Biographies for all presenters will be available here soon.
Disha is a Senior Legislative Assistant for U.S. Congressman and House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) covering health and nutrition policy, among other topics. She was selected in 2022 as a 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum. Prior to the U.S. House of Representatives, she worked as a Legislative Correspondent for former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a paralegal for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Born in India and raised in California, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Georges C. Benjamin, M.D.
Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., is a well-known health policy leader, practitioner, and administrator. He currently serves as the executive director of the American Public Health Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public health professionals. He is also a former secretary of health for the state of Maryland.
Dr. Benjamin is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine, a Master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. At APHA he serves as the publisher for the American Journal of Public Health, the Nation’s Health Newspaper and APHA Press, the associations book company. He serves on several nonprofit boards such as Research!America, the Truth Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund, Ceres, and the Reagan-Udall Foundation. He is also a former member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, a council that advises the President on how best to assure the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Tammy Boyd, J.D., M.P.H.
Tammy has extensive experience in creating and executing federal legislative policy strategy and facilitating outreach to members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Previously Ms. Boyd served as Managing Partner, for TKB Global Strategies, LLC /Watts Partners, where she successfully executed government affairs strategies through engagement of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), and Department of Veteran Affairs.
Along with her past role at Johnson & Johnson, Boyd also served as Legislative Director for Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) where she exercised oversight over legislative activities within the office, including tax, trade, health care (Medicare, Medicaid, and Graduate Medical Education), financial services, judiciary and energy. She was the senior staffer that drafted the legislation elevating the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH now an Institute. Tammy is a member of the American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, American Public Health Association, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Boyd has been featured in USA Today (04/17); Clarion Ledger (04/17); Huffington Post (03/17); and Essence Magazine (02/2017) as one of the chief strategists that drafted the legislation that created Smithsonian National African American History & Culture Museum. She received an M.P.H. degree from Emory University School of Public Health and a Juris Doctorate degree from American University, Washington College of Law.
Doris Browne, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Doris Browne is President and CEO, Browne and Associates, LLC and the 118th President of the National Medical Association. Browne and Associates, LLC is a health consulting small business that addresses national and global health inequities through training and education programs. Dr. Browne tirelessly champion causes that significantly contribute to improving the health status of vulnerable populations. She achieved national and international recognition as an expert educator and speaker and has been either featured or quoted in many news articles and Op-Eds. She specializes in and is passionate about climate health and environmental justice, women’s health, cancer, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, and radiation casualties. She is a retired Colonel from the U. S. Army, Medical Corps and retired from NIH, National Cancer Institute where she managed the breast cancer portfolio. She is a member of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine Decarbonization Action Collaborative: Healthcare Delivery Working Group. Dr. Browne is a graduate of Tougaloo College (BS), UCLA (MPH), and Georgetown University (M.D.). She is a Medical Oncologist and a member of numerous organizations. She received plentiful awards including the NIH Merit Award and Top Blacks in Healthcare Award
Virginia A. Caine, M.D.
Virginia A. Caine, M.D. is the Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine Infectious Diseases Division. In 2020, the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) named her as one of the 40 Influential People of the past 40 years, as they celebrated 40 Years of Progress in Indianapolis.
She helped set up the first HIV/AIDS healthcare delivery system in Indianapolis, in all the major city hospitals, ten community health centers, and the resource for community-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Her HIV/AIDS program in the past was recognized number one in the country by the White House.
She is Chair of the National Medical Association Infectious Diseases Section, Co-Chair of the NMA HIV/AIDS Section, and member of the National Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force.
Bethany Carlos, M.D., M.P.H.
Bethany Carlos, M.D., M.P.H. is a Pediatrician from South Carolina who completed her medical training Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Before going to medical school, she trained in community and public health. She is a graduate of the inaugural 2021 Climate and Health Equity Fellowship through the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health and the National Medical Association. She has been involved with local and national climate advocacy and provides guidance on the impact of climate change on children’s health. She has experience through the American Academy of Pediatrics, MUSC Groups on Diversity Affairs, and international health organizations. She is serving in the National Health Service Corps at a community health facility in Washington, DC.
Camille A. Clare, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.E.
Camille A. Clare, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.E., FACOG is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. She received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, and completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She obtained a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at New York Medical College. Dr. Clare previously served as the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Medical College and attending physician at New York City Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. She received numerous teaching awards from the New York Medical College Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for medical student and resident teaching, consecutively for the past seven years, and in 2012, received the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Excellence in Teaching award. In May 2018, Dr. Clare was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, Iota Chapter, New York, New York Medical College as a Faculty member. Dr. Clare was recently appointed as Chair and Professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of SUNY-Downstate Health Sciences University College of Medicine and School of Public Health, a role that she began as of January 2021.
Dr. Clare is an active member of the National Medical Association (NMA), and has served in leadership roles on the local, regional and national levels. Currently, she is the NMA Region 1 Trustee and the Secretary of the NMA Board of Trustees. She is also the Chair Elect of the NMA Obstetrics and Gynecology Section. Dr. Clare has received the National Medical Association Scroll of Merit award in 2016, which is the highest honor that the NMA bestows. She also received the Region 1 Service award in 2012, and the National Medical Association Obstetrics and Gynecology Section Award for Best Practices in Breastfeeding in 2017. She is an active member of the NMA Obstetrics and Gynecology Section Breastfeeding Alliance, advocating for the elimination of disparities in breastfeeding in African American women. Dr. Clare has also been an active member of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG), serving in leadership roles on the section, district, and national levels, and on several national committees. She currently serves as the ACOG District 2 Chair.
Joia A. Crear-Perry, M.D.
Joia A. Crear-Perry, M.D., FACOG is a physician, policy expert, thought leader and advocate for transformational justice. As the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), she identifies and challenges racism as a root cause of health inequities.
She is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker who has been featured in national and international publications including Essence and Ms. Magazine. In 2020, Dr. Crear-Perry was honored by USA Today in its “Women of the Century” series and featured on ABC Nightline’s Hear Her Voice.
Dr. Crear-Perry has twice addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to elevate the cause of gender diversity and urge a human rights framework toward addressing maternal mortality. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Birthing Project, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the Director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department.
She is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane School of Public Health. After completing undergraduate studies at Princeton University and Xavier University, Dr. Crear-Perry received her M.D. from Louisiana State University and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University’s School of Medicine.
Tollie B. Elliott, Sr., M.D.
Dr. Tollie B. Elliott, Sr., is the new Chief Executive Officer of Mary’s Center. For the last six years, Dr. Elliott has served as the Chief Medical Officer for Mary’s Center. In this capacity, he has been instrumental in strengthening the sustainability of the organization by designing, developing and implementing the first telemedicine program in the District of Columbia at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Leading his team to develop new and innovative strategies has contributed to Mary’s Center being nationally recognized for the quality of healthcare delivered to their patients.
In addition to his role at Mary’s Center, Dr. Elliott counsels and serves on the medical advisory boards and credentialing committees for Amerigroup MD, Amerigroup DC, AmeriHealth Caritas DC, and Emerson Clinical Research Institute.
Dr. Elliott is a graduate of Howard University and Howard University College of Medicine. He completed his residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University, where he was named outstanding Senior Resident in Gynecologic Surgery and Obstetrics. Prior to joining Mary’s Center, Dr. Elliott served as the Director of the Ob/Gyn Peer Review, a member of the Surgical Case Review Committee, At-Large Member of the Medical Staff Executive Committee, and Co-Chair of the Department of Ob/Gyn at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Elliott was recognized as a Washingtonian Top Doctor in 2016.
Dr. Elliott is committed to community development, having taught in the Prince George’s County Public Schools and served as director of a mentoring program for at-risk youth early in his career. He enjoys family life as a father of five, as well as music and travel.
Michelle Floris-Moore, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Michelle Floris-Moore is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina in the Division of Infectious Diseases, where she is Director of the ID Fellowship Training Program. An ID physician and clinician researcher with expertise in prospective cohort investigations of the impact of HIV-related inflammation on aging and cardio-metabolic risk, she is co-PI of the MACS-WIHS Combined Cohort Study, Director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Aging & Co-morbidities Special Interest Group, and a co-investigator in the UNC AIDS Clinical Trial Unit. At UNC Hospitals, she provides outpatient continuity care for adults living with HIV and inpatient ID consultations. She is a member of the Leadership Development Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and recently served on the HIV Medicine Association Board of Directors. Dr. Floris-Moore received her B.S. in Biology from New York University and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. She completed Internal Medicine residency at New York Hospital – Cornell, followed by Infectious Diseases fellowship at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she also earned a Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods.
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D.
Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was appointed the 17th president of Howard University in 2014 and was named the distinguished Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery by the Board of Trustees in 2020. He previously served in numerous capacities within the University, including provost and chief academic officer. Today, he continues to perform in the operating room and teach in the classroom.
As president, Dr. Frederick has advanced Howard University’s commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service and fiscal stability. He has also pursued initiatives to streamline and strengthen University operations. In addition, he has overseen a series of reform efforts, including the expansion of academic offerings, establishing innovative programs to support student success and the modernization of University facilities.
Dr. Frederick matriculated to Howard in 1988 to pursue a B.S./M.D. dual degree program. He completed the requirements for both degrees in six years, allowing him to earn his Bachelor of Science degree and his medical degree by the age of 22. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business in 2011.
Dr. Frederick is a widely recognized expert on disparities in health care and medical education. His medical research focuses on narrowing racial, ethnic and gender disparities in cancer care outcomes, especially in relation to gastrointestinal cancers. He also devotes his time to writing and speaking on salient topics in higher education and the underrepresentation of African-Americans in health care.
Dr. Frederick has received various awards honoring his scholarship, service and community impact, including the Educator Award by the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc.; the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and the Diaspora Public Diplomacy Leadership Award by the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
He also serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Humana Inc.
Owen Garrick, M.D.
Prior to joining CVS Health, Owen was President of Bridge Clinical Research, where he had responsibility for the Clinical Trials, Research Analytics, Health Services Research and Healthcare Communications business units. Which at Bridge Clinical he helped launch multiple collaborative efforts in advancing precision medicine research and data science. His study “Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland” won the 2021 Research Paper of the Year by the American Society of Health Economists.
Prior to joining Bridge Clinical, Dr. Garrick was Director of Strategy and Business Development at McKesson Corporation. Before joining McKesson, Dr. Garrick was Global Head of M&A Negotiations at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Garrick is a nationally recognized leader in the field of research and research ethics. He was confirmed and completed a term with the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Council on Human Research Protections from 2012-2016. He has co-authored industry advisory documents around biospecimen data security and patient engagement in research and currently serves on the board of Professional Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIMR).
Dr. Garrick earned his M.D. from Yale School of Medicine and his M.B.A. from Wharton School of Business. He holds an AB in Psychology from Princeton University.
Nita D. Gombakomba
Nita D. Gombakomba is a native of Harare, Zimbabwe where she grew up before coming to the United States. She attended Montgomery College as a Life Science major before transferring to Lynchburg College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science. Following graduation, she conducted malaria research at Uniformed Services University before matriculating to the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). She is currently is an MD candidate at UMSOM and an MBA candidate at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland. She has served as the President of the UMSOM SNMA Chapter, member of the UMSOM Student Diversity Council, and Associate Director of SNMA Region VI. She currently serves as the National President-Elect of the SNMA. She is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and hopes to become a Urologist who will serve patients locally and globally. Her passions include health equity, minority student mentorship and leadership, and she enjoys spending time with loved ones, reading, and various fitness activities.
Caroline Goncalves Jones
Caroline Goncalves Jones is the Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world.
Caroline works to support the Campaign’s advocacy efforts aimed at promoting policies and programs to prevent kids from starting to smoke and helping tobacco users quit through her work with partner organizations. Caroline manages and coordinates the work of a national coalition working on tobacco control and serves as the liaison between the Campaign and partner organizations on a range of federal and state issues.
Caroline received both a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Policy from American University in Washington, DC.
J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., MSCE
Dr. J. Nadine Gracia is the President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public health policy, research and advocacy organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community. Dr. Gracia is a national health equity leader with extensive leadership and management experience in federal government, the nonprofit sector, academia, and professional associations. As President and CEO, she leads TFAH’s work to advance sound public health policy, address the social determinants of health, advance health equity, and make health promotion and disease prevention a national priority.
Before being appointed President and CEO, Dr. Gracia served as TFAH’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In that role, she developed and implemented strategic policy priorities and managed TFAH’s business operations. She also strengthened and broadened partnership relations focused on health equity and served as a national spokesperson for the organization.
Prior to joining TFAH, Dr. Gracia served in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In that capacity, she directed departmental policies and programs to end health disparities and advance health equity, and provided executive leadership on administration priorities including the Affordable Care Act and My Brother’s Keeper. She oversaw a budget of nearly $60 million and pioneered innovative, multi-sectoral partnerships in the public and private sectors. Previously, she served as Chief Medical Officer in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, where her portfolio included adolescent health, emergency preparedness, environmental health and climate change, global health, and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Prior to that role, she was appointed as a White House Fellow at HHS and worked in the Office of the First Lady on the development of the Let’s Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity.
Dr. Gracia received a Bachelor of Arts in French from Stanford University, a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and later was a clinical instructor and research fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she conducted research on community risk factors for violence. Passionate about service and leadership development, she is active in many professional and civic organizations, including the Aspen Global Leadership Network, the Dean’s Council at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Women of Impact, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Yolandra Hancock, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Yolandra Hancock is a mom, physician, and public health shero who combines her hands-on clinical experience and public health expertise with her passion for building vibrant communities to provide patient-empowered “best in class” care and community empowerment. She is a Reiki 3 healer and doula, incorporating natural healing arts into her clinical practice.
Her passion is in advocating for children’s health, from preconception through adulthood. Her goal is to work with, for, and in her community to help Black parents raise up the healthiest generation of Black children that we can in an asset-framed holistic way that allows us to overcome the institutional and societal challenges that come against us, inclusive of direct clinical care, health policy, and community engagement.
Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, her medical doctorate from the UCLA School of Medicine, and her Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, is the founder of Delta Health and Wellness Consulting, providing consultative services on a variety of health topics to the public and private sectors, spanning from national organizations like the American Heart Association to government agencies. In all the work that she does as a physician, as a professor, and public health champion, Dr. Hancock is fully committed to raising up the next generation to reach their full health potential.
Karyn Hargett, M.D.
Experienced physician with a demonstrated history of working in the health and wellness industry.
Her journey between undergraduate and medical schools was laced with a plethora of experiences working with different research protocols at Catholic Medical Center of New York in Queens, Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, State University of New York/ Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan. She went on to earn her medical degree from the prestigious HBCU Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN and completed her Pediatric residency training at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, NY. During her last year of residency, she married her sweetheart and Air Force veteran Cliff Hargett.
Becoming a pediatrician has been a dream Dr. Hargett has had since she was 6 years old. She never wavered in her determination or perseverance. After completing her residency, she began working for a group practice in Jacksonville, NC where she now resides. Her determination to have more flexibility in her schedule, while catering to patients in need, led her to take on the position as an independent practitioner and traveling pediatrician across NC. In 2014, she also became part owner of the innovative telemedicine network now named R.O.W.E.
Armen Henderson, M.D., M.B.A.
Armen Henderson is a Philadelphia native and graduate of Meharry School of Medicine in 2014 and his Master of Business Administration Health/Health Care Administration/Management from Vanderbilt University/Owen Graduate School of Management. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami in 2017 and stayed on as faculty and is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Miami – Miller School of Medicine.
Since moving to Miami, he has been an organizer with Dream Defenders, a Florida based social justice organization and founded the Dade County Street Response, 501c3 focusing on physician led community wide crisis efforts. He was also recently named the Florida state gun violence prevention fellow with Doctors For America.
Dr. Henderson is a NMA Climate and Health Equity Fellow. The Principal Investigator at the University of Miami Laboratory for Intergrative Knowledge where he devised a university wide curriculum that examines climate change and environmental justice through the lends of racism with scholars from the University of Miami schools of Law, Medicine, Political Science, Human Development and Atmospheric Science. A speaker series with international, national and local experts and policy makers underway.
Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, MD, MPH, is the Director of Health for the City of St. Louis. Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis received her medical degree from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health Degree from Case Western Reserve University. She completed her internal medicine residency at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. She went on to complete her Infectious Diseases fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), also completing a one year dedicated non-ACGME HIV fellowship and a two-year dedicated Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) fellowship.
She was a Clinical Instructor at Washington University School Medicine for two years and an Associate Program Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases fellowship program. She was also in the leadership of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity at the WUSM where she wrote a policy dedicated to addressing patient bias against faculty, trainees and staff with an accompanying toolkit and curriculum for the residency program.
Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis was an Infectious Diseases physician at the John Cochran VA Medical Center where she was the Lead HIV Clinician, Graduate Medical Education Coordinator and Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy supervisor. Her passion for community engagement, diversity and inclusion and patients living with HIV (PLWH), culminated in her becoming the cochair for the Fast Track Cities initiative in St. Louis, which in collaboration with the City and County health departments as well as major HIV community organizations in St. Louis, is dedicated to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. She was later appointed to the City of St. Louis Board of Health where she helped lead the city and region in upholding the highest possible medical and public health standards.
Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis is now a national and international medical contributor on COVID-19 with a particular focus on marginalized populations, and has been featured in outlets such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, and Newsweek, among others. She is also an Associate Editor for Disparities and Competent Care for the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis’s career passions include community engagement, the care of people living with HIV and the impact of COVID-19 infection in marginalized populations. She was the co-PI for a study comparing the impacts of COVID-19 on HIV between St. Louis, Missouri and São Paulo, Brazil. She was also the clinical co-lead for a regional COVID-19 Population Prevalence grant where she brought her expertise in Infectious Diseases and roots in the community to write protocols for the management of COVID-19 positive individuals, design a program to provide wrap-around services to those in need and manage a workforce around this clinical response effort.
Dr. Hlatshwayo was active in medical education where, in addition to being the Graduate Medical Education supervisor at the John Cochran VA Medical Center and Associate Program Director for the Washington University Infectious Diseases Fellowship program, she also served on the IDSA Medical Education Community of Practice Mentorship Work Group and the Grants for Emerging Researchers/Clinicians Mentorship committees. Additionally, she was on the Board of Directors for the IDSA Minority Interest Group. She mentored four trainees and has given over twenty lectures as well as invited talks including Medicine Grand Rounds at John Hopkins University.
Jenny J. Jackson, M.P.H.
Jenny J. Jackson is an experienced healthcare professional with over 12 years of experience in legislative, regulatory, and reimbursement including negotiations with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, coordinating policy development with congressional offices, developing pricing and/or managed care scenarios, and working with pharmaceutical companies and patient and physician advocacy groups.
Ms. Jackson spent 10 years as a technical expert assisting physician trade associations with advancing their reimbursement, clinical practice, federal regulatory, and coding and payment portfolios. Jenny has authored several coding and research articles to aid physician practices in the implementation of Health Information Technology and Electronic Medical Records and appropriate coding and reimbursement policies in their practices.
In 2019, she was selected as a 40 Under Forty Achiever by The Network Journal. She was also honored in 2017, by The Diversity Journal as a Woman Worth Watching in the biotechnology space. Ms. Jackson holds a Master of Public Health from the University at Albany and Bachelor of Science degrees in both Biology and Health Policy and Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. She provides commentary on policy, politics, and physician reimbursement.
Congressman Hakeem Jefferies
Hakeem Jeffries represents the diverse Eighth Congressional District of New York, an area that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens. Serving his fifth term in the United States Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee.
Rep. Jeffries is Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, having been elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2018. In that capacity, he is the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda.
In Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. He has worked hard to help residents impacted by the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, reform our criminal justice system, improve the economy for everyday Americans and protect our health care from right-wing attacks.
Congressman Jeffries obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement. He then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Thereafter, Rep. Jeffries attended New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on Law Review.
After completing law school, Rep. Jeffries clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He then practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, an internationally renowned law firm and served as counsel in the litigation department of Viacom Inc. and CBS. He also worked as of-counsel at Godosky & Gentile, a well-regarded litigation firm in New York City.
Rep. Jeffries was born in Brooklyn Hospital, raised in Crown Heights and is a product New York City’s public school system, having graduated from Midwood High School. He lives in Prospect Heights with his family.
Chonya D. Johnson, M.S.
Chonya is America’s 5 Minute Advocate, Government Affairs consultant. She has trained thousands of citizens advocates from all over the United States to effectively influence Congress, state, and local governments. She is a Sr. Policy Advisor, who has worked for over a decade in the United States Congress. While working in Congress she gained valuable, first-hand experiences of the intricacies of government practices and the concerns of advocates, constituents and businesses. Chonya enjoys developing interactive advocacy training seminars for citizens and organizations to prepare them to effectively advocate for their issues.
Chonya is a fighter and champion for ordinary citizens and organizations that face tough issues. Her real life experiences and insight on what works, while being of service, allowed her to survive the game of politics beyond political parties and bureaucracy. She fights diligently to get constituents a second chance to plead their case before federal, state and local agencies.
She has designed the 5 Minute Advocate program and facilitate key-contact networks, lobby days, and training programs for national associations and organizations, including the National Organization Black Elected Leaders, American Association of University Women, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., The MAC Campaign and a host of women, community groups and democratic clubs.
Chonya is the author of books on advocacy, leadership and success. She has appeared on Radio One, News 92.1, National Journal, Public Access TV, in the Washington Post, and on several Blog Talk radio shows. Chonya holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from University of Northern Iowa and is a recipient of the Education Pioneer Graduate Fellowship & The League of Women Voters Rising Star award.
Shaneeta M. Johnson, M.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Shaneeta Johnson is a Professor of Surgery, Chief of Minimally Invasive, Robotic, and Bariatric Surgery, and Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program at Morehouse School of Medicine, Department of Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a Senior Fellow in Global Health Equity at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and prior inaugural Fellow in the National Medical Association Climate Change and Health Equity Fellowship.
She is an experienced surgeon, clinician, educator, researcher, and advocate. Dr. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University in Neuroscience and her Doctorate of Medicine degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine. She completed her General Surgery residency at Howard University Hospital and Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Johnson also completed her Executive MBA at Brandeis University with a focus on healthcare leadership and healthcare policy. Dr. Johnson is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Fellow of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS), and Fellow of the International College of Surgeons. She is board certified in General Surgery and a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Dr. Johnson served as an inaugural Medical Consortium on Climate Change and National Medical Association Climate Change and Health Equity Fellow.
Dr. Johnson currently serves within the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) as a member of the Bariatric and Metabolic Committee, Education Council, as well as the We R SAGES Diversity Committee and Diversity, Professional and Leadership Committees. She currently serves as a member of the National Academy of Medicine Planning Committee for the Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the US Health Sector. She also serves on the Board of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, Executive Board of the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association, and the Board of Outstanding Atlanta. The American College of Surgeons has appointed Dr. Johnson to serve as the Director of the ACS Mentorship program, member of the Governing Council of the YFA, Liaison Representative to the Board of Governors International Chapter Workgroup, and the Health Policy Advisory Council. She currently serves as the President of the Georgia Chapter of ASMBS.
Dr. Johnson’s fields of expertise include health equity, climate change, robotic minimally invasive surgery, and bariatric surgery. She is passionate about the impact of climate change on health equity, especially regarding the effects of health systems on the environment. She is a sought-after speaker whose expertise has afforded her invitations to speak both nationally and internationally, including the Pennsylvania Senate, Georgia House of Representatives, the Congressional Black Caucus, and many international venues including Japan, England, Trinidad, Guyana, and the Bahamas. She has advocated for state access to obesity treatment and also advocated extensively on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on disadvantaged communities and the need for equitable access to testing and treatment. Globally, Dr. Johnson collaborated with private and public sector entities to address the impact of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, the need for equitable health care, and addressing the effects of climate change.
As a researcher, Dr. Johnson is a published author and presenter in health equity, obesity, robotic surgery, preoperative endoscopy, and bariatric surgery. Her work has been published in major journals, and she is a sought-after speaker on these topics both nationally and internationally. Additionally, Dr. Johnson serves as a member of several journal editorial boards and reviewer, including the American Journal of Surgery, the American Surgeon, Surgical Endoscopy, and several others. She developed and implemented a surgical simulation and testing center and robotic surgery training program at Morehouse School of Medicine and Grady hospital and has also obtained more than $2 million of funding for resident and student training.
Dr. Johnson is a recipient of many awards including the 2021 inaugural SAGES Social Justice and Health Equity Award, 2021 induction as an Associate Member of the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators, 2020 National Medical Association Emerging Leader Award, 2020 American College of Surgeons Claude Organ Jr. Traveling Fellowship, 2020 Top Women in Medicine honoree, 2019 BizWomen Outstanding Women Leaders in Healthcare, Excellence in Healthcare Award, 2018 Atlanta 40 under 40 award as well as many teaching awards.
Nathaniel K. Jones, M.D., M.A.
Nathaniel Jones, MD, MA is Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine- University of Pennsylvania and Attending Physician in the Division of Emergency Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Jones is an advocate and researcher in the areas of diversity, health equity, and inclusion.
As a black queer writer and first-generation physician, Dr. Jones has often felt the weight of being first, only, and different in various professional spaces. He continually uses his perspective and experiences to address barriers to equity, further opportunities for BIPOC in medicine, and proliferate diverse and inclusive spaces. His prior work has investigated racial/ethnic disparities in the delivery of care in the pediatric emergency department as well as addressing health disparities through increased civic engagement among health care providers and patients.
He obtained his medical degree at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and went on to complete his residency in pediatrics as well as his master’s in public policy at the University of Chicago. Dr. Jones is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where he previously served on the Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion and co-founded the Academy’s Section on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion. He currently sits on the Section’s executive committee where he focuses on advancing the Academy’s efforts in policy and advocacy related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Wilbert C. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan is medical director of the OASIS Clinic in Los Angeles and works to expand its operations; with an OASIS Women’s Clinic scheduled to open soon, joining the three already established OASIS locations. HIV outreach has been a primary interest for Dr. Jordan. He reported the first heterosexual case of AIDS in Los Angeles County in 1983. In 1984 he began the AIDS Clinic, now OASIS Clinic, at King-Drew Medical Center. He also works with the L.A County Commission on HIV and AIDS, the Second District HIV Coalition, and serves on the L.A County HIV Planning Council, and the Prevention and Planning Committee.
Michael G. Knight, M.D., MSHP
Michael G. Knight, MD, MSHP, FACP is a physician and the Patient Safety Officer at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Originally from New York City, Dr. Knight completed undergraduate studies at Oakwood University, and attended the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. He then completed residency training at New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed a Masters in Health Policy Research. In his current role as Patient Safety Officer for the GW Medical Faculty Associates, he is involved with the analysis of medical errors and adverse events, and leads the development of responsive programs to build a culture of safety throughout the organization. Dr. Knight is board certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine, and practices clinically at the GW Medical Faculty Associates in Washington, DC.
Throughout his career, Dr. Knight has been a champion for health equity, and has been instrumental in developing community health education programs throughout the United States. Dr. Knight served as the 48th National President of the Student National Medical Association, and currently serves as the founder and president of the Renewing Health Foundation, a non-profit organization working to empower urban minority communities through health education. He has served on various boards and committees of organizations such as the American Medical Association, where he serves as Vice-Chair of the Minority Affairs Section, and the National Medical Association, where he currently serves as Region II Trustee. He has been a featured medical expert on radio, television, and in print news media, and routinely speaks at events internationally and throughout the United States. Dr. Knight has received numerous awards including the American Medical Association Foundation Leadership Award, Top 30 under 30 Alumni of Case Western Reserve University, Top 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health Award by the National Minority Quality Forum, and Top Healthcare Professionals Under 40 Award by the National Medical Association.
Yolanda Lawson M.D.
Yolanda Lawson M.D., Board Certified OBGYN and Associate Attending at Baylor University Medical Center, has a genuine passion for the physical, emotional and overall health of women. She dedicates her energy and time to maintaining the excellence of which MadeWell Obstetrics and Gynecology was built upon: Providing superior, organic healthcare with diplomacy, concern and respect.
She earned her M.D. at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She performed her internship at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and completed her residency at St. John Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Lawson offers a broadened approach to healthcare likely due to her extensive exposure at several major medical centers.
Dr. Lawson is a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Dallas County Medical Society, sits on a variety of boards and volunteers among many other community activities and organizations. These are all accomplishments that attribute to Dr. Lawson’s commitment and while her studies include the latest of educational, innovative healthcare techniques and technology she knows that women are not textbooks. She continues to expand upon her knowledge while maintaining a spirit of charity with volunteer work.
Carol McGruder, DEFE, B.A.
Carol McGruder is a seasoned veteran of California’s tobacco control experience, and a founding member and Co-Chairperson of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC). Created to inform the direction of tobacco control policy, practices, and priorities, the AATCLC works at the intersection of public health policy and social injustice. They have fought resolutely against the decades of racialized and predatory tobacco industry targeting of the Black community and the resulting 45,000 Black lives lost each year from tobacco-induced diseases.
The AATCLC has been at the forefront of the national movement to restrict the sale of mentholated tobacco products, assisting municipalities across the country. In 2020, the AATCLC, the Action on Smoking and Health, the American Medical Association and the National Medical Association filed an administrative lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to take mentholated tobacco products off the market. The lawsuit prompted the FDA to declare that it will begin the arduous rule-making process in 2022 to finally take deadly menthol and little cigars off the market.
Carol and the AATCLC have received honors and accolades from many organizations including the Public Health Law Center, SRNT, American Legacy Foundation, and the San Francisco and Berkeley Branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She served as NAACP Branch President for Berkeley, CA for two terms. She humbly received the prestigious Biddy Mason “unsung shero” award in 2021.
Edith Peterson Mitchell, M.D., MACP
Edith Peterson Mitchell, M.D., MACP, FCPP, FRCP, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Associate Director for Diversity Programs and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.
Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas and has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach especially to underserved populations. Her research in breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers and other GI malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
Dr. Mitchell served as the 116th President of the National Medical Association, is a member of the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, ECOG/ACRIN Cancer Research Group, and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Because of her experience in the cancer research community Dr. Mitchell served as a member of the NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel convened to advise the National Cancer Advisory Board on then Vice President Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. In 2019, Dr. Mitchell began service as a member of the President’s Cancer Panel and in 2020 she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General.
Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Mitchell is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology and serves as Professor and Chair of Pathology at Howard University College of Medicine. He is the immediate past Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, DC where he served from 2014 to 2021. Just before his tenure ended as Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Mitchell was the only forensic pathologist in history to also serve as Interim Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice. He has performed approximately 2,000 forensic autopsy examinations and has testified as an expert witness in over 60 cases.
Dr. Mitchell has been published in 13 peer review journals, provided nearly 100 lectures on a myriad of forensic topics, has written two book chapters and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. His recent academic research on gunshot wounds is highlighted in the Journal of Acute Care Surgery and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Mitchell also serves as Chair of the Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention for the National Medical Association. He co-authored the paper entitled “The Violence Epidemic in the African American Community: A Call by the National Medical Association for Comprehensive Reform”. He recently led a national group of forensic pathologists in the paper entitled: “National Association of Medical Examiners Position Paper: Recommendations for the Definition, Investigation, Postmortem Examination, and Reporting of Deaths in Custody”.
He currently supports the Autopsy Initiative for Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp that provides second autopsy examinations for cases of Death in Custody. Recently, Dr. Mitchell was a featured expert in the docuseries entitled Uprooted on Discovery+. He is the current Vice Speaker to the House of Delegates for the National Medical Association and sits on several additional Boards, including Mentoring in Medicine, Hip Hop Caucus, and DC Violence Fatality Review Board. He has lectured all over the world including in countries such as England, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, and Belize. Dr. Mitchell currently works with the CDC Foundation supporting the Medicolegal Death Investigation International Community of Practice where he provides technical support to numerous international medical examiners and coroners from over twenty-six countries.
Lastly, Dr Mitchell is ordained and serves as the prison minister for New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington DC. He has been married for nearly 20 years to college sweetheart and has three wonderful children.
Judge Carlos Moore
Judge Carlos Moore is the 79th President of the National Bar Association (NBA). Founded in 1925, the NBA is the premier professional organization for the over 65,000 Black lawyers, judges, law professors and law students of whose interests the NBA represents internationally.
A nationally renowned and award winning trial lawyer, Judge Carlos E. Moore, a Moss Point, Mississippi native, is the Managing Partner of The Cochran Firm – Mississippi Delta based in Grenada, Mississippi. In July of 2017, he was appointed as the first African-American Municipal Judge Pro Tem for the City of Clarksdale, Mississippi and in May of 2020 he was named the first African-American Municipal Judge Pro Tem for the City of Grenada, Mississippi. Moore is a graduate of the University of South Alabama, and the Florida State University College of Law, and also completed course work at Rice University in Houston, Texas, as well as the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford.
Priscilla Mpasi, M.D.
Dr. Priscilla Mpasi is the Pediatrician and Director for Public Health Initiatives Manager at Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and an Attending Physician in the Division of Community of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She completed a health policy fellowship in the National Clinicians Scholars Program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on health equity promotion to expand Medicaid benefits, advocacy for quality childhood education, and promotion of health care access and resources for communities of color and underserved populations. She also serves as a child health policy advisor for state health departments and elected officials in both Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Dr. Mpasi is a national leader in the National Medical Association as the Region II Chairperson and Chair for the Council on Concerns of Women Physicians. She serves on the American Medical Association Minority Affairs Section Governing Council and holds leadership in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a longstanding leader and physician advisor for the Student National Medical Association where she is a National Vice-President Emeritus. Given her work, she has received numerous awards that include the Virginia Commonwealth University 10 Under 10 Alumni Award, the National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40 Leader in Health, the NMA Top Healthcare Professionals Under 40, the NMA Pediatric Scientific Section Billie Wright Adams Scholar Award, the AMA Women Physicians Section Inspiration Award and the AMA Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Award.
Dr. Mpasi earned her B.S. in Psychology from Duke University and her M.D. from Virginia
Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatrics residency at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital with a certificate in Advocacy and is completing her Master in Science of Health Policy and Research from the University of Pennsylvania.
Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, M.D.
Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey, MD is an energetic and engaging speaker, author, health educator/physician and health strategist/consultant. Dr. Allison- Ottey is the CEO of CARLDEN Inc. and Beautiful Woman Inside and Out, Inc. She also serves as Executive Director of The COSHAR Healthy Communities Foundation. Dr. Allison-Ottey serves as the Health Strategist for several national companies/organizations and develops and oversees programmatic agendas with long and short term strategies ensuring effectiveness and achievement of goals. Dr. Allison-Ottey’s companies have a national scope that reaches millions with their products, services and events. She is also media personality with a presence in television, social media, radio and print and one of the nation’s most influential physicians and health advocates.
Dr. Allison-Ottey completed a three year residency program in Internal Medicine (Adult Medicine) at Union Memorial Hospital. It was during her residency training that she developed a keen interest in the elderly and subsequently completed an additional two year fellowship in Geriatric Medicine (Adults over 65) at the same institution. She received her medical degree from East Carolina University School of Medicine. Dr. Allison-Ottey is a proud alumna of North Carolina Central University where she earned dual degrees in Biology and Chemistry with minors in Physics, African American History and English with honors.
Dr. Allison-Ottey is an avid medical researcher with numerous publications and presentations. She was named the American Geriatric Society’s 1999 Investigator of the Year in recognition of her pioneering work in AIDS in the Elderly and was one of the first in the world to publish on this topic. Throughout her career she’s been involved actively with biomedical research and has served as a Scientific Consultant in Neurobehavioral Toxicology to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, she has been engaged in several research collaborations that include the John Hopkins Urban Health Institute, the Gallup Organization and numerous other academic, private, and public organizations. She continues to be an advisor on the development, implementation and execution of clinical trials; especially those involving minority populations and women. Further, she is an expert ad advisor for both the government and private sector on awareness and media campaigns for various disease states. Dr. Allison-Ottey is particularly recognized for her understanding of programmatic funding, the fine lines between corporate giving and organizational involvement/messaging. She is an expert in the area of physician/pharmaceutical company engagement with a keen knowledge of regulations.
Dr. Allison-Ottey is a nationally recognized lecturer/speaker for healthcare professionals. She addresses various topics which include but are not limited to: health literacy, women’s health, health disparities and cultural competency, the role of faith based organizations in healthcare, direct to consumer advertisements and health in an aging population. She provides invaluable insight and guidance to the numerous commissions, advisory boards and committees on which she serves. She is a consultant for several Fortune 500 companies and is also frequently invited to give expert testimony/advice to government and other organizations. Dr. Allison-Ottey is recognized for her unique and articulate views on public health policy. She is an advocate for improved healthcare for all and for the elimination of health disparities based on gender, race and/or socioeconomic status. Further, she’s viewed by many as a tireless champion for expanded access to healthcare for the elderly. In recognition for her commitment to health education and reduction in health disparities among minority populations and women; she was honored by Aetna Inc. and featured in the 25th Anniversary Edition of its African American History Calendar.
Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey is active with numerous medical, political and civic organizations. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Medical Association (NMA) and as Chair of the Council on the Concerns of Women Physicians. She was a founding board member of the Partnership for Clear Health Communications which focused on improving health literacy in the United States. Dr. Sharon Allison – Ottey is instrumental with the minority health initiatives of the American Cancer Society (ACS) wherein she speaks and trains others on cancer in minority communities, breast, colon and nutrition related issues with cancer. Committed to addressing health in all communities; she serves on the Women’s Health Advisory Council of healthywoman.org and a founding member and steering committee member on CARE about Fibroids and a founding member of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease as well as numerous organizations. Her career long passion and dedication to the elimination of health disparities and racial equality is unwavering and Dr. Sharon serves a board member of the African American Wellness Project and other organizations with similar missions. Dr. Allison-Ottey’s other professional affiliations include the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Geriatric Society, International AIDS Society and numerous other organizations.
Dr. Allison-Ottey has received many awards and citations from organizations and the community; however one of the most notable is being the youngest to ever receive the Scroll of Merit of the NMA in 2002. This award is the highest award of the association and Dr. Allison-Ottey was cited for her service to the organization, research and commitment to the health education of the nation. Additionally, she is the first female to be awarded the title Chairman Emeritus of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). In 2006 she received the Council Award from the Council on the Concerns of Women Physicians in recognition for her significant achievements in medicine and contributions to issues of women’s health. Dr. Allison-Ottey has been further humbled by the National Library of Medicine/ American Medical Woman’s Association’s designation as a Local Legend in Medicine and her inclusion in the national exhibit entitled: Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians. She continues to receive national and state recognition for her work and passion and in 2010, 2008 and 2004; Dr. Allison-Ottey was named to the Top 100 Women in Maryland. In 2011, she received the additional honor of being named to the Top 100 Women in Maryland’s Circle of Excellence in recognition of her consistent strides in her profession and her commitment to mentoring. In 2012, she was honored by East Carolina University as an “Outstanding Alumni” Award recipient. She continues to receive awards, accommodations and accolades for her tireless work in her fields.
Dr. Allison-Ottey has appeared on numerous local and national television programs. She co-hosted a popular radio program for several years and is a frequent guest on nationally syndicated as well as regional/local radio programs across the country. She has written articles for and/or been quoted and interviewed by several print publications including Redbook, Essence, Heart and Soul, Gospel Today magazine, Jet, Ebony, USA Today, Black Enterprise, The Wall Street Journal and numerous other media outlets. Because of the colorful and “down to earth” manner in which she addresses health, relationships and offers motivation; Dr. Allison-Ottey is a well-recognized and requested speaker for conferences, universities/schools, churches, corporations, community groups and a host of other outlets. She is able to bridge the gap between live events and webinars/virtual sessions and has a “knack” for keeping audiences engaged and compelled in any format.
One of Dr. Allison-Ottey’s passions is writing and she introduced a new genre to the world of fiction, “fiction with a purpose” with her first novel, “All I Ever Did Was Love a Man.” This bestselling novel has given birth to a much anticipated sequel, “My Breaking Heart” which is scheduled to be released in 2021. She also wrote a nonfiction/self-help book entitled; “Is That Fried Chicken Wing Worth It?” Additionally, she created a full greeting card line, “Cards by Dr. Sharon.” She is the founder and host of the “Beautiful Woman Inside and Out” conferences and truly makes an impact in the lives of women and their families. A very active social media presence allows her to daily inspire, motivate, educate and share information on a variety of topics from health/wellness to relationships and everything in between in her unique way. Dr. Sharon remains dedicated and diligent to improving the lives of others in all that she does.
Nina Patel is a Senior Policy Counsel and criminal defense attorney with fifteen years of expertise in public policy development and advocacy. She recently served as legislative counsel for Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott where she drafted policy positions into legislation around topics such as criminal justice reform, voting rights, and civil rights. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, she worked for a decade as a public defender in Southern California defending clients in complex felony cases and worked to divert clients from prison into alternative court models which provided mental health services and substance use treatment programs. She is a graduate of Tulane Law School in New Orleans and received her B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Mona Rigaud, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Mona Rigaud is a pediatrician and infectious disease expert with broad experience in HIV care and research expertise for many years, including key participant in NIH-sponsored clinical trials grants of perinatal transmission of HIV. For many years, Dr. Rigaud served as a member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases faculty at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and director of the Pediatric Chest-Tuberculosis Clinic at the Bellevue Hospital Center, as well as a faculty member involved in the teachings of medical Students, residents and fellows. Additionally, Dr. Rigaud was also section chief of pediatric infectious diseases and HIV services at St. Vincent’s Hospital Medical Center in NYC. Dr. Rigaud is presently the Chief of Pediatric Services at NYU Langone -Brooklyn, where she continues to ensure the delivery of high quality and equitable care to a diverse patient population.
Dr. Rigaud has also been Senior Medical advisor with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS initiative and has traveled extensively around the world providing technical and education to scale-up Pediatric HIV care across Africa, as well as in Haiti.
She received her M.D. degree from Universidad Anahuac Medical School in Mexico, her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and her Bachelor’s in Romance Languages and Certificates in Latin American and African American Studies from Princeton University. Dr. Rigaud is a member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, a Board Member of the George W Counts Diversity Interest Group and is widely published.
Kelley Robinson is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Robinson previously served as National Organizing Director for the Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Robinson brings to this role over 12 years of experience as a leader in the progressive field, with an expertise in sexual and reproductive health, and a deep commitment to leading with equity. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood in 2011, Kelley began her career as an organizer for Obama for America in 2008, later refining her skills as a regional organizer for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and then as the national field manager for URGE. Kelley has served as a key leader in driving PPFA and PPAF’s vision for supporter engagement by serving as the lead strategist for its #IStandwithPP and #PinkOut National Mobilizations, creating Path to Power, the organizations’ grassroots training program, developing a variety of constituency programs, and she most recently led the largest electoral program in PPAF’s history. Outside of Planned Parenthood, Robinson served as the former board chair of SisterSong, the largest national women of color reproductive justice collective as well as currently sits on the board of the Women’s March. Kelley is also adding to her titles the role of “Mom” to her new baby boy Izaiah.
Molly Ryan is a seasoned corporate executive, health care policy expert with over twenty years of accumulated experience in both biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Molly is a trusted and recognized expert in legislative affairs, alliance development, and regulatory policy across the health care industry. As the Vice President of Government Affairs & Policy at Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), Molly oversees policy development impacting patients living with sickle cell disease in the US, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
With a focus on innovation, Molly was instrumental in creating payment policy to support digital therapeutics in a fast-growing market and is an advocate for cancer screening. She is a driven and collaborative professional that has dedicated her career to helping internal and external stakeholders understand the policy environment while developing and executing strategies to shape access for patients.
Prior to migrating to the United States, Molly was a morning anchor on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s first FM radio station 101.9 Metro FM and had 3 million listeners daily.
Molly is an advocate of grooming the next generation of leaders. She is the co-founder of Washington Heads of Office Leadership Council (WHOOLC) and volunteers her time on the following boards; Public Affairs Council, Ripon Society, Congressional Award Foundation, and the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis (WBCP).
Congressman Bobby Scott
Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott has represented Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Prior to his service in Congress, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.
During his tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Congressman Scott successfully sponsored laws critical to Virginians in education, employment, health care, social services, economic development, crime prevention and consumer protection. His legislative successes in the state legislature included laws that increased Virginia’s minimum wage, created the Governor’s Employment and Training Council and improved health care benefits for women, infants, and children.
Congressman Scott has the distinction of being the first African-American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African-American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. Having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry also gives him the distinction of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.
Congressman Scott currently serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. In this capacity, he is advancing an agenda that improves equity in education, frees students from the burdens of crippling debt, protects and expands access to affordable health care, ensures workers have a safe workplace where they can earn a living wage free from discrimination, and guarantees seniors have a secure and dignified retirement.
Congressman Scott is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School. After graduating from law school, he returned home to Newport News and practiced law from 1973 to 1991. As a young attorney, he founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center to assist those who could not afford legal representation. He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.
Congressman Scott is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Newport News and is a member of many professional, community, and civic boards and organizations.
Wally R. Smith, M.D.
Wally R. Smith, M.D. is the first recipient of The Florence Neal Cooper Smith Professor of Sickle Cell Disease, the second African-American female chair in the United States. He also serves as the Vice-Chairman for Research of the Division of General Internal Medicine and is the former Scientific Director of the Center on Health Disparities at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition he was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Standards for Trustworthy Guidelines. He has authored over 100 publications, and served as an investigator on over 50 externally funded grants and contracts, including principal investigator on 26 federal or foundation-funded grants and contracts.
Dr. Smith is an experienced implementation scientist and an expert in clinical and health services research in sickle cell disease. Since 2012, he has been PI of likely the first-ever randomized controlled trial of implementation science in SCD, Start Healing in Patients with Hydroxyurea (SHiP HU, R18HL112737). Thus, he is extremely well-qualified to serve as PI of this SCD Implementation Science proposal.
Dr. Smith has been associated with the development of two potential lead compounds for sickle cell disease at VCU. He has been extraordinarily successful at recruitment of sickle cell patients into clinical research, enrolling over 450 patients in 10 years. His latest NIH-funded grant, SHIP HU, randomizes patients to receive patient navigators to enhance patients’ adherence to hydroxyurea.
Elise Marie Tolbert, M.P.H.
Elise Marie Tolbert is a native of Tuskegee, Alabama who is committed to improving communities, particularly those of color, by improving the quality of education, health and the environment, thus improving quality of life. Elise currently works as the Senior Energy Campaign Manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. In her role, she leads a national campaign to modernize our nation’s energy grid by engaging Black-Americans, environmental justice, and youth groups in the decision-making process to ensure that they have a voice in the development of national policy and legislation. Elise is also the Founder and Executive Director of Next Step Up, a non-profit organization that has provided mentoring and tutoring to high school students in Tuskegee for the past 12 years. In this role, she enjoys leading volunteers, community members, and others in initiatives that empower the students to reach their dreams.
At an early age she developed a deep passion for the natural environment, which later molded her career interest. Elise received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Tuskegee University and Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Michigan. Ms. Tolbert’s interests in public health lie at the intersection of climate change, environmental health policy, environmental justice and social justice. In 2021, Elise was awarded “Top 40 Environmental Justice Leaders Under 40.” This national award was presented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Michael Regan, and is a national award which recognizes top leaders in the United States.
Elise is an active organizer in Tuskegee and recently organized and executed the Tuskegee Unity March for Justice which brought a crowd of over 300 people, law enforcement, and elected officials to stand in solidarity for racial justice. She is also the co-founder of the newly founded Macon County Youth Council, which seeks to organize young people for positive change in Macon County. Elise is a Christian and loves the Lord and her church family. She lives by motto “Blaze your own trail,” which reminds her of her responsibility to follow her heart and create a path for others.
Reed V. Tuckson, M.D.
Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., FACP, is Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC, a vehicle to advance initiatives that support optimal health and wellbeing through the intersection of health promotion and disease prevention; applied data and analytics; enhanced quality and efficiency in care delivery; and the application of telehealth and biotech innovations.
Currently, Dr. Tuckson’s focus is on advancing his work as a co-founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID, a multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary effort working to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington,D.C. and nationally.
Previously, he enjoyed a long tenure as Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 20 Health and wellbeing company.
A recognized leader in his field, Dr. Tuckson is honored to have been appointed to leadership roles at the National Institutes of Health; National Academy of Medicine; numerous Federal Advisory Committees; and corporate, non-profit and academic boards.
He has been recognized several times by Modern Healthcare Magazine’s listing of the “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives” in healthcare.
He is a graduate of Howard University, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s General Internal Medicine Residency and Fellowship Programs, where he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar studying at the Wharton School of Business.
Yasmin Tyler-Hill, M.D.
Dr. Yasmin Tyler-Hill, a native South Carolinian attended boarding school at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md. She remembers Holton as the place where she developed much of her philosophy about work ethic and life goals. To this day, she lives her life by Holton’s motto: “Inveniam Viam Avet Faciam” – “I will find a way or make one.”
She graduated with a degree in biology with a letter in the science of human affairs from Princeton University. She received her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed her internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, now Boston University Medical Center. In 2006, Dr. Tyler-Hill completed the Program for Physician Leaders at Academic Medical Centers sponsored by the School of Public Health at Harvard University.
Dr. Tyler-Hill joined the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) faculty in 2001 as an Assistant Professor of clinical pediatrics, later rising to the rank of Associate Professor in 2009 and Professor in 2020. Before coming to MSM, Dr. Tyler-Hill held leadership roles in a five center FQHC as the Chief of Pediatrics. She also served as both Medical Director at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters as and Interim Division Director, Division of General Pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. At MSM Dr. TH immersed herself in assisting the then Chair in building the new residency program. A few of her many accomplishments included curricula development for the pediatric residency program; significantly increasing the MSM DOP footprint within the CHOA system by creating pathways and placements for pediatric residents in the Children Hospital of Atlanta System, where she served as the inaugural faculty preceptor for the residents and students at CHOA at Scottish Rite. She was appointed the lead clinician for the Department of Pediatrics (DOP). Later, she reestablished the then-defunct Continuity Clinic and worked to improve and establish relationships with community partners such as West End Medical Center now Family Health Centers of Georgia, CHOA and many community pediatricians. Her vision was to maintain the only pediatric training program at a Historically Black Medical school by providing excellent training for residents.
A recipient of many awards related to her work in child health, nationally recognized servant leader and sought-after speaker, Dr. TH serves on several nonprofit boards related to the intersection of early childhood learning and health Additionally, Dr. Tyler-Hill was a long standing member of the CHOA Physician Leader Council that advised the CEO and CMO on physician related matters. Noted as a physician leader Dr. Tyler-Hill was an inaugural Director of The Children’s Care Network, the largest pediatric integrated network in the US with 1,000,000 covered pediatric lives over 1200 primary care and specialty pediatricians. She served on both the Executive Committee and the Quality Committees of the board. She continues to champion health equity and is a subject matter expert on topics related to early brain development and early childhood education and health. More recently in her role as leader of the pediatric section of National Medical Association, Dr. Tyler-Hill illuminates’ issues of child mental health and implementation of anti-racism child health policy and practice, which is where she plans to focus her continued advocacy efforts.
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood serves Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2019. Congresswoman Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.
Congresswoman Underwood serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the House Committee on Appropriations. Congresswoman Underwood co-founded and co-chairs the Black Maternal Health Caucus, which elevates the Black maternal health crisis within Congress and advances policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities. She also serves on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Rep. Underwood is a member of the Future Forum, a group of young Democratic Members of Congress committed to listening to and standing up for the next generation of Americans, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the LGBT Equality Caucus. As a strong supporter of addressing the gun violence epidemic, Congresswoman Underwood is a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
Prior to her election to Congress, Congresswoman Underwood worked with a Medicaid plan in Chicago to ensure that it provided high-quality, cost-efficient care. She served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), helping communities across the country prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, bioterror threats, and public health emergencies. As a career public servant at HHS, she helped implement the Affordable Care Act — broadening access for those on Medicare, improving health care quality, and reforming private insurance. Congresswoman Underwood also taught future nurse practitioners through Georgetown University’s online master’s program. Congresswoman Underwood is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. She graduated from Neuqua Valley High School and is a lifelong Girl Scout. She resides in Naperville, Illinois.
Rachel Villanueva, M.D.
Rachel Villanueva, M.D., FACOG is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She earned a BS in Biology at Yale University and MD, cum laude, from the Yale School of Medicine. She is board certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology and practices in New York City.
Dr. Villanueva is a women’s health expert and advocate who is committed to reproductive justice, health equity, workforce diversity, and disease prevention. She is an active member of the National Medical Association, the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization representing African-American Physicians and their patients. She has held numerous local, regional and national leadership positions including Chair of the Board of Trustees, Speaker of the House of Delegates, and Chair of the Council on Concerns of Women Physicians. She was recently elected NMA President-Elect, becoming the first former Student National Medical Association President to hold this position. Dr. Villanueva has served as an advisor to the SNMA Board and Strategic Planning Council. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni in Yale Medicine; assisting in the creation of its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee. As a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she has served on the Pregnancy and Heart Disease Task Force and currently on the Health Equity Subcommittee of the District 2 Safe Motherhood Initiative. Dr. Villanueva recently became part of the Medical Advisory Group of the Black Health Trust, a group of physicians and health care professionals, committed to educating and serving communities of color. She is a medical advisor to Expect, a streaming video app that provides safe at-home prenatal fitness classes. As a former competitive gymnast, Dr. Villanueva believes that fitness and exercise are crucial components of a woman’s total health and wellness. She is an avid snowboarder, Bikram Yogi and tennis player. Dr. Villanueva has been named one of the Influential African–American and Caribbean New Yorkers in Health and as one of the Top Black Physicians in New York City by The Network Journal. She is also a proud native New Yorker of Haitian descent.
Cameron Webb, M.D., J.D.
Dr. Cameron Webb currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor for Equity on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. Previously, Dr. Webb was an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and Director of Health Policy and Equity at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. A general internist, Dr. Webb has worked clinically in the University’s COVID unit since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, he is the founding director of UVA’s Health Equity, Law and Policy Research (HELPR) Laboratory and is a core faculty member at the University’s Equity Center, an initiative for the redress of inequity through community-engaged scholarship. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, Dr. Webb spent a year as a 2016 White House Fellow in the Obama-Biden administration’s Office of Cabinet Affairs, where he served on the My Brother’s Keeper task force and the White House Healthcare team. A born and raised Virginian, Dr. Webb received his B.A. from the University of Virginia, his M.D. from Wake Forest School of Medicine, and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Lachelle D. Weeks, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Lachelle D. Weeks is a hematologist and scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the division of hematologic malignancies and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine where she earned her MD and PhD degrees. She completed her medical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Internal Medicine Residency and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. Dr. Weeks is a recipient of career development awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program and the Edward P. Evans Foundation for MDS Research. She studies early detection and prevention of hematologic malignancies and leads the myeloid malignancy precursor clinic for the Dana-Farber Center for Prevention of Progression. Her research focuses on early detection and risk stratification for precursors of acute myeloid leukemia. Led by a passion for ensuring that every patient has equitable access to curative, preventative and palliative care, Dr. Weeks brings an equity focus to her clinical and translational research program in hematologic malignancies and she has served as an advocate for racial justice and equity throughout her medical career. As a resident, she founded the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Social Justice Committee and developed a social medicine curriculum for Internal Medicine resident orientation. More recently as co-chair of the ASH anti-racism task force, Dr. Weeks has worked to develop the ASH anti-racism studio, has been an invited speaker and chair of the Special Scientific Session on Race and Science at ASH and has helped to organize the ASH Health Equity Rounds webinars. Her scholarly contributions include co-developing standards for publishing on racial health inequities, and she is first author of an upcoming interdisciplinary white paper defining the appropriate use of sickle cell trait in cause and manner of death determinations.
Shara Wesley, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
Wesley is a Senior Executive with 20 years of experience in healthcare, community, and public health organizations where she has dedicated her career to health equity initiatives that proactively address gaps in social determinants of health.
Wesley earned a doctorate in public health advance leadership from the University of South Florida. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Public Health degree from Florida A&M University.
Wesley began her career as a student health educator that created grassroot campaigns to promote preventative health and wellness to college students residing in Tallahassee. This was followed by her supporting healthcare policy and the diffusion of evidenced based public health programs through state and federal government entities like the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health in Washington D.C.
Wesley eventually made her way to Indianapolis where she took on the role of Manager of Public Policy for Eli Lilly and Company to support the organization’s uptake of major state and federal legislation like the Affordable Care Act. Three years later she transitioned to lead one of Indiana’s largest statewide health coalitions: the Cardiovascular and Diabetes Coalition of Indiana (CADI) at the Indiana Public Health Association (IPHA) and funded by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). CADI implemented Indiana’s first strategic plan that address diabetes and cardiovascular disease-together: the Better Together Plan.
Before joining Centene, Wesley was Assistant Vice President at Wellstar Health System, one of the largest integrated health systems in Georgia. Here, Wesley led the triennial Community Health Needs Assessment to identify healthcare gaps across Georgia and address these care gaps through a comprehensive strategic planning process. In 2019, Wesley led the creation of the Wellstar Center for Health Equity (WCHE) and the Wellstar Community Health Department. These entities forged hundreds of new strategic partnerships with government agencies, businesses, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, academia, and citizens. Through these partnerships, the WCHE activated resources in the community that have yielded significant impact, including increasing access to healthy food through mobile markets; conducting COVID testing and vaccination for entire families through pop-up clinics; supporting the technology needs of local nonprofit organizations to better serve their clients’ healthcare and social needs and more.
Wesley brings decades of experience in strategic leadership, oversight, development and management of a portfolio of community programs and system strategies that pursue health equity by addressing social determinants of health, especially through interventions that minimize health disparities.
Wesley has been a recipient for several prestigious awards, including Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2021 Healthcare Hero for Community Outreach. As part of her ongoing commitment to public health, Wesley serves as a Board Member and volunteer for several community service organizations.
Wesley is making Indianapolis home again with husband, Reginald, three children and their family English Bulldog.
Gloria A. Wilder, M.D., M.P.H.
Gloria A. Wilder, M.D., M.P.H. is a nationally recognized entrepreneur, pediatrician, public speaker and expert on poverty and social justice. Dr. Wilder previously served as the Chair of Mobile Health Programs for the Children’s Health Project of DC at Georgetown University and Children’s National Medical Center, Executive Vice President of Physician Integration and Strategic Alliances at United Medical Center. In 2005, Dr. Wilder founded CORE HEALTH a population health company dedicated to assisting underserved communities in improving health outcomes. Dr. Wilder currently serves as Chief Health Equity Officer at Centene Corporation, a diversified multi-national healthcare enterprise.
Dr. Wilder believes in raising the bar of quality in the provision of care in historically underserved markets by turning advocacy into action. She has been recognized nationally for her work, joining the likes of Jimmy Carter and Mother Teresa when she was awarded the National Caring Award for exceptional generosity and commitment to service. She was named Physician Humanitarian of the Year by George Washington University. She was also inducted into the prestigious Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society and her many awards includes the Oprah Winfrey Use Your Life Award and recognition in 2015 as Washingtonian of the Year for her work on behalf of children and families across the nation.
From an early age, Allyssa Williams knew she was meant to lead. Growing up, Allyssa’s mother smoked and her brother struggled with severe asthma. Seeing the impact tobacco had on her own family, Allyssa recognized that African Americans bear a heavy burden from tobacco use, and that she herself was at risk. This fueled her passion for tobacco control, and she has dedicated her energy and leadership over the past six years to fighting to protect youth, especially youth of color, from tobacco.
Allyssa has advocated extensively at the local, state, and federal level, including collecting postcards and testifying in support of maintaining funding for Florida’s highly successful tobacco prevention program. Recently, she advocated for her U.S. representative to support the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would eliminate flavored tobacco products.
Allyssa currently serves as vice president of Florida’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) leadership team. She played a leading role in creating and launching SWAT’s Not a Lab Rat Campaign to combat misinformation about the youth e-cigarette epidemic, which was awarded the 2019 World No Tobacco Day award from the World Health Organization. She was also featured in a national public service announcement for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids highlighting the critical need to address menthol tobacco.
Christine Williams currently serves as President of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association (ANMA) and the President of the Auxiliary to the Medico-Chirurgical (Med-Chi) Society, District of Columbia, Inc (AMCS) and also its Program Chair. As the ANMA President she leads the organization in its National Health Agenda with its Theme for the 2021-2022 year “A Call for Action against COVID-19, Opioid Misuse, HIV Aids, and Vaping in the African American Community”. Mrs. Williams is honored to lead the ANMA in assisting the National Medical Association (NMA) in its effort to educate and serve the public in matters of health, and promote a National Auxiliary Program on health, education and legislation.
The ANMA plan and execute educational seminars to the public across the U.S. through its six regions covering forty-nine states, and the District of Columbia on health issues affecting the African American Community. Mrs. Williams recently retired from the Federal Government with 36 years of service as an Information Technology Manager and Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative. As a Senior Information Specialist and Project Manager for the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, she was responsible for overseeing contracts valued at $250 million dollars. She has excellent oral and written communications skills, strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated strength in managing and collaborating with people.
Mrs. Williams completed a Master of Business Administrations (MBA) from the University of Maryland, University College, College Park, Maryland and Bachelor of Science from Alabama State University – Montgomery Alabama.
Mrs. Williams is a member of Zion Baptist Church where she serves as a Trustee, member of the Health Ministry, Scholarship Ministry and the Charles B. Walker Culture Club.
Mrs. Williams resides in Washington District of Columbia with her husband Melvin Williams, M.D. and they have two sons Melvin and Christopher Williams. Hobbies include traveling, swimming, exercising, volunteering to help the less fortunate and assisting with educational opportunities.
Johnny Lee Williams, M.D.
Dr. Johnny L. Williams is a native of North Carolina.
He holds a degree in professional Biochemistry and graduated from the Howard University School of Medicine. After earning credentials, he entered a combined Residency program at Columbia University and Harlem Hospital.
Dr. Williams served as an instructor OB/GYN at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, conducted research as a grantee on Placental Ultrastructure and Physiology of Mothers Addicted to Opiates, and earned recognition and commendation at both Harlem Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Among his many credits is service as site director for OB/Gyn training program for Physician Assistants Program at City College of New York (now CUNY); Instructor, OB/Gyn, Duke University/ East Carolina University Nurse Practitioner Program; Addictionologist with Port Health Services for outpatient and inpatient detox services; Board-certified in OB/ Gyn and in Addiction Medicine; Past President of Old North State Medical Society; President, John E. Littman Medical Society, 1999–2001, 2006-2012, 2016–present; and President Old North State Medical Foundation, 2015–present.
Ashlee Wisdom, M.P.H.
Ashlee Wisdom is a public health innovator. She is the Co-founder & CEO of Health In Her HUE, a digital platform that connects Black women and women of color to culturally sensitive healthcare providers, health content, and community. Health In Her HUE’s mission is to reduce racial health disparities by leveraging the power of technology, media and community to improve health outcomes for Black women.
Ashlee is a champion for health equity, and is passionate about taking an equitable approach to healthcare innovation. Most recently, she worked for an advisory firm, Junto Health, where she was the Program Director for the Strategic Ventures Group, an exclusive consortium of nationally-ranked health systems investing in health technology. Earlier in her career, Ashlee managed the recruitment and regulatory activities of a large-scale clinical trial at Weill Cornell Medicine. Prior to that role, Ashlee worked for a Federally Qualified Health Center, identifying and securing federal, state, and private funding, and establishing strong relationships between the health center and local community organizations and foundations. Ashlee also served as the Assistant Director of Grants Management in the Office of Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals.
Wisdom received her BS from Howard University, and her Master of Public Health with a focus in Healthcare Policy & Management from New York University. She was named a 2021 Top 50 in digital health by Rock Health for her health equity advocacy. Ashlee is a 2022 Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow, furthering her commitment to advocate for health equity in digital health.
NMA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the NMA 2022 Colloquium.