Announcing the 2022 Bloomberg Fellows

June 9, 2022

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative is pleased to announce the 2022 MPH and DrPH Bloomberg Fellows.

Fellows receive a full scholarship to earn a Master of Public Health or Doctor of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Bloomberg Fellows program represents an innovative way to train the next generation of public health leaders, as it requires not only a commitment to public health practice from the students, but also a commitment of collaboration from the organizations for which they already work. Applicants must apply to the program with support from their organizations. Fellows can study full-time or part-time and, upon completion of the program, they agree to work for their organization for at least one additional year. Learn more about the Bloomberg Fellows program.

This year’s fellows come from a wide variety of organizations, including Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environmental law organization; the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, a Texas-based organization working to transform the juvenile and criminal justice systems; and Portland Street Medicine, an Oregon-based coalition of health care and social services providers that offer medical care for the homeless.

MPH Fellows

Addiction and Overdose

Simon Taxel – Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS, Pittsburgh, PA

Simon Taxel is a Paramedic Crew Chief and Public Safety Diver with the Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS. Throughout his work as an EMS clinician, he has been at the forefront of preventable death, disability, and communicable disease associated with addiction and the use of illicit drugs. In this field, Taxel provides compassionate care and advocacy for patients that experience overdose, suffer the ill effects of a poisoned drug supply, and experience problematic substance use. He also works to influence peers and colleagues by writing for trade journals and speaking at EMS industry conferences about substance use, harm reduction, systemic racism, and drug policy. Taxel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental studies and biology from Allegheny college in 2006 and his paramedic credentials from the Community College of Allegheny County in 2008.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS, founded in 1975, is a 3rd service municipal agency that provides emergency medical, technical rescue, and river rescue services to the citizens and visitors of the City of Pittsburgh. Historically, the organization has been at the cutting edge of prehospital care. This is clearly exemplified in the addiction, overdose, and harm reduction space. In 2017, responding to the rapidly increasing number of overdoses throughout the community, it was the first EMS agency in Pennsylvania to provide low barrier access to medication for at risk people and their families by establishing a leave behind naloxone program. In 2021, the organization became the first EMS agency in the Commonwealth and the third in the United States to provide prehospital buprenorphine induction. Additional harm reduction measures employed by Pittsburgh EMS include dispensing fentanyl test strips, warm hand off to addiction treatment, a hepatitis A vaccine pilot project, and the distribution of educational information.

Hannah Lessels – John Snow, Inc. (JSI), Bow, NH

Hannah Lessels is a Data and Evaluation Project Specialist with JSI, where she provides technical assistance and evaluation expertise for several projects related to the misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Hannah performs quantitative and qualitative data tasks which include designing surveys, identifying effective dissemination methods, developing and conducting focus group and key informant interview protocols and analyzing data. Specifically, Hannah provides evaluation expertise for the Center for Excellence on Addiction, JSI’s long standing training and technical assistance program serving communities, practitioners, policymakers, and other partners across New Hampshire’s substance misuse continuum of care. Notably, Hannah provides extensive quantitative and qualitative data expertise related to the NH Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Plan. She was also involved in NH’s statewide assessment of young adults which aimed to understand root causes of substance use and mental health among this population.

JSI is a public health research and consulting organization driven by a mission of improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout the world, particularly those who are low income, struggling with complex conditions, and/or living in underserved areas. As a global leader and innovator, JSI’s work spans the public health spectrum across sectors to address the social determinants underlying many health and well-being outcomes. With offices in 34 countries and eight U.S. cities, JSI staff are known for their innovative work in substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring behavioral health conditions. JSI has collaborated with numerous integrated delivery systems, hospitals, behavioral health providers, long-term services and support providers, primary care practices, health departments, and a broad range of other service providers to develop and implement collaborative, culturally appropriate population health programs that improve access to high quality SUD care.

Amber Cahill – UMass Chan Medical School, Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, Worcester, MA

Amber joined the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School as an Assistant Professor in 2016, after completing fellowship training in primary care psychology and medical education. She is the Director of Behavioral Science for the Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency where she trains resident physicians in mental health and substance use disorders (SUD).  Amber is also faculty in the Center for Integrated Primary Care, a team that develops and disseminates knowledge and skills through workforce development and practice-based research. Her work has focused on training healthcare clinicians across disciplines on treating SUDs and effectively responding to any substance use. Her teaching is grounded in harm reduction principles and approaches and highlights the work of early champions, including people who use drugs, local communities, clinicians, and researchers.

The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School was founded in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to state residents and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the state. UMass Chan Medical School consistently ranks in the top tier of medical schools for primary care education. UMass is home to the state's first Family Medicine department, which has grown over the decades to include a broad array of clinical, teaching, and research activities. The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health has been a national leader in the integration of behavioral health into primary care. Additionally, its faculty were early advocates for the need to treat SUDs in primary care, with buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorders integrated into UMass primary care clinics since 2006.

Camillus Ezeike – Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Rockville, MD

Cam is a Senior Advisor in the Division of Nursing and Public Health in the Bureau of Health Workforce at the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) where he has clinical, regulatory, and policy responsibilities in the initiation, design, and evaluation of workforce funding opportunities that strengthen the health workforce to tackle pressing national public health issues like substance use disorder and opioid use disorder.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a mission to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative, high -value programs. The division of nursing and public health (DNPH) resides in the bureau of health workforce (BHW), one of the six bureaus that make up HRSA. DNPH is BHW’s lead for the focus area of addiction and overdose and provides funding opportunities for the training of behavioral health workers who provide opioid use disorders (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD) prevention, treatment, and support workers who work with families affected by opioids and other substance use disorders in high need and high demand areas.

Zachary Sartor – Waco Family Medicine, Waco, TX

Zachary Sartor is a Family Physician at Waco Family Medicine, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Central Texas. He serves as the Curriculum Director for the Waco Family Medicine Residency, training family medicine residents in comprehensive primary care. His clinical and academic interests center on primary care behavioral health. To this end, he provides addiction treatment for patients with substance use disorders, trains resident learners in the principles of addiction medicine, and focuses his work on systems-level solutions for the growing behavioral health epidemic. He is an associate editor of The Waco Guide to Psychopharmacology in Primary Care, a tool recently highlighted by the American Medical Association and American College of Physicians. The Waco Guide, created in consultation with the faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy, is a resource for clinicians that provides clinical decision support for the treatment of behavioral health disorders.

Waco Family Medicine provides health care to underserved residents of McLennan and Bell counties who have historically struggled in a health care system that favors privately-insured patients. The clinic system offers integrated medical, dental, and behavioral health care across 14 clinic sites. Additionally, Waco Family Medicine addresses social and environmental barriers to wellness through innovative programs and community partnerships. Through the Waco Family Medicine Residency, the clinic trains some of the region’s best family physicians, emphasizing compassionate and culturally-sensitive care. Zachary is excited to continue his work with Waco Family Medicine to improve the health and well-being of Central Texans.

River Ramos - Apex Community Care, Danbury, CT

River Ramos is the Prevention & Harm Reduction Director at Apex Community Care, located in Danbury, CT.  Alongside their team, they’ve expanded HIV prevention and harm reduction services throughout western CT and challenged stigma around drug use through education efforts. They’ve collaborated with numerous agencies building initiatives striving to end the opioid and HIV epidemic, while improving medical and mental health services offered to the local community. River believes the harm reduction model can be applied to drug use and beyond. By subscribing to this model, people’s lives will be saved, marginalized voices will be heard, communities will be empowered, policies will improve, and the wellbeing of the collective community will thrive.

Apex Community Care, Inc. (formerly the AIDS Project of Greater Danbury, APGD) is a non-profit that has been serving western CT since the AIDS crisis began in the mid 1980’s. Apex strives to eliminate barriers so individuals can receive the services & medication that they need. The team at Apex believes in meeting clients where they are and devoted to making anyone who walks through Apex’s door feel welcomed and accepted. They’ve since broadened their mental health, MAT program, and harm reduction and prevention services, opened an LGBTQIA+ Drop-In Center providing a safe space for the local LGBTQIA+ community, and recently established their own medical group. This was all possible because the team at Apex Community Care is committed to diversity, inclusion and the creation of a safe, welcoming, and reflective space for the people they serve. 

Aron Thiim - Justice Resource Institute (JRI), Boston, MA

Aron is the Program Manager for Infectious Diseases and Prevention at the Justice Resource Institute’s Health Division. He oversees two clinical prevention programs in Boston and Metro West MA focused on sexual and drug user health, offering HIV/HCV/STI prevention, testing and treatment, PrEP and nPEP. Aron is a harm reductionist working to creatively strengthen the integration and delivery of infectious disease prevention and treatment services for communities who cannot or will not seek services elsewhere, particularly people who use substances, sexual and gender minorities, and non-U.S. born immigrants. Aron works directly with JRI’s harm reduction and overdose prevention team by supporting syringe exchange and mobile van outreach services and providing infectious disease guidance and technical assistance

The Justice Resource Institute’s (JRI) Health Division offers a continuum of services to mitigate the social determinants of health and address the well-being of underserved individuals and communities. Services incorporate state-of-the-art best practices and standards of care to ensure culturally responsive psychosocial supports, effective case management, and housing, legal, and treatment resources, particularly for immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, communities of Color, and people struggling with treatment adherence. RISE, a program of JRI Health, is a multi-service integrated harm reduction program offering syringe access services, prevention education, street outreach, HIV/HCV/STI prevention, testing, and treatment, housing and medical case management, peer support services, community education programs, and services for LGBTQ+ youth of Color.

Isabelle Cisco - Lincoln County Oregon Public Health, Newport, OR

Isabelle is a Health Promotion Specialist with the Harm Reduction Program at Lincoln County Public Health, a rural health department on the central Oregon coast. She collaborates with regional Community Health Workers to expand access to outreach services such as naloxone distribution, syringe exchange, HIV & Hepatitis C rapid testing, and navigation into care. Outside of this primary role, Isabelle focuses on building capacity with community partners and key stakeholders to increase awareness about substance use and overdose, and to improve access to naloxone and syringe exchange services. In addition, she worked to create a regional database for tracking naloxone overdose reversals, contributing to the outlook of overdose trends in Lincoln County, allowing local and regional Harm Reduction Programs to identify clusters of overdoses more accurately.

Lincoln County Public Health works effectively with the Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention programs to build capacity between county and regional systems, providing more access to care and increasing community partner engagement. Funded through the Early Intervention Services and Outreach grant provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Harm Reduction program combines substance use & overdose prevention with communicable disease interventions to address the dynamic interaction of the HIV, Hepatitis C, and opioid epidemics. The Harm Reduction team conducts street outreach, providing no-cost services such as naloxone distribution, syringe exchange, navigation into alcohol and drug services, and rapid HIV & Hepatitis C screenings.

Wren Ronan - Portland Street Medicine, Portland, OR

Wren Ronan is the Director of Services for Portland Street Medicine (PSM). Since starting with the organization they have impacted all aspects of the work. Wren expanded PSM's scope of practice, increased collaboration across systems and integrated innovative treatment models enabling Portland Street Medicine to reach more people. Wren has championed the development of Harm Reduction Provider Educational Toolkits, designed a street-based HIV, Hep C and Syphilis testing and treatment program, assisted in the design and implement a Skin and Soft Tissue Infection Prevention Workshop series and supported systems partners in cultivating more inclusive care models. Wren aims to support the redistribution power by returning medical knowledge into the hands of those most impacted through ensuring that accessible, accurate and actionable information is readily available in non-traditional learning environments.
Portland Street Medicine (PSM) was founded in 2018 to respond to the void which exists in healthcare for people who are houseless. PSM’s care model centers on meeting people where they live—in tents, in camps, in forests, under bridges, and wherever humanity seeks shelter – and with tools to address comorbidities that disproportionately impact folks that sleep outside. Dedicated teams of volunteer social workers, care coordinators, nurses and physicians collaborate to provide care, acknowledge and heal medical trauma, and connect people to resources for primary care, addiction treatment, comprehensive wound care, case management and whatever is required for sustained wellbeing. As the only street medicine provider in Portland, PSM works to influence local policy and support systems in improving and changing to better serve people experiencing homelessness.

Emily Gordon - Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ

Emily Gordon is a Primary Care Doctor and Clinician Educator at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (RNJMS).  She attended medical school at RNJMS and trained in Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center.  Emily returned to RNJMS as faculty in 2012, where she sees patients, teaches students and medical residents, and serves as director of the Urban Health, a specialized curriculum for Internal Medicine residents that addresses health disparities in an underserved, urban setting.  She co-founded a primary care-addiction clinic, which serves medically complex patients living with addiction and sequelae of substance use.  In 2019, Emily became Associate Program Director for the RNJMS Addiction Medicine fellowship and helped to start an Addiction Consult service at University Hospital.  Emily has received funding to create curriculum on harm reduction, and is involved in multiple quality improvement projects to optimize medical care for patients with substance use disorders.

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (RJMS), in partnership with University Hospital, provides healthcare services to a diverse urban population within the greater Newark area, many of whom are underserved, vulnerable, and impacted by addiction and overdose.  In 2019, the State of New Jersey funded RNJMS to establish a Center of Excellence for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).  The Center’s faculty and staff provide mentorship and resources to providers treating OUD throughout Northern New Jersey. The Center also funds a fellowship in Addiction Medicine, training fellows, residents, and students in the treatment of addiction across a wide spectrum of inpatient and outpatient settings, including a prison system, Infectious Disease and Obstetrics clinics, and a low barrier buprenorphine clinic.

Peter Tanghe – North Memorial Health Ambulance Service, Brooklyn Center, MN

Peter is the Chief Medical Director with North Memorial Health Ambulance Services.  His work includes operational support of North Memorial’s Air Care, Community Paramedics, Emergency Dispatch and Ground Ambulance Services. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Systems. His clinical work includes a Level 1 trauma center, Community and Critical Access Hospitals. As an EMS physician he provides in person and telemedicine care with the 911 and Community Paramedic team.  His role allows him to see a broad spectrum of how people experience crisis and how the opioid epidemic affects different communities.

North Memorial Health Ambulance serves eight ambulance regions across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, ranging from urban to remote rural communities. The team includes over 800 EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and support staff who transport, on average, 85,000 customers each year. Licensed to provide every level of care, North Memorial Health Ambulance is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services—the gold standard in the industry. The ambulance service is part of the North Memorial Health system which includes 2 hospitals and a clinic system.   North Memorial Health’s mission is to change healthcare and empower its customers to achieve their best health and to look at healthcare differently.

David Didden – WV Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health, Charleston, WV

David Didden is Medical Director of Overdose Prevention and Innovation Programs with the WV Office of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (OMCFH).  In addition to his overdose prevention work, Dave serves concurrently as Physician Director for OMCFH. He has been a clinician-leader in the state public health system for 7 years, initially as a local health officer while also working as a solo family physician in his hometown.  At the local level, he co-developed harm reduction and street medicine programs.  Now, as a senior advisor in the state health department, he is particularly interested in post-overdose response teams; community-led overdose prevention efforts, particularly for high-risk populations; street medicine; and healthcare for pregnant and parenting people with substance use disorders.

The mission of the West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health (OMCFH) is to provide leadership to support state and community efforts to build systems of care that assure the health and well-being of all West Virginians. OMCFH is the state health department’s organizational anchor for its Title V programs. For over 80 years, the Federal Title V Maternal and Child Health program has provided a foundation for ensuring the health of the Nation’s mothers, women, children and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs and their families. OMCFH also operates the West Virginia’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program, the CDC-designated agency for the Overdose Data to Action funding agreement.

Elika Upadhyay – National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Washington, D.C.

Elika Upadhyay is an Associate on the NASTAD Drug User Health team. In her position, she provides support to the delivery of harm reduction technical assistance and training to health departments and community-based organizations. Her work ensures the effective integration of harm reduction and drug user health approaches across teams and external partners. On the Drug User Health Team, Elika has contributed to national-level projects for health departments and SSPs on topics related to harm reduction, including intersections of sex worker health and reproductive services and workforce development specific to Black Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) in the drug user health field. More specifically, her work has facilitated the expansion of technical assistance offerings to syringe services and harm reduction programs in both depth and breadth.

NASTAD, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, is a leading non-partisan non-profit association representing public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the US. NASTAD's singular mission is to end the intersecting epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis, and related conditions. NASTAD does this work by strengthening governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.

Jaime Metzger - Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

Jaime is a Research Coordinator in the Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation. Since 2019, Jaime has explored innovative treatments, such as community reinforcement and family training therapy and medication-assisted treatment with contingency management, for people with substance use disorder and their loved ones. Jaime’s responsibilities include managing an online, randomized clinical trial and evaluating a multi-site screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment project. Jaime draws upon their own journey with recovery and mental health to engage programs in a people-first manner. At PHMC, Jaime also participates in several work groups and the LGBTQ+ employee resource group with the aims of building community and advancing research. She received a Bachelor’s in Linguistics and Spanish from Haverford College.

PHMC is a non-profit public health organization with a mission of creating and sustaining healthier communities. Composed of hundreds of programs, a network of subsidiary organizations, and six federally qualified health centers, PHMC’s work spans physical, behavioral, and mental health; substance use; health promotion and prevention; criminal justice; workforce development and economic inclusion; education; and child welfare and family social services. PHMC’s Research & Evaluation Group works locally, regionally and nationally with diverse partners to conduct new research and strengthen existing services through robust evaluation approaches.

Callie Kelly – Elon University, Elon, NC

Callie is a Certified Prevention Specialist and began her career in community-based prevention in 1997. After transitioning to higher education in 2016, Callie joined Elon University and currently serves as the Coordinator for Student Wellness. In this role, she oversees a continuum of evidence-based wellness programs that aim to reduce the impact of substance use in campus culture and support an inclusive community. She has created a constellation of campus partners who work seamlessly to ensure student access to comprehensive substance education resources. Callie is passionate about mentoring and empowering students to make healthier and informed decisions. She is an advisor to the substance-free living and learning community and, in 2019, worked collaboratively to establish Elon’s first collegiate recovery program. Callie has also served in state and national roles providing guidance and support to entry-level prevention professionals. 
Located in central North Carolina, Elon University is a mid-sized private university renowned as a national model for engaged and experiential learning. Elon is committed to fostering an institutional culture of holistic wellness where every individual has an opportunity to transform their mind, body, and spirit. Student Wellness is a program area within Campus Recreation & Wellness that strives to create a broader understanding of the mind-body connection and increase awareness of mental health and substance use disorders. Campus Recreation & Wellness provides access to an array of recreational and educational experiences that empower students to cultivate positive wellness values and behaviors that last throughout and beyond their time at Elon.

Kristen Zak – Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, TN

Kristen Zak is the Deputy Director of the Overdose Response Coordination Office at the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). In this role she oversees allocation of funding to the areas of the state most acutely impacted by the overdose epidemic and in addition to funding provides training, technical assistance, monitoring and oversight of 30 overdose prevention and response activities throughout the state.  Kristen has over 20 years of experience in government in health and human service agencies in the areas of program management, administration, policy and government and community affairs.  Before working at TDH, Kristen served as the Senior Advisor for Health and Wellness Policy for the Mayor of Nashville.  Prior to coming to Tennessee, Kristen worked for New York City government for 16 years at the NYC Department for the Aging, the NYC Council and the NYC Department of Homeless Services.  Kristen holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee.   

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides services directly and indirectly for everyone in the state. From public health services to emergency response efforts, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities, and inspection of food service establishments, the Tennessee Department of Health is changing the landscape for public health care access. 

Adolescent Health

Misty Carney - Maryland Department of Health - Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau, Baltimore, MD

Misty Carney is the Program Manager for the Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program (MADAP) at the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) where her interests in pharmacy, HIV, and public health intersect. As the Chief of MADAP, Misty ensures that approximately 7,000 Marylanders living with HIV has access to an open formulary of HIV treatment medications with the goal to use treatment as prevention to support the Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan for America (EHE). As Prior to arriving at MDH, Misty served her community as a specialty retail pharmacist in Washington, D.C and Suburban Maryland. Presently, she serves as a commissioner for the Washington DC Regional Planning Commission on Health and HIV. 

The Maryland Department of Health is an agency of the government of Maryland responsible for public health issues. MDH works together to promote and improve the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and community engagement. As a public health department, the goal of MDH is to improve the health status of every Maryland resident and to ensure access to quality health care. MDH is responsible for helping each person live a life free from threat of communicable diseases, tainted foods, and dangerous products. To assist in its mission, MDH regulates health care providers, facilities, and organizations, and manages direct services to patients where appropriate. 

Megan Wills Kullnat – Allegro Pediatrics, Clyde Hill, WA

Megan is a Primary Care Pediatrician at Allegro Pediatrics.  In her role, she promotes the growth of the organization as a member of various committees, including physician recruitment, leadership development, and board of directors nominations. She fosters physician continuing education as a past president of the North Pacific Pediatric Society (NPPS) and as a mentor for new Allegro pediatricians. Megan is passionate about advocating for underserved youth in her community. She has been involved with Youth Eastside Services (YES), an organization providing mental health services to children and families, since 2013. Megan joined the YES board of trustees in 2019. Megan is a foster parent with a particular interest in caring for infants with neonatal substance abuse disorder (SUD). In 2021, Megan collaborated with a quality task force at Overlake hospital to implement a universal SUD screening program.

Allegro Pediatrics is a large, private pediatric organization with over 85 providers and 8 clinics, serving the eastside of Seattle since 1957. Allegro’s mission is to partner with families to nurture, heal, and empower their child’s journey to adulthood. This holistic health model encompasses mental health and has evolved over the years to include the spectrums of autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and more. Cognizant of the growing mental health crisis, and even predating the Covid-19 pandemic, Allegro began transitioning from a community partnership model to the development of an integrated behavioral health program. Presently Allegro has a small, centralized team of behavioral health specialists providing support for patients and providers. Allegro’s vision is to expand this team model into every local clinic to further integrate pediatric physical and mental health within the broader care community.

Ashley Ariail – Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Ashley Ariail is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist at Children's Health: The Center for Pediatric Eating Disorders. In addition to her twelve years serving as a clinician therapist in this specialty population, Ashley also serves on the hospital's Behavioral Emergency Response Team (BERT). While providing face to face care during the pandemic, Ashley witnessed firsthand the sharp increase of admissions to the emergency department for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Ashley's fellowship will focus on adolescent mental health and will address the national mental health crisis, as declared by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. 

Children's Health is committed to making life better for children. As one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric care providers in the country and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, Children's Health cares for children through more than 750,000 patient visits annually. The Children's Health system includes two full-service hospitals, an inpatient specialty hospital, and multiple specialty clinics. Our commitment to the community reaches beyond our walls and into schools, social service organizations, boardrooms, city halls and legislative chambers. In addition to providing health care, we often serve as a voice for the voiceless and an advocate for children who have no vote and no lobbying group to speak on their behalf.

Ivette Chavarria Torres - University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Harlingen, TX

An adequate workforce constitutes good public health policy.  As the GME Residency Program Coordinator for Psychiatry, Ivette Chavarria Torres, offers direct organizational leadership to Adult Psychiatry and contributes to an ambitious Texas public health initiative.  The Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) is a state-funded public health project which addresses the mental health crisis in Texas.  One aim is the Community Psychiatry Workforce Expansion which sponsors psychiatry residents to serve rural Texas. A second aim creates Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) Fellowship training programs to deliver more Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists to: (a) address the provider shortage, and (b) treat the growing population of children and adolescents in Texas.  This will sponsor the first CAP Fellowship in the Rio Grande Valley U.S.-Mexico border region, which has been historically underserved.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine provides innovative medical education for the next generation of diverse physicians committed to improving the lives and well-being of their communities through cutting-edge research and compassionate patient-centered care. In addition, the UTRGV School of Medicine educates biomedical scientists engaged in advancing research on diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders that affect the region. In 2016, The UTRGV School of Medicine welcomed its charter class of 55 medical students. Since then, more than 200 medical students and over 200 medical residents and fellows have served in nineteen hospital-based training programs throughout the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, with more training programs on the horizon. 

Angelica Castañon - National Education Association, Washington, D.C.

Angelica Castañon is the Senior Program Specialist for Student Learning Conditions at the National Education Association (NEA). In this role, she leads the NEA’s school nutrition team, provides policy expertise to local and state affiliates, and works with national partners to advocate for whole child supports. Angelica collaborates with anti-hunger groups and the US Department of Agriculture on federal nutrition waivers and Community Eligibility. She works in partnership with the National Association of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (NASISP) on optimal ratios of SISP in schools. And she advises the White House Domestic Policy Council and the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on student supports like nutrition and mental health services. Angelica hopes to provide all schools with the resources they need to help all students overcome barriers to learning and ensure every student feels safe and supported on their social, emotional, and academic journeys. 

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, representing over 3 million educators. The NEA is dedicated to achieving a great public school for every student, regardless of race, background, zip code, or ability. The NEA achieves this by collaborating with partners at multiple levels of change-making and empowering educators with the tools and resources they need to impact teaching and learning conditions. Learning conditions include class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, healthy school meals, a school nurse and counselor in every school, and access to a full and rich curriculum, including physical education.

Emma Plourde - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning & Evaluation, Merrimac, MA

Emma Plourde is a Public Health Analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, Emma leads disability policy research, evaluation, and analysis, and provides recommendations to HHS leadership on relevant proposed rules, subregulatory guidance, reports to Congress, the HHS annual budget, and HHS legislative proposals. Emma’s work has a particular focus on adolescents with disabilities, and she represents ASPE on various interdepartmental workgroups, including the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Sub-Interagency Policy Committee on Children with Disabilities, the Interagency Workgroup on Youth Programs, and the Federal Partners in Transition. Emma also currently directs the development of a $1.6 million multi-state data infrastructure development project, the Dataset on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which aims to generate evidence to inform policies, practices, and programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including adolescents and young adults. 

ASPE is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on policy development and is responsible for major activities in policy coordination, legislation development, strategic planning, policy research, evaluation, and economic analysis. The Office of Behavioral Health, Disability, and Aging Policy within ASPE is the focal point for policy development and analysis related to the financing, delivery, organization, and quality of services for people with mental and substance use disorders, people with disabilities, and older adults.

Douglas Reed - Young Adult Institute, New York, NY

Douglas A. Reed is a doctorate-prepared board-certified Psychiatric and Family Nurse Practitioner at Premier Health Care, an affiliate of the Young Adult Institute. In Dr. Reed's current role at Premier Health Care, he provides full-scope psychiatric services at several clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. In particular, Dr. Reed conducts initial psychiatric evaluations, monitors the medication management process, and delivers brief supportive psychotherapy. A significant portion of his role entails collaborating with families, caregivers, medical specialists, and other stakeholders to ensure integrated, holistic, evidence-based, patient-centered mental health services delivered to the clients of Premier Health Care. In addition, Dr. Reed has presented topics on psychopharmacology to his social work colleagues at his organization and often participates in innovative projects such as an in-house pilot psychiatric collaborative program between psychiatry and primary care. The pilot program aims to increase access to psychiatric care for immediate assessment and treatment for mild depression and anxiety in the primary care setting.
Premier Health Care is an affiliate of the Young Adult Institute (YAI), New York State's largest organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recognizing the need to integrate specialized services for the I/DD population Premier Health was tasked to operate all related medical services such as neurology, dental, primary care, ophthalmology, and psychiatry. Premier Health Care's primary aim is to provide high quality, low barrier to access, evidence-based and patient-centered care. Moreover, Premier Health Care has implemented robust telehealth services for clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities that have improved healthcare outcomes for clients by providing uninterrupted services and increasing retention in care. The National Committee nationally recognizes premier Health Care for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its commitment to continuous quality improvement initiatives utilizing a patient-centered model.

Amy Krzyzek - Partnership Health Center, Missoula, MT

Amy Krzyzek is Program Development Manager at Partnership Health Center (PHC) in Missoula, Montana. Amy is a member of the Innovations Team, which works on population health and health equity initiatives focused on improving the overall health and well-being of patients, especially those who are historically underserved. Amy’s primary area of focus is child and adolescent health, and her work involves: setting strategic priorities in partnership with executive leadership, care teams, and community members; bringing child and adolescent health projects to funding readiness; preparing grant applications; and overseeing program implementation. She has been involved in expanding school-based health services, supporting implementation of a foster care clinic, and starting an on-site early learning center. Amy also co-leads PHC’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work and is passionate about creating a relational and inclusive organizational culture where patients are active partners in their own care and collaborators in systems change efforts.

Partnership Health Center (PHC) is a federally-funded Community Health Center that provides medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and supportive services across 7 sites in Western Montana. PHC employs 250+ staff and serves 16,000+ unique patients annually. In addition to providing health care services, PHC is known for its innovative, population-level work that attends to the root causes of health inequities and addresses upstream issues to impact future community health outcomes.

Christian Curtis - Fort Peck Tribes’ Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program, Poplar, MT

Christian Curtis is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine Tribes. She is employed through the tribes as a registered nurse, working for the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program (HPDP). She works with all ages, but her primary focus of work involves promoting health and wellness to children and youth on the reservation. She works in a school-based health clinic, working with pediatricians utilizing telemedicine. Through the telemedicine program she is able to work with schools and families in creating individualized care plans for students. Christian also has a passion for teaching and works in the school to teach Certified Nursing Assistant, CPR/AED/First Aid, and Babysitting and Child Care courses. Here job duties vary day-to-day, but the goal is to provide better access to healthcare and encourage the children and youth through various programs or job opportunities. 

The Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program (HPDP) offers various health related services, focusing on preventative healthcare. The goal of HPDP is to provide quality healthcare that is easily accessible to all community members living on the Fort Peck reservation. HPDP has school-based health clinics located in each school on the reservation, staffed with medical, dental, nutrition, and mental health providers. The HPDP program also has the Tribal Health Improvement Program that work with Montana Medicaid to improve the overall health through health coaching and care coordination. The other services provided by HPDP are the telemedicine program, mobile dental unit, greenhouse project, summer food program, and the Thundering Buffalo Wellness Center. Each of these programs provides a different avenue to access quality healthcare with the goal of improving individual and community health. 

Nora Fitzgerald - Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

Nora is the Senior Director of Community Mental Health at PHMC in Philadelphia.  In this role, Nora oversees a large continuum of behavioral health programs for children, adolescents, and their families.  These programs work with youth and their families to provide evidence-based, trauma informed. mental health treatment for a variety of presenting issues families face.  These programs are delivered in homes, schools, and communities.  Under Nora’s leadership and with her background as a licensed clinical social worker, these programs assess children and their families using Social Determinants of Health screening to ensure that her teams are not only focused on the presenting issues, but truly supporting families to ensure that any challenges or disparities they are facing are understood and that families are connected not only to mental health supports but to any community resources that can help them to achieve their goals.

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute with a mission to create and sustain healthier communities. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972. PHMC uses best practices and evidence-based guidelines to improve community health through innovative and strategic partnerships, direct service, research and data, technical assistance, and a prepared workforce. With more than 3,000 employees supporting this family of programs and subsidiaries, 70 sites and over 150,000 clients served annually, PHMC has become one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation. PHMC’s family of programs and subsidiary organizations provide a portfolio of services that include physical and behavioral health service delivery, health promotion, early childhood education, after-school programming, workforce development, child welfare, foster care, early intervention, intellectual disability supports, and research and evaluation. PHMC differentiates its work by integrating services to best serve the needs of individuals, families, and communities.

Miles Lichtman - House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Washington, D.C.

Miles Lichtman is the Deputy for Health Oversight and Policy at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  As deputy for the Committee’s health team, Miles is responsible for helping to develop and execute the Committee’s oversight and policy strategies on health care matters pending before Congress.  Miles plays a key role in advancing the Committee’s public health priorities and has led hearings and investigations on a number of critical issues, including protecting and expanding abortion and reproductive health care access, addressing the addiction and overdose epidemic, expanding access to affordable health insurance coverage, and advancing health equity. 

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is the principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and has authority to investigate any matter.  As a result of its broad jurisdiction, the Committee conducts investigations, holds hearings, and advances policies that inform Congress’s deliberation over matters that affect the health of millions of people in the United States.

Shanna-Kaye Igbinoba – Adolescent & Young Adult Research (AYAR) at the CORE Center, Chicago, IL

Shanna-Kaye Igbinoba is a research clinician/nurse practitioner at the Adolescent & Young Adult Research (AYAR) at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. In this role, she recruits, and enrolls, vulnerable minority LGBTQIA+ youth participants who are at increased risk for HIV acquisition, specifically transgender/non-binary individuals and African American/ Black and Latinx individuals into HIV prevention research studies. She aims to decrease HIV transmission in this population by promoting health education, improving medical accessibility, and engagement through preventive healthcare research. In addition to her clinical research duties at the CORE Center, Shanna-Kaye manages the health care for individuals living with HIV, provides STI screenings, PrEP, PEP services, and collaborates with local organizations focused on LGTBQIA+ youths.

The Adolescent & Young Adult Research (AYAR) at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center is a research organization committed to providing accessible, quality, and culturally sensitive HIV-related prevention research, clinical trials, and observational study opportunities to adolescents and young adults from the LGBTQIA+ community, with a focus on minority groups such as African American and Latino individuals who are at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, AYAR participates with the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), which consists of adolescents and young adults from the community, to provide feedback about their thoughts and experiences related to a variety of topics, such as HIV prevention, current events affecting their communities, and strategies to engage the youth and young people in research and health care.

Alyssa Liehr - Child Trends - Washington, D.C.

Alyssa Liehr is a Senior Research Analyst at Child Trends in the child welfare research area. Her work primarily focuses on the experiences of older youth in foster care, federal child maltreatment prevention efforts, youth engagement, and quantitative analysis. In her role, she conducts qualitative and quantitative analyses, manages databases, provides evaluation technical assistance, and oversees youth engagement on a large evaluation project. Her interests also include systems reform, racial disparities in the child welfare system, and lived expertise in research. Alyssa is passionate about using data to inform policy that will facilitate a more equitable and trauma-informed child welfare system.

Child Trends is a leading nonpartisan research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families. Child Trends also believes that programs and policies that serve children are most effective when they are informed by data and evidence and grounded in deep knowledge of child and youth development. Decision makers have relied on Child Trends’ rigorous research, unbiased analyses, and clear communication to improve public policies and interventions that serve children and families for nearly forty years. By conducting independent research and partnering with practitioners and policymakers to apply that knowledge, Child Trends works to ensure that all kids thrive.

Environmental Challenges

Emily McGee McGowan – HOK, Washington, D.C. 

Emily is an architect and healthcare designer working at the intersection of health, sustainability, and the built environment. As a Medical Planner in HOK’s Washington, D.C., studio, she delivers design solutions that promote equity and bring access to quality care to medically underserved populations across the U.S. Since 2017, Emily has designed over 1 million square feet of healthcare space. Her projects shape care delivery by providing patient-focused spaces that improve patient outcomes, enhance user experiences, and create healthier communities. Emily’s recent projects include the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower in Pittsburgh. Emily won an American Institute of Architects 2022 Associates Award recognizing her outstanding leadership, creativity, and significant contributions to her community and the architecture profession.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm with 1,600 people who collaborate across 24 offices. HOK designs buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. Its designers are rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination, and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities. HOK’s Healthcare practice plans and designs aspirational, highly sustainable facilities that promote health, wellness, and equitable access

Häly Laasme-McQuilkin - Delaware Health and Social Services, New Castle, DE

Häly Laasme is the Energy Assistance Director at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). She oversees the development, implementation, and management of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), administered in collaboration with the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Häly focuses on solving multidimensional challenges of energy access in human security– addressing the root causes of insecurities in multifaceted hybrid systems by identifying dynamics between social determinants of health and energy access, mitigating the socio-economic and health inequalities by developing human-centered strategies to address the energy vulnerabilities, and determining the impacts of environmental challenges on path dependence, equity and justice. Currently she serves in the Governance Board of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), in the Executive Committee of the Energy Services Coalition (ESC) and in the Board of Directors of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA). She also mentors in the United States Energy Association (USEA) Female Leaders in Energy (FLIE) Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR).  

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) plays a major role in meeting the basic needs of Delaware families and individuals. This is recognized by the Department’s mission “to improve the quality of life for Delaware’s residents by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations” through its 11 Divisions. The Division of State Service Centers (DSSC), one of the 11 divisions, is an important entrée to the myriad of programs and services under the DHSS umbrella; those co-located across the State in 15 State Service Centers as well as via partnerships with external State and non-profit agencies.  It is the Division of State Service Centers mission “to provide convenient access to human services, assist vulnerable populations, support communities and promote volunteer and service opportunities.”

Divya Periyakoil - UC Berkeley Bixby Center for Population, Health & Sustainability, Berkely, CA

Divya Periyakoil graduated from UC Berkeley in 2020 as a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Data Science (Human and Population Health Concentration). From 2019, Divya has conducted research at the UC Berkeley Research in Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Energy (RAISE) Lab and the UC Berkeley Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability as a Population Health Data Science Researcher. The World Health Organization has predicted that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from heat stress, malnutrition, and diseases. Divya seeks to utilize neural networks and other innovative machine learning approaches to systematically study the impacts of climate change and identify the most crucial links between climate change and human health.

The UC Berkeley Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability, part of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, seeks to address the impact of population on global public health and the environment. The UC Berkeley School of Public Health spearheads research that seeks to better understand the effects that environmental exposures, such as the effects of climate change, have on human health. Research conducted at the Bixby Center focuses on how these exposures impact the most vulnerable members of our community, such as children, pregnant women, people of low socioeconomic status, and laborers. The UC Berkeley Research in Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Energy (RAISE) Lab conducts research with the goal of improving human health and lowering health costs for all through the development and integration of tele-health, sensors, analytics, and smart device technologies. The Bixby Center, in collaboration with RAISE, works to develop and apply machine learning, deep learning, and other forms of advanced analytic techniques and methodologies to advance environmental health research and devise innovative solutions to overcome environmental challenges to promote health equity.

Katherine Somoza-Garcia – Chesapeake Bay Trust, Annapolis, MD

Kathy is a Program Coordinator on the Restoration team at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. As a Program Coordinator, she manages four award programs including the Community Engagement and Restoration Mini Grant Program and the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program. Leading these programs entails working with applicants upfront to provide guidance on project ideas, draft budgets, and provide technical assistance throughout the application and grant management stages. Many of the organizations she works with have missions that are not primarily environmental but overlap with the environmental sector, such as workforce development, education, food security, and public safety. Kathy is proud to work with and learn from a diverse range of organizations and individuals. She is committed to advancing environmental justice through inclusive outreach strategies and increased accessibility of programs and resources.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust (Trust) empowers local community-based groups on the ground with the resources they need to improve the bays, streams, rivers, forests, parks, and other natural resources of our local systems, from the Chesapeake to the Coastal Bays to the Youghiogheny River. The Trust, supported in large part by Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay License Plate and partnerships with other regional funders, engages and empowers diverse groups to take actions that enrich natural resources and local communities of the Chesapeake Bay region. We feel that a broad range of communities can benefit from a healthy environment, even if their primary focus is on other issues. Since 1985, the Trust has awarded over $140 million in grants to municipalities, nonprofit organizations, schools, and public agencies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Allison Thomas - NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY

Allison works as a Consultant Public Health Nurse in The Bureau of Environmental Disease and Injury Prevention at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The Bureau’s mission is to protect health by promoting healthy environments and health equity by developing policies and programs to prevent illnesses, injuries, and death. As a nurse within the Healthy Homes Program, Allison provides care coordination for lead-exposed children. She also coordinates follow-up medical care with providers and home-visits to identify lead hazards with inspectors, as well as educate families on ways to limit lead exposures. Allison provides information to the public and medical community on lead poisoning prevention.

With an annual budget of $3 billion and 7,000 employees, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is one of the largest public health agencies in the world. It is also one of the nation’s oldest public health agencies, with more than 200 years of leadership in the field. The agency protects and promotes the health of more than 8.8 million New Yorkers by using science, equity and compassion.

Tanya Hoogerwerf Davis – Indian Health Service, Nashville, TN

Tanya is a Senior Environmental Engineer with the Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS is the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Within IHS, Tanya works for the Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction (SFC) and is an officer in the U.S. Public Service Commissioned Corps. Tanya recently transferred to IHS Headquarters in Rockville, MD, from the Nashville Area of IHS where she was the District Engineer in New York responsible for serving New York tribes with water, wastewater, and solid waste facilities.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction (SFC) Program is the environmental engineering component of the IHS health delivery system, with a primary focus on construction of water, wastewater, and solid waste facilities for American Indian and Alaska Native homes.

Obesity and the Food System

Danielle Nabak – FoodWIse, Division of Extension at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI

Danielle Nabak is a Registered Dietitian working on policy and systems change to support health and equity in Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s community food systems. In her current role, she holds leadership and committee roles for advancing racial equity, health equity, and strategic planning efforts. As a board member at the Milwaukee Food Council, she's secured multi-year funding commitments and led the organization through strategic planning and staff acquisition. She's interested in utilizing systems change, collective action, and community partnerships to emphasize the connection between community health and all other variables, including education, place, economic development, public safety, and housing. Danielle’s primary geographic focus is Milwaukee, though she often contributes to state-wide efforts.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension leverages local investments, university research and a national network of Land Grant Institutions and federal partners. UW-Madison Extension connects communities to interdisciplinary research through programs that advance positive youth development, support agriculture and economic development, and promote health and well-being. UW-Madison Extension’s efforts in obesity and food systems are centered in our federally funded statewide FoodWIse program, which provides nutrition education, social marketing, and policy, systems and environmental change efforts.

MatheRose Bodden - Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (CDIP), Philadelphia, PA

Mattie serves as a Research and Data Associate focusing on population health at the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (CDIP) of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In her current role, Mattie examines chronic disease risk factors such as obesity as well as downstream complications to identify populations most impacted and consider how socio-structural factors play a role. She also works with a team to redefine how food access is defined and measured in Philadelphia. Mattie co-leads CDIP’s health equity guidance subcommittee and her interests include advocating for justice-driven public health research and policy with high quality population health data and reporting. 
The Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (CDIP) of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) takes a policy, systems, and environmental approach to tackle the underlying risk factors driving the epidemic of chronic disease and injuries in the city. CDIP supports data-driven programs and policies that prevent and delay chronic disease, reduce gun violence and other types of injury, promote wellness in children and adults, and provide sustainable health change in communities.

Amanda Gattinella - Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc (GPHA), Philadelphia, PA

Amanda serves as a Family Nurse Practitioner providing primary care to a diverse patient population including Central American immigrants, Burmese and Nepali refugees, and patients with complex socioeconomic, language, and cultural barriers. Her role at Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc. (GPHA) has evolved over the past five years from clinical practice to patient-centered quality improvement projects, and now to organization-wide initiatives including the Stop the Wait program, an obesity-prevention program aimed at integrating diet and nutrition education into routine primary care practice. Amanda collaborates with executive staff, other primary care providers, nutritionists, and mental health providers to pilot the Stop the Wait program with the aim of improving patients’ nutrition literacy and access to nutritious foods and thus promoting improved health outcomes for patients and their families.

Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc. has been serving patients in the Philadelphia region for over 50 years. Founded in 1970, GPHA’s mission is “to provide quality comprehensive care including medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and child development services, aiming to meet the needs of a diverse patient population, regardless of their ability to pay”. GPHA is accredited by the Joint Commission and in 2015 became recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient Centered Medical Home. GPHA provides services out of 10+ office locations including dental suites, mental health offices, and pharmacies to over 85,000 patients throughout the Philadelphia area, reducing barriers to care and providing high-quality, patient-centered care to the area’s most vulnerable patients. 

Amy Mullan - Future Harvest, Cockeysville, MD

As a farmer, Amy Mullan began attending Future Harvest programs in 2015. Today, Amy serves as the Development Manager for Future Harvest. In this role, Amy is responsible for refining and implementing the annual and four-year development plans, advancing organizational racial equity goals through development initiatives, recruiting farmer members, and writing impact reports. Amy also collaborates with other departments to coordinate Future Harvest’s annual conference, a gathering of the Chesapeake region’s farmers for 40+ workshop sessions, farmer-to-farmer roundtables, and clinics organized into six tracks: Beginning Farming, Crop Production, Regenerative Agriculture, Grassfed Meat & Dairy, Business of Farming, and Environment, Community, & Policy.

Future Harvest is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance agriculture that sustains farmers, communities, and the environment. Our work - training farmers in practices that are profitable, protect our land and water, and provide healthy food for our communities - benefits the earth, people, and our local economy. We are helping ensure a steady supply of fresh food for the Chesapeake region's people, and support the development of the next generation of environmentally conscious, regenerative farmers. At Future Harvest, we recognize that in order to transform our foodshed into a more sustainable, resilient, robust, and equitable system, we cannot have a singular focus, but rather an ecosystem of programs and services working together. As a result, Future Harvest has intentionally incubated, cultivated and grown our flagship programs in four priority areas - education, community, advocacy, and on-farm research.

Sarah Freeman - County of Hawaii, Department of Research and Development, Hilo, HI

Sarah Freeman is the Food System Specialist for the County of Hawai’i Department of Research and Development. In this role, Sarah works with partners to increase collaboration, effectiveness, and identify funding for community-initiated projects that focus on improving Hawai’i’s food system. Sarah co-facilitates Hawai’i Island Food Alliance and is on the Executive Team of the Hawai’i Island Agriculture Partnership where she supports the development and implementation of a county level Food System Action Plan, and network and value chain assessments to identify strategic interventions. Sarah works closely with statewide systems leaders on enabling viable models of local agriculture production, aggregation and processing, local institutional purchasing, agriculture and nutrition education programs, and food access and obesity prevention initiatives. 

The County of Hawai’i Department of Research and Development works to imagine, invest in and collaboratively create a sustainable, equitable, and thriving Hawaiʻi Island. The Department’s core program areas are Food Systems, Agriculture, Community Wellbeing, Energy, Economic Development, Creative Industries, Tourism, Immigration Information Office, and the Workforce Development Board. The Department’s focus is on economic development that reflects community values and enables a diverse and stable economy that offers a high quality of life for our residents through innovations that balance Hawaiʻi Island’s economic, social, and environmental well-being. Through its work, the Department informs planning, policy and programmatic decision-making with data-driven research and collaborates in the development and funding of initiatives seeking environmental, community and economic sustainability.

Tessa Cushman - Tri-County Health Department, Greenwood Village, CO

Tessa is the Food Security Specialist with Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), where she supports the management of food access programming such as the TCHD Healthy Farmers’ Markets, community gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture Program. Tessa serves as the outreach coordinator and expert of Federal Nutrition Programs, implementing community-focused initiatives and overseeing food access training of community and medical providers. She develops project management tools to coordinate resources, facilitate collaborative stakeholder partnerships, and conduct program evaluation. Tessa also plays integral roles on several statewide workgroups with aligned organizations such as the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. Tessa began with TCHD as a Diabetes Educator, where she developed and authored the novel LGBTQ+ diabetes prevention program pilot, and she remains part-time to culminate and evaluate this project.

Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) is the governmental public health department for Adams and Arapahoe counties and provides public health services to Douglas County. Eleven offices serve over 1.5 million residents and offer over 60 public health programs. TCHD focuses on upstream approaches to provide chronic disease prevention, health policy, and Federal Nutrition Programs and other food access services such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). TCHD was awarded accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board in 2018. TCHD is committed to promoting, protecting, and improving the lifelong health of individuals and communities in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties through the effective use of data, evidence-based prevention strategies, leadership, advocacy, partnerships, and the promotion of health equity.


Creason Walter - Johns Hopkins Children's Center Division of Pediatric Surgery, Trauma, and Burn Program, Baltimore, MD

Creason serves as the Community Outreach Specialist for the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (JHCC) Injury Prevention Program, housed within the Department of Pediatric Surgery's Burn & Trauma Programs. Along with her colleagues, she provides injury prevention resources to the pediatric patients at JHCC, including car seats, home safety, and violence prevention. She manages the Home Safety Distribution Program in clinic, guiding caregivers to select the most appropriate safety item to prevent injuries at home. Violence has become the forefront of her efforts through a research initiative with a pediatric emergency physician, Dr. Leticia Ryan, where the focus is on the prevalence of intentional injuries seen in the PED due to intentional adolescent violence. She also works with the collaborative Gun Violence Prevention Group, led by a multidisciplinary group of pediatric physicians.

JHCC is Maryland's only state designated pediatric trauma and burn center. The JHCC Trauma and Burn Programs treat children ages 0-18 from all over the region and care for patients with the most severe burns and traumatic injuries. The work of the injury prevention team impacts the health and wellbeing of children throughout the Baltimore region. The team works directly with the Trauma program leadership and clinical staff, who provide the care for victims of these injuries. The team provides prevention education, resources and distributes safety items to patients and families, so that they can prevent injuries. The team participates in outreach efforts in the community and collaborates with the pediatric emergency department, clinics, and community programs. One of the team’s focus areas is on violence prevention, where we distribute gun lock boxes and gun locks to patients and families who have a gun in their home, helping to ensure safe storage.

Katherine Bouwkamp – Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, Washington, D.C.

Kate Bouwkamp is a Program Coordinator under Victim Services for OVSJG. She began working for OVSJG in July 2020 and was hired to work directly with the public with survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking as well as with the district agencies that interact with those survivors. In addition to her regular responsibilities, Kate is providing interim program coordination for the District’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board (DVFRB). This board reviews fatalities that occur involving individuals in a domestic or intimate partner relationship. Kate consistently seeks out opportunities to research and learn more about trends and ways to address the cycle of violence individually and systemically. Kate works with an innovative approach that balances victim safety and autonomy with the high standards of OVSJG and within the parameters of District law.

The mission of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG) is to develop, fund, and coordinate programs that improve public safety; enhance the administration of justice; and create systems of care for crime victims, youth, and their families in the District.
In order to accomplish its mission, OVSJG coordinates and funds community-based and District agency services for victims of crime and returning citizens. Additionally, OVSJG manages efforts that aim to reduce truancy in the District's public and charter schools, and supports juvenile diversion, mentoring, and gang intervention efforts. OVSJG is the State-Administering Agency (SAA) responsible for the direction of systemic criminal justice planning, coordination, management, research, training, and technical assistance. OVSJG also provides policy making expertise, advice, and counsel to the Executive on the role of victims and offenders in the criminal justice system, and evidence-based practices to respond to, intervene in, and prevent violence.

Farheen Qurashi - LifeBridge Health Center for Hope, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Qurashi is an acute care surgeon at Sinai Hospital of LifeBridge Health, practicing trauma and critical care surgery. She is a faculty member educating residents and medical students, a clinical champion for quality improvement, and a health care advocacy leader. She is interested in access to health care, violence reduction, and the social determinants of health. She believes in an evidence-based, public health focused approach that addresses socioeconomic risk factors and utilizes medical care to intervene on the root causes of violence. Through the Bloomberg Fellowship, in collaboration with LifeBridge Health’s Center for Hope, she will expand the evidence base on violence, implement healthcare-based strategies to prevent the cycle of violence, and use her voice as a physician to advocate for violence reduction strategies.

The Center for Hope at LifeBridge Health is a comprehensive violence intervention and prevention agency. It supports survivors of violence through a multidisciplinary approach addressing core issues such as emotional trauma, medical treatment, economic and food needs, health care resources, and more. The Center engages in violence prevention, education, and community support. Contained within Center for Hope is a nationally accredited child advocacy center, hospital-based violence response teams at Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center, two Safe Streets sites based on the Cure Violence model, Pathways to Advocacy Against Violence Everyday (PAAVE) which supports youth and families affected by violence and/or homicide, the DOVE Program (which focuses on intimate partner violence), and a developing Elder Justice response.

Malcolm Cunningham - ProMedica Health System, Toledo, OH

Malcolm is the Health Outcomes Manager for the ProMedica Ebeid Neighborhood Promise (ENP). Located in Toledo, Ohio’s central city, ENP fosters change through programming, partnerships, the built environment, and investments that address social determinants of health (SDOH). He facilitates the ENP Community Coalition, identifies neighborhood health disparities utilizing clinical and communal data, and recently co-led a funding initiative that invested $2.8 Million in organizations addressing SDOH in his childhood neighborhood. Malcolm’s team is partnering with Boston University’s RISE Lab, the Lucas County Land Bank, and the Mayor’s Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence to combine satellite imagery, shootings, and the built environment to identify areas most at risk for gun violence. Once identified, simple efforts such as blight reduction, home improvements, and green space development can reduce violent crime.

ProMedica is a mission-driven, not-for-profit focused on improving the health and wellbeing of people in hundreds of communities across the country. ProMedica seeks to reimagine health care and its delivery by integrating care throughout a person’s life. These solutions drive personal, communal, and national impact by addressing SDOH to improve health outcomes; championing healthy aging through integrated senior health and wellness; and cultivating innovation to keep communities healthy. As a health system that screens for SDOH, including intimate partner violence, ProMedica is well-positioned to deploy evidence-based screenings and interventions in clinical and community settings that address gun violence.

Emma Bardwell – Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), Washington, D.C.

Emma Bardwell has been working at the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) since 2018. In her current role as a Research Associate, she contributes to evaluation efforts for the DoD Safe Helpline, a 24/7 crisis intervention and support service for the DoD community available by phone, chat, or text. Emma performs quality control, manages assessment tools, develops content for presentations, and prepares ongoing report deliverables for the Safe Helpline. Outside of her work for the DoD Safe Helpline, she works with data from the National Sexual Assault Hotline, collaborating on research studies. Recently Emma worked on qualitative coding to contribute to two publications, one on reactions to the disclosure of child sexual abuse and the other on survivors' concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her current projects include looking at the concerns of LGBTQIA+ hotline visitors and the experiences of hotline visitors discussing multiple perpetrator assault.  
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with local sexual assault service providers across the country and runs the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to educate the public, collaborates with corporate partners, and works on policy at federal and state levels to ensure justice for survivors. RAINN's research and evaluation team analyze anonymous data to inform service provision and training for both the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the DoD Safe Helpline. The team also works on peer-reviewed publications to add to the growing knowledge in the sexual violence field.

Amar Mukunda - Roca Inc., Baltimore, MD

Amar Mukunda serves as Assistant Director of Roca Baltimore. His role is to co-lead Roca's intervention with program participants. Amar started at Roca as an educator focused on conducting street outreach to help participants learn and apply mindfulness and cognitive behavioral theory lessons (CBT). Whether it is dealing with intimate partner conflict, street violence, challenges in GED class or at work, CBT practices help participants get out of traumatic reactions to difficult situations, slow down, and find more productive ways to respond. In his role as Assistant Director Amar focuses on managing a team of educators and outreach workers as well as managing Roca's transitional employment program which is dedicated to applying these same principles specifically around assisting participants with accessing employment and training. 

Roca is a violence prevention and street outreach program. Roca serves 16–24-year-old men in the city of Baltimore who have been direct victims and perpetrators of gun violence. At Roca we recognize that overcoming trauma, changing behavior, and accessing new opportunities take time and always come with setbacks. That's why Roca is built around relentlessly reaching out to program participants even when they don’t see the possibility for change. We constantly work to build trust and show participants that they matter. As our relationships with participants strengthen, we focus on using mindfulness and cognitive behavioral theory to help participants overcome trauma. By breaking behavior patterns that are rooted in fear and fight-or-flight reactions Roca participants are able to break the cycle of violence and access the wrap-around opportunities that Roca provides: employment, training, education, housing, and whatever other possibilities participants want to pursue.

Farrell Brenner - Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), Kingston, NY

Farrell is a Senior Consultant for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). She works with clients across a variety of industries, including secondary and higher education institutions, government agencies, hospitality companies, humanitarian aid organizations, and non-profits, to shape safer and more supportive communities. In her role, Farrell designs and leads trainings on topics ranging from trauma-informed communication, to healthy boundaries and consent. She also provides guidance related to sexual misconduct policies and programming with the goal of helping communities reduce barriers to reporting, increase transparency into the response process, and mitigate the risk of re-traumatization. Farrell leverages her background in harm reduction, LGBTQ community services, and sexuality education to help strengthen cultures of sexual violence prevention.

RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, y in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country. RAINN’s consulting services department works directly with client organizations to help improve their sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response programming. Through a victim-centered, trauma-informed lens, the consulting services department provides tailored solutions that include training and education, comprehensive program assessments, policy reviews, client-branded hotlines, and facilitated dialogues with community leadership.

Nehali Vishwanath - National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), Spring, TX

Nehali Vishwanath is a Policy Analyst at the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR). In this role, Nehali authors reports, manages initiatives, and conducts data analysis to uplift community-based interventions and policies within criminal justice reform and violence reduction. Nehali spearheads a collaboration with the White House in their newly launched Community Violence Intervention Collaborative (CVIC), established to address gun violence and promote public safety. She also coordinates the National Offices of Violence Prevention Network, a collaboration of around 30 various government agencies whose aim is to promote effective violence reduction strategies. Nehali is passionate about employing a holistic approach to sustain long-term improvement in outcomes for vulnerable populations and to address the underlying social determinants of health affecting the prevalence of violence.
The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) is a fast-growing nonprofit organization working to transform the juvenile and criminal justice systems, reduce incarceration and violence, improve the outcomes of system-involved individuals, and increase the capacity and expertise of the organizations that serve these individuals. The organization provides technical assistance, consulting, research, organizational development, and advocacy in the fields of juvenile and criminal justice, youth development, and violence prevention. NICJR works with an array of entities, including government agencies, nonprofits, and philanthropic foundations. Through advocacy for fairer criminal justice practices and innovative approaches to violence prevention across numerous jurisdictions, NICJR seeks to ultimately implement and support lasting change across the U.S.

Isabella Kent – LifeWire, Bellevue, WA

Isabella Kent is the Youth Prevention Specialist at LifeWire, a non-profit that supports survivors of domestic violence. In this role, Isabella develops and delivers multi-dose, intersectional prevention curriculum to high school and college students, and other community organizations. This includes leadership development and campus social change strategies through classroom sessions, workshops, awareness events, technical training and assistance for educators, and other engagement opportunities.

LifeWire is a housing first, non-profit that works to end domestic violence by changing community beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. LifeWire offers survivor-driven, trauma-informed services to support survivors on their path towards safety, stability, and healing. This includes shelter, housing, legal advocacy, mental health counseling, and more. LifeWire promotes prevention through community-based training and coaching, and leads through pioneering strategies and partnerships.

DrPH Fellows

Addiction and Overdose

Shelina Cantrelle Davis –  Louisiana Public Health Institute, New Orleans, LA

Shelina is a public health social worker who operates at the intersection of public health, mental health and addictions, and health equity and social justice; and is passionate about helping people achieve their full potential for health and wellness. She serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) where she advances its mission of leading and partnering with communities to ensure everyone has just and fair opportunities to be healthy and well. Working closely with LPHI staff and partners, Shelina leads the organization’s mental health and addictions body of work. This body of work includes increasing community mental health and addictions awareness through the Greater New Orleans Mental Health First Aid Collective; supporting mental health and addictions policy and payment reform efforts through the Louisiana and Mississippi Delta Center initiative; and coordinating and convening community members to identify and implement innovative solutions our most pressing mental health and addictions prevention, treatment, and recovery needs.

The Louisiana Public Health Institute is a statewide, non-profit organization that has been promoting the health and well-being of Louisianans since 1997. LPHI is made up of over 100 employees based throughout the State in all nine Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) regions. LPHI accomplishes its goals at the local, state, and national levels alongside over 500 partner organizations, which include communities, community-based organizations, foundations, healthcare systems, academic institutions, government agencies, and a diverse group of additional stakeholders. LPHI’s impact is felt across the state as it leverages staff expertise and skills in all areas of public health.

Jeffrey Hom – San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA

Jeff is the director of the Population Behavioral Health section of the Behavioral Health Services Division in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In this role he focuses on population health approaches to improving the behavioral health of San Franciscans, including overdose prevention and initiatives that improve the health of people who use drugs. His work also includes public health surveillance and the evaluation of citywide efforts to reduce the individual and collective harms of substance use. Previously, Jeff served as the medical director of the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and taught graduate courses on substance use at the University of Pennsylvania and the Jefferson College of Population Health. 

The San Francisco Department of Public Health’s mission is to protect and promote health and well-being for all in San Francisco. San Francisco's Department of Public Health Behavioral Health Services Division uses equity-driven and evidence-based approaches to improve behavioral health outcomes and promote well-being for all San Franciscans. The Division accomplishes these goals through three main functions: serving as a safety net provider of mental health and substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery services, as the payor of specialty behavioral health care under its managed care plan and implementing population-level interventions to improve health outcomes.

Ciana Creighton - Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Washington, DC

Ciana Creighton serves as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services in the District of Columbia Government. In this position, Ciana plays a key role in both managing the policy and program operations of the Deputy Mayor’s Office as well as being the lead liaison and partner to the District’s seven health and human services agencies and the executive branch. Ciana oversees the budget, policy, and advises the Deputy Mayor on a range of health-related matters. Health and human services comprise the largest component of the Mayor’s budget totaling more than $5 billion, an indication of both longstanding health disparities and a commitment to addressing the chasms to realize health equity. 

As a former Bloomberg alumna, Ciana utilizes her Master of Public Policy, health disparities and inequalities and community based public health training to offer a public health approach to health policy both strategically and impacting implementation. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services supports the Mayor in coordinating a comprehensive system of benefits, goods and services across multiple agencies to ensure that children, youth and adults, with and without disabilities, can lead healthy and meaningful lives. 

Christian Laurence-Diaz - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR), Washington, D.C.

Christian has over 14 years of experience in a myriad of health policy positions, including currently as a Senior Program Analyst in the Office of the Secretary at HHS. At HHS he advises top-level officials on major budgetary and policy considerations within Medicare and prepares detailed analyses of Medicare regulations, including the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule that established CMS’s coding/payment for the treatment of opioid use disorder. He also coordinates the Department’s annual mandatory Medicare legislative proposal development, including strengthening behavioral health for Medicare beneficiaries and expanding telehealth for the treatment of serious mental illness/substance use disorders. Christian also serves as a Board Member for a nonprofit organization in New York that serves individuals who experience substance use disorders through a non-stigmatizing, low-threshold, evidence-based approach that emphasizes harm reduction.

HHS recently released the Overdose Prevention Strategy to improve and increase access to the full range of care and services for individuals and their families affected by substance-use overdose to combat the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. This new strategy focuses on diverse treatment approaches for substance use disorder including multiple substances involved in overdose. Specifically, the Office of Budget (OB) provides analytical support and recommendations to the Secretary in the areas of budget, performance, and program policy, including analysis of Congressional budget actions and appropriations legislation regarding addiction and overdose. An example of OB’s efforts includes spearheading the review of the budgetary impact of several significant Medicare provisions found in the 2018 SUPPORT Act which loosened reimbursement restrictions for treating individuals with substance use disorder.

Adolescent Health

Noor Qaragholi – The Policy & Research Group, New Orleans, LA

Noor Qaragholi is a Lead Research Analyst at The Policy & Research Group.  In collaboration with local and state government agencies, community partners, and schools, Noor’s work focuses on the evaluation of programs that aim to improve adolescents’ health and educational outcomes, reduce violence and sexual risk behaviors, and prevent transmission of HIV/STIs. In her role, she works closely with implementation partners across predominantly rural and under-resourced settings and leads data collection, analysis, and reporting efforts. Her recent projects include overseeing the randomized controlled trials of two innovative interventions: a peer mentoring program implemented in schools and the online adaptation of a trauma-informed intervention for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Through her work, Noor strives to build more equitable and effective programs and policies for youth.  

The Policy & Research Group (PRG) is an employee-owned research and evaluation firm whose mission is to use rigorous research and evaluation to improve the potential of people through equitable public policy and improved practice. PRG staff work in a variety of policy areas, including education, public health, behavioral health, youth risk reduction, juvenile justice, workforce and income, child welfare, and housing. The firm’s expertise includes both qualitative and quantitative methods, and staff have extensive experience in conducting impact evaluations, including quasi-experimental (QED) studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in complex settings such as workforce boards, schools, healthcare clinics, and juvenile justice systems. PRG is committed to growing economic and social prospects of all people.

Jasmine Leonard - CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Washington, D.C.

Jasmine Leonard is a Health Equity Enterprise Manager at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst). In this role, she is the resident good troublemaker who leads the health equity strategies and initiatives for value-based programs and works collaboratively with other departments to ensure a health equity lens is applied in all work. As a pediatric expert and advocate, Jasmine is also responsible for the CareFirst relationship with Children’s National Hospital and managing their accountable care organization. Prior to serving as Health Equity Enterprise Manager, she served as a Senior Pediatric Practice Consultant and actively strategized to improve the rate of social determinant of health screenings in pediatric primary care practices from less than 50 percent in 2018 to approximately 73 percent in 2021. As a lifelong resident of the area, Jasmine is passionately committed to advancing health equity and lifting up the voices of the adolescent population in the Washington DC metropolitan area.

In its 85th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.5 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2021, CareFirst invested $26.2 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas.

Environmental Challenges 

Michelle Mabson – Earthjustice, Washington, D.C.

Michelle Mabson is a Staff Scientist based in the Healthy Communities Program in the Washington, DC regional office of the nonprofit environmental law organization, Earthjustice. In this role, Michelle serves as a researcher and strategist, providing technical expertise in areas of human health risk assessment, environmental health, and environmental justice to inform litigation and support community advocacy efforts. Her work focuses on ensuring that government agencies adopt adequate health-based protections to safeguard communities from harms due to toxic air pollution, contaminated water, hazardous waste and toxic chemicals. In addition to her role as a key researcher, she collaborates with program staff, external scientists, and experts to produce scientific material and presentations for clients, partners, and other stakeholders on critical environmental health threats and solutions.

Earthjustice is a leading nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. Earthjustice wields the power of law and science – and the strength of partnership – to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. The organization includes 170 attorneys who rank among the nation’s foremost legal strategists for the environment alongside staff scientists, policy experts, legal and research analysts, and communications experts to offer free top-tier legal representation and advocacy to drive positive change in areas involving the most significant environmental challenges. The Healthy Communities Program’s core focus areas include securing protection from toxic exposure to new chemicals, ending lead poisoning from drinking water, and limiting air pollution and other environmental exposures that often disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities.

Nancy Tourk – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington, D.C.

Nancy Tourk is a Congressional Liaison at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Washington Office (CDCW), where she analyzes legislation and advances policy solutions related to environmental health and worker safety and health issues. Since the beginning of CDC’s COVID-19 Response, Nancy has led the Congressional strategy on issues related to community mitigation, worker safety, and post-COVID conditions. Nancy has also led Congressional engagements and policy work related to climate change and human health, worker exposures to toxic substances and hazardous environments, the health effects from per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), environmental justice, and the World Trade Center Health Program.

CDC is the nation’s leading science-based, data-driven, service organization that protects the public’s health. The CDC Washington Office translates public health developments to the Washington-based policy community, designing legislative strategies to address complex public health issues and advance CDC’s work with Congress to improve public health. 

Obesity and the Food System  

Chukwufumnanya Chiejine – National 4-H Council, Chevy Chase, MD

Chukwufumnanya Chiejine serves as Director for Well Connected Communities at National 4-H Council where she is building the capacity of Cooperative Extension staff at our nation’s land grant universities to improve health and well-being through community engagement and youth-adult voice, multi-sector partnerships and evidence-based strategies. Her passion and commitment to reducing health disparities began with her interest in global health, where she worked with an international NGO to evaluate the impact of interventions designed to eliminate infectious diseases. She has channeled her focus on state agencies and health program implementation and evaluation. At 4-H, she oversees the implementation of policy, systems and environment changes that reduce systemic health inequities in the areas of food systems and mental health across 23 land grant universities and 50 communities. 
National 4-H Council is the youth development program of our Nation’s Cooperative Extension System and United States Department of Agriculture. 4 H programs are implemented by 100+ land-grant colleges and universities through Extension and its 3,000+ local offices across the country. Council supports Extension’s goal to reach millions more young people through programs in science, healthy living and civic engagement backed by a network of 100 public universities and a robust community of 4 H volunteers and professionals. Youth are empowered to be healthy – body and mind – with the skills to make healthy decisions and lead healthy lifestyles. From obesity to mental health, teens face many challenges that impact their health and well-being and 4 H believes in the power of young people to lead positive health outcomes in their lives and communities. 


Katherine Elkins - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Emergency Medical Services, Washington, D.C.

Kate’s career spans over two decades in EMS, disaster response, public health and injury prevention. At NHTSA, Kate works on the NG911 Grant Program and with EMS and 911 stakeholders on projects related to pediatrics, education, rural/tribal issues, mental health, workforce wellness and the COVID-19 response. She also collaborated with CDC and NIOSH on a study of suicide among first responders. Kate attends the federal working group on suicide prevention and the White House Interagency Policy Committee for suicide prevention as an EMS and 911 subject matter expert. Additionally, Kate is the Deputy Team Lead for the Prehospital/EMS team of the Healthcare Resilience Working Group (HRWG), which is part of the FEMA/HHS COVID-19 response. She works on maintaining optimal EMS and 911 systems amid significant challenges.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a public health agency responsible for keeping people safe on America’s roadways. NHTSA helps prevent crashes and their associated costs, both human and financial. Through the National Roadway Safety Strategy’s Safe System Approach, NHTSA builds layers of protection with safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and post-crash care. NHTSA's Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) houses the National 911 Program and focuses on strengthening post-crash care, a vital factor in saving lives after crashes occur. The OEMS advances a national vision for EMS and 911 through projects and research; fosters collaboration with federal agencies involved in EMS and 911 planning; measures the health of EMS and 911 systems; and delivers data EMS and 911 leaders need to advance their systems.

Applications for the 2023 cohort opens August!

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