, Kemi works to evaluate opportunities and develop unique solutions to ensure that medically underserved patient populations have access to care and that their voices are incorporated across BMS research, development and commercial product phases.
Kemi joined BMS in 2017 as the BMS Foundation Public Health Resident supporting the organization’s mission to promote health equity and improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious disease in sub-Saharan Africa and in the U.S. In her most recent role, she was an Associate Director of Oncology Advocacy leading patient advocacy efforts supporting Lung, Mesothelioma, Head & Neck and Glioblastoma (Brain) cancers.
Kemi obtained her Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Masters in Health Outcomes and Socioeconomic Sciences and Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Toledo, in Ohio.
Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity
Renee Chenault Fattah is a lawyer, broadcast journalist and filmmaker having recently made the documentary In Our Right Mind: Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias’ Impact on Communities of Color.Her film led to advocacy roles at the legal non profit SeniorLAW Center.
She is currently the Executive Director of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. She is also one of Philadelphia’s best known journalists, having served as the evening and weekday news co-anchor for NBC10 for close to 25 years.
She earned her BA in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and began her career in law, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, working at Hughes Hubbard & Reed in New York City, and clerking for the late Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Renee also earned a Masters of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Notable stories she covered in her broadcast career include the O.J. Simpson trials, political conventions, and the school shooting massacre in Littleton, Colorado, her hometown. In 2009, Renee was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.
An active member of the community, she speaks at local schools, church congregations and civic organizations about law, health disparities and ethics. Chenault Fattah currently serves as a trustee of Johns Hopkins University and is a former trustee of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. She is currently a member of the advisory council to The Hastings Center, a bioethics research center and is a member of the PennTowne Links, Inc.
Media and Crisis Communications Expert, Writer and Political Analyst
Rochelle Ritchie is a seasoned media and crisis communications expert, writer, and highly sought- after political analyst featured on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, CNN, i24 News, The Breakfast Club, RT (Russian Television) and News Nation. Additionally, Rochelle serves as guest host for REVOLT TV, founded by Sean "P.Diddy" Combs. She currently works at Northwestern University.
Rochelle has 20 yearrs of media experience and holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from Western Kentucky University. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg). She earned her Master of Arts in communications from Johns Hopkins University.
Associate Professor, Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division Chief, Gynecologic Oncology
& Medical Director, Clinical Trial Unit
University of Massachusetts - Chan
Dr. Tashanna KN Myers, MD, FACOG, FACS is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Chan-Baystate. She is the current Medical Director of the Clinical Trial Unit at Baystate Health and Division Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Baystate Medical Center. She completed her undergraduate degree in English at Yale and her medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine. She completed her residency, in obstetrics and gynecology, at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and went on to complete a gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. Dr. Myers is boarded in OB/GYN, Gynecologic Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Dr. Myers has served as the institutional PI for over 60 studies at Baystate Medical Center. In this role, Baystate Medical Center has been in the top 10 institutions for enrollment in gynecologic oncology trials for the past 5 years. She serves on the NRG Oncology cervical cancer subcommittee. She serves as a Director-at-Large for the NRG Oncology Group. She also serves as a Director-at Large on the Board of GOG Foundation/GOG Partners. She currently serves on the Investigators Council of GOG Partners, and chairs the subcommittee dedicated to the design and implementation of equitable oncologic trials for women with gynecologic cancer.
Senior Director Oncology
Dr. Tolbert is a board-certified Pediatrician and Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist formally trained in Pediatric Clinical pharmacology. She worked as a Physician Scientist in Academia and Director of a Pediatric Early Phase clinical Trial program before joining Janssen in 2019. While at Janssenshe has worked in the solid tumor DAS on Erdafitinib (Balversa) tumor agnostic and bladder cancer clinical trials and currently works in the Heme DAS on cusatuzamab clinical trials for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and talquetamab clinical trials for relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
Founder & Chief Executive Hope Dealer and iAdvocate
Patrick Gee graduated from the American University School of Public Affairs in 2012 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Justice, Law, & Criminology. Patrick is a former Peritoneal/Hemodialysis patient due to suffering from Diabetic Kidney Disease. Patrick has been a Post-Kidney Transplant Recipient since April 2017. Patrick is also a retired Major/Chief of Security from the Virginia Department of Corrections; and currently serves as the Founder & CEHD of iAdvocate, Inc., a non-profit Faith-based Health & Wellness organization. He is also an Ordained Minister at Mountain Movers Ministry in Richmond, VA.
As a Patient/Consumer Representative for the MedTech Color Community’ Steering Committee and an advocate for those living with chronic kidney disease and the morbid conditions that contribute to this disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity, Patrick uses his personal experiences to teach, coach, mentor, and educate others on how best to manage their outcomes. He also ensures that underserved, undervalued, and disenfranchised communities of color have a voice in their quality of life and equitable healthcare access.
Vice President MD Preventice, S-ICD, LCP and Diagnostics Cardiac Rhythm Management
Maria Macuare Gorden is a cardiac electrophysiologist and currently Medical Vice President for Cardiac Rhythm Management at Boston Scientific Corporation. Dr. Gorden is responsible for patient safety oversight for the RM business throughout the devices’ life cycle and the Medical Officer for Preventice Solutions including medical oversight of the IDTFs operations.
Dr. Macuare Gorden graduated with honors (cum laude) as a Medical Doctor from “Universidad de Oriente” in Venezuela and completed her Internal Medicine and Cardiology residencies at “Universidad Central de Venezuela” in Caracas – Venezuela. She was the Chief Resident during both programs. She earned her degree as a Cardiac Electrophysiologist from the Heart Hospital (“Hospital do Coração”) in São Paulo – Brazil where in addition to the traditional EP curriculum, was trained to perform transesophageal electrophysiological studies and cardioneuroablation. In addition to this, she received her Cardiac Stimulation Specialist at the Dante Pazzanese Cardiology Institute in Sao Paulo - Brazil. As part of her training she was also an intern at the St. Luke Hospital in Houston TX.
Dr. Macuare Gorden is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Prior to joining Boston Scientific is October 2016, Dr. Macuare Gorden was the Co-Director of the Electrophysiology Department in “Centro Medico de Caracas” Private Hospital and “Clinica Santa Sofia” Private Hospital in Caracas Venezuela where she was dedicated to perform ablation of complex arrythmias, implant and follow up of cardiac implantable devices. She was also the founder and Director of the Electrophysiology Residence at “Clinica Santa Sofia” Private Hospital, endorsed by the Venezuelan Society of Cardiology where trained cardiac electrophysiologist and a large group of nurses and technicians. Dr. Macuare Gorden also performed pro-bono electrophysiology procedures in pediatric patients at the Military Hospital in Caracas Venezuela. Dr. Macuare Gorden was a visiting professor at UPenn with Dr. Fermin Garcia and at Beth Israel Deaconess with Dr. Mark Josephson.
Founder and Executive Director
Kindness for Kidneys
In 2006, I heard the frightening words, “Your kidneys are failing!” With no family history or background knowledge, I forged through hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Although there were times that I wanted to throw in the towel, I pushed through by faith and with the help of my village. In 2013, I received a new kidney from my sister. As a result of my journey, I launched Kindness for Kidneys International, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering kidney warriors and their families. The dictionary defines a warrior as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. I feel this definition depicts my story and fight.
Vice President, Medical Electrophysiology
and Watchman Franchises Boston Scientific
Dr. Sutton joined Boston Scientific in 2019 and is currently Vice President, Medical, overseeing the Electrophysiology and Watchman franchises. Dr. Sutton completed all his medical training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital, and an MBA in Medical Services Management at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. Dr. Sutton is board certified in Cardiovascular Medicine and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. Prior to joining Boston Scientific, he served as Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine, as well as Assistant Dean for Health Strategy and Innovation at the University of Louisville.
Medical Director, Cardiology Division Boston Scientific
Dr. Paul Underwood, MD is a Medical Director for the interventional cardiology division at Boston Scientific, a global manufacturer of minimally invasive medical devices. He has more than 20 years’ experience in direct patient care and clinical research as a board-certified cardiologist. Over the past 10 years his medical input and risk management oversight has guided clinical trial, strategic partnership and health equity projects for Boston Scientific. Originally from Knoxville, TN, Dr. Underwood graduated from Morehouse College, completed his medical studies at Mayo Clinic and interned at Henry Ford Hospital followed by cardiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. He is a former president of the Association of Black Cardiologists and has authored over 100 publications.
Dr. Underwood is dedicated to assuring that innovative technology used to treat cardiovascular disease is available for all people who need it. He works closely with clinical project management and R&D teams regarding compliance with quality and regulatory standards. He also works closely with Close the Gap, Boston Scientific’s health equity initiative. He has collaborated with universities, federal agencies, trade groups/professional societies and clinical trial transformation initiatives to promote clinical trial diversity.
During the Black Health Matters Close the Gap Community Health Challenge & Wellness Fair Dr. Underwood will lead a conversation on the importance of clinical trial participation on the health of our community.
Endometrial Cancer Survivor Uterine/Endometrial Program and Outreach Coordinator SHARE Cancer Support
Nefa-Tari’s cancer journey began in 2013. She was 33 years old, and a newlywed of six months when she received her devastating uterine cancer diagnosis. Nefa-Tari’s stage 1c uterine cancer diagnosis changed her life forever.
As a practicing nurse (LPN) of 12 years, Nefa-Tari learned to be in tune with her body. She knew something was wrong. For over two months, she experienced symptoms completely out of the norm, such as severe weakness, heavy bleeding and intense lower back pain. Nefa-Tari made the decision to visit the emergency room, where her symptoms and concern were quickly dismissed by doctors as she was told to go home and rest. Unfortunately, this is a common experience for Black women and women of color. Nefa-Tari was persistent with the ER staff and finally, a medical technician performed a transvaginal ultrasound on her. Hours later, the results showed that her uterus was enlarged, and she was sent to see an OB/GYN, where she eventually had a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) test. That was when the OB/GYN delivered three painful words, “You have cancer.”
While Nefa-Tari’s life has been permanently altered after the diagnosis, she can proudly say that she is a cancer survivor. Nefa-Tari was introduced to SHARE Cancer Support, an organization that educates and empowers women affected by cancer, and now works as the Uterine/Endometrial Program and Outreach Coordinator to support women battling their own diagnosis. Nefa-Tari is able to share her personal experience with women and advocate for women impacted by this painful disease.
Product Development Clinical Lead Immunology Janssen
Scientifically astute physician scientist with diverse background that includes clinical development and scientific research in the areas of immunology, oncology and immunooncology, and extensive patient care experience. Established collaborative relationships with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and key opinion leaders (KOLs) in the scientific and medical communities in multidiscipline areas including oncology, immunology, autoimmunity and general/transplant surgery. Background includes extensive clinical experience providing the highest quality of care to patients with oncological, immunological and immunocompromised diseases. Proven record in developing integrated evidence generation strategy, establishment of broad medical strategy to include RWE, HEOR and drive external TLE strategies, business development, Field medical affiars strategy, clinical development phase I –III lead as well as multiple product launch and regulatory agency approval meetings ( FDA, CFDA, PMDA, EMA).
Community and Public Health Specialist Director of Services NEFUSE
I'm a Public Health Training Specialist, Consultant and Speaker. I train on HIV transmission which makes my tagline simple... "I Talk About Sex For A Living" considering unprotected sex continues to be the leading cause of HIV transmission along with Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis.
Chief Empowerment Officer YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
For more than 25 years, Loren Simmons has provided strategic and tactical program support to several non-profits. She joined YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in 1998, was appointed Chief Program Officer in 2007, and became Chief Performance Officer in 2009. Prior to joining the YWCA, Simmons held positions with Shorebank Neighborhood Institute, Bethel New Life, Inc., and the American Heart Association. Additionally, she has provided oversight to four rape crisis centers and a child sexual assault counseling center. Simmons is certified in sexual assault crisis intervention and Challenging Racism, a racial justice curriculum. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bradley University and holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Associate Director, Diversity & Inclusion in Clinical Trials Janssen
Ramona Burress is the Associate Director, Diversity & Inclusion in Clinical Trials at Janssen. In this role, she is committed to leading activities necessary to increase participation of underrepresented and underserved populations in clinical research through partnerships with community organizations. Ramona joined Janssen in 2019 as an Infectious Disease Senior Medical Science Liaison (MSL). She established relationships with key opinion leaders and engaged in scientific exchange while supporting company-sponsored trials and responding to unsolicited medical information requests. Ramona’s decade-long career of healthcare leadership has been dedicated to promoting health equity. Her prior role as a Healthcare Specialty Supervisor with Walgreens, required extensive medical and business knowledge to manage 13 specialized-locations serving patients with HIV, Hepatitis, Chronic Inflammatory Diseases, Cancer and other complicated health conditions. Ramona has earned multiple degrees, including a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Chief of Rheumatology - Division of Rheumatology Howard University Hospital & Professor of Medicine College of Medicine, Howard University
Gail S. Kerr, MD, is chief of rheumatology in the Division of Rheumatology and professor of medicine at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. She is also a professor at the Howard University College of Medicine.
Dr. Kerr received her medical degree from University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, where she completed her internal medicine residency. She went on to complete a residency in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at Veterans Administration Hospital in Washington, DC, and a fellowship in allergy and infectious diseases at National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology, she is a member of numerous medical societies, including Arthritis Foundation, Metropolitan Chapter, American College of Rheumatology (fellow), Royal College of Physicians, and American College of Physicians.
She has publications in numerous journals, including Journal of Periodontology, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Journal of Clinical Densitometry, and Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.
Professor & Practicing Hematologist
Senior Medical Director, Medical Affairs
& US SCD Lead
Anjulika Chawla, MD, FAAP, is a Senior Medical Director in Medical Affairs and the US SCD lead at bluebird bio. She is also a practicing pediatric hematologist/oncologist of about 20 years at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI, a Professor at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, and a mother of four children. At bluebird bio she leads the sickle cell medical team, bringing in the patient and provider voice to guide in development of clinical trials, understanding the unmet need, and to determine and communicate what gene therapy could potentially bring to address this need. Her goal in her work life is to put herself out of business by enabling curative intent therapies for people with cancer and blood diseases, now more specifically focused on gene addition therapy for sickle cell disease.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
The Public Health Leadership Program
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
& CEO, Pillar Consulting
A scholar-activist committed to equity and inclusion, Dr. Bahby Banks actively engages leaders in strategic thought around health communication, equity and inclusion and community engagement. Banks’ work has led to a career that has spanned the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Australia, including contributions to the World Health Organization, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Instituto Promundo, and academic institutions across the United States. Last year, she launched “Not A Host”(or “NAH”), a multimedia grassroots campaign designed to advance health literacy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort has been supported by the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University, Facebook Small Business Grant and RIDE UNITED NC, a collaborative effort between Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Foundation, Duke Energy, United Way of the Greater Triangle, NC Department of Health and Human Services, Bank of America and NC Department of Transportation.
Dr. Banks currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Public Health Leadership Program at UNC at Chapel Hill, and continues to invest in the next generation of public leaders through mentorship, training and practical experiences in their communities. Banks was recently recognized with the Boston University School of Public Health Distinguished Alumni Award and was selected as the inaugural keynote speaker for the MPH@UNC Immersion Program. Dr. Banks received her bachelor of science in biology from Florida A&M University, master of public health in epidemiology and biostatistics from Boston University and doctorate of philosophy from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Physician-Scientist and Innovator
Dr. Brett Giroir is a physician-scientist and innovator, whose career has been dedicated to improving public health and medicine. Formerly, he served as the 16th Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Acting FDA Commissioner, and Admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He also served as the US Representative to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization within the Department of State, and was on the front lines of the COVID-19 response as a member of the White House Task Force and the national lead for testing and diagnostics.
Previously, Dr. Giroir has served in numerous leadership positions in the federal government and in academia. He was the first physician to serve as an office director at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and led the Blue-Ribbon Panel for the Veterans Choice Act Reform of the VA Health System. His academic career included service as Professor and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Vice Chancellor for the Texas A&M University System, and before that, tenured professor and holder of two endowed chairs at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health in Dallas.
Dr. Giroir has received numerous awards including the American Society of Nephrology Presidential Medal; the American Society of Hematology Outstanding Public Service Award; the Sickle Cell Community Consortium Healthcare Champion Award; the Society of Federal Healthcare Professionals, Tip of the Spear Federal Healthcare Leadership Award; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Pharmacy Champion Award; Remote Area Medical, Distinguished Service Award; the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Founders’ Special Recognition Award; the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Director’s Distinguished Service Award; and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Pinnacle Award.
His uniformed service decorations include the US Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star Attachment, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Pinnacle Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, among other awards.
Associate Professor, Center for AIDS
Health Disparities Research Division of
Microbiology & Immunology,
Physiology & Obstetrics & Gynecology
Meharry Medical College
Former Special Government Employee (SGE) Food & Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), Voting Member of the FDA Antiviral Drugs Advisory Board Current known as Antimicrobial Advisory Committee.
Expert Advisory Panel member for the American Lung Association COVID-19 Action Initiative. Anti-Viral and Immunomodulating Therapies, Health Promotions and Pandemic Related Social, Behavioral and Racial Disparities and (ALA) Scientific Advisor Board.
Associate Professor (Adjunct), Department of Pathology Microbiology and Immunology, Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Associate Professor (Adjunct), Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer’s Center.
Dr. Alcendor completed his post-graduate studies at the NIH and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore Maryland in departments of Molecular Virology and Viral Oncology respectively. As a graduate student at the University of California at Davis he received the Patricia Roberts Harris Graduate Fellowship, was a University of California Davis Mentorship Fellow, a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Pre-doctoral Fellow, a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Post-doctoral Fellow, a Floyd and Mary Schwall, Dissertation Fellow, a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Spring Fellow, and a recipient of the Merck Special Service Award.
Dr. Alcendor was also a research consultant to the Viral Vector Core Laboratory in Viral Oncology, at Johns
Hopkins, and was a Cytomegalovirus Expert for the FDA, Division of Vaccine Injury and Compensation
Program for the Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland. He has also served as a
summer mentor for the Leadership Alliance for the American Society of Microbiology. He was a mentor for the
FDA Office of Minority Health, Health Disparities Fellowship. He was also selected as a Minority Scholar in
Cancer Research by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He received the Nashville
Business Journal Health Care Hero Award in Research. He was selected as a member of the American
Society for Microbiology (ASM) list of distinguish minority microbiologist. He was also a committee member on
the independent Research Evaluation and Decision Panel (REDP) for the AIDS Cancer and Specimen
Resource of the NCI-AIDS Malignancy Program. He was a Brain-on-chip investigator in partnership with
Vanderbilt and the Cleveland Clinic. He was funded to develop the Blood-Retinal-Barrier on a Chip. He is a
Research Liaison for the FDA Office of Minority Health with Meharry Medical College. He was a consultant
and voting member on the FDA Antimicrobial Drug Advisory Committee. He was selected as an expert grant
reviewer for the Florida Department of Health’s Biomedical Research Programs through the Oak Ridge
Associated Universities and Department of Energy. He is an Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Short Term
Training Program for minority students. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt Pre3 Initiative (Preventing
Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes & Prematurity). He is a voting member of Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and
Translational Research (CTSA) Scientific Review Committee. He is Technical Advisory Group member for the
Tennessee Health Care Innovation Initiative Episodes of Care, “HIV Outpatient Skin and Soft Tissue Infection
(SSTI) for the State of Tennessee. He was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Community Outreach
Core for Project SAVED, a CDC funded HIV capacity building assistance initiative. He was selected as an
expert advisory panel member for the American Lung Association COVID-19 Action Initiative. He is a member
of the American Lung Association Scientific Advisory Board. He was the director of the Zika Pathogenesis
Working Group based at Meharry. He was an Associate Director for the Continuum of Care Scientific working
group for the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research and he organized the 1st HIV/AIDS Awareness Summit for
Teens sponsored by the HIV Center at Meharry. Finally, he is a member of several editorial boards and
committees associated with infectious disease and has been an invited speaker to key national science
17th National President
The Links, Incorporated and
The Links Foundation, Incorporated
Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D., has a life-long commitment to public service exemplified throughout her successful professional, academic and civic endeavors. She is currently the 17th National President of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated. Dr. Jeffries Leonard has over 35 years of applied health, minority health, and behavioral medicine research, evaluation, technical assistance (TA) and training experience specializing in health promotion and disease prevention. Dr. Jeffries Leonard’s broad background includes expertise in developing, implementing, evaluating and guiding public health and behavioral health programs, policies and related legislation with subject matter expertise in minority health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, health disparities, health care reform, tribal issues, reentry and criminal justice issues, international behavioral health, co-occurring mental health and trauma, and women’s and adolescent services. She is the President and CEO of Envision Consulting, LLC, a boutique public health consulting firm specializing in strategic and innovative executive level solutions for public, private and government entities, including strategic planning, program design and implementation, program/systems assessment and evaluation, and minority community engagement.
Dr. Jeffries Leonard has designed, implemented and evaluated public health programs in minority and underserved populations with multiple co-occurring physical and behavioral health problems. She has developed population-specific TA strategies, developed qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods health and behavioral research, and has led and directed large, multi-year, multidisciplinary health projects for federal, state, local and private entities. In addition to her public health expertise, Dr. Jeffries Leonard has extensive experience in senior level management execution and has provided managerial leadership in private and government settings. She is knowledgeable of federal contracting principles, grants management, performance monitoring and continuous quality improvement methods, and has managed each of these processes. She is adept at making programmatic and policy decisions related to political and public health complexities. Dr. Jeffries Leonard has also worked extensively on programs in and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and has developed and implemented minority engagement, training and professional development programs for non-profit organizations. An effective written and oral communicator, Dr. Jeffries Leonard has served as spokeswoman for federal and state government initiatives and for a number of organizations with interests related to public health issues.
Dr. Jeffries Leonard’s curriculum vitae reflects her tireless efforts throughout her career to promote education and improve services for those facing health challenges due to disparities in education, access to care and other socio-economic factors. Her passion for service and commitment to her profession have helped her forge and leverage relationships with like-minded stakeholders across and within federal, state, local and community-based organizations to manage change and improve patient experiences and outcomes. Within the last decade, Dr. Jeffries Leonard has served on numerous public health advisory committees and delivered nearly 100 invited lectures, presentations, trainings and keynote addresses for national audiences representing various health and behavioral health interests. An enrolled tribal member of the NC state-recognized Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Dr. Jeffries Leonard is a proponent of culturally competent service provision and an ardent promoter of increased participation by Native Americans, African Americans and other minorities in relevant research to help improve their health outcomes.
Dr. Jeffries Leonard earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University. She also completed a National Institutes of Minority Health (NIMH) pre-doctoral fellowship at George Washington University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences examining chronic disease and family systems; a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute post-doctoral fellowship at the Howard University Cancer Center, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics studying cardiovascular and cancer epidemiology; and the Graduate Summer Program in Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Dr. Jeffries Leonard serves as Director-at-Large on the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc. Board of Directors; serves as Vice President of Administration and member of the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.; is a member of the Board of Trustees at Fayetteville State University, her alma mater; a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) and Honorary Chair of the NCNW 59th National Convention; is a member of the American Heart Association Diversity Leadership Committee, National Hypertension Control Initiative Advisory Group and the Advocacy Coordinating Committee; serves as a member of the Petey Greene Program Board of Trustees; is a member of the AIDS United Board of Trustees; and was appointed Chair of the DC Commission on African American Affairs by Washington,
DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser. Mayor Bowser recently appointed Dr. Jeffries Leonard to serve on the ReOpen DC Advisory Group and the ReOpen DC Task Force on Equity, Disparity Reduction, and Vulnerable Populations Subcommittee to reopen Washington, DC in a way that is safe and sustainable in response to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Dr. Jeffries Leonard is the recipient of numerous honors, awards and recognitions, including the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Award by the CROWN Coalition for advancing legislation that ends race-based hair discrimination in workplaces and public schools; National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) Alumni of the Year Award from Fayetteville State University; AARP "African American Change Maker" and National Health Leader; the Women in Excellence Reaching Higher Award by the Afro American Newspaper; and the Chancellor’s Medallion, Fayetteville State’s highest honor bestowed on an Alum. She is also a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Life Member and Washington, DC Associate Member of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated; and Ruling Elder at 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.
Gynecologist and Surgeon
The Gynecology Center
Mercy Medical Center
Latasha N. Murphy, M.D., is a skilled gynecologist and surgeon in The Gynecology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Her pleasant and warm personality puts patients at ease. This allows for open conversation and a plan tailored to each patient’s needs.
Dr. Latasha Murphy performs annual Well-Woman exams and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of routine and complex GYN conditions including endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, irregular period cycles and abnormal bleeding.
Dr. Latasha Murphy is dedicated to providing compassionate care and the best treatment options available for GYN conditions. She engages with each patient to provide individualized care and determine the optimal treatment plan.
Dr. Murphy is experienced in performing diagnostic procedures, such as colposcopy, to help determine an accurate diagnosis. She has advanced training in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, including robotic surgery, for endometriosis and other conditions of the female genital tract.
National Program Director
Jack and Jill of America Inc.
Shirell A. Gross, Esq. CLC has built a successful career as a senior executive and attorney at Fortune 500 companies. She is VP and Head of the US Contract Organization for Medtronic, where she leads an organization responsible for executing commercial, government, supplier, sourcing, logistics and technology agreements across the enterprise. She is also the Chief Legal Officer for Renal Care Solutions. Previously, she was a vice-president, division counsel, and head of law for two Bayer AG global businesses, Diabetes and Radiology supporting medical devices and pharmaceutical products. In between these two roles, Shirell took a two-year hiatus from the law, became a certified life coach, and started a business Measure of Ambition LLC d/b/a ShirellSpeaks. She provided keynote speaking, workshops, coaching, and empowerment events. She remains passionate about bringing along the next generation of diverse business and community leaders and in particular people of color and emerging women leaders. She has received numerous professional recognitions including Savoy magazine as one of the Most Influential Black Lawyers in America, Black Doctors.org’s Top Blacks in Healthcare, Hofstra University School of Law’s Outstanding Women in Law, and YWCA as a Women of Influence. She also held roles at Quest Diagnostics, Aaronson Rappaport Feinstein, and Deutsch and started her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx, NY. Gross credits her professional success to her focus, tenacity, hard work, intellect, a keen ear for corporate politics, and the ability to develop key relationships. She is active in the community serving on the National Executive Board of Jack and Jill of America Inc. the largest African American family organization with over 12,000 members and 20,000 children. As the National Program Director, she is responsible for executing its national and chapter programming and community service initiatives and serves as a trustee on the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. She is also a board member of Executive Women of New Jersey, member of the North Manhattan Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and just completed a 15 year term on the largest PBS affiliate public television station where she served as the chair for many years.
Chief Executive Officer
New York City Health & Hospitals/Elmhurst
Helen Arteaga is the current Chief Executive Officer at New York City Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, which serves a diverse community of over 1.3 million residents in Queens with a staff of over 4,000. She is the former Assistant Vice President, Queens Network and Executive Initiatives at Urban Health Plan, a network of community health centers located in three boroughs in New York City.
She is an innovative and results-oriented Administrator with a 20-year + career demonstrating outstanding performance and verifiable achievements.
Pastor, Liberty Grace Church of God
President and CEO, Grace Foundation
CEO, King Enterprises Group LLC
Rev. Terris King is the Pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God and President and CEO of the Grace Foundation, the community outreach branch of the church, as well as the CEO of King Enterprises Group LLC, where he provides healthcare consulting.
Rev.King’s experience in healthcare includes operating as the Deputy Director of the Office of Information Systems & Acting Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Deputy Director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality (OCSQ) serving over 90 billion Medicare beneficiaries and Executive Director for Healthcare for AT&T.
Rev. King has consistently worked to improve the healthcare system for racial and ethnic minority populations.
Founder and President
Center for Sustainable Health Care
Quality and Equity (SHC) at the
National Minority Quality Forum
Dr. Laura Lee Hall is the founder and president of the Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) at the National Minority Quality Forum. With a vision for sustainable healthy communities in every ZIP code, SHC promotes sustainable healthy communities, especially those with diverse and underserved populations, through the provision of actionable data, research, and engagement/training of clinicians and community leaders.
With a PhD from USUHS – the naval medical school – Dr. Hall has conducted post-doctoral research at the NIH and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Throughout her career, as a senior science analysis for the U.S. Congress,Deputy Director of the National Alliance for the Mental Ill (NAMI) and leader of quality improvement education at the American College of Cardiology and American College of Physicians. At ACP, Dr. Hall started the Center for Quality and built a network of more than 2,000 physicians in 18 states along with a registry.
SHC is building a network of health care and community leaders in underserved communities of color, supportingquality improvement, education, community engagement, and communications. The online toolkit – DRIVE (Demonstrating Real Improvement in Value and Equity) – provides a host of resources related to influenza, COVID-19, and, soon to be released diabetes. Activities focus on adult vaccines, diabetes, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis and chronic pain, and lung and prostate cancer screening.
Senior Project Manager
Quality Improvement and Equity
National Minority Quality Forum
Center for Sustainable Health Care
Kristen Hobbs, MPH, CPH is responsible for the implementation of quality improvement and education projects for a variety of disease states, including COVID-19, prostate cancer, diabetes, lung cancer, and heart failure. She brings her expertise in evaluation, health equity, and public health intervention development and execution to the National Minority Quality Forum Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (NMQF/SHC).
Before joining NMQF/SHC, Kristen worked at Susan G. Komen Headquarters as Senior Manager of the African American Health Equity Initiative. She served at Komen for five years and held varying roles as an evaluator and subject matter expert in the development and implementation of the initiative. Prior to Komen, Kristen worked with the Institutional Review Board and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Saint Louis University on accreditation efforts, survey development, research, and analysis. She also worked for the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s Communicable Disease Control Services Division to evaluate and monitor the department’s perinatal hepatitis B program, conduct epidemiologic surveillance of infectious diseases, and refine behavioral health marketing messages for STD prevention and awareness in north St. Louis, Missouri. During her graduate studies at Saint Louis University, Kristen conducted several public health research studies aimed at 1) assessing the disparities in genetic testing within the African American community of St. Louis, Missouri; 2) analyzing the correlation of health education and asthma management plans for prevention in adolescents; and 3) defining predictive tools for the epidemiologic surveillance of influenza. In addition, Kristen brings unique experiences in pharmaceutical business analytics, emergency medicine, and research to NMQF/SHC.
A senior level public health professional with experience in epidemiology, public health program evaluation, public health program development and implementation, and partnership development, Kristen is proud to champion the advancement of health equity and believes in the value of implementing epidemiologic principles for the design, implementation, and management of evidence-based public health interventions. Kristen earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Texas Woman’s University and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Saint Louis University.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Advanced Heart Failure
and Transplant Cardiologist
University of Maryland Medical Center
Dr. Hicks is a board-certified Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiologist. He formerly served as the Medical Director of Cardiac Transplantation for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.
Dr. Hicks has a specific interest in amyloidosis and is experienced managing patients with hATTR amyloidosis. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and practices Advanced Heart Failure Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. He earned his medical doctorate from Temple University School of Medicine and completed his Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Clinical Pharmacy Manager,
Holy Name Medical Centerbr
Founder and Executive Director,
Dr. Genevieve Kumapley is a Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Holy Name Medical Center. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree with Honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Genevieve is a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist with over 22 years of experience. She also holds an Adjunct Clinical Professor appointment with Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy & Fairleigh Dickerson University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is also the founder of MyGOAL Inc, a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that serves individuals with Autism and other Intellectual disabilities.
Regional Professional Relations and Advocacy
Aurinia Pharma U
25 Year Pharma and Biotech professional with numerous achievement awards and accomplishments in patient advocacy. Currently serving as the Mid Atlantic professional relations lead for Aurinia Pharma.
Director of Clinical Trials
and Patient Education
Prostate Health Education Network
Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education
Dr. Crawford joined PHEN in 2019. As Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education he is responsible for implementing programs in these areas working with patients and PHEN partners.
Dr. Crawford has over 20 years in the Life Sciences and completed his graduate and post graduate training at Harvard Medical School where he developed competencies in the area of genomic, proteomics, immunology, microbiology, infectious disease, and regenerative medicine. During his post-doctoral training, Keith was selected by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Harold Amos Fellow. His work in the field of immunology caught the eye of the Department of Defense, where he was funded to develop antidotes for chemical and biological weapons exposure, as well as, creating a high throughput platform for the detection of biological weapons and emerging infectious agents.
After completion of this directive, Dr. Crawford became the Director of the Center for Molecular Orthopedics at Brigham and Women's. He was responsible for leading research efforts in the Center, which gave rise to the discovery of a novel population of adult stem cells, early lineage adult. Dr. Crawford and laboratory were responsible for the preclinical studies, which laid the foundation for a spinal fusion therapeutic. Dr. Crawford is a graduate Prairie View University, University of Texas Medical School in Houston (Medical Doctorate) and Harvard University (Doctor Philosophy) where he studied cell biology and immunology.
Prostate Health Education Network
Thomas Farrington founded the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) in 2003 following his treatment for prostate cancer in 2000. PHEN is recognized as the leading prostate cancer patient education and advocacy organization focusing on African Americans; the population most impacted by the disease.
When diagnosed with prostate cancer, Farrington lacked knowledge about the disease even though he lost his father and both grandfathers to this same disease. He continued to study prostate cancer during treatment and realized that his experience along with the experiences of men in treatment with him could help others. This prompted him to write "Battling The Killer Within" which was published in 2001. The book provided an insightful look at men facing prostate cancer, and the prostate care system in the United States. In 2005 he released his second book "Battling The Killer Within and Winning." Thomas Farrington currently serves as a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and as a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's "Prostate Cancer Treatment Guidelines Panel" and "Early Detection Guidelines Panel."
Farrington received a BS Degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina A & T State Univ. in 1966 and attended Northeastern University towards the MS EE degree. In 1969 he founded Input Output Computer Services. Inc., a pioneer in computer software services with offices nationally and internationally. As a business executive Farrington was a leader in small and minority owned business development. He worked closely on business issues and legislation with Speaker Thomas (Tip) O'Neil, Sen. John Kerry and Cong. Parren Mitchell (MD). Board positions included; Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Export/Import Bank (Appt. by Pres. George Bush); Trustee, NC A&T State Univ.; Member, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Appt. by Pres. Clinton).
Director, Education & Training
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Parks Francis Center
Nabilah Talib, M.Ed. – Director, Education & Training – During the 17 years Nabilah has been with the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, her responsibilities have increased from an Educator to now most recently a Director of Education and Training. Nabilah’ s creativity, passion and diligence has expanded her role to provide the marketplace with, learning & development strategies for increasing organizational cultural humility, managing the impact of bias, and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, along with HR Consultation. Nabilah hold an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and master’s degree in Education along with Professional in Human Resource Certificate from DePaul University. All of which, enhances her ability to connect with leaders from different industries faced with developing a safe and inclusive workplace for their employees, students, faculty and staff. In addition, Nabilah has chaired the Illinois Collation Against Sexual Assault Program Committee leading the coalition’s prevention strategies and program implementation that align with the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control guidance.
President and CEO
University Hospital in Newark, NJ
Dr. Shereef Elnahal is President and CEO of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey’s largest safety net hospital with over 500 licensed beds and $738.2 million in patient service revenue. The hospital serves as the main academic medical center for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, both in Newark. Previously, Dr. Elnahal served as New Jersey’s 21st Commissioner of Health. He joined the Department of Health (DOH) in January 2018 and quickly established a new vision for the Department with specific goals: Eradicating the opioid epidemic; decreasing maternal mortality and improving access to women’s health care; reducing disparities in public health outcomes, increasing access to health coverage and mental health care; expanding the medicinal marijuana program; and expanding telehealth and interoperability. Women’s health is a key priority for Dr. Elnahal. Early in the Administration of Governor Phil Murphy, the Governor signed legislation restoring $7.5 million in DOH funding for family planning. Dr. Elnahal also directed funding for a new Healthy Women-Healthy Families Initiative focused on increasing healthy births and decreasing black infant mortality in communities with the highest black infant mortality rates. Dr. Elnahal also managed significant reforms in the medicinal marijuana program, reducing patient and caregiver registration fees, allowing dispensaries to add satellite locations, and adding mobile access so that patients, caregivers and physicians can register, make payments and upload documents on their smartphones and tablets. Prior to his DOH nomination, Dr. Elnahal worked as a physician executive in the largest health care system in the country — the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety, and Value, he managed a workforce of hundreds and a budget of more than $180 million. While serving at the VA, he was selected by President Barack Obama as a White House Fellow in 2015. At the VA, he spearheaded unprecedented efforts around transparency in access and performance, as well as standardizing best practices that prevent opioid dependency, improve women’s healthcare, and enhance access to care for veterans. He grew up in Atlantic County and is the son of doctors who immigrated to New Jersey from Egypt. He received a dual-degree M.D. and M.B.A. with Distinction from Harvard University, and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University.
Associate Professor Department of Medicine
Division of Nephrology
Dr. Thornley-Brown is a Professor Emerita in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Originally from Canada, she received her BSc in microbiology and immunology at McGill University in Montreal. She completed a Master of Science degree in physiology at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, Louisiana and an MD at Howard University in Washington D.C. After an internal medicine residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals in Atlanta, she completed a fellowship in nephrology at University of Cincinnati. She is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology. She joined the UAB nephrology faculty in 1993. Dr. Thornley-Brown has participated in a number of important clinical studies including the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) and the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND). In her free time, she enjoys travel, tennis, pickleball and photography.
Associate Medical Director of the
NYC Health & Hospital/Elmhurst Emergency Dept.
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Dr. Phillip Fairweather is a board-certified emergency medicine (EM) physician with over 26 years of experience. He is the Associate Medical Director of the NYC Health + Hospital/Elmhurst Emergency Department and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As a senior member of the staff, he has played pivotal roles in numerous departmental and hospital-wide initiatives. He has served as Site Director for the EM residency program and medical student programs. Among his many contributions Dr. Fairweather worked collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams to help develop the program to expeditiously transfer, from ED to the catheterization lab, acute MI patients needing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). He participated in the development of treatment protocols for stroke patients and worked with his surgical colleagues to earn a Level 1 trauma designation from the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of multiple departmental and hospital-wide committees and has been the recipient of numerous awards including “Teacher of the Year” and “Doctor of the Year”. Since the start of the Covid pandemic, which devastated the Elmhurst community, Dr. Fairweather, and his colleagues, have worked feverishly to save lives. His responsibilities included direct patient care, reorganization of the ED to accommodate the surge of patients, vetting and onboarding doctors who were recruited from across the country and worked closely with Elmhurst Hospital and NYC Health + Hospitals corporate leadership in implementation of mitigation strategies to address the urgent need of COVID patients across the system. As a frontline witness to the devastation of the COVID pandemic, and understanding the vaccine's benefits, Dr. Fairweather has sought opportunities to speak directly to communities of color who are hardest hit and most skeptical about the vaccine’s safety. He has worked closely with the Elmhurst Hospital CEO, Helen Arteaga Landaverde, on multiple town halls to answer questions and challenge the misinformation that's crept into our national dialogue about vaccine safety. He is credited with helping to significantly reduce the number of hesitant hospital employees before the vaccination mandate was implemented in New York City and continues to believe that far more of our citizens will consent to vaccination if the medical professional patiently address the community's concerns one person at a time.
Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Yale’s Department of Pediatrics and
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
Dr. Krishnamurti is an accomplished pediatric hematologist oncologist and an international leader in bone marrow transplant and the treatment of hemoglobinopathies. He joins us from Atlanta, where he is professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and director of the bone marrow transplantation program where he holds the Joseph Kuechenmeister Aflac Field Force Chair at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. With successful funding for his clinical research on sickle cell disease for more than 22 years, Dr. Krishnamurti mainly focuses on clinical and patient centered outcomes, including systems approach to the delivery of care. This encompasses newborn screening, international outreach, community outreach, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and the use of technology and informatics to enhance delivery of care. He is the PI on two active U01 grants and a foundation grant. Dr. Krishnamurti is internationally known for his research efforts and is actively involved in identifying new opportunities to use bone marrow transplantation as a curative therapy for genetic diseases.
Director of Health & Clinical Services
Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Inc
Milford W. Greene, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a biomedical and public health scientist. He serves as Director of Health Affairs & Clinical Services and is Director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia certified hemoglobinopathy laboratory. Dr. Greene did undergraduate work at Morehouse College and graduate studies at Wesleyan University. Early on he was a microbiologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. He trained in infectious diseases and immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Microbiology and in the Department of Tropical Public Health under the direction of virologist and Nobel Laureate Thomas Huckle Weller. He is a retired medical school administrator and professor; is a former associate dean at Cornell University; and was the first diversity dean at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
An introduction and official welcome to the Black Health Matters “Building the Bridge” Summit.
Exercise can help prevent and help you manage most chronic conditions. It works miracles. Join us for a session with fitness guru John Houston Smith.
African American families are more likely to have asthma. What’s the best way to manage? Dr. Anne Maitland medical expert presents Writing We Can’t Breathe: Disparities in the Burden and Treatment of Asthma
A candid discussion about sexual health in the Black community and the stigma surrounding it.
The Black Health Matters Building The Bridge Summit features a special session on maintaining good oral health as we age.
The COVID-19 pandemic and how it has disproportionately affected the African American community.
Real Talk with Q: Learn about what intentional actions are being taken to better gain patient’s trust and increase inclusive research and health equity.
Women Talk: ‘My Experience with Hypertension’: Meli’sa Morgan will speak out as interviewed by Rolonda Watts.
Dr. Mitzi Joi Williams will hold an informative discussion focused on the signs, symptoms, and treatments available for Multiple Sclerosis.
Learn about symptoms and take steps to prevent, and beat, heart disease and stroke.
How Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) affects the African American community and how screening guidelines for liver cancer are failing us.
Is your hair thinning? Do you suffer from skin hyperpigmentation? Join us for a conversation with the leading skin and hair expert so that we can #LiveBeautifully.
Learn more about Breast Cancer awareness and positive diagnosis journeys. The regions expert, and survivors, assemble to empower our women.
The Black Church and Public Health Unite to Power Solutions for Health Equity.
The Bottomline: A panel discussion on non-traditional healthcare costs and emerging access solutions that may save patients money.
Closing statements and “Thank You” message to participants, speakers and sponsors!