Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Dr. Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to advance the health of the American people. Dr. Adams’ motto as Surgeon General is “better health through better partnerships.” Dr. Adams is committed to strengthening relationships with all members of the health community, and forging new partnerships with members from the business, faith, education and public safety and national security communities. He has pledged to lead with science, and facilitate locally led solutions to the nation’s most difficult health problems. During Dr. Adams’ tenure as Surgeon General, he has created several initiatives to tackle our nation’s most pressing health issues, including: the opioid epidemic, oral health, and the links between community health and both economic prosperity and national security. As the Surgeon General, Dr. Adams holds the rank of Vice Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. In this capacity, he oversees the operations of approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 800 locations around the world, promoting, protecting, and advancing the health and safety of our nation.
Dr. Courtney Ferrell Aklin
Courtney Aklin, Ph.D., serves as the Chief of Staff at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), helping develop and implement strategic initiatives designed to fulfill the Institute’s vision and mission. In addition, Dr. Aklin oversees the management of NIMHD’s communications, outreach, and legislative activities. Prior to taking on the role as Chief of Staff, she was a Program Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), where she designed and managed programs to augment and strengthen emerging neuroscience research programs at universities and medical schools committed to increasing diversity in the biomedical workforce. Dr. Aklin is a licensed clinical psychologist who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.A. in business administration and psychology from the University of Richmond.
Dr. Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.
Margarita Alegría, Ph.D., is the Chief of the Disparities Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mongan Institute, and a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the improvement of health care services delivery for diverse racial and ethnic populations, conceptual and methodological issues with multicultural populations, and ways to bring the community’s perspective into the design and implementation of health services. She is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of three National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research studies: The Impact of Medicaid Plans on Access to and Quality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment, Building Infrastructure for Community Capacity in Accelerating Integrated Care and Building Community Capacity for Disability Prevention for Minority Elders. In October 2011, she was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in acknowledgement of her scientific contributions to her field. She has also been a recipient of notable awards, such as the Health Disparities Innovation Award by the National Institutes of Minority Health (2008) and most recently, the Steven Banks Award by the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association (2019). She obtained her B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University in 1978 and her Ph.D. from Temple University in 1989.
Elder Sarah Bailey is the Executive Director of Bridges into the Future, a community faith-based organization in Flint, Michigan. She is an ordained Minister and Elder with the Full Gospel Baptist Church International Fellowship. She is a local and national leader and expert in implementing community-based participatory research (CBPR) and building the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) and community members to participate as equal partners in research. She is the Vice Chair of Community Based Organizations Partners (CBOP).
Nancy Breen, Ph.D., works in the Office of the NIMHD Director where she co-leads the Science of Health Disparities Visioning Process, especially related to methods and measurement science in health disparities research. She also works on other projects designed to make data more accessible and to improve methods for health disparities research. Prior to joining NIMHD, Dr. Breen spent more than 20 years at the National Cancer Institute, where she designed and managed research programs, developed and disseminated data analysis tools, identified ways to more effectively use survey data to support health disparities research; and disseminated written and oral findings to a range of audiences. Her cancer control focus was on access to screening because it is the initial point of patient access to medical services for screenable cancers, which in turn determines treatment options and can lead to disparities in survival and mortality. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.
Linda Burhansstipanov, (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), Dr.P.H., is the founder of the Native American Cancer Research Corporation and president of Native American Cancer Initiatives, Inc., in Pine, Colorado. She is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIMHD. Dr. Burhansstipanov has worked in public health since 1971, primarily with Native American issues, and taught at universities for 18 years. She developed and implemented the Native American Cancer Research Program at the National Cancer Institute from 1989 to 1993. She is currently the principal investigator and subcontractor for five NIH grants. She serves on multiple federal advisory boards and has produced numerous peer-reviewed publications, most addressing Native American cancer, public health, and data issues.
Dorothy Castille, Ph.D., is a Health Science Administrator in NIMHD’s Division of Extramural Scientific Programs. As a program director, Dr. Castille manages the Loan Repayment Programs, projects focused on Social Epidemiology, immigrant health, and community health issues related to American Indian/Alaska Native communities and serves as Project Scientist on U54 Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research.
Dr. Victoria Chau
Victoria Chau, Ph.D., is a public health analyst at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Office of Behavioral Health Equity and the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation. Victoria is working to achieve the highest level of behavioral health for all populations through addressing five key areas: policy, data, communications, workforce development, and customer service. In her role at SAMHSA Dr. Chau serves as a subject matter expert in health equity, health disparities, and Asian American mental health and lead’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity’s data efforts.
Dr. Chau earned her B.A. in Anthropology and her M.P.H. with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences from the University of Florida, her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, and has earned her CPH (Certified in Public Health).
Dr. Marshall Chin
Marshall H. Chin, M.D., M.P.H., Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Healthcare Ethics in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, is a general internist and health services researcher with extensive experience improving the care of vulnerable patients with chronic disease. He co-directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation Program Office and the Merck Foundation Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care National Program Office. Dr. Chin serves on the National Advisory Council to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, CDC Community Preventive Services Task Force, and the Families USA Health Equity and Value Task Force Advisory Council. He co-chairs the National Quality Forum Disparities Standing Committee and is a former President of the Society of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Chin was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017.
Dr. Kelvin Choi
Kelvin Choi, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator. He investigates disparities in tobacco use and tobacco product use patterns among minority populations. Dr. Choi also examines how tobacco marketing (including price, placement, promotion, and products) influences tobacco use disparities and how to leverage marketing approaches to reduce tobacco use disparities, particularly among young adults.
Dr. Choi and his group determine how tobacco use influences the social determinants of health using a life course perspective. For example, his research team found that smoking influences the sleep quality in youth, which can affect their academic performance and subsequent college enrollment.
Dr. Choi and his research team are also studying the physiological and neurological responses to tobacco marketing materials among smokers, to inform both how best to regulate these materials and how best to design anti-tobacco messages. Dr. Choi is currently working with collaborators to develop a computer simulation that can forecast the potential impact of tobacco marketing regulations on tobacco use disparities.
Dr. Choi received his M.P.H. in community health education in 2007 and his Ph.D. in social and behavioral epidemiology in 2010 from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Janine Austin Clayton
Janine Austin Clayton, M.D., was appointed Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH in 2012. Dr. Clayton has strengthened NIH support for research on diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women. She is the architect of the NIH policy requiring scientists to consider sex as a biological variable across the research spectrum, a part of NIH’s initiative to enhance reproducibility, rigor, and transparency. As co-chair of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Clayton also leads NIH’s efforts to advance women in science careers. Dr. Clayton was previously the Deputy Clinical Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI). A board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Clayton’s research interests include autoimmune ocular diseases and the role of sex and gender in health and disease. She earned her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine.
CAPT Felicia Collins
Dr. Felicia Collins was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 31. Her responsibilities include oversight and management of policies and programs to improve health and health care for racial and ethnic minorities and underserved populations. In her nearly 20 years at HHS, she has also served at the Health Resources and Services Administration, where she co-led oversight of more than 700 Federally Qualified Health Centers across the nation. A board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Collins is also a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Dr. Rada Dagher
Dr. Rada Dagher is a scientific program director in the Division of Clinical and Health Services Research at NIMHD. She manages a diverse portfolio of research, capacity building, and training grants, and is a project scientist on several cooperative agreement awards. Prior to joining NIMHD, Dr. Dagher worked in academia, where she secured grant funding and conducted research in maternal and child health, mental health, occupational health, and health disparities. She also taught Health Policy and Management, and Health Services Research Methods graduate courses.
Dr. Dagher’s education in public health began at the American University of Beirut, where she received both her Bachelor of Science in environmental health and Master of Public Health degrees. She obtained a Ph.D. in health services research, policy, and administration from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Sherine El-Toukhy
Sherine El-Toukhy, Ph.D., MA., aims to improve minority health and reducing health disparities through digital public health interventions. She has a decade’s worth of experience in health communication campaigns and interventions funded by national and international organizations such as the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Environment, UNICEF, and USAID. Dr. El-Toukhy is a recipient of several research awards including a visiting scholar award from Cairo University, Egypt; a William R. Kenan Jr. fellowship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the 2013 Health Dissertation of the Year award from the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association. Her research has been funded by The National Science Foundation and The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Dr. El-Toukhy received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Mass Communication where she also earned a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication. She holds a Master’s in Mass Communication and Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Cairo University, Egypt. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Intramural Research Programs of The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Dr. Gilbert C. Gee
Dr. Gilbert C. Gee is a professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences. His research examines how racism and other forms of structural disadvantage contribute to health and health care disparities. In addition, Gee’s work examines stress, neighborhoods and environmental justice, using a multi-level and life course perspective. His work also examines the health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and he has served as the program chair for the Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus of the American Public Health Association. He has conducted studies in the USA, Japan, and the Philippines. Gee holds a Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience from Oberlin College, a doctorate in social and behavioral sciences from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and post-doctoral training in sociology from Indiana University.
Dr. Arline T. Geronimus
Arline T. Geronimus. Sc.D., is a Professor at the University of Michigan with appointments in the School of Public Health and the Institute for Social Research, and an affiliation with the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health. A member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, Dr. Geronimus received her undergraduate degree in Political Theory from Princeton University, her doctorate in Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard School of Public Health, and received post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Geronimus originated an analytic framework, “weathering” that posits that population health inequity reflects structurally-rooted biopsychosocial processes stemming from political, cultural and economic oppression of racialized and other marginalized groups. Dr. Geronimus’ research interests include understanding the social and biological mechanisms that mediate racial and ethnic health inequity along the full pathway from the environmental to the cellular level; the effects of structural racism on health; the strategies marginalized communities use to mitigate the harmful health effects of poverty and structural racism; and the perturbations public policies sometimes cause in these autonomous protections.
Marcia M. Gómez, M.D., is a Health Science Policy Analyst who studies minority health, social determinants of health, access to healthcare, health disparities, and health equity. Her work has spanned many areas related to minority health, including HIV/AIDS; substance abuse; mental health; immigrant populations, including migrant farmworkers; women’s health; and maternal and child health.
Dr. Gómez completed her undergraduate studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and received her M.D. from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She joined the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in 2013.
Wayne T. Harris, Ph.D., serves as contact principal investigator for the Hampton University Minority Men’s Health Initiative and as dean of Hampton University’s School of Pharmacy, which confers the Pharm.D. degree to the largest percentage of African Americans in the country. Dr. Harris is a licensed pharmacist in the state of Georgia who has spent nearly 40 years as a pharmacy educator, administrator, researcher, and practicing pharmacist. He received his B.S. in pharmacy in 1974 from Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy and his M.S. and Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1977 and 1979, respectively. Prior to joining Hampton University in 2010, he served as professor in the Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Xavier University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy from August 2009 to May 2010 and as professor and dean of the College of Pharmacy from January 2001 to August 2009. During his tenure as dean at Xavier, he was instrumental in establishing the NIH-supported Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education and served as its founding director.
Tiffany Haynes, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Dr. Haynes is a clinical psychologist with expertise in mental health services research, intervention development, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). Her research broadly focuses on improving access to and use of mental health services in rural and underserved communities. Dr. Haynes has served as the PI or Co-Investigator on several NIH and PCORI funded grants examining the feasibility of working with faith communities to improve mental health service use. Specifically, Dr. Haynes is currently the Principal Investigator on a NIMHD funded U01 that aims to test the effectiveness of a faith-based depression intervention within rural African American churches.
Roselyn Hicks, M.D., a board certified pediatric and adult allergist/immunologist, is a visiting clinician scholar at National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has mentored and taught medical students, residents and fellows during 15 years of private practice. Her research and extensive patient care experience have included asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergy and atopic dermatitis. Dr. Hicks is an active patient advocate, who has organized and participated in various community outreach experiences particularly to reach underrepresented minorities and underserved individuals. Her special interest in sharing allergy and health awareness is present via online video, local news affiliate interviews, health system workshops and YMCA forums.
She received her B.A. from Hampton University and M.D. from East Carolina Brody School of Medicine. Her pediatric residency and allergy/immunology fellowship training were both completed at University of South Florida School of Medicine, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dr. Richard J. Hodes
Richard J. Hodes, M.D., is the director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of health (NIH). Dr. Hodes, a leading researcher in the field of immunology, was named to head the NIA in 1993.
The NIA leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting research on the biological, clinical, behavioral and social aspects of aging. Dr. Hodes has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse and balanced research program. This has led to new and innovative ways to conduct research, share data and translate findings into practice. Basic biologic research is examining genetic and other factors influencing aging, how they affect longevity and the development of age-related diseases. Research in geriatrics is uncovering new ways to combat frailty and improve function with age. Behavioral and social research is deepening understanding of the individual behaviors and societal decisions that affect well-being.
Dr. Hodes also directs the Federal effort to find effective ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as the NIA is the lead NIH institute for this mission. Cutting edge research conducted and supported by the NIA, often in collaboration across institutes at the NIH, has helped to revolutionize the way we think about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Studies in genetics, basic mechanisms, imaging and biomarkers have spurred the development of potential therapies aimed at a variety of targets and the testing of interventions at the earliest signs of disease.
Dr. Hodes’ research laboratory in the National Cancer Institute focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the immune response. Additional background is available at the lab’s website.
A graduate of Yale University, Dr. Hodes received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a member of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Medicine at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Regina Smith James, M.D., is the former Director of Clinical and Health Services Research at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). In this capacity, she oversaw health services research, research on minority health and health disparities in clinical settings, and patient–clinician communication. She served as the Acting Associate Director for Clinical Research and Data Management. Prior to coming to NIMHD, Dr. James served as the Director of the Office of Health Equity at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where she developed and implemented national and international programs promoting health for children and families.
Dr. James received both her B.S. in psychology/biology and her M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed a residency in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She has conducted and published clinical research in the areas of health disparities and child/adolescent mental health. Her research interests include understanding and addressing how individual and population-level determinants affect health status and access to and quality of healthcare across the lifespan.
Dr. Lenora E. Johnson
Lenora E. Johnson, Dr.PH., M.P.H., is director of the Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education and Communications, at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She earned her master’s degree in public health from Emory University and her doctorate degree from George Washington University. Dr. Johnson joined NHLBI in December of 2013 having spent her most recent tenure at NIH with the National Cancer Institute as the director for communications and education, providing more than a decade of leadership service to that Institute. For 30 years she directed initiatives focusing on minority health, research dissemination, reducing health disparities, global surveillance of health risk behaviors, broadening states’ capacity for social marketing, and capacity building for health promotion and public health education programming. She has extensive experience in working at the national and local levels translating health information into materials, messages, and interventions that reach the most vulnerable populations. Her programs have been implemented through the Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, DC, the American Association for Health Education, the American Public Health Association, the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, the American Cancer Society and numerous partnership efforts with community-based organizations serving diverse constituents.
Dr. George F. Koob
George F. Koob, Ph.D., is an internationally-recognized expert on alcohol and stress, and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction. He is the Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), where he provides leadership in the national effort to reduce the public health burden associated with alcohol misuse. As NIAAA Director, Dr. Koob oversees a broad portfolio of alcohol research ranging from basic science to epidemiology, diagnostics, prevention, and treatment. He also is a Senior Investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse where his laboratory is studying the neurobiology of drug and alcohol addiction.
Linda U. Krebs, Ph.D., is a retired associate professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado at Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus. She has been an oncology nurse for more than 40 years, providing direct care, consultation, education, and training to cancer patients, their families, community members, and healthcare providers. Dr. Krebs has collaborated with the Native American Cancer Research Corporation for more than 16 years, focusing on providing up-to-date cancer education to American Indian cancer survivors, patient navigators, and communities. She spent 13 years as director of and practitioner at the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic, evaluating, educating, and counseling patients about cancer prevention and early detection. She has more than 12 years of experience creating, editing, and evaluating cancer education materials and manuscripts for lay and health professional audiences.
As the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Director, Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., oversees the Institute’s $2.6 billion budget to support research, training, and other programs. Dr. Lorsch is committed to engaging the scientific community on a wide range of topics, including funding policies and trends, research evaluation, and workforce development and diversity.
Lieutenant Commander Kelly Leong
LCDR Kelly Leong is a Program Analyst and a United States Public Health Service officer currently stationed at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Commissioner, Office of Operations, Office of Facilities, Engineering and Mission Support Services leading the office’s communication initiatives. Prior to joining FDA in 2015, LCDR Leong was an Information Technology Specialist at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversaw the development of the system infrastructure of the 5 state-based health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
LCDR Leong earned her B.S. in Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, and her Masters of Health Administration from Loma Linda University School of Public Health. LCDR Leong has been a member of the USPHS’s Asian Pacific American Officer Committee which serves as the AAPI advisory group under the Office of Surgeon General since 2009.
Dr. David E. Marion
David E. Marion, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT is the owner and chief executive officer of Marion Counseling Services, PLLC. As a mental health clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, Marion Counseling provides therapy, case management, psychological evaluations, and psychiatric services to individuals, groups, couples and families. Dr. Marin earned both his graduate and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University and did his undergraduate work at Jackson State.
In addition to his counseling services, Dr. Marion serves as the 41st Grand Basileus of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (OPPF), the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college.
Dr. Brian Mustanski
Brian Mustanski, Ph.D., is tenured Professor of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University, Director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, Co-Director of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Co-Director of the Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Abuse and HIV. The majority of his research focuses on the health and development of sexual and gender minority youth and the application of new media and technology to sexual health promotion and HIV prevention with young men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Mustanski’s work spans the translational spectrum and includes epidemiological studies, longitudinal cohort studies focused on developmental trajectories and rick/protective mechanism, the development and testing of HIV interventions, and implementation science. He has been a principal investigator for multiple federal and foundation research and training awards, including active NIMHD and NIMH funded hybrid effectiveness-implementation trials of eHealth HIV prevention programs for young MSM. He is also well known for his multilevel and longitudinal cohort studies of young MSM (NIDA funded) and his research on ethical and regulatory considerations in minority teens participating in HIV research (NIMHD funded). Dr. Mustanski has published more than 225 peer reviewed journal articles. He is a frequent advisor to federal agencies and other organizations on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) health and HIV prevention, including as an appointed member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Recognition for his work include being named a William T Grant Scholar, the Society for Prevention Research Award for Advances in Culture and Diversity in Prevention Science, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution from the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues of the American Psychological Association. In 2017, NBC News selected him from 1,600 nominees as one of 30 changemakers and innovators making a positive difference in the LGBTQ community.
Dr. Anna María Nápoles
Anna María Nápoles, Ph.D., M.P.H., has been Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research at NIMHD since November 2017. Prior to that, she was a professor and behavioral epidemiologist in the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) for 27 years, where she served as the Director of the UCSF Center for Aging in Diverse Communities (CADC). Her research focuses on cancer health disparities, psycho-oncology, patient-clinician communication, quality of life of family caregivers, and community-based models of research in ethnically and socioeconomically diverse groups.
Spero M. Manson, (Pembina Chippewa), Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry; is director of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health; and holds The Colorado Trust Chair in American Indian Health and is associate dean of research at the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Center. His programs include nine national centers in program development, training, and collaboration with 250 Native communities, spanning rural, reservation, urban, and village settings across the country. He has published numerous articles on the assessment, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of physical, alcohol, drug, and mental health problems over the developmental life span of Native people. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Manson is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading authorities on Indian and Native health, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2002.
Dr. Victoria M. O’Keefe
Victoria O’Keefe (Cherokee/Seminole Nations of Oklahoma), PhD is a Licensed Psychologist, Associate Director, and the first Mathuram Santosham Endowed Chair in Native American Health at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Dr. O’Keefe is also the first Native American tenure-track faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s history. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating strengths-based suicide prevention programs that are grounded in tribal cultures and implemented/sustained by Native communities. She is also interested in social, historical, and cultural determinants of health and wellness (e.g., microaggressions, historical trauma, community connectedness). Dr. O’Keefe is the principal investigator or co-investigator on several NIH, SAMHSA, and foundation grants. In addition, she is passionate about mentoring the next generation of Indigenous scholars pursuing public health and mental health degrees and careers.
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D., is Director of NIMHD at NIH. He oversees the Institute’s $281 million budget to conduct and support research, training, research capacity and infrastructure development, public education, and information dissemination programs to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. Read more about Dr. Pérez-Stable.
David J. Robles
David J. Robles, B.A., is a summer graduate intern at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Office of Behavioral Health Equity and a second-year Masters of Art psychology student at California State University, Los Angeles. Mr. Robles is broadly interested in studying the psychosocial processes underlying HIV, substance use disorders and psychiatric diagnosis among underserved communities and related behavioral health disparities. Mr. Robles’ graduate work is supported in part through a RISE NIH M.S.-to-Ph.D. Graduate Fellowship. Mr. Robles is also the Vice President for the MORE Programs Student Advisory Committee, a Campus Representative for the APA’s Society for Health Psychology and was recently selected as a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar.
Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers was named Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)–one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–on April 1, 2007. He had served as NIDDK’s Acting Director since March 2006 and had been the Institute’s Deputy Director since January 2001. As the Director of NIDDK, Dr. Rodgers provides scientific leadership and manages a staff of over 600 employees and a budget of ~$2.0 billion. Dr. Rodgers received his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Brown University in Providence, RI. He performed his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital and the John Cochran VA, respectively, at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. His fellowship training in hematology was in a joint program of the NIH with George Washington University. In addition to his medical and research training, he earned an MBA, with a focus on the business of medicine/science, from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, and a Masters in Legal Studies in 2017. As a research investigator, Dr. Rodgers is widely recognized for his contributions to the development of the first effective — and FDA approved — therapy for sickle cell anemia. In addition, he and his collaborators have reported on a modified blood stem-cell transplant regimen that is highly effective in reversing sickle cell disease in adults and is associated with relatively low toxicity. He has been honored for his research with numerous awards including the 1998 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the 2000 Arthur S. Flemming Award, the Legacy of Leadership Award in 2002, a Mastership from the American College of Physicians in 2005, the Herbert C. Nickens Award 2018 and a Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians (London) in 2018, among others. Dr. Rodgers is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Medicine, among others.
Dr. Shameka Poetry Thomas
Shameka Poetry Thomas, Ph.D. is an intramural postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Human Genomics Research Institutes (NHGRI)-Bethesda campus. As a postdoc, she focuses on noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) among Black women with genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease. Dr. Thomas received her Ph.D. from University of Miami. Her dissertation entitled, “Giving Birth in South Florida: A Phenomenological Study on the Pregnancy and Birthing Experiences among Black Women,” was nominated for the Best Dissertation award at the American Sociological Association 2020. Shameka’s research was also invited to be presented at Harvard Medical School’s Physicians for Human Rights (2019), the Biomedical Science Careers Conference (2018), and the Maternal Health Policy summit at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018). Shameka’s coauthored publication on pregnancy and birthing experiences among Black women also is one of the TOP 20 most downloaded articles in the Sociology Compass Journal between 2018-2019. Shameka was also a lead instructor at University of Miami, where she taught Social Research Methods, winning the Most Innovative Teaching award and the Graduate Student Exemplar nomination from UM’s College of Arts and Sciences (2018). Shameka was similarly a sociological fellow at University of Cape Town-South Africa and at the University of California‐Berkeley, participating as a semester-exchange student with distinguished honors. Shameka is a proud alumna of Spelman College cum laude, where her research on Black female health narratives won First Place in Spelman’s Annual Research Conference and the Scholar‐Activism award in Sociology and Anthropology for Best Senior Thesis on applied sociological research. Shameka’s near-future goal is become a tenure track professor (in a medical school) and integrate social scientific frameworks into public health and clinical programs that focus on Black women’s reproductive health experiences.
Dr. Chau Trinh-Shevrin
Chau Trinh-Shevrin, Dr.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Population Health (DPH) and Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. Within DPH, Dr. Trinh-Shevrin serves as Vice Chair for Research and heads the Section for Health Equity. For more than 15 years, Dr. Trinh-Shevrin has been involved in health promotion, disease prevention, and health disparities research programs utilizing community-based participatory research principles for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander and other underserved populations. Currently, she is PI of an NIH NIMHD Center of Excellence – the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health – and a CDC-sponsored Prevention Research Center that is a partnership between the NYU School of Medicine and the CUNY School of Public Health. As co-director of the Community Engagement and Population Health Research Core for the NYU- Health + Hospitals Corporation (H+H) Clinical and Translational Science Institute, she is involved in fostering community-engaged research collaborations between NYU and its community partners and developing research training programs for community and academic partners aimed to strengthen equitable campus-community partnerships. Dr. Trinh-Shevrin is a social epidemiologist with a doctorate in public health from Columbia University and a master in health policy and management at the State University of New York at Albany.
Dr. Gina Roussos
Gina Roussos, Ph.D., is a Health Policy Analyst in the Office of the Director (OD), with expertise in behavior, attitude change and intergroup relations. At NIMHD, her areas of focus include workforce diversity and development, racial disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality, and scientific outreach. Previously, Dr. Roussos held postdoctoral researcher positions at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, where she explored political biases, and in the Department of Psychology at Yale University, where she tested media-based prejudice awareness interventions. Dr. Roussos has recently worked as a consultant at the Diversity Science Branch of the Institute for Equity & Inclusion Sciences in Portland, Oregon, where she developed effective means of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplace and healthcare settings.
Lesli Skolarus, M.D., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained, vascular neurologist whose research focuses on behavioral trials to reduce health disparities, community-based participatory research and health services research. She holds a Master’s degree in Health and Health Care Research. She is currently the principle investigator of an R01 focused on racial disparities in post-stroke disability and a U01 to increase acute stroke treatment rates in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Skolarus has published over 60 manuscripts and is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Faustine Williams
Dr. Faustine Williams is a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and NIH Distinguished Scholar. She is a trained transdisciplinary researcher with a focus on cancer prevention and control and health disparities, specifically interested in inter- and intra-health disparities in chronic diseases and finding ways to reduce and/or eliminate health disparities. Dr. Williams Health Disparities and Geospatial Transdisciplinary Lab is housed in the Population and Community Health Sciences Branch of the Intramural Research Program. She uses mixed methods including community-based system dynamics, community-based participatory research, geographic information systems, storytelling and qualitative approaches to understand the complex interactions of factors contributing to health disparities to develop and implement effective interventions to increase healthy behaviors and outcomes, especially among populations that experience the highest disparities. Current projects include investigation of geographic variations in cancer incidence and treatment patterns.
Dr. Natasha Williams
As legislative liaison, Dr. Williams directs NIMHD’s legislative activities, which includes advising the NIMHD Director and senior leadership on congressional issues, analyzing pending legislation, and responding to congressional requests. Dr. Williams received her Ph.D. in social policy with a concentration in health services research from Brandeis University in 2003. In 1995, she earned her master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The previous year, she received a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. Dr. Williams also holds a B.S. in medical technology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Williams completed a LLM in Health Law from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2018.
Xinzhi Zhang, M.D., is a Program Officer in the Division of Community Health and Population Sciences. He has extensive medical and research background to studying health outcomes related to minority health and health disparities. His current work includes examining the diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic factors that influence Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Zhang also helps administrate NIMHD’s RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN) project, which partners with minority-serving researchers and institutions across the nation to focus on creative ways to address health disparities by sharing data and web resources. Dr. Zhang also works on other data-related projects, such as Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K), which supports initiatives at educational institutions to bring more diversity to the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforces.
Dr. Zhang received his medical degree from Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China, in 1998. In 2003, he earned his Ph.D. in Health Services Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Zhang is currently a Lieutenant Commander for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, an elite group of public health leaders who respond to national health crises.