Roslyn Y. Daniels is president and founder of Black Health Matters, the leading health promotion and disease management online platform serving the needs of consumers, patients and physicians. She is a tireless advocate for eliminating health disparities by improving the health literacy of African American consumers and patients. A former senior executive in broadcast and publishing, Daniels is a nationally respected health strategist with more than 20 years designing and implementing cross-cultural health education programs and initiatives.
Daniels is disrupting the educational space for African American patients. In 2018, she launched the Black Health Matters Summit, which is a multi-platform initiative that features live Ted Talk-inspired presentations by leading clinicians and health advocates. The Black Health Matters Summits draw thousands of impressions via original content produced, which includes video pushed through social media and custom newsletters to its base of subscribers and fans. Black Health Matters has worked with: AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Boston Scientific, Gilead, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi and other leading pharmaceutical companies.
Understanding that African American men have the lowest life expectancy and highest death rate compared to men and women in other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, Daniels launched Precision Oncology in partnership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. The goal is to offer strategies needed to establish and strengthen the capacity of Kappa Alpha Psi chapters in promoting health and wellness among members and the greater community in which they live and work. Black Health Matters will host more than five Precision Oncology programs in 2020 at Kappa Province meetings with the goal of touching more than 60,000 Kappas within the program year.
Daniels’ other accomplishments include receiving the Digital Diversity Network’s Social Entrepreneur Award in 2017. She conceived and implemented two programs with original content adopted by the National Medical Association (NMA): 1) Prescription for Exercise, which motivates physicians and patients to discuss physical activity in the proper dosage to manage over 40 of the most common chronic health conditions effectively, and 2) the NMA Breastfeeding Medicine Alliance, designed to increase rates of breastfeeding for optimal health of mothers and babies. These programs impact more than 3 million patients annually. Her work in increasing clinical trial participation was captured in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.
Outside of business, Daniels is vice chair of the Health & Human Services facet for the Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, where she manages key initiatives, including feeding the homeless and community health programs. She is also a member of the Health Ministry at Abyssinian Baptist Church and member of Women of Color in Pharma. An ovarian cancer survivor, she often speaks to the importance of self-care and of being a knowledgeable patient. Professionally, she mentors women entrepreneurs on revenue acquisition and management.
Daniels is a graduate of Boston University.
The Health Status of African American Men in the United States
Roslyn Young Daniels
Founder & President
Black Health Matters
This Black History Month Summit is dedicated to improving health outcomes in our community. Fighting injustice in healthcare is an urgent civil rights issue, central to achieving a shared dream of peace, prosperity and equality. In the inspiring words of Maya Angelou, "When you know better, you do better." Black Health Matters is committed to helping African Americans do better and thrive on a local, regional and national basis through health education.
We will engage and empower patients, health advocates, community partners, congregational health directors and health-interested adults with the tools and resources in areas of disease state awareness, management and prevention needed to establish and strengthen community wellness.
Hematologist/Sickle Cell Physician & Advocate
Children's Hospital of Michigan
Dr. Ahmar Urooj Zaidi is a classical hematologist at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, who cares primarily for individuals with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). His research interests are focused on the intersection of technology and disease. Dr. Zaidi is also a tireless advocate for SCD and firmly believes that advocacy, and patient education, can be achieved using social media as a tool to interact with patients and physicians. In addition to being a physician and advocate, Dr. Zaidi is the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Central Michigan University and the Director of Physician Network Development and Social Media Influence for University Pediatricians. He is also a TEDx speaker and Podcaster.
NYU Langone Health
Dr. Amit Saxenam MD, is an academic rheumatologist at NYU Langone Health. He completed his rheumatology training at NYU and transitioned to specializing in the care of lupus patients after completing a Pfizer fellowship in Rheumatology/Immunology focused on the disease. Dr. Saxena is the director for lupus clinical trials, and has been the site principal investigator in over 25 industry, NIH sponsored and investigator initiated interventional and observational trials. He is also the co-director of the Clinical Trials Design course for the NYU Masters of Science of Clinical Investigation program. He is currently leading a translational investigator initiated project involving the study of serum proteins in lupus patients with and without cardiovascular disease as well as the studying steroid induced osteoporosis in lupus patients using a novel 3T MRI protocol. Additionally, Dr. Saxena has received several grants to study long term outcomes in patients with neonatal lupus, a rare condition that affects the heart or skin of children born to women with anti-SSA antibodies, an antibody commonly seen in lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.
DJ, Former Host, "Yo! MTV Raps"
& Diabetes Advocate
A celebrated hip-hop-oriented entertainer and educator, Andre "Doctor Dre" Brown long ago established himself as a savvy creator of popular culture. He has made his mark on radio and television, in the movies and in print, working successively as a DJ, composer, talent scout, program host, actor, author, and critic. Dre is likely best-known as the co-host with Ed Lover of "Yo! MTV Raps" (1989 -1995), the tv show that did more than any other to make rap music and hip-hop culture global phenomena.
A child of the New York City's Long Island suburbs, Andre Brown adopted the name Doctor Dre when he began hosting "The Operating Room," a pioneering rap radio show for Adelphi University's WBAU in 1983. In July of that year he conducted the first-ever radio interview with a new group by the name of Run-DMC. Soon enough, Dre's rap group, Original Concept, was signed to Def Jam, the record label co-founded by Run's older brother, Russell Simmons. Original Concept released two influential singles and an album between 1986 and 1987. It was during this same period that Dre wrote "Proud to Be Black" for Run-DMC's triple-platinum Raising Hell album, traveled the world as the DJ for the Beastie Boys on the "Raising Hell" and "Licensed to Ill" tours, and introduced Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons to the talents of Chuck D, an ambitious fellow DJ at WBAU who would go on to establish Public Enemy.
Dre has always possessed both a deep knowledge of music and a sparkling personality. It was this combination that led producers Peter Dougherty and Ted Demme to cast Dre alongside Ed Lover on "Yo! MTV Raps." "Yo!" quickly became the highest-rated show on MTV. Indeed, the final measure of "Yo!"'s success is that it put itself out of business. By 1995, MTV's programming -- which in its early years largely restricted itself to music videos featuring white rock musicians -- was so integrated that there was no longer any need for a specialty show devoted to rap.
By then Dre and Ed had long since cemented their working relationship. Roger Ebert praised them for their "easy chemistry" in his review of "Who's the Man," the 1993 comedy in which the pair co-starred.
After "Yo!", the duo funneled that chemistry into major market radio. They held down the morning show on New York's Hot 97 (1993-1998), then on L.A.'s The Beat (2000-2001), and finally on New York's Power 105 (2003-2006). They also co-authored "Naked Under Our Clothes: Unzipped, Uncut, and Totally Unplugged" (Fireside 1996).
Eventually, Dre and Ed went their separate ways. On his own Dre hosted "Doctor Dre's After Hours Spot" on Power 105 between 2005 and 2006, the most highly-rated radio show in that time slot. Dre then expanded his portfolio as a reviewer of movies and DVD's for ESPN 2's "Cold Pizza" (2006-2007), a gig that took advantage of his lifelong study of tv and the movies. The following year he teamed up with his old pal Chuck D as co-host of "On the Real" for the Air America radio network.
Dre is now in the midst of plans for a new tv series, a fast-moving talk-show centered around the national epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes, a disease with which Dre himself has been struggling for the last half-dozen years. The show's format, according to its creator, will be "Doctor Oz meets Doctor Dre."
Grammy Nominated Singer/Songwriter
Angie Stone (born Angela Laverne Brown) is an American Grammy-nominated recording artist, songwriter, producer and actress. She rose to fame in the late 1970s as “Angie B”, a member of the hip-hop trio “The Sequence”, and then later began working with futuristic rap group “Mantronix” along with singer-musician Lenny Kravitz. In the early 1990s, she became a member of the R&B trio “Vertical Hold”.
In 1999, Stone released her solo debut album Black Diamond” Arista Records label; which was certified gold and spawned the R&B single “No More Rain (In This Cloud)”. After the transitioning to the renowned “J Records” under the leadership of record mogul Clive Davis, she released another gold selling album in 2001 titled “Mahogany Soul”; which included "Wish I Didn't Miss You", Stone's most successful single to date. She is most celebrated for her tribute song to black men “Brothas”.
She has since released five albums: Stone Love (2004), The Art of Love & War (2007), Unexpected (2010), Rich Girl (2012), and Dream (2015) with the late Tommy Ford. Stone has appeared on television shows such as VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, and TV-One’s R&B Divas. She’s starred in movies such as The Fighting Temptations, Pastor Brown and School Gyrls, and she will be featured in the upcoming seasons of Centric’s Original series Saints and Sinners. Currently, under her production company “A CornerStone Productions”, Stone is transitioning to working behind the cameras as Executive Producer of a TV Talk Show “It’s On Peachtree with Angela Carr-Patterson”, a reality series “Diamonds in the Rough”, and her Black Live Matter tribute video – “Brotha Remake” on YouTube. She founded and manages a young hip-hop group 565 NATION (formerly known as D’Squared Live) along with former Sequence group member Gwen “Blondy” Chisolm, as well as her charity organization “A Stone Heart of Love Foundation”.
Angie Stone has been nominated for three Grammy Awards and in 2016 received six Grammy nods for her recent album “Dream”. She has been most successful on the R&B charts, with four top 10 albums, including a number one, and 10 singles, including a top 10. She has sold over 9.4 million albums in the U.S. and over ten million worldwide.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Connecticut Health Center
Dr. Ferris is a Cardiologist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at The Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She is the former Director of the Lipid Clinic and past Co-Director of The Women’s Heart Health Program at The Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. Dr. Ferris completed both her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at Columbia University Medical Center. She also earned a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. Dr. Ferris was a faculty member in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic prior to joining the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Dr. Ferris is co-author of “Tracking Women’s Awareness of Heart Disease: An American Heart Association National Study.” Dr. Ferris is also the lead author of the article, “American Heart Association and American Stroke Association National Survey of Stroke Risk Awareness Among Women.” Dr. Ferris is a recipient of the Trudy Bush Fellowships for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women’s Health Award. She is also a recipient of the American College of Cardiology Career Development Award in Women’s Cardiovascular Health. Her areas of expertise include clinical cardiology, cardiovascular disease prevention, women’s cardiovascular health, dyslipidemias, and health care disparities.
Dr. Ferris is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, the American Heart Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, and the Northeast Health Equity Consortium. Dr. Ferris is the Immediate Past President of the Board of the American Heart Association of Central Connecticut. Dr. Ferris serves as a National Physician Spokesperson for the American Heart Association
Dr. Ferris is the current President of the Greater Hartford (CT) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She is a member of Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is a member of the New Haven Chapter of The Girl Friends, Incorporated. Dr. Ferris is also a member of the Greater Hartford Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated and the Junior League of Hartford. She is a Trustee of the Amistad Center for Art and Culture and is on the Board of Governors of the Hill-Stead Museum.
Senior Vice President & Chief Health Equity Officer
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Carol Brown is an accomplished gynecologic oncologist/surgeon who tirelessly works to address the inequalities that exist for many in health care due to racial, ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic barriers. She was recently named Senior Vice President & Chief Health Equity Officer and the incumbent of the Nicholls-Biondi Chair for Health Equity at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In this role, she is establishing MSK’s Office of Health Equity, leading efforts to expand access to cancer care and clinical trials at MSK sites as well as patient care and research focused initiatives such as the Cancer Health Equity Research Program (CHERP) and the Endometrial Cancer Equity Program (ECEP), and working to develop new clinical studies to address disparities in cancer outcomes. She plays a critical role in helping MSK build a diverse and equitable clinical, educational, and research enterprise by helping recruit, train, and provide opportunities to research/medical trainees from underrepresented groups.
AARON MCCARGO, JR. competed on and won season four of The Next Food Network Star, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job – his own Food Network show. Big Daddy’s House premiered and ranked as the number one “In the Kitchen” weekend show during its initial six-episode run. Food Network renewed the show for a total of six seasons. On Big Daddy’s House, Aaron shared his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking. From comfort foods to barbeque favorites to breakfast delights, Aaron whips up mouth-watering recipes inspired by many years of culinary experience and his fun-loving family while bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. Aaron has also made appearances on hit Food Network shows such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Guy’s Grocery Games, and is a regular expert on Spike’s TV show, Bar Rescue and spin off Back to the Bar.
Aaron is also an author to the cookbook entitled, “Simply Done, Well Done” which entered bookstores nationwide offering up the delectable menu choices showcased on his series in an easy to prepare, simple way making his good cooking available in people’s kitchens everywhere. Aaron also launched a product line of spices thereby furthering his quest to make flavorful, bold foods available to everyone.
A family man who adores all things flavorful, Aaron’s passion for cooking was sparked at the age of four when he started baking cakes in his sister’s Easy Bake Oven. Always an entrepreneur at heart, Aaron began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends. At the age of 13, Aaron was as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. He has since worked in nine New Jersey restaurants including casual and fine dining. He also served as the executive VIP catering chef at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts.
Aaron has been featured on numerous national news programs including The Today Show, Regis and Kelly, Rachael Ray, The Talk, Dr. Oz, Steve and The Chew. His rise to fame has been covered everywhere from The New York Times to Essence Magazine where he was previously a contributing editor. In ESSENCE Magazine readers were able to find more of his innovative ideas about how to get the family into the kitchen.
Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Aaron regularly speaks to youth at community schools and events illustrating that they too can succeed despite the odds. Honoring him for his success and service, Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated September 25 as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day.
Aaron is the founder of the PlayToWin charity, whose mission is to provide services to male youth residing in single parent homes and demonstrate at risk behaviors.
Aaron comes from a large family (he has five brothers and sisters) whose constant support has helped him achieve his goals. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys Bible study, tennis, Buffalo wings, watching sports, and traveling. He is a father of three and currently resides in South Jersey.
-aka- The Guru of Abs
Founder, The Sculpting Abs & Core
Online Training Program
DaShaun Johnson, known as THE GURU OF ABS in the fitness industry is a native of Decatur, Ga who passion for fitness began 11 years ago when he landed a job at LA fitness in Atlanta, GA. It was then that he realized he was destined be a group fitness instructor and personal trainer who would change people’s lives for the better through fitness and nutrition. After much hard work and dedication, he was presented with his first big opportunity to be a sponsored Nike Training Club (NTC) instructor.
Today, DaShaun focuses on his new all-natural dietary supplement line and tours the country offering innovative Body Sculpting programs that has helped transform the physiques of people all over the world. His body sculpting programs include a seated exercise program designed specifically for senior citizens titled Senior Body Sculpting which has been featured on local and national news stations such as Fox 5 Atlanta News and CNN Headline News (HLN). DaShaun also offers a Total Body Sculpting for anyone desiring to focus on strength training and weight loss and his latest innovative creation, The Sculpting Abs & Core Online Training Program that will feature instructional, LIVE classes & workouts.
Recognized as one of the BEST abdominal specialists in the fitness industry, DaShaun continues to be a pillar of positive change in the fitness community, motivating his clients to be the very BEST versions of themselves while following his lead.
Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson
Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, FACP, FCPP, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and is Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Associate Director for Diversity Programs and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.
In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General, having served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Surgeon for US Transportation command and headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC) based at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. General Mitchell has been awarded over 15 military service medals and ribbons including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Achievement and Commendation Medals, National Defense Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal. Dr. Mitchell was selected for inclusion in America’s Top Oncologists. Dr. Mitchell is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians; member of our Society; also the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. Dr. Mitchell holds leadership positions in the American Society of Clinical Oncology and served as the 116th President of the National Medical Association serving from August 2015 to August 2016.
Head of Inclusion Strategy & Partnering,
Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech
Gerren is a clinical pharmacist and award-winning biotechnology enterprise leader who holds a deep understanding of patient care, healthcare disparities, and biotech enterprise leadership from various roles across the healthcare industry. Early in his career, Gerren developed broad clinical pharmacy expertise at Rhode Island Hospital where he practiced both general inpatient and specialized oncology clinical pharmacy services. He later expanded his capacity as a care provider and deepened his commitment to serving diverse populations by transitioning to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, where he managed outpatient ambulatory care clinic services.
Following clinical pharmacy practice, Gerren joined the biopharmaceutical industry 10 years ago to improve patient access to specialized medication and disease outcomes. Since joining Industry, he has held roles of increasing responsibility in Medical Affairs, Managed Care, Marketing, and Government Affairs. Gerren’s industry career began at Genzyme in Medical Affairs, generating publications and supporting oncology medical communications. He later moved to Genentech where he’s held numerous roles of increasing responsibility in managed care strategy, marketing and government affairs. Gerren currently leads Inclusion Strategy & Partnering within Genentech’s Chief Diversity Office. In this role he’s responsible for leading the design and activation of Genentech’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy to fostering belonging, advance inclusive research & health equity, and transforming society.
Gerren is the recipient of numerous awards for collaboration, innovation and ability to deliver value to patients. In 2019, Business Insider named him one of the Top 30 leaders under 40 transforming US healthcare. Gerren contributes time and energy to professional and community organizations on local and national levels. He is a member of the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Gerren is also a 15+ year member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. He has held several local officer positions, coordinated fundraisers, organized community outreach and led several youth programs. Gerren received his PharmD from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College.
Oncology Senior Field Medical Director, Breast Cancer
Janeen Azare, PhD, MSPH is a native of Southwest Louisiana, who grew up very interested in learning more about what had become all too familiar to many -- the infamous Louisiana corridor known as "Cancer Alley.” Curiosity fueled her desire to make a contribution to the science of cancer by conducting research focused on analyzing proteins that contribute to the progression of breast and prostate cancer and studying the importance of the multi-drug resistance 1 gene in the efficiency of transcriptional targeted chemotherapy. Dr. Azare now continues her efforts as an Oncology Senior Field Medical Director - Breast Cancer, where she leads the team’s initiatives on research services, diversity in clinical trials, disparities in healthcare and patient advocacy. Dr. Azare is a Chartered member of Pfizer’s Diversity in Clinical Trials Center of Excellence. Additionally, Dr. Azare completed a two-year Fellowship in Pfizer’s Early Oncology Development and Clinical Research Division in April 2020. Her work has been published in numerous scientific peer-reviewed journals and she has served on several scientific committees. Dr. Azare is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, American Public Health Association, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Azare received her PhD from New York University Medical Center Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, a MSPH from Tulane University Medical Center School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a BS from Xavier University of Louisiana. She completed her postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where she was also a Research Associate in the Department of Medicine. Aside from her clinical/scientific interest, Dr. Azare is a mentor to several high school and college students and within her professional network. Her favorite quote and source of challenge comes from the following words "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". – Ghandi. Dr. Azare lives in Harlem, NY.
Associate Professor of Pediatric Nephrology and Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion
University of North Carolina
Keisha L. Gibson, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Nephrology in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the inaugural Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Gibson received her medical degree and Masters of Public Health degree in epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill. She completed a residency in general pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and a clinical fellowship in pediatric nephrology from UNC Chapel Hill. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology.
Her research and clinical interests focus on lupus nephritis and other glomerular diseases. In the area of epidemiology, she is interested in ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and their effect on patient outcomes. She has been involved as a co-investigator with large consortium studies such as the Nephrotic Syndrome Network Study (Neptune Study) and the Cure Glomerulonephropathy Network (Cure GN Study). Her peer-reviewed research articles have appeared in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Kidney International, Pediatric Nephrology, Clinical Nephrology, Hypertension, Clinical Kidney Journal, Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, and others.
Dr. Gibson has been recognized with numerous honors. In 2018, she received the Hyman Battle Distinguished Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2019, was awarded the Foundation Phase Excellence in Teaching Award. On the national stage she is currently serving as Secretary-Treasurer for the American Society of Nephrology and as Nephrology Councilor for the Society of Pediatric Research.
Mississippi State Director
Kimberly joined AARP Mississippi in May of 2016. At AARP Mississippi she is responsible for all initiatives that involve the 50+ population and their families. She also promotes the national agenda of AARP and has a strong presence in Washington, D.C. and throughout the entire state of Mississippi. Kimberly is committed to her nearly 285,000 AARP members in Mississippi, to living their best lives.
Kimberly is the Former Mississippi State Representative, for District 72, which encompassed Hinds and Madison counties. She served in the Mississippi legislature for nearly nine years. Some of her legislative highlights were her bills that became law: that strengthened domestic violence penalties, developed comprehensive stalking laws, increased child pornography penalties and human trafficking laws in the State of Mississippi. Additionally, Kimberly has received numerous awards and accolades for her community/civic work, motivational speaking and domestic violence outreach.
Additionally, Kimberly also served as a Special Judge in the Hinds County Youth Court, for almost seven years. And she practiced law for 15 years.
Kimberly is a product of the Jackson Public School District, graduating from Callaway High School with honors in 1990. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Mississippi State University, a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Communications from Auburn University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Kimberly is a member of Pearl Street African Methodist Episcopal Church. Additionally, Kimberly is a noted and well-sought after empowerment speaker on topics that cultivate women leaders and gives them skills for shifting the paradigm to seek their place in every position of influence. Some of her professional/community affiliations are: The Office Against Interpersonal Violence-Advisory Board Member, Mississippi Supreme Court Special Committee on Judicial Campaign Intervention, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., The Jackson (MS) Chapter of The Links, Inc., Junior League of Jackson (Sustainer), Leadership Jackson Alumni.
Kimberly is the Proud Mother of four amazing daughters: Sage, Brelan, Iliya and Kerrigan.
Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care
Dr. Lewis Kampel is a medical oncologist with more than 40 years of experience, including service as a medical officer in the US Army. He has been a member of MSK’s Genitourinary Oncology Service since 1993. He cares for people with prostate cancer and other genitourinary cancers. His focus is on those with newly diagnosed prostate cancer who want advice about the best initial treatment. He also cares for those who need treatment for more-advanced disease or cancer that has come back. Dr. Kampel has a strong interest in quality assurance and performance improvement. He helped lead MSK’s quality assurance initiative for more than 15 years. Dr. Kampel also serves as Medical Director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care (RLCC) in Harlem.
The RLCC is a nonprofit treatment center that was created through a partnership between the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation and MSK. Our goal is to ensure that traditionally underserved New Yorkers can get state-of-the-art cancer care. As Medical Director, Dr. Kampel strives to preserve this core mission while strengthening the connection between both of our organizations. Part of this work is giving community members access to the latest research breakthroughs and clinical trials.
Gynecological Surgeon, Cleveland Clinic
Vice Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and
Women's Health Institute
Linda Bradley, MD is an internationally recognized gynecologic surgeon known for her expertise in diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy, endometrial ablation, alternatives to hysterectomy, hysteroscopic sterilization and the evaluation of abnormal uterine bleeding. She is a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio and is Vice Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health Institute as well as the Director of The Fibroid and Menstrual Disorders Center and Director of Hysteroscopic Services. She was elected to the Board of Governors at the Cleveland Clinic, 2006–2010.
Dr. Bradley specializes in the evaluation, diagnostic testing, and surgery for uterine fibroids and menstrual disorders. She has been very active in endoscopy for over 20 years. Her expertise in endometrial ablation technology makes her an innovative leader in the field of hysterectomy alternatives. She recently was involved in several multicenter clinical trials involving endometrial ablation, uterine fibroid embolization compared to abdominal myomectomy, and hysteroscopic sterilization procedure. She performed one of the first hysteroscopic sterilization procedures in this country in 2000. With over 1000 referrals for uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), she maintains an excellent collaborative practice with the interventional radiology department for a UFE Fibroid Registry database. She has published extensively and presented internationally on this topic.
A gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic for over 20years, she has performed over 12,000 office flexible hysteroscopic procedures and over 2,000 operative hysteroscopic procedures including myomectomy, polypectomy, and endometrial ablation.
She has served on the Board of Trustees for the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy (1997-1999) and currently serves as an Editorial Advisory Board member for the Journal of American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. She was Chair of the OB/GYN section of the National Medical Association, 2006–2008. Recently, she was elected as Secretary-Treasurer 2009–2010 for the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists and was President of the AAGL in 2011. Dr. Bradley has been an invited lecturer at more than 1000 local, national and international symposia conferences, and meetings as an honored guest speaker. Additionally, she has performed live telesurgery for many programs. She has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and continuing medical education films. Most recently, she is a co-author on an authoritative textbook:Hysteroscopy: Office Evaluation and Management of the Uterine Cavity, published by Elsevier, 2009.
She has been named as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Bruce Hubbard Stewart Fellow, which honors physicians with compassion and clinical care. She also received the APGO award, which honors physicians for resident and fellow teaching and have frequently nominated as “Faculty of the Year”. She is admired and respected for her clinical teaching, surgical expertise, and compassionate bedside manner. She has received “Top Doctors of America” award annually since 2002. In 2009, she was selected by Ladies Home Journal as one of the top 6 female physicians in the USA. Linda is proud to be a member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology department at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio which was ranked 4th in the country by US News and World Report 2011, and number one in Ohio.
Dr. Bradley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology from Vassar College before attending the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine for her MD. She completed her residency training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has completed an executive program in practice management from the Weatherhead School of Business, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
President & Chief Executive Officer
National Urban League
Marc Morial, who has been described as one of the few national leaders to possess “street smarts”, and “boardroom savvy”, is the current President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. He served as the highly successful and popular Mayor of New Orleans as well as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He previously was a Louisiana State Senator, and was a lawyer in New Orleans with an active, high profile practice. He is a leading voice on the national stage in the battle for jobs, education, housing and voting rights equity. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Pennsylvania, he has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the top 50 Non Profit Leaders by the Non Profit Times, one of the 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in America and he has also been inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA.
Unmistakably Hezekiah Walker’s signature sound has set an International standard in Gospel music. Walker, the multi GRAMMY® Award-winning, newly inducted Gospel Music Hall of Famer, continues to uplift the masses from far and wide with inspirational songs that focus on maintaining faith and overcoming life’s daunting moments through his new release Azusa The Next Generation 2 - Better, which releases July 22, 2016.
As the 15th album of his career, this new release has a relevant fresh feel with impeccable tracks produced by Walker and the multi-award winning Donald Lawrence. Walker presents the Azusa Choir along with musicians from across the world. “Better” the first single from the release is a motivating and inspiring song that has impacted both Gospel and Urban formats. Walker felt compelled to record the song after studying the Bible, where he found an impactful scripture in Ecclesiastes 7:8 that helped him overcome moments of uncertainty and to feel comfortable about his present situation knowing that the end is near and “Better” is coming.
Once recorded, the uplifting and inspirational song compelled Walker to spread this message across the world. He traveled from his home city of New York across the Atlantic Ocean to film the video for “Better” in Italy, Paris France, Japan and Africa. No matter the country, city or state, Walker wants to break through the racial and language barriers in an aggressive intent to display a celebration of faithful endurance. The release of Azusa The Next Generation 2 - Better continues the movement of the Azusa Street revival that originated in Los Angeles California. The Azusa Street Revival started in 1906 as a big revival that broke out all over the world.
Azusa The Next Generation 2 - Better is infused with an urban contemporary sound with a down home gospel feel. In each song, Walker is striving to implement hope into humanity. He not only wants to inspire churchgoers, but also nonbelievers in “God Is For Me.”
“A lot of people feel like God doesn’t love them or hate them or not concerned about them,” Walker said. “You’ll be surprised by the people who are afraid to come to church, because they feel like the church is going to burn up and fall down if they do. But I want to show that God is for you.”
In a YOLO (You Only Live Once) generation, Walker puts the focus back on another life _ the afterlife. Instead of just pursuing a fruitful life on earth, he reminds listeners on “Living To Live Again” that the end goal is to ultimately reach heaven. “We’re so busy living for today, but we have forgotten that there is a tomorrow,” he said. “We are living to live again. We’re not going to church just to be better people. We’re not turning our lives over to Christ to live a fabulous life on earth. But there is life after death. We believe in heaven. We believe that one day we are going where Jesus is. I wanted to put that back into the hearts and minds of people.”
“Holding On,” encourages the listener to fight through despite the tribulation. “I could have turned to a life of crime, drugs or whatever,” he said. “But I remembered what my mom told me. She said ‘make sure you hold on to your faith! People may leave you but God will never leave you.’ I held on to those words and after all these years, He has never forsaken me nor has He ever turned His back on me. That’s my encouragement to everyone, hold on because it will get “BETTER.”
2016 marks 30 years in the music industry for Walker. He has earned multiple music awards and two GRAMMYS® for Best Gospel Album for “Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College” in 1994 and “Love is Live!” in 2001. Walker was recently inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. “It’s a major accomplishment” said Walker, who is also known as Hez to friends and family.
Clinical Trials Diversity
Melissa (Mel) Hardman, Clinical Science Engagement and Recruitment, Atlanta, GA
Ms. Hardman is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) who has found her niche in site and investigator engagement, clinical trial patient recruitment and retention, protocol evaluation activities and spends a lot of her time strategizing ways to improve diversity in clinical trials, closing the patient to science gap, and increasing awareness and visibility of clinical trials in communities of color. During her career tenure she has worked on clinical trial recruitment for both pharma and CRO. She has also consulted with start up companies to improve their knowledge of optimizing recruitment funnels for technical platforms. Her ability to develop high value relationships with clinical doctors, nurses, and research scientists, along with building confidence in the clinical research staff she works with, has led to improved client relations and patient focused site activities with emphasis on efficient drug protocols. She has built her 14+ year health care leadership career around building lasting stakeholder relationships and finding common ground between science, relationships, and the patient’s needs. She recently founded Faces of Research, a consulting boutique with a mission of aiding clients in the industry with clinical trial recruitment strategy. The vision of her work is increasing diversity in clinical trials through education and awareness while overall closing the gap between communities of color and their access to clinical trials as a healthcare option. Ms. Hardman holds a Master of Science in Clinical Research Theories and Design, a Master of Public Health, and currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health with her dissertation and research focused around the importance of diversity in clinical research as it relates to efficient clinical drug development. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Biology. She resides in sunny Atlanta, GA and enjoys being a mother to her 14-year-old son, exercising, reading, and traveling with her friends.
Infant & Maternal Mortality
& Health Disparities Researcher
Michelle Ogunwole, MD is a health disparities researcher, social epidemiologist and General Internal Medicine physician specializing in the care of women with chronic medical conditions. She has advanced training in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Science and is currently practicing in Baltimore, Maryland at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her research is focused on racial disparities in maternal health outcomes among African American women.
Dr. Ogunwole is a member of the Baltimore City Fetal Infant Mortality Review committee. In this role, she reviews cases and makes recommendations for improving fetal outcomes through improving chronic disease control in mothers, postpartum care continuity, and in select cases, communication between providers and patients as well as women’s overall experiences of care during pregnancy.
Dr. Ogunwole advocates for policy initiatives to improve women’s health and reduce disparities in maternal health outcomes. As a member of Reproductive Health Equity Alliance of Maryland, she works with legislators to think about innovative interventions to improve maternal health for vulnerable populations.
Dr. Ogunwole also has an active role in medical education. She serves on the Association of American Medical Colleges Quality Improvement and Patient Safety competencies working group where she worked extensively on the health and healthcare equity domain of the recently published quality improvement and patient safety education competencies. She participates in student engagement around implicit bias mitigation in clinical care and patient-centered communication. She actively works to improve the diversity of the healthcare workforce by participating in recruitment and application review for medical students, residents and faculty.
Board-Certified Neurologist & Founding Medical Director
Joi Life Wellness Multiple Sclerosis Center
World-Renowned Multiple Sclerosis Expert, Dr. Mitzi Joi Williams, is a Board-Certified Neurologist, Fellowship Trained Multiple Sclerosis Specialist, Author, International Speaker, and Researcher who is passionate about educating and empowering people affected by MS. Her specialized training and expertise makes her a highly sought after expert and thought leader in the field of Neurology and Multiple Sclerosis, often called upon to speak nationally and internationally on topics related to advancing MS care. She is the proud recipient of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Hope Award and the 2019 BlackDoctor.org Top Blacks in Healthcare Award. She is also the Amazon Number 1 best-selling author of MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis.
Dr. Mitzi received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and received her Doctor of Medicine Degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed her Internal Medicine Internship, Neurology Residency, and Multiple Sclerosis Fellowship at Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly MCG) in Augusta, GA, where she received numerous awards and scholarships and served as Chief Resident of the Neurology Residency Program.
Dr. Mitzi has worked in a variety of clinical settings including academic teaching hospitals, private practice and as Medical Director of a Multiple Sclerosis Center. She is also highly engaged in advocacy work and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National MS Society both nationally and locally. She develops programs and initiatives through partnerships with organizations such as the MS Association of America, the MS Foundation and MS Views and News and the Accelerated Cure Project. She also educates her peers through her work with continuing education organizations including Physician’s Education Resource, Medscape, P.R.I.M.E., and Catamount.
In addition to her advocacy work, Dr. Mitzi has expertise in understanding MS in underserved and ethnic minority populations. Through collaborations with national and international MS committees, she advocates to decrease disparities and improve care for all people living with MS. She also encourages patients and families to partner with their healthcare teams to share in the decision-making process to combat this disease. She is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of research participation and encouraging diversity in clinical research.
Dr. Mitzi serves as a highly respected and well recognized consultant, speaker, researcher, author and physician. She is the proud founder and CEO of Joi Life Wellness Group, a comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Center, where she provides personalized Multiple Sclerosis Care delivered with expertise, compassion and joy. She also enjoys teaching and has an adjunct appointment at a local teaching hospital where she treats patient with general neurological conditions as well as those with MS. She has been practicing telemedicine for acute stroke for over 7 years and holds medical licenses in multiple states. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful children and singing.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Korde is a board-certified hematologist specializing in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other plasma cell neoplasms. She has a particular research interest in early plasma cell disorders, including monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma (SMM), and understanding disease biology that may promote transition to frank symptomatic multiple myeloma in some individuals. Dr. Korde offers a variety of treatment options (on and off clinical trial) for patients with multiple myeloma and high-risk SMM, including access to the latest novel drugs and immune-therapeutic approaches. Recent therapeutic advances have led to improved outcomes for people with multiple myeloma, and she is working on developing methods of monitoring patient symptoms with digital health tracking solutions as well as minimal residual disease. By understanding mechanisms of tumor resistance with current available drugs and monitoring techniques, we aim to drive myeloma research forward and develop new strategies of tumor control.
Psychiatrist & Immediate Past Chair
American Medical Association
Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, was the 174th president of the American Medical Association, and the organization’s first African-American woman to hold this position. Dr. Harris has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, county public health director, patient advocate and medical society lobbyist.
Dr. Harris currently spearheads the AMA’s efforts to end the opioid epidemic and has been chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force since its inception in 2014. Dr. Harris continues to lead the task force as it works across every state to eliminate barriers to treatment, provide patients with access to affordable, non-opioid pain care, and fight the stigma faced by those with substance use-disorders.
Having served on the AMA Board of Trustees since 2011, and as chair from 2016 to 2017, she has long been a mentor, a role model and an advocate. Prior to serving on the board, Dr. Harris honed her broad knowledge and deep understanding of health care issues through various leadership roles. At the AMA these included having served for many years on the AMA Council on Legislation, including a term as chair, and on multiple AMA task forces on topics such as health information technology, payment and delivery reform, and private contracting. Beyond the AMA she has held positions of leadership with the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Medical Association of Georgia, and The Big Cities Health Coalition, where she chaired this forum composedof leaders from America’s largest metropolitan health departments.
Growing up in Bluefield, W. Va., Dr. Harris dreamt of entering medicine at a time when few women of color were encouraged to become physicians. Dr. Harris spent her formative years at West Virginia University, earning a BA in psychology, an MA in counseling psychology and, ultimately, a medical degree in 1992.
It was during this time that her passion for helping children emerged, and she completed her psychiatry residency and fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry at the Emory University School of Medicine.
Two themes that govern Dr. Harris’s professional life are a passion to improve the lives of children and service to others. A recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, Dr. Harris has led efforts on both local and national levels to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services with supports for employment, housing and education.
A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Harris continues in private practice and currently consults with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Founder & CEO
Universal Dementia Caregivers
Paula Duren, Ph.D. is the Director of Universal Dementia Caregivers. Based on her extensive career leadership experience and the in-depth care she gave to her parents, Dr. Duren developed a positive psychology approach to caregiving that honors both the care recipient and the caregiver. Dr. Duren developed this comprehensive program and at the same time created a 501c3 in order to be able to share her knowledge more broadly. <br
Universal Dementia Caregivers (UDC) prepares caregivers with strategies to engage the hearts and spirits of those living with dementia in need-based communities while caring for the caregiver. Dr. Duren’s person-centered training approach to caring has been approved by Wayne State University for continuing education credit and the Detroit Area Agency on Agency has added Duren’s training to its programming. <br
Prior to establishing Universal Dementia Caregivers, Paula led Duren & Associates, Inc., Human Resources Consulting team for over 25 years. Currently, she continues to offer consulting services, in the areas of staff training, change management, diversity engagement, meeting design and facilitation. <br
Paula is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor; a Leadership Detroit graduate, and was recently featured in a documentary on caregiving authorized by the Ralph Wilson Foundation.
Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer
Quita Highsmith is Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Quita is a leader with almost three decades of experience in the biotech industry. She is a co-author on several publications regarding health disparities including the Journal of Oncology Practice and Contemporary Clinical Trials. She frequently presents at national and international forums and has co-authored abstracts at peer-reviewed conferences, including the American Association of Cancer Research’s conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved.
She is responsible for leading Genentech’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, including recruiting, retaining, and developing diverse talent, investing in initiatives to support science education, and addressing barriers in clinical trial participation via Advancing Inclusive Research™.
Quita is well-known in the biotech industry for being an award-winning visionary and promoting patient inclusion. In 2020, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, Top 50 Chief Diversity Officers by The National Diversity Council, and to PharmaVOICE’s Women of Influence list. Quita is committed to community service and serves on several non-profit boards including, The Delta San Francisco-Peninsula Foundation Board which provides College scholarships for black students and the Leadership Council San Mateo.
Prior to her role as Chief Diversity Officer, Quita held leadership roles in Government Affairs and the Commercial organizations at both Genentech and Sanofi-Aventis.
Quita received her Master of Business Administration from the Johnson School at Cornell University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.
Singer & Actress
“I’m amazingly blessed. I will never ever say that I’ve lived the perfect life to be shown such favor with God or the people but here I am,” declares the incomparable Regina Belle. The Academy Award-winning and Multi Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actress, with a string of hits including Make It Like It Was, If I Could, Baby Come To Me and This Is Love, Regina Belle has made a career following her heart and moving gracefully between the worlds of R&B, Gospel and Jazz..
She is an entertainer of immeasurable musical talent. This New Jersey native has earned distinction as an international treasure. Her luminous vocals on the Peabo Bryson duet, A Whole New World, (Grammy’s Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1994) solidified her place as music royalty.
Belle’s vocal abilities were demonstrated at a young age, with her first solo at the age of 8, at Friendship Baptist Church in New Jersey church pastored by her uncle, the late Dr. Fred M. Belle, Jr.. The entertainer’s natural gifts were further polished at Dwight Morrow High School and the Manhattan School of Music for Preparatory College where she studied classical voice training with Inga Wolfe. Although having received a full scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music, she opted to aim her sights on the elite Rutgers University to study both Africana Studies and Music.
In 1985 Belle left Rutgers University, her senior year, just 15 credits shy of completing her degree, to go on the road with the Grammy Award, World Renown Group, THE MANHATTANS. She remained with them for two years before being spring boarded into her own career.
Thirty years after leaving Rutgers and 10 albums later, Belle started taking online courses, which earned her Bachelors Degree in Africana Studies and a Minor in Music. Belle walked the stage with her ‘new class’ from Rutgers in May of 2015. She states; “This achievement of finishing my degree which I started almost 30 years ago and finally being done, was a bittersweet moment and rates as high as my Grammy Awards.”
Her life was eventful, journey purposeful but not without misfortune. After releasing her first Gospel album in 2008, Love Forever Shines with the hit single God Is Good she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This devastating news came at the height of her gospel career. After two surgeries and 10 months rehabilitation, Belle found herself back at the top of her game ready to take on the world.
Belle’s life experiences and health challenges have made her a champion in area of care-giving, affording her opportunities to wear different hats. She is honored to represent AARP as a spokesperson for caregivers.
Belle has enjoyed career success for which many entertainers can only pray. She can also give thanks for a blessed personal life. She has been married to former NBA player, John Battle, since 1991. The couple has raised five children and blessed to have 3 grandchildren. Rev. John Battle serve as Senior Pastor and Belle, working along side of him as an ordained minister, First Servant and Minister of Music of their two churches: New Shield of Faith Worship Center in Atlanta, Georgia and Spread the Word Ministries in College Park, Georgia.
With her latest release, The Day Life Began, Regina Belle is affirming that her journey continues and that her new recording signifies yet the beginning of an exciting new chapter. Regina concludes, “I draw strength from knowing that I’m operating within the purpose for my life and I’m having a ball doing it!” Regina’s goal is simple, “If I cannot identify with the songs, and if the music does not move my soul, make me feel better, take me up when I’m down or higher when I’m up, then I don’t want to record it, play it or sing it!”
Board Certified, Doctor of Internal Medicine
President, Nu Lambda Sigma Alumni Chapter
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
Dr. Reginald Spears is the current President of the Nu Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. in Lake County, IL and the president and founder of the Cornerstone Educational Foundation. He served in the United States Army as a clinical specialist from 1977-1980. Dr. Spears received his Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.) from Southern Illinois University of Medicine in 1993 and is board certified in Internal Medicine. He completed his residency at Lutheran General Hospital and performed as their Chief Resident of Internal Medicine. His clinical interests include diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and many more disease states. He believes that the best approach when practicing medicine is engaging each patient in their own healthcare.
Intensive Care Unit Nurse &
1st COVID-19 Vaccine Recipient
Sandra Lindsay, MSN, MBA, RN, CCRN, NE-BC is Director of Nursing for critical care at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York. Sandra has more than 26 years of nursing experience, most of which have been in critical care.
Sandra and her siblings were raised in Jamaica by their grandparents. Lindsay moved to the United States in 1986. In 1993, Sandra graduated from Borough of Manhattan Community College as valedictorian of her nursing program. She joined the team at Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital in 1994 as a registered nurse in the oncology department. After three years in this specialty, she pursued her dream of becoming a critical care nurse. Sandra worked as a bedside nurse in various critical care units before being offered a leadership role. Before assuming the director role, she served as the nurse manager for the adult medical intensive care unit at Lenox Hill Hospital for more than seven years.
Sandra's educational accomplishments include a Baccalaureate degree in nursing from St. Josephs College, a Master of Science in nursing from Herbert Lehman College, and a Master of Business Administration from Hofstra University. In May 2021, Sandra will complete a Doctor of Health Sciences degree with a concentration in global health and organizational behavior and leadership from A. T. Still University.
When Sandra is not busy pursuing her studies or working, she enjoys adventurous traveling, visiting Jamaica, reading leadership books and articles, and gardening.
Eastern Area Director
The Links, Incorporated
Shuana Tucker-Sims is Chief Talent Officer for the CT State Department of Education. In this capacity, she has oversight of the Bureau of Certification & the Bureau of Educator Evaluation and Support. Her ultimate goal is to develop all educators to their fullest potential specifically in the areas of equity and diversity while ensuring educational excellence for students. Prior to joining the State, Shuana’s career in education and human resources has spanned over 25 years and afforded her the opportunity to work at the University of Connecticut in the Educational Leadership Department, several CT school districts, and the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC.
She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Public Administration from Louisiana State University, and Bachelor of Science degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. Shuana has published book chapters and numerous articles on a variety of topics. She is a member of several organizations and holds numerous leadership positions. She is a Life Member & Silver Star of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links, Incorporated, Life Member of Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated, and the New Haven Chapter of Girl Friends, Incorporated.
Within The Links, Incorporated, she is the current Eastern Area Director. Prior to being elected to this position, she was elected as Eastern Area Vice Director serving two terms and as Eastern Area Secretary. Shuana is currently a member of the Waterbury (CT) Chapter and former member of the Fairfield County (CT) Chapter where she served as President, Vice President, Program Coordinator, Recording Secretary, Facet Chair and other appointed positions. During her tenure in The Links, Incorporated, she has served both at the national and area levels. She is also the National Librarian/Historian for Girl Friends, Incorporated and former Assistant Secretary for the Girl Friends Fund, Incorporated which provides annual scholarships to support students of color pursuing higher education.
She’s been recognized by several organizations including: the University of Connecticut, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Education Advancement Foundation, The National Congress of Black Women, the CT State NAACP, 100 Women of Color in CT and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated’s Lifetime Achievement Community Service award (Poughkeepsie Chapter) to name a few.
She lives by the motto, “To Those Whom Much is Given…Much is Expected” and demonstrates this daily as she encourages and inspires persons of all ages to continuously grow, learn and reach for higher heights. In her spare time, Shuana enjoys traveling, reading, genealogy research and spending time with family and friends. She resides in CT with her husband John Sims and son Evan Battiste.
Critical Care Pulmonoligist,
MSNBC & NBC News
Vin Gupta, MD, MPA, is a Critical Care Pulmonologist and Chief Medical Officer of Amazon.com, Inc.’s Global COVID-19 Response. He is also Affiliate Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, part of the University of Washington. In his clinical role, Dr. Gupta has been caring for critically COVID-19 patients since the early days of the outbreak in Seattle. His role at Amazon is focused on leading the company’s pandemic response, to scale testing for all Fulfillment Centers worldwide, and related workplace health and safety efforts. His background in public health has focused on epidemic preparedness, with relevant roles at the US CDC’s Emerging Infections Program and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. Dr. Gupta is a deployable critical care physician for the US Air Force Medical Corps Reserves, medical contributor for MSNBC and NBC News, and term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. @VinGuptaMD
Hair Restoration Expert
The Hair Loss Medical Center
Dr. William Yates has had a passion and drive for excellence his entire career. Dr. Yates graduated with a B.A. in Medical Science from Northwestern University and then received his M.D. from the 6-year Honors Program from Northwestern University in Illinois. He completed his Surgical Internship at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC in 1986 and General Surgery Residency in 1990. In 1991, he completed his Fellowship in Critical Care/Trauma at the University of Maryland Hospital. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomat of the Board of Hair Restoration Surgery. Dr. Yates was also an oral examiner for the American Board of Surgery and a member of the prestigious regulatory Board of Healing Arts for Missouri.
Dr. Yates specializes in treating all hair types for both men and women. He utilizes state-of-the art options such as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and Stem Cell therapy. He is a national expert and teacher and author performing the minimally invasive technique for hair transplantation – FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction). He has also implemented the ARTAS Robotic Technology at Yates Hair Science Group in Chicago, IL. Dr. Yates has also researched and developed an All Natural Hair Care line for every hair type including problem or thinning hair.
He started loosing his hair in his early 20’s and understands the impact hair loss can have on one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Dr. Yates has undergone several hair transplants himself. “Everything he does for his patients he has actually done himself.” He is a true student of the specialty – always looking for ways to improve outcomes and results for his patients.
Dr. Yates has been rewarded with such high satisfaction ratings and constant comments from his patients that their self-esteem and confidence have gone through the roof since restoring their hair, he has added Dr. Yates LifeStyle Med to his practice at his new location near Millennium Park in Chicago. Through these additional services such as SculpSure (the latest minimally invasive fat reduction laser), Botox, Fillers, Skin Care and much more, his patients can experience even more improvements in their appearance and get back to the lifestyle they enjoy.
Vice President, Global Commercialization for Sickle Cell Disease bluebird bio
Bill Nichols is Vice President, Global Commercialization for Sickle Cell Disease at bluebird bio (bbb) responsible for strategic planning and cross functional leadership for its sickle cell disease gene therapy.
Prior to joining bbb, Bill worked at a small pharmaceutical start up but spent over 19 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he held numerous positions across marketing, market access, strategy and operations, and sales. He has worked on numerous brands including ABILIFY, ATRIPLA, BARACLUDE, DAKLINZA, and OPDIVO.
Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. In addition, he has completed several Executive Education courses at the Aresty Institute for Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Senior Community Liaison
Manhattan HIV Community
George Bouldin Gates, MBA, is the Senior Community Liaison (CL) covering Manhattan and has been with Gilead Sciences for 5 years. Prior to joining Gilead Sciences, George worked in the non-profit world of HIV awareness and prevention for 23 years. His time in the field includes work at The Hetrick-Martin Institute, New York Blood Center’s Young Men’s Survey and Project ACHIEVE, GMHC, POCC and Harlem United in NYC. Following his time in NYC he worked for 6 years at the international nonprofit FHI360 in Washington, DC. As a CL with Gilead Sciences George works closely with accounts to provide training to staff and patients on a variety of topics focused on living well with HIV and preventing HIV. He also provides technical assistance and capacity building to accounts through training and CQI efforts focused on improving and strengthening systems, protocols for rapid start and PrEP implementation, and activities assisting accounts with improving client and patient engagement in care and prevention to help end the HIV epidemic.
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Kezar Life Sciencess
John Fowler is Kezar Life Sciences’ Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the board of directors, bringing over 20 years of executive leadership experience to the company. Mr. Fowler has been a successful operator in organizations ranging from high tech start-ups to the U.S. Government. He served as CEO of Aero Logistics from 2003 until 2008 and as CEO of HealthCPA from 2009 until 2014, a provider of patient advocacy and insurance navigation services. He previously worked with Idealab Silicon Valley and also as a management consultant with William Kent International, advising clients on international acquisition opportunities and market entry strategies. He began his career in Washington, D.C., as a Congressional Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Trade Representative. John received both his A.B. in International Relations and his M.B.A. from Stanford University.
International Corporate Strategic Partners Committee & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - Life Member
Nicole M. Adams is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., initiated at the Eta Xi chapter at the University of Georgia in 1979. Serving the sorority on many levels, Nicole was elected and served two terms as an EAF At-Large Director during the Buckahan Wilson administration is currently appointed as CoChairman of the International Corporate Strategic Partners Committee by the Supreme Basileus Glenda Glover. On the local level, Nicole has served as Basileus, Grammateus, Parliamentarian, Foundation President and chaired numerous successful fundraisers. In November 2020, Nicole was named the General Chairman of the 69th South Atlantic Regional Conference by Regional Director Carolyn G. Randolph.
A native of Atlanta and an active member of the Atlanta civic community, Nicole volunteers her board governance, fundraising and media relations expertise to non-profit organizations. Nicole presently serves on the board of the Ivy & Roses Community Fund, Inc., the College Park Arts Council and the Atlanta Airport District Board, managing a $34M tourism budget.
Nicole is the mother of Soror Shelley N. Adams, a member of Xi Alpha Omega Chapter, Houston, TX.
Nicole is the Director of Corporate Development for the new African American television network, the Black News Channel.
President/Chief Executive Officer
Reveles Clinical Services
As CEO and Founder of Reveles Clinical Services, R'Kes has over 18 years providing high-touch pharmacy services, clinical reach operations, specialty drug distribution, and clinical management to patients with rare and complex diseases such as Autoimmune, Kidney disease, Cancer, Hemophilia, and Cystic Fibrosis.
Prior to founding Reveles, R'Kes headed up the Specialty Pharmacy and Clinical Research Service business at McKesson, which is a "central depot" that provides investigational product distribution, accountability, and storage for the US Oncology Network. R'Kes oversaw a multi-disciplinary clinical research team involved in over 130 active oncology-focused clinical trials and was responsible for delivering over 50,000 annual shipments of investigational products, laboratory kits, and clinical supplies to the US Oncology network sites across the United States. Prior to McKesson, as the Vice President of Operations, he previously oversaw eight Home Infusion specialty pharmacies in six states with Coram CVS Specialty Infusion Services, which has translated into R'Kes having in-depth experience and knowledge of providing decentralized clinical trial support and direct-to-patient care for thousands of patients on clinical trials and commercially-approved medications with complex and rare diseases in their homes.
Prior to Coram, R'Kes held various management roles with DaVita, Inc., a Fortune 500 Dialysis services provider. Before the dialysis industry, Mr. Starling has worked in the retail pharmacy operations management at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and Target Stores.
Additionally, R'Kes have consulted and worked collaboratively with over 30 biopharmaceutical companies on pre-launch to commercialization development, launch strategies, and patient access programs for new specialty pharmaceutical therapies.
R'Kes received his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Purdue University and his Executive MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
VP of Research & Strategic Partnerships
Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
Tricha Shivas, Vice President Research and Strategic Partnerships, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
Tricha Shivas joined the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) in December of 2020. As the Vice President of Research and Strategic Partnerships she works with various stakeholders including individuals living with sarcoidosis and their loved ones, academic researchers, clinicians, industry partners, regulators and policy-makers to advance FSR’s mission to accelerate sarcoidosis research in the search for treatments and a possible cure.
In her previous roles, she drove strategic plan development and growth of advocacy, fundraising, outreach, and research programming. She is a collaborative and strategic leader with over 15 years of non-profit results-driven experience. She is passionate about creating diverse, high performance teams that generate impactful outcomes. In her most recent role as Development Director at The Myositis Association, Tricha expanded the organization’s national and international reach through the development of creative programming, marketing, and partnership stewardship and growth. She developed strategic goals emphasizing the improvement of health outcomes, doctor patient communication, and access to treatment for all people living with autoimmune and rare diseases. She collaborated with researchers, clinicians, regulators, and industry partners to identify best practices in clinical care and to advance evidence-based research and drug development.
Tricha received her bachelors in American Studies from Albright College and her Masters of Bioethics from University of Pennsylvania. She currently serves on Drexel Hill University’s Health Administration Department Advisory Council. She lives in Virginia with her husband, Daryl, and her dog, Dooley.
This Black History Month, we challenge you to become proactive about your health and fight for health equity in Black communities across the nation.