Systems’ Impact on Historically and Currently Marginalized Populations

An NAM Special Publication

“We started the idea around this publication to think about identifying not only the extent to which systems perpetuate and sustain inequities but also to identify opportunities where we might be able to dismantle these systems of oppression.”
Velma McBride Murry, PhD

University Professor of Human and Organizational Development Peabody College, Vanderbilt University | Member of the Black or African American Author Group

Systems’ Impact on Historically and Currently Marginalized Populations (forthcoming in 2024) explores the role that various systems have on influencing disparate health outcomes of historically and currently marginalized populations. The NAM special publication focuses on the historical and current context of how systemic and structural racism perpetuate oppression via unequal power relationships; identifies ways that marginalization flows through systems to perpetuate inequities; and identifies opportunities to dismantle structural and systemic racism for improved health outcomes for all.
Objectives
  1. Define structural and systemic racism and provide an overview of what is known about systemic and structural racism, its impacts, and addressing it at its root
  2. Highlight the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) race and ethnicity categories and how subsequent policies can further racialize people and lead to disparate health outcomes
  3. Illustrate the historical and current context of how systemic and structural racism perpetuates oppression via unequal power relationships
  4. Demonstrate the ways that marginalization flows through systems to perpetuate inequities
  5. Identify considerations for each of the following populations in dismantling systemic and structural racism for improved health outcomes for all
  6. Synthesize and analyze solutions and future directions that cut across populations
  7. Highlight key actions to mobilize impact in the next five years to improve health outcomes for populations

    Impacted Populations

The Special Publication explores the effects of systems on the following population groups:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment
  • Asian American: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam 
  • Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa 
  • Hispanic or Latino or Spanish Origin: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race 
  • Middle Eastern or North African: A person having origins in any of the people in the regions of the Middle East and/or North Africa 
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands 
  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe

    Perspectives that #PromoteHealthEquity

Perspectives on advancing health equity from leading public health researchers and advocates

Five public health researchers and advocates reflect on the many and varied ways in which systemic and structural racism perpetuates health inequities and shine a light on opportunities to foster change. 

Hear more perspectives here >>>

    Events

Systems Impact: Unpacking Racialization, Intersectionality, and Community

The NAM Culture of Health Programheld a virtual meeting on July 19 to: 
– Understand the evolution of racialization and its relationship to health outcomes 
– Define and critically assess intersectionality as a framework to understand health outcomes 
– Highlight and celebrate examples of communities displaying resistance towards systemic racism and working to dismantle, rebuild, and create new equitable systems.

Learn more here >>>

Impact of Systems on Health Equity

During the publication’s announcement at the March convening, an overview of the project’s development to date was provided, including a glimpse into its oversight by program advisors. Participants discussed related challenges, opportunities, and potential impacts of the publication. Attendees’ input during the event on the history and impact of structural and systemic racism in the U.S. will help inform the publication.  

Learn more here >>>

The Culture of Health Program plans to hold a series of meetings for additional information gathering, to share findings from the papers, and catalyze action. Register for the NAM health equity listserv to stay tuned >> 

    Steering Committee Biographies

Click through to see headshots
* Indicates lead author

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN | University of Pennsylvania
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Director of the School’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. As a bilingual and bicultural researcher, Dr. Villarruel has extensive research and practice experience with Latino populations and health equity. She currently co-leads the NIH funded Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance to address COVID-19 Inequities (CEAL) a coalition to optimize the rollout and real-time evaluation of interventions focused on COVID-19 disparities across diverse populations within the Philadelphia region. Dr. Villarruel holds many leadership positions. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; she serves as Chair of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Culture of Health Program Advisory Committee, a Regent of the Uniformed Health Sciences University and Co-chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of the AARP/RWJ Future of Nursing Campaign for Action. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2021 Health Care Leader Award from the American Academy of Nursing, the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award, the Globy Award for Educational Leadership from the Global Philadelphia Association, and the prestigious Ohtli Award from the government of Mexico. Dr. Villarruel earned an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD in nursing from Wayne State University.
Marshall Chin, MD, MPH | University of Chicago
Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH, Richard Parrillo Family Distinguished Service Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the University of Chicago, is a practicing general internist and health services researcher who has dedicated his career to advancing health equity through interventions at individual, organizational, community, and policy levels. Through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation program, Dr. Chin collaborates with teams of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, frontline healthcare delivery organizations, and community-based organizations to implement payment reforms to support and incentivize care transformations that advance health equity.  He co-chairs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network Health Equity Advisory Team. Dr. Chin co-directs the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. He is Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and applies ethical principles to reforms that advance health equity and discussions about advocating for patients.  Dr. Chin is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and he completed residency and fellowship training in general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  He is a former President of the Society of General Internal Medicine.  Dr. Chin was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2017.  He was on the Planning Committee for NAM’S 2023 Webinar on Improving the Health and Well-Being of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities, and the Steering Committee for the NAM paper series on structural racism and health.
Jacob Fitisemanu Jr., MPH | Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition
Jacob “Jake” Fitisemanu, MPH, was born in New Zealand/Aotearoa to Karen Dang (Kaimukī, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi) and Jacob Fitisemanu Sr. (Falefā, ʻUpolu, Sāmoa) and raised in Hawaiʻi and Utah. Jake holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Westminster College and works for Intermountain Healthcare as a Community Health Program Manager. He was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in 2015 and was also appointed to the US Census National Advisory Committee for two terms. Jake co-founded the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition (which he has chaired since 2011), sits on the Huntsman Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board, and teaches community health dynamics as an associate instructor at the University of Utah. He lives with his wife and two daughters in West Valley City where he founded the Healthy West Valley Initiative and was recently re-elected as a member of the City Council.
Velma McBride Murry, PhD | Vanderbilt University
Dr. Velma McBride Murry, Associate Provost, Office of Research and Innovation, holds the Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair, and is a University Distinguished Professor in Departments of Health Policy [Vanderbilt School of Medicine] and Human and Organizational Development [Peabody College]. She is Past President of the Society for Research on Adolescence and incoming President of The International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies. McBride Murry is one of the 100 elected members to the 2020 Class of the National Academic of Medicine.  She was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Mental Health Research Council. Her research examines the significance of context to everyday life experiences of African American families and youth, focusing on processes through which racism, and other social structural stressors, cascade through families to influence parenting and family functioning, developmental outcomes, and adjustment among youth, during critical developmental periods from middle childhood through young adulthood.
Dwayne Proctor, PhD | Missouri Foundation for Health
Dwayne Proctor, PhD serves as President and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), bringing over 20 years of experience in philanthropy to the role. The Foundation works to improve health through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing and strategic investment, never losing sight of the equity lens that shapes its work. Under his leadership, MFH has launched a 20-year Food Justice strategic initiative to build collaborative efforts and galvanize shifts in current policies and practices to ensure all Missourians have the foods they need to live active and healthy lives. Previously, he served in a variety of roles during almost two decades at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), providing strategic guidance and resources for multiple initiatives including Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Nurse-Family Partnership. As senior advisor to RWJF’s president, Proctor and colleagues developed strategies for achieving health equity to create a Culture of Health in America.When tapped to lead national strategies at RWJF, Proctor collaborated with his colleagues to test and demonstrate innovative community and school-based environmental changes. Both “grassroots” and “treetops” advocacy approaches were used to educate local and national leaders on their roles and opportunities to prevent childhood obesity. Proctor was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and taught courses on health communication and marketing practices to reach multicultural populations. During his Fulbright Fellowship in Senegal, West Africa, his research team investigated how HIV prevention messages raised awareness of AIDS as a national health problem. Proctor received his doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in marketing and communication science from the University of Connecticut. He is the former Chairperson of the board of directors for the Association of Black Foundation Executives. Currently he serves on the boards of National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the NAACP Foundation as its chair.
Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA | University of Maryland

Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, serves as Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academy of Medicine. Reece was elected to the NAM in 1998 and has served in numerous leadership roles, including as a member of the NAM Council and executive committee as well as on several panels, committees, and groups.

As the academy’s Visiting Scholar-in-Residence, Reece will lead work on a project focused on the state of the U.S. biomedical research enterprise. During a one-year term, his project will identify trends, challenges, and solutions, culminating in a timely publication on the topic. Reece will also contribute his expertise to ongoing NAM programs on climate change and culture of health, as well as related roundtables and projects across the National Academies.

Reece is Professor of obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine where he also served as Dean from 2006 to 2022. He is the former Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Originally from Jamaica, Reece earned a BS (Magna Cum Laude) from Long Island University; an MD from New York University School of Medicine; a PhD in biochemistry from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; and an MBA from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. He completed his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, where he remained on the full-time faculty for nearly a decade.

 

Donald Warne, MD, MPH | The Johns Hopkins University
Donald Warne, MD, MPH (Oglala Lakota) serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Indigenous Health and as a tenured, Full-Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD where he also serves as the Provost Fellow for Indigenous Health Policy. Dr. Warne is also the Senior Policy Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Leader’s Health Board in Rapid City, SD. Dr. Warne is a member of the Oglala  Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, SD and comes from a long line of traditional healers and medicine men. Dr. Warne received his MD from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1995 and his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health in 2002. His work experience includes: several years as a primary care physician with the Gila River Health Care Corporation in Arizona; Staff Clinician with the National Institutes of Health; Indian Legal Program Faculty with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University; Health Policy Research Director for Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona; Executive Director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board; and Chair of the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University. Dr. Warne is also a member of the Stanford University Alumni Hall of Fame.
Steven Woolf, MD, MPH | Virginia Commonwealth University
Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H, is Director Emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is Professor of Family Medicine and Population Health. He holds the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Population Health and Health Equity. Dr. Woolf has edited three books and published more than 200 articles in a career that has focused on raising public awareness about the social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health and perpetuate inequities. Dr. Woolf received his M.D. in 1984 from Emory University and underwent residency training in family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Woolf is also a clinical epidemiologist and underwent training in preventive medicine and public health at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his M.P.H. in 1986.  He is board certified in family medicine and in preventive medicine and public health. He served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) in 2001.
Ruth Zambrana, PhD, MSW | University of Maryland
Ruth Enid Zambrana, PhD is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Director of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity and has a secondary appointment as Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine. She is a medical and community sociologist and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Her scholarship applies a critical intersectional lens to structural inequality and racial, Hispanic ethnicity, and gender inequities in population health and higher education trajectories. Dr. Zambrana has published widely on health and racial inequity in her major field concentrations: women’s health, maternal and child health, socioeconomic health disparities and life course impacts on health and mental well-being of historically underrepresented minorities. Her most recent book is Toxic Ivory Tower: The Consequences of Work Stress on the Health of Underrepresented Minority Faculty (2018). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award by the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Latinos/as Section, the 2013 American Public Health Association (APHA) Latino Caucus, Founding Member Award for Vision and Leadership, the 2021 APHA Lyndon Haviland Public Health Mentoring Award, and the 2021-22 Distinguished Research Fellow at the Latino Research Institute University of Texas, Austin.

    Author Biographies

The categories of MENA and Hispanic or Latino or Spanish Origin are not recognized as separate racial categories in current Census data; however critical to this work was an acknowledgment of the need to explore the unique experiences of those who see themselves most reflected in these categories.
Donald Warne, MD, MPH | The Johns Hopkins University*
Donald Warne, MD, MPH (Oglala Lakota) serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Indigenous Health and as a tenured, Full-Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD where he also serves as the Provost Fellow for Indigenous Health Policy. Dr. Warne is also the Senior Policy Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Leader’s Health Board in Rapid City, SD. Dr. Warne is a member of the Oglala  Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, SD and comes from a long line of traditional healers and medicine men. Dr. Warne received his MD from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1995 and his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health in 2002. His work experience includes: several years as a primary care physician with the Gila River Health Care Corporation in Arizona; Staff Clinician with the National Institutes of Health; Indian Legal Program Faculty with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University; Health Policy Research Director for Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona; Executive Director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board; and Chair of the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University. Dr. Warne is also a member of the Stanford University Alumni Hall of Fame.
Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA | Seattle Indian Health Board
Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) is the Executive Vice President of Seattle Indian Health Board and the Director of their data and research division, Urban Indian Health Institute. She serves on the Robert Wood Johnson Public Health Data National Commission, the University of Washington Population Health Initiative External Advisory Board, the Data for Indigenous Justice Board, and many other boards and committees related to data justice and health equity. She also served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee to create A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus in 2020. She has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles including two for the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on COVID-19 among American Indian and Alaska Native people and was lead author on a report about the data genocide of American Indians and Alaska Natives in COVID-19 data. Abigail has also led the way in bringing the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) to the forefront, leading directly to federal, state, and local legislation working to protect Native women. She serves on the Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Taskforce, which she was instrumental in bring to fruition. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in Human Rights and her Master of Arts in Policy Studies both from the University of Washington. She is a researcher and policy professional specializing in tribal government and urban Indian relations.
Emily Haozous, PhD, R.N., FAAN | University of Washington
Emily A. Haozous, PhD, RN, FAAN (Chiricahua Fort Sill Apache) is a nurse and research scientist with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation – Southwest Center, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Haozous conducts community-based and community-guided research and evaluation in collaboration with Native American partners, including urban tribal centers, reservation-based tribal organizations, and tribal governments. Her work is focused on issues of access to care, health equity, cancer and non-cancer pain management, cultural tailoring, and national trends in premature mortality. Dr. Haozous humbly offers her research forward in recognition of the generations that came before her, and with the desire to build a better world for those generations yet to come. Dr. Haozous has a clinical background in oncology, hospice, and palliative care nursing. Dr. Haozous received her undergraduate degree in music from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her masters and PhD in nursing from Yale University.
Michelle Johnson-Jennings, PhD | Indigenous Wellness Research
Michelle Johnson-Jennings, is a Choctaw Nation-enrolled tribal member, joins the faculty on June 1, 2021, as professor and director of the division of environmentally based health and land-based healing at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. She holds a joint appointment at the University of Colorado School of Public Health. Johnson-Jennings received her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University where she specialized in human development and psychology and contemporary Native issues. Johnson-Jennings holds the Canadian Research Chair in Indigenous Community Engaged Research. She was an associate professor in community health and epidemiology in medicine and associate professor in Indigenous studies as well as the scientific director of the National Indigenous HIV/AIDS Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2020, she received the Faculty Presidential Award from the University of Saskatchewan. Earlier, she was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and an affiliate with the University of Colorado School of Public Health. Her therapeutic expertise lies in working with Indigenous communities and decolonizing healing while rewriting narratives of trauma through land-based healing. She has partnered with many international and national Indigenous nations, organizations and communities to prevent substance abuse, food addiction and obesity. She co-developed health interventions rooted in ancestral guidelines to encourage a renewed commitment to health and the revitalization of medicine, food and land-based practices. Johnson-Jennings founded and directed the Research for Indigenous Community Health Center at the University of Minnesota and was awarded a U.S. Fulbright scholarship to conduct research in New Zealand.
Allison Kelliher, MD | University of North Dakota
Allison Kelliher, MD, is Koyukon Athabascan, Dena, from Nome, Alaska.  She is the first and only physician trained as a Traditional Healer in a Tribal Health setting and weaves this into her practice as a Family and Integrative Physician. She is a Research Associate  at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Indigenous Health.  She is also the founder of the American Indian Collaborative Research Network (AICoRN), a Practice-Based Research Network at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Health.  She is also adjunct faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of American Indian Physicians.  She has experience with biomedical research and neuroscience, with special interests in behavioral health and health equity as well as curriculum development including incorporation of Global Healing Traditions into practice and education.  She is currently working on a project focused on decolonizing and indigenizing curriculum at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health where she continues in advocacy for environmental justice with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and other organizations.  She was honored as the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumnus of the year 2022 and recently published a chapter in a textbook Walking Together, Working Together Engaging Wisdom for Indigenous Well-Being.
Melanie Nadeau, PhD | University of North Dakota
Dr. Melanie Nadeau, aka Dr. Mel, is an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in Belcourt, North Dakota.  Dr. Mel currently serves as Interim Chair, Graduate Program Director and Assistant Professor for the Indigenous Health PhD program at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.  She completed both her master’s in public health in community health education with a concentration in health disparities and her PhD in social/behavioral epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Mel is a community engaged scholar and has worked more than 19 years on various research and evaluation projects across Indian country. She has successfully engaged a multitude of tribal health stakeholders and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Native communities.  Dr. Mel also currently serves on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Research Review Board, as program co-chair for the American Evaluation Association Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation Topical Interest Group, on the American Public Health Association American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian board, and co-chairs the Tribal Health Data workgroup for the North Dakota Department of Health.
Tipiziwin Tolman | Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Tipiziwin Tolman is Wičhíyena Dakota and Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta from the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota. She is a representative of the Skunk, Pretends Eagle, and Yellow Lodge extended families of the Standing Rock people and the Young extended family from the Spirit Lake Dakota people. Tipiziwin is a former Lakota Language Activities Instructor in the Lakota Language Immersion Nest from 2012 to 2017. She has served as a member and co-chair of Standing Rock’s Education Consortium’s Lakota Language and Culture Committee and taught at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s annual Dakotiyapi Lakotiyapi Summer Institute. She also completed the College’s intensive Lakota Language teacher preparation program involving the intense study of the Lakota language, second-language teaching methodologies and language acquisition theory. Tipiziwin is dedicated to bringing tribal language and culture to the forefront of conversations regarding public health disparities and social health determinants for indigenous communities and families. Within her scope as an Indigenous educator, Tribal Language Revitalization & Lakota Language Advocate and former immersion instructor, she bears witness to the reality that Tribal Language & Education rooted in Indigenous Pedagogy, are the key and leading social determinants of health for tribal members and tribal communities across the United States. Tipiziwin is a graduate of Sitting Bull College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Native American studies. She is also a graduate of Washington State University’s Ti’tooqan Cuukweneewit Indigenous Teacher Preparation Project, an intensive indigenous pedagogy and indigenous world view aligned, culturally responsive elementary education program. Tipiziwin holds a Master Education in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria.
Meinah Sharif, PhD, MPH |University of Washington*

Mienah Z. Sharif adopts a comprehensive approach, focusing on social justice, global perspectives, and intersections in her study of health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations throughout their lives. Her primary curiosity lies in investigating how health inequities develop among these groups, considering the role of factors such as structural elements, varying exposure to unfavorable social circumstances, and psychological aspects that impact health and overall wellness during different life phases. Presently, she is expanding her research beyond racism and discrimination to analyze how religious identity functions as a type of structural inequality, intertwined with the process of racializing religion. Employing a mixed-methods approach, she places importance on research that actively engages with communities, aiming to provide insights that can shape policies addressing inequalities in both health and society.

Ignatius Bau, JD | Health Equity and Policy Consultant
Ignatius Bau is an independent consultant, supporting community-based organizations, health care provider organizations, state health departments, and foundations on issues of health equity and immigrant justice. His organizational clients have included the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Chinese Community Health Care Association, Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, San Francisco Bay Area Hep B Free, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Foundation San Francisco. Mr. Bau also has worked as the interim executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, policy director at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, program director at The California Endowment, and civil rights and immigration attorney at the San Francisco Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. He was the principal author of the 2001 and 2014 reports from the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and a subject matter expert for a federal Office of Minority Health project that developed resource guides on data disaggregation, language access, and community engagement in response to the 2021 Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Melissa Borja, PhD | University of Michigan

Melissa Borja is Assistant Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, where she is a core faculty member in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies. She is a historian of migration, religion, race, and politics and is the author of Follow the New Way: American Refugee Resettlement Policy and Hmong Religious Change (Harvard University Press, 2023). An avid public scholar, Dr. Borja aims to improve public understanding of refugees through her work as an advisor to the Religion and Forced Migration Initiative at Princeton University and the Vietnamese Boat People project. She has also addressed anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 pandemic as the lead investigator of the Virulent Hate Project, an affiliated researcher with Stop AAPI Hate, and an advisor to the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University. For her work addressing anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 pandemic, she was named Indiana Woman of the Year by USA Today. In 2020-2021, Dr. Borja was a Faculty Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University.  She earned a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an A.B. from Harvard University.

Marshall Chin, MD, MPH | University of Chicago
Marshall H. Chin, M.D., M.P.H., Richard Parrillo Family Distinguished Service Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the University of Chicago, is a practicing general internist and health services researcher who has dedicated his career to advancing health equity through interventions at individual, organizational, community, and policy levels. Through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation program, Dr. Chin collaborates with teams of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, frontline healthcare delivery organizations, and community-based organizations to implement payment reforms to support and incentivize care transformations that advance health equity.  He co-chairs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network Health Equity Advisory Team. Dr. Chin co-directs the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. He is Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and applies ethical principles to reforms that advance health equity and discussions about advocating for patients.  Dr. Chin is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and he completed residency and fellowship training in general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  He is a former President of the Society of General Internal Medicine.  Dr. Chin was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2017.  He was on the Planning Committee for NAM’S 2023 Webinar on Improving the Health and Well-Being of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities, and the Steering Committee for the NAM paper series on structural racism and health.
Gilbert Gee, PhD | University of California, Los Angeles
Gilbert C. Gee, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. He received a bachelors in neuroscience from Oberlin College, a doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins University, and postdoctoral training in sociology from Indiana University. He has studied the social determinants of racial, ethnic, and immigrant health inequities for the past 25 years. A particular emphasis of his research is on the role of racism and other forms of structural oppression on health inequities. This work has emphasized a life course, multi-level, and intersectional perspective. Professor Gee’s research has been honored with accolades including a group Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Paul Cornely Award from Health Activist Dinner (formerly the Physicians Roundtable), and the Innovative Public Health Curriculum Award from the Delta Omega Honorary Society for Public Health. Professor Gee was past Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and is currently on the Executive Committee for the Board of Scientific Counselors for the EPA.
Nadia Kim, PhD | Loyola Marymount University

Nadia Y. Kim is Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on US race and citizenship hierarchies concerning Korean/Asian Americans, South Koreans, and Latinx immigrants, and on fights against environmental racism/classism (esp. by women) and on comparative racialization of Latinxs and Asian and Black Americans. Throughout her work, Kim’s approach centers (neo)imperialism, transnationality, and intersectionality. Kim is author of two multi-award-winning books – Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA (Stanford, 2008) and Refusing Death: Immigrant Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice in LA – and co-edited the new book Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies, and of award-winning journal articles on race and assimilation and on racial attitudes. Kim has also organized on issues of immigrant rights, affirmative action, and environmental justice and her work have appeared (inter)nationally on National Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, Red Table Talk, Radio Korea, and in The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeThe Korea TimesNYLON Magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education

Leilani Nishime, PhD | University of Washington
LeiLani Nishime is a Professor of Communication at the University of Washington where she has chaired the Graduate Program and Professional Development Committees. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on Asian American media, gender and technology, and race and environmental humanities. She is the author of Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture and the co-editor of the books Racial Ecologies, Global Asian American Popular Culture, and East Main Street. Her work also appears in journals such as Communication Theory, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Asian American Studies, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Social Media + Society, and Quarterly Journal of Speech. She has contributed chapters to books such as Teaching Asian North American Literatures, Routledge Companion to Asian American Media, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature, and Mixed Race Hollywood. She has served as a board member of the Association of Asian American Studies. Currently, she is the Associate Director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity and is also the Grants Manager for the Seattle Asian American Film Festival.
Paul Ong, PhD | University of California, Los Angeles
Paul Ong is Research Professor at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. He has a master’s in urban planning and a doctorate in economics, and his research focuses on the urban spatial structure, race and economic inequality, environmental justice, and urban labor market disparities. He has done seminal work on spatial-transportation mismatch as a barrier to economic opportunities. Professor Ong has served on national advisory committees or as a technical advisor for federal agencies: the Census Bureau, National Research Council, Department of Justice, National Cancer Institute and Small Business Administration. He has conducted empirical research for several California agencies: Employment Development Department on displaced workers, Department of Social Services to assess the employment impact of welfare reform, Housing and Community Development on fair housing, the Air Resource Board on sustainability and transportation disparities, and the Department of Transportation on the impacts of freeway development on communities of color. He is committed to engage scholarship and won the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award for community service and environmental justice.
Micere Keels, PhD | University of Chicago*
Micere Keels is a Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is also the Policy and Practice Lead for the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. Her research focuses on understanding how race, ethnicity, and poverty structure the supports and challenges that children and youth experience. She is particularly invested in systems-change interventions that can narrow intergenerational inequities. For over two decades, she has worked to integrate mental health promotion interventions into educational systems and institutions. She is the principal investigator of K-12 and postsecondary projects that aim to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of students from historically marginalized communities. She is the founding director of the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project, which is a research-translation and research-practice-partnership that aims to connect the research on the science of trauma with the realities of school and classroom management. She has authored two recent books: Trauma Responsive Educational Practices: Helping Students Cope and Learn and Campus Counterspace: Search for Community at Historically White Institutions
Tyson Brown, PhD | Duke University
Tyson H. Brown, PhD is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University and holder of the W.L.F. endowed chair, his research focuses on examining racial inequities in wealth and health. His work addresses questions of who, when, and how these inequities arise. Dr. Brown has published numerous articles in prestigious journals within the fields of sociology, demography, and population health. His contributions have been recognized through awards from the American Sociological Association, invitations to deliver keynote addresses and conduct research for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). He has also received accolades such as the Duke Presidential Fellow distinction, the Thomas Langford Award from Duke University, and a residency fellowship at Oxford University. Currently, Professor Brown is engaged in multiple projects that investigate the underlying macro-level factors and psychosocial mechanisms contributing to social inequalities in the health field.
Robynn Cox, PhD | University of California, Riverside
Robynn Cox, PhD is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, NBER research economist, senior scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute, and faculty affiliate at the Presley Center for Crime & Justice. Her expertise is centered at the intersection of the criminal legal system (CLS) and inequality. She is concerned with understanding barriers faced by marginalized communities, with an emphasis on those disproportionately faced by the Black community, as well as the structural factors that have led to the social exclusion of marginalized groups. Specifically, her research focuses on understanding the social, economic, and health consequences of mass incarceration policies. She uses a life course approach to study how the criminal legal system buttresses the social and racial hierarchy within the United States. An interdisciplinary scholar, Cox’s research and publications include the topics of crime, housing, labor, aging, and health. She has published in various journals such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Neuropharmacology, Journals of Gerontology Series B, Justice Quarterly, Cityscape, Southern Economic Journal, and Review of Black Political Economy. Her work has been supported by organizations such as the National Bureau of Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the NIA, and the USDA. Cox’s work on housing insecurity led to the implementation of a housing security module in the American Housing Survey. Cox is a member of the advisory committee for the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program (CoHP) and has previously served as an elected board member of the National Economic Association (NEA). Cox earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from Georgia State University. She completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University, where she obtained her AB in economics and Spanish and Latin American studies.
Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH | Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH, is Dean of Global Health, Social Justice, and Human Rights, the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor in Adolescent Health in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and Professor in the Department of Global Health and Health Systems Design at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, where she has sat on its governing council, been a member of the Health and Medicine Division, and served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, of which she is still a member. Dr. Diaz is Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, a unique program that provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary, integrated primary care, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, health education, optical, dental, and legal services to young people. Under her leadership, the Center has become one of the largest adolescent-specific health centers in the U.S., serving more than 12,000 young people every year – all at no cost to patients. The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center is a major training site in the field of adolescent health and medicine, with research funded by NIH.
Chelsea Dorsey, MD | University of Chicago
Dr. Chelsea Dorsey (@MdDorsey), is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine, Vice-Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department of Surgery, and the Associate Dean for Medical Student Academic Advising and Advancement. After earning her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, she completed a vascular surgery integrated residency at Stanford University and returned to the University of Chicago as a faculty member in the Section of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. It is worth noting that Dr. Dorsey was recognized as a Distinguished Faculty Member in Diversity and Inclusion and was also inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators at the University of Chicago, both in 2021. She was also recognized nationally as one of the “40 under 40” women surgeons from the Association of Women Surgeons in 2022 and was recently inducted as faculty into the Pritzker Chapter of the AOA specifically recognizing her dedication to mentorship and efforts in the area of DEI. Her research interests include workforce diversity, microaggressions in the surgical environment, and medical student curriculum reform in vascular surgery. Dr. Dorsey has served as an invited speaker locally, regionally, and nationally frequently discussing her approach to DEI in the field of surgery. Her most recently publications include “Fixing Flexner: Disrupting and Rebuilding Academic Medicine for Women of Color to Lead”, “Understanding the Impact of Health Inequities in Surgical Complications: Rethinking Morbidity and Mortality Conferences”, and “Evaluating the Thematic Nature of Microaggression among Racial and Ethnic Minority Surgeons.”
Wendy Ellis, DrPH, MPH | George Washington University
Wendy Ellis is an Assistant Professor in Global Health and the Founding Director of the Center for Community Resilience at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Dr. Ellis has spent the last fifteen years developing and working to grow a ‘resilience movement’ to address systemic inequities that contribute to social and health disparities that are often transmitted in families and communities from generation to generation. Ellis’ innovations provide a platform for crosssector partners to align resources, programs and initiatives with community-based efforts to address adverse childhood experiences and adverse community environments– or as Ellis has coined it “The Pair of ACEs”. The BCR process and Community Resilience framework are being used in more than 20 cities and states across the country. Leveraging her extensive background in communications, in 2022 Dr. Ellis produced a documentary, “America’s Truth: Cincinnati” that follows her team’s innovative approach to centering conversations on structural racism that galvanized a resilience movement to foster equity through systems and policy change. Dr. Ellis holds several leadership positions in public health including Chair of the National Academy of Science’s, Enhancing Community Resilience in the Gulf States Committee, Scientific Advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Prevention and Injury Center and the National Academy’s Culture of Health Advisory Board. In 2018 Dr. Ellis was selected as an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow to support her leadership in developing cross-sector strategies to address childhood trauma, foster equity and build community resilience.
Velma McBride Murry, PhD | Vanderbilt University
Dr. Velma McBride Murry, Associate Provost, Office of Research and Innovation, holds the Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair, and is a University Distinguished Professor in Departments of Health Policy [Vanderbilt School of Medicine] and Human and Organizational Development [Peabody College]. She is Past President of the Society for Research on Adolescence and incoming President of The International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies. McBride Murry is one of the 100 elected members to the 2020 Class of the National Academic of Medicine.  She was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Mental Health Research Council. Her research examines the significance of context to everyday life experiences of African American families and youth, focusing on processes through which racism, and other social structural stressors, cascade through families to influence parenting and family functioning, developmental outcomes, and adjustment among youth, during critical developmental periods from middle childhood through young adulthood.
Ruth Zambrana, PhD, MSW | University of Maryland*
Ruth Enid Zambrana, PhD is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Director of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity and has a secondary appointment as Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Medicine. She is a medical and community sociologist and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Her scholarship applies a critical intersectional lens to structural inequality and racial, Hispanic ethnicity, and gender inequities in population health and higher education trajectories. Dr. Zambrana has published widely on health and racial inequity in her major field concentrations: women’s health, maternal and child health, socioeconomic health disparities and life course impacts on health and mental well-being of historically underrepresented minorities. Her most recent book is Toxic Ivory Tower: The Consequences of Work Stress on the Health of Underrepresented Minority Faculty (2018). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award by the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Latinos/as Section, the 2013 American Public Health Association (APHA) Latino Caucus, Founding Member Award for Vision and Leadership, the 2021 APHA Lyndon Haviland Public Health Mentoring Award, and the 2021-22 Distinguished Research Fellow at the Latino Research Institute University of Texas, Austin.
Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH | Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH, is Dean of Global Health, Social Justice, and Human Rights, the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor in Adolescent Health in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and Professor in the Department of Global Health and Health Systems Design at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, where she has sat on its governing council, been a member of the Health and Medicine Division, and served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, of which she is still a member. Dr. Diaz is Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, a unique program that provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary, integrated primary care, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, health education, optical, dental, and legal services to young people. Under her leadership, the Center has become one of the largest adolescent-specific health centers in the U.S., serving more than 12,000 young people every year – all at no cost to patients. The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center is a major training site in the field of adolescent health and medicine, with research funded by NIH.
Lenny López, MD, MPH, MDiv, FAHA | University of California, San Francisco
Lenny López, MD, MPH, MDiv, FAHA is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco and the Chief of Hospital Medicine at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.  My health services and epidemiologic research has focused on racial and ethnic disparities in chronic diseases that particularly impact older adults, especially cardiovascular disease, and specifically on the role of the social determinants of health and healthcare delivery. I have also focused on cultural factors unique to Latino populations.  For example, I have published on the intersection of acculturation, literacy, language and communication barriers, education status, and the experience of discrimination in everyday life among Latinos in the US.  I have been inducted as a Fellow of the American Heart Association and as a Senior Fellow of the Society of Hospital Medicine.  I have served on several equity focused national healthcare policy advising committees for the National Academies of Medicine, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission.  Finally, I serve as a Co-Editor-In-Chief at The Journal of General Internal Medicine which is the official journal of the Society of General Internal Medicine.
José A. Pagán, PhD | New York University
José A. Pagán, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Policy and Management in the School of Global Public Health at New York University. He is also Chair of the Board of Directors of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal health care system in the United States. Dr. Pagán received his PhD in economics from the University of New Mexico and is a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar with expertise in health economics and population health. He has led research, implementation, and evaluation projects on the redesign of health care delivery and payment systems. Over the years his research work has been funded through grants and contracts from the Department of Defense, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the European Commission, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. Dr. Pagán is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science and the American Society of Health Economists.
José E. Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP | New York University
José E Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP is the Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at University of Utah Health, and a tenured professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. For most of his career, Dr. Rodríguez has provided primary care for underserved minority communities in New York, Florida, and Utah. His main area of scholarship has been in the equity, diversity, and inclusion realm, specifically in the area of underrepresented minority faculty in academic medicine. Dr. Rodríguez founded and co-directed the Center for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine at Florida State University, where he produced scholarship highlighting the disparities in academic medicine for minority faculty, elucidated the systemic barriers to recruitment of URM faculty, and identified essential components of successful URM faculty development. That work led to additional scholarship in the faculty development space with solutions to mitigate and address the minority tax. Currently, he and his team are funded by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) to direct the Leadership through Scholarship Fellowship at STFM.  It is now in its 4th year, focused on teaching academic skill to early career underrepresented in medicine family medicine faculty. He associate editor at Annals of Family Medicine—the #1 primary care journal in the world—to lead their editorial team in the areas of racism and health disparities. His primary mission is to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in the academic medicine space by identifying and eliminating systemic anti-Black racism in medicine, equipping URiM faculty with tools to succeed in a system that was not designed for them, and enlisting allies in this work. He and his team have produced recent scholarship to assist in these efforts. Recently, Dr. Rodríguez was named president of the Family Physicians Inquiries Network, which is an organization dedicated to teaching residents and faculty how to critically appraise the literature and answer clinical questions with the best evidence possible. Dr. Rodríguez is also currently working with the National Academy of Medicine producing a chapter on the Culture of Health, specifically pertaining to those who identify as Latino or Hispanic.
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN | University of Pennsylvania
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Director of the School’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. As a bilingual and bicultural researcher, Dr. Villarruel has extensive research and practice experience with Latino populations and health equity. She currently co-leads the NIH funded Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance to address COVID-19 Inequities (CEAL) a coalition to optimize the rollout and real-time evaluation of interventions focused on COVID-19 disparities across diverse populations within the Philadelphia region. Dr. Villarruel holds many leadership positions. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; she serves as Chair of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Culture of Health Program Advisory Committee, a Regent of the Uniformed Health Sciences University and Co-chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of the AARP/RWJ Future of Nursing Campaign for Action. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2021 Health Care Leader Award from the American Academy of Nursing, the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award, the Globy Award for Educational Leadership from the Global Philadelphia Association, and the prestigious Ohtli Award from the government of Mexico. Dr. Villarruel earned an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD in nursing from Wayne State University.
Kristine Ajrouch, PhD | Eastern Michigan University*
Kristine J. Ajrouch, PhD is Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University, and also Adjunct Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan where she co-directs the Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease (MCCFAD). Her research has focused, for over twenty years, on Middle Eastern/Arab Americans beginning with ethnic identity formation among adolescent children of immigrants followed by the study of social relations, aging and health. Dr. Ajrouch’s findings have been published in high-impact journals and have considerable significance to work being conducted by the U.S. Census, with whom she has been consulting for several years, on the feasibility of including Middle East/North African as a separate category. Dr. Ajrouch is collaborated with a multidisciplinary group of scholars as a member of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Research Working Group to develop consensus on how to validly and reliably distinguish Middle Eastern/Arab Americans from the White/Caucasian racial group on surveys and forms used by various organizations and researchers. Dr. Ajrouch’s current work addresses social aspects of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) where she is leading efforts to establish prevalence levels of AD among Middle Eastern and Arab Americans as well as adapt an AD caregiver intervention program to meet the needs of Arab American families.
Nadia N. Abuelezam, ScD | Boston College
Nadia N. Abuelezam, Sc.D., is an associate professor at the Connell School of Nursing and an epidemiologist. Dr. Abuelezam was trained in infectious disease epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has expertise in data analytic approaches in public health, mitigating health inequities for vulnerable populations, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases. Her current research focuses on understanding health risks in minoritized populations, with a focus on Arab Americans. The goals of her program of research are to use quantitative methods and novel data streams to better understand inequities in health outcomes and healthcare access in vulnerable populations.
Niaz Kasravi, PhD | Avalan Institute
Dr. Niaz Kasravi is a national expert and advocate on criminal justice, social justice, and racial justice, with more than 20 years of experience leading campaigns across the U.S. – including on police accountability, racial profiling, and the death penalty. Some of her achievements including leading the NAACP campaign to end the death penalty in Maryland, coordinating a campaign to free a wrongfully convicted man in Georgia, and helping pass the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Dr. Kasravi is the Founder & Director of the Avalan Institute for Applied Research – a research, advocacy & training institute working with students, experts, and organizations to support justice-based projects across the country. She previously served as Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Associate for the Domestic Human Rights Program of Amnesty International USA. Dr. Kasravi holds a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine. In 2000, via a National Science Foundation dissertation grant, she traveled to Iran to work with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi on women’s rights and justice reform in that country.
Jen’nan Read, PhD | Duke University
Jen’nan Ghazal Read is the Sally Dalton Robinson Distinguished Professor and Chair of Sociology at Duke University. She is a Carnegie Scholar whose expertise lies in the assimilation experiences of Arabs and Muslims in the United States and on the social determinants of U.S. health disparities. Her most recent work focuses on disaggregating ethnic groups classified as “white” and examining social mobility outcomes when groups such as Arab Americans and eastern Europeans are isolated from the generic “white” category. She has published widely on these topics, including a book and numerous peer-review journal articles. Professor Read is the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants, including ones from the U.S. Census Bureau, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation. Professor Read spent her childhood in Libya and Egypt, North Africa, before returning to the United States at the age of 14. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Midwestern State University in 1995 as Student Body President and named MSU’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 2008. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 and held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University in the James Baker Institute for Public Policy and Department of Sociology from 2001-2003. She was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine from 2003-2007 before joining Duke University in 2008.
Muniba Saleem, PhD | University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr. Muniba Saleem is an associate professor in the department of Communication at University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Saleem studies how media affects interpersonal and intergroup relations between racial, ethnic, and religious groups using social scientific methods. Applying social psychological theories, Dr. Saleem has studied the effects of media representations of marginalized groups in violent contexts on hostile attitudes and support for harmful policies towards depicted members (Saleem & Anderson, 2013; Saleem et al., 2017). Recent work has examined how the same negative media depictions influence minority members’ social, psychological, and political outcomes (Saleem et al., 2023). Longitudinal and experimental research reveals that negative media depictions adversely influence immigrants’ integration and trust in American politics (Saleem et al., 2019) but at the same time minorities are motivated to seek collective action to improve their ingroup’s image and status in the larger society (Saleem et al., 2020; 2023). Dr. Saleem’s work has been published in journals such as Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Child Development, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and American Psychologist. Her research has been funded by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, and Facebook.
Jacob Fitisemanu Jr., MPH | Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition*
Jacob “Jake” Fitisemanu, MPH, was born in New Zealand/Aotearoa to Karen Dang (Kaimukī, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi) and Jacob Fitisemanu Sr. (Falefā, ʻUpolu, Sāmoa) and raised in Hawaiʻi and Utah. Jake holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Westminster College and works for Intermountain Healthcare as a Community Health Program Manager. He was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in 2015 and was also appointed to the US Census National Advisory Committee for two terms. Jake co-founded the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition (which he has chaired since 2011), sits on the Huntsman Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board, and teaches community health dynamics as an associate instructor at the University of Utah. He lives with his wife and two daughters in West Valley City where he founded the Healthy West Valley Initiative and was recently re-elected as a member of the City Council.
Nia Aitaoto, PhD | University of Utah
Dr. Nia Aitaoto is the Lead Consultant to the Pacific Islander Center of Primary Care Excellence (PI-CoPE) – a Health Equity arm of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization, Interim Executive Director of the National Association of Pasifika Organization, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Utah College of Health and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. She has over 20 years of experience in the health and education field focusing on cancer, diabetes, cultural competency, physical activity, nutrition, medication adherence and tobacco related initiatives.  She also provides trainings to Dr. Aitaoto also specializes in providing technical assistance, data assessment and evaluation support to ministries of health, departments of health, community health centers and non-profit organizations in US, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of Belau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Yvette Paulino, CPH, PhD | University of Guam
Dr. Yvette Paulino leads research in the Pacific on the epidemiology and public health of areca nut and betel quid chewing, including oral precancer screening of chewers, the effects of chewing on the oral microbiome and in liver cancer development, and a betel quid cessation program. She received the American Association for Cancer Research Minority Serving Institution Faculty Scholar Award in 2012 for her work in cancer epidemiology and supported the World Health Organization as a content expert on a couple of working groups on areca nut, betel quid, and smokeless tobacco use in the Western Pacific. In 2022, she expanded her research portfolio through a grant from the National Institute On Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (U24MD016233) to build the Guma’ Tinemtom (House of Wisdom) which will house the Micronesian Data Laboratory at the University of Guam and serve as a training ground for sustainability. Dr. Paulino is passionate about training and mentoring. She trained numerous students in conducting population health research and provided research mentor training to faculty, administrators, researchers, and post-docs to enhance the student experience.  Recently, she managed the Pacific Public Health Fellowship Program at the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association and helped train the next generation of public health leaders from the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. While preparing the next cadre of Pacific researchers, she leverages community collaborations to improve health and wellness in their communities. Outside of work, she enjoys reading novels for entertainment, playing soccer for recreation, and spending time with her family for relaxation.
Maile M. Taualii, PhD MPH | Kaiser Permanente
Maile Taualii Flores, PhD, MPH, holds the position of assistant clinical investigator at HPMG, which stands for Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, the largest multispecialty group practice in the state. Dr. Tauali’i earned her PhD in Health Services with a focus on Public Health Informatics and Public Health Genetics from the University of Washington. She also completed her Master of Public Health in Social & Behavioral Sciences at the same institution. In 2018, Dr. Tauali’i joined HPMG, where she collaborated with CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) on studying the usefulness and accuracy of health information for racial minorities. Her research primarily revolves around reducing health disparities, particularly among Indigenous Peoples and Native Hawaiians. In 2015, Dr. Tauali’i established the world’s inaugural global Indigenous Master of Public Health degree program and was honored with the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award. Her involvement at the federal level includes serving as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations for the U.S. Census Bureau, participating in the National Institutes of Health’s PhenX Working Group on Social Determinants of Health, and contributing to the All of Us Research Program Biospecimen Access Policy Task Force. Dr. Tauali’i and her husband, along with their five children and three dogs, reside on a 20-acre food forest alongside their ‘ohana (extended family), with the aim of providing the community with traditional, plant-based sustenance from the land.
Erika Blacksher, PhD | University of Kansas School of Medicine*
Erika Blacksher is an ethicist and engagement scientist. Dr. Blacksher studies questions of responsibility and justice raised by U.S. health inequalities and the potential for democratic deliberation to make health a shared value. Her conceptual work examines intersectional health inequalities; identity and diversity in health and healthcare; the ethics and politics of health promotion; and methodological issues in democratic deliberation. She is currently leading an initiative that has built a democratic deliberative toolkit to convene people who differ by race, place, class, and political orientation to learn and talk together about pressing U.S. population health challenges. She also serves as a consultant to other deliberative initiatives, including the Center for the Ethics of Indigenous Genomic Research that has adapted democratic deliberation for use with Tribal communities on health questions of concern to Tribal leaders and citizens. She currently holds the John B. Francis Chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics and is a Research Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Prior to being named the John B. Francis Chair, Dr. Blacksher was Associate Professor (with tenure) and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA (2010 to 2020). From 2006 to 2008, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University in New York City, after which she joined The Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank in New York (2008 to 2010). Dr. Blacksher has masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia’s bioethics program and undergraduate degrees in philosophy and in journalism from the University of Kansas.
Steven Woolf, MD, MPH | Virginia Commonwealth University
Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H, is Director Emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is Professor of Family Medicine and Population Health. He holds the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Population Health and Health Equity. Dr. Woolf has edited three books and published more than 200 articles in a career that has focused on raising public awareness about the social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health and perpetuate inequities. Dr. Woolf received his M.D. in 1984 from Emory University and underwent residency training in family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Woolf is also a clinical epidemiologist and underwent training in preventive medicine and public health at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his M.P.H. in 1986.  He is board certified in family medicine and in preventive medicine and public health. He served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) in 2001.
Matt Wray, PhD | Temple University
Matt Wray is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to arriving at Temple, Wray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University and Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an MA and PhD from University of California, Berkeley, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. As a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar, Wray examined the racial and spatial heterogeneity of suicide rates in the American West, with a particular emphasis on Las Vegas, the city with the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S. In addition to his work on suicide, Wray has researched multiple aspects of white identity, particularly the stigmatyping of poor rural whites. His work has been profiled in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Business Week, and The Wall Street Journal, among dozens of other national and international publications, and he has been a frequent guest on radio programs, including NPR’s All Things Considered, Code Switch, and Freakonomics Radio. Wray is the author of Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (Duke, 2006) and the editor of Cultural Sociology: An Introductory Reader (WW Norton, 2013); The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness (Duke, 2001); Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life (New York University Press, 1998); and White Trash: Race and Class in America (Routledge, 1997). In addition, Wray has published over 65 articles, book chapters, and scholarly essays, and his work has appeared in American Behavioral Scientist, American Quarterly, Annual Review of Sociology, ContextsPublic Books, Social Science & Medicine, and Social Science Quarterly, and dozens of other publications.

This group of authors will support the development of the Special Publication introduction and cross-cutting solutions papers.

Tyson Brown, PhD | Duke University
Tyson H. Brown, PhD is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University and holder of the W.L.F. endowed chair, his research focuses on examining racial inequities in wealth and health. His work addresses questions of who, when, and how these inequities arise. Dr. Brown has published numerous articles in prestigious journals within the fields of sociology, demography, and population health. His contributions have been recognized through awards from the American Sociological Association, invitations to deliver keynote addresses and conduct research for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). He has also received accolades such as the Duke Presidential Fellow distinction, the Thomas Langford Award from Duke University, and a residency fellowship at Oxford University. Currently, Professor Brown is engaged in multiple projects that investigate the underlying macro-level factors and psychosocial mechanisms contributing to social inequalities in the health field.
Marshall Chin, MD, MPH | University of Chicago
Marshall H. Chin, M.D., M.P.H., Richard Parrillo Family Distinguished Service Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the University of Chicago, is a practicing general internist and health services researcher who has dedicated his career to advancing health equity through interventions at individual, organizational, community, and policy levels. Through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation program, Dr. Chin collaborates with teams of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, frontline healthcare delivery organizations, and community-based organizations to implement payment reforms to support and incentivize care transformations that advance health equity.  He co-chairs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network Health Equity Advisory Team. Dr. Chin co-directs the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. He is Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and applies ethical principles to reforms that advance health equity and discussions about advocating for patients.  Dr. Chin is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and he completed residency and fellowship training in general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  He is a former President of the Society of General Internal Medicine.  Dr. Chin was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2017.  He was on the Planning Committee for NAM’S 2023 Webinar on Improving the Health and Well-Being of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities, and the Steering Committee for the NAM paper series on structural racism and health.
Gilbert Gee, PhD | University of California, Los Angeles
Gilbert C. Gee, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. He received a bachelors in neuroscience from Oberlin College, a doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins University, and postdoctoral training in sociology from Indiana University. He has studied the social determinants of racial, ethnic, and immigrant health inequities for the past 25 years. A particular emphasis of his research is on the role of racism and other forms of structural oppression on health inequities. This work has emphasized a life course, multi-level, and intersectional perspective. Professor Gee’s research has been honored with accolades including a group Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Paul Cornely Award from Health Activist Dinner (formerly the Physicians Roundtable), and the Innovative Public Health Curriculum Award from the Delta Omega Honorary Society for Public Health. Professor Gee was past Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and is currently on the Executive Committee for the Board of Scientific Counselors for the EPA.
Tina Kauh, PhD | Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Tina Kauh joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2012. As a senior program officer within the Research-Evaluation-Learning Unit, she develops new research and evaluation programs, supports the development of team strategy, evaluates the work of grantees, and disseminates key learnings.  She has a focus on supporting the health and well-being of children and on advancing research practices and policies related to the disaggregation of demographic characteristics that are critical for improving the outcomes of those who are at greatest risk of poor health and well-being. Kauh is an expert in child and adolescent development and program evaluation, having earned a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University with a doctoral minor in Statistics. She also holds an MS in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University and a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College. She has authored numerous research reports, peer-reviewed articles, and book chapters on child development, out-of-school time initiatives, youth mentoring, youth violence prevention, and childhood obesity prevention. She is a member of the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Society for Prevention Research, the Society for Research in Child Development, the American Evaluation Association, and the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.
Paul Lindberg, JD | Hat Creek Consulting/Healthy Gorge Initiative

Paul Lindberg, JD, is a Collective Impact Health Specialist, working in the Columbia River Gorge Region of Oregon/Washington. Through this unique community-based role, funded by Providence Hood River Hospital community benefit funds, Mr. Lindberg utilizes 28+ years of community-based experience to work across sectors identifying needs, designing initiatives to address those needs, and securing funding to support those initiatives. To date, this work has launched 90+ new collaborative initiatives and secured $26.5 million in grant funding to address a variety of social determinants of health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation specifically recognized the Collective Impact Health Specialist role when it awarded the community its Culture of Health Prize in 2016. Mr. Lindberg is a co-founder of the Gorge Health Equity Collaborative, he served as Lead Research Scholar for TEDMED, for four years prior to Covid, vetting speakers for the TEDMED program. He also sat on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize National Advisory Group from 2018 – 2022 as one of 12 members and the only one representing rural and prior winners, and has served in other advisory roles for the Foundation.

Julie Morita, PhD | Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Julie Morita is Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), where she oversees programming, policy, research and communications activities. As the nation’s largest private philanthropy dedicated solely to improving the nation’s health, RWJF is focused on advancing health equity where everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Recently, Dr. Morita has served on several federal, state and local COVID19 advisory committees including the Biden Transition COVID19 Advisory Board. Previously, she helped lead the Chicago Department of Public Health for nearly two decades, first as the Immunization Program medical director, then as chief medical officer. In 2015, she was appointed commissioner, where she oversaw the public health needs of 2.7 million residents in the nation’s third largest city. Dr. Morita began her medical career as a pediatrician in Tucson, Ariz., before moving into public health as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC).
Alonzo Plough, PhD | Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Alonzo Plough joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as chief science officer and vice president, Research-Evaluation-Learning in January 2014. He is responsible for aligning all the Foundation’s work with the best evidence from research and practice on improving health equity and incorporating program evaluations into organizational learning. He also oversees the two grantmaking portfolios focused on innovation and emerging issues: Pioneer and Global Ideas for U.S. solutions. Dr. Plough has been a national leader in public health practice for over 25 years including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health where he served as the director of emergency preparedness and response, as the director and health officer for the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health, and as the director of public health for Boston. He started out as an academic researcher and was a professor in graduate programs at Boston University, Tufts, and Harvard. He is currently Clinical Professor of Population Health at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Dr Plough has published an extensive body of peer reviewed research and is the author or editor of 8 books including the most recent Necessary Conversations: Understanding Racism as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity (Oxford University Press 2022).
Dwayne Proctor, PhD | Missouri Foundation for Health
Dwayne Proctor, PhD serves as President and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), bringing over 20 years of experience in philanthropy to the role. The Foundation works to improve health through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing and strategic investment, never losing sight of the equity lens that shapes its work. Under his leadership, MFH has launched a 20-year Food Justice strategic initiative to build collaborative efforts and galvanize shifts in current policies and practices to ensure all Missourians have the foods they need to live active and healthy lives. Previously, he served in a variety of roles during almost two decades at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), providing strategic guidance and resources for multiple initiatives including Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the Nurse-Family Partnership. As senior advisor to RWJF’s president, Proctor and colleagues developed strategies for achieving health equity to create a Culture of Health in America.When tapped to lead national strategies at RWJF, Proctor collaborated with his colleagues to test and demonstrate innovative community and school-based environmental changes. Both “grassroots” and “treetops” advocacy approaches were used to educate local and national leaders on their roles and opportunities to prevent childhood obesity. Proctor was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and taught courses on health communication and marketing practices to reach multicultural populations. During his Fulbright Fellowship in Senegal, West Africa, his research team investigated how HIV prevention messages raised awareness of AIDS as a national health problem. Proctor received his doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in marketing and communication science from the University of Connecticut. He is the former Chairperson of the board of directors for the Association of Black Foundation Executives. Currently he serves on the boards of National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the NAACP Foundation as its chair.
Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA | University of Maryland

Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, serves as Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academy of Medicine. Reece was elected to the NAM in 1998 and has served in numerous leadership roles, including as a member of the NAM Council and executive committee as well as on several panels, committees, and groups.

As the academy’s Visiting Scholar-in-Residence, Reece will lead work on a project focused on the state of the U.S. biomedical research enterprise. During a one-year term, his project will identify trends, challenges, and solutions, culminating in a timely publication on the topic. Reece will also contribute his expertise to ongoing NAM programs on climate change and culture of health, as well as related roundtables and projects across the National Academies.

Reece is Professor of obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine where he also served as Dean from 2006 to 2022. He is the former Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Originally from Jamaica, Reece earned a BS (Magna Cum Laude) from Long Island University; an MD from New York University School of Medicine; a PhD in biochemistry from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; and an MBA from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. He completed his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, where he remained on the full-time faculty for nearly a decade.

 

Anna Ricklin, MHS | Fairfax County Health Department
Anna Ricklin is a passionate advocate for healthy communities. She currently serves at the first Health in All Policies Manager for the Fairfax County Health Department (VA), where she acts as a health ambassador across county agencies. In this role, Anna promotes the integration of public health objectives into county plans, policies, and building projects. She also co-leads the Department’s Health Equity Team, charged with centering health equity through the transformation of internal processes and external operations to benefit staff, clients, and the community at large. Formerly, Anna managed the American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center, where she directed applied research and place-based initiatives to advance healthy planning practice. Anna began her career at the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, which built her experience in health impact assessment, active transportation planning, and cross-sector collaboration. Anna studied anthropology as an undergraduate and holds a Master of Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Falls Church, VA.
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN | University of Pennsylvania
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Director of the School’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. As a bilingual and bicultural researcher, Dr. Villarruel has extensive research and practice experience with Latino populations and health equity. She currently co-leads the NIH funded Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance to address COVID-19 Inequities (CEAL) a coalition to optimize the rollout and real-time evaluation of interventions focused on COVID-19 disparities across diverse populations within the Philadelphia region. Dr. Villarruel holds many leadership positions. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; she serves as Chair of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Culture of Health Program Advisory Committee, a Regent of the Uniformed Health Sciences University and Co-chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of the AARP/RWJ Future of Nursing Campaign for Action. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2021 Health Care Leader Award from the American Academy of Nursing, the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award, the Globy Award for Educational Leadership from the Global Philadelphia Association, and the prestigious Ohtli Award from the government of Mexico. Dr. Villarruel earned an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD in nursing from Wayne State University.

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