Board Profiles

/Board Profiles
Board Profiles2018-07-25T10:35:06+00:00

Bettina Beech, DrPH, MPH is Professor and Founding Dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health and the Executive Director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Disparities. She holds a BA. in Sociology and MPH from Temple University, a DrPH. from the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral science at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  She was a 2011-2012 Fellow in the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women and a 2016-2017 Fellow in the American Council of Education (ACE).

Her research interests are focused on the primary and secondary prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes, with a particular focus on health disparities.  She has been the principal investigator for multiple studies funded by NIH including a randomized clinical trial translating the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for African American families, Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study, and an NHLBI-funded research training and mentoring program for early career faculty underrepresented in biomedical science.

Jen Brown is Director and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities ( in Northwestern University’s Center for Community Health. She is passionate about ARCC’s mission to grow equitable research partnerships between Chicago area communities and Northwestern University to improve health and health equity. She has almost twenty years of experience building and supporting community-academic engaged research partnerships at project, institutional, and multi-institutional levels. She is on faculty in Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Preventive Medicine. Jen also serves on the Board of Directors for the international organization Community Campus Partnerships for Health, co-chair of the Chicago Consortium for Community Engagement, co-chair of the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 Data & Research Team and Partnership for Healthy Chicago, associate editor of the Progress in Community Health Partnerships journal, member of the Northwestern Lurie Cancer Center Office of Equity & Minority Health Advisory Committee, and Chicago Ideas Co-Op.

Suzanne Cashman, DSc, MS formally trained in health services research, evaluation and administration, has spent the forty years of her professional career teaching graduate courses in public health, conducting community-based evaluation research, and developing partnerships aimed at helping communities improve their health status. Currently, Suzanne is Professor and Director of Community Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) where she has leadership responsibilities for developing the Department’s community health agenda and functions as faculty for the school’s preventive medicine residency. In addition, she is a core investigator for UMMS’s Prevention Research Center and serves as Co-Director of the community engagement sections for the school’s Clinical and Translational Research Center and for its Center for Health Equity Intervention Research. She also founded and currently co-leads the University of Massachusetts Worcester’s Rural Health Scholars Program. From 2009-2012, Suzanne served as Principal Investigator for the school’s Corporation for National and Community Service Learn and Serve grant.

Suzanne provides evaluation technical assistance to the state’s Area Health Education Center and teaches public health skills to medical students and family medicine residents, as well as students in the Graduate School of Nursing and the School of Public Health. She co-leads the medical school’s Determinants of Health course as well as its Community Engagement Committee, was instrumental in developing Worcester’s Healthy Communities Initiative, and served as core team member responsible for conducting a Community Health Assessment and then developing a Health Improvement Plan. Suzanne joined the UMMS faculty in 1999, after having spent the preceding decade developing and nurturing a community-oriented primary care (COPC) focused, interprofessional preventive medicine fellowship in Boston, MA. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through its urban COPC national demonstration initiative, this project used the preventive medicine training template to launch a multi-professional training program aimed at teaching participants skills that would help them work collaboratively with communities to improve health. Currently, Suzanne is a CCPH board member and Senior Consultant and represents CCPH on the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force. In addition, she served as faculty for CCPH’s Service-Learning Institute for nine years and as Associate Editor of CES4Health from 2009-2013. Suzanne served as a member of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research’s (APTR) board of directors from 2002-2010. From 2004-2015, she facilitated and taught in APTR’s annual Paul Ambrose Symposium. Suzanne is the winner of several awards, including the American Public Health Association’s Community-Based Public Health Caucus’s Tom Bruce Award for Community Engagement (2010), APTR’s F. Marian Bishop Outstanding Educator of the Year award (2010), the UMMS Women’s Faculty Outstanding Community Service Award (2007) and the UMMS Star Educational Achievement Award (2004).

Senaida Fernandez-Poole, PhD

Rosey Hunter, PhD, LCSW joined the University of Utah (U of U), College of Social Work faculty in 1995 and currently serves there as an Associate Professor. She has previously served as Co-Director of Graduate Field Education, Director of Undergraduate Field Education, and Co-Director of International Social Work; and has taught in the BSW, MSW and PhD programs. Currently she teaches in the Bachelors of Social Work Online Education program and is a program director for the Bridging Borders Partnership, an annual “Train the Trainer” program that engages community partners, students, and faculty in working with communities living in refugee camps along the Thailand/Myanmar (Burma) border. As part of this program, individuals who previously lived in the camps and now are resettled in Salt Lake City, participate with the program as Cultural Consultants. In 2016, four Cultural Consultants joined the program, including two native Burma/Myanmar participants. Most recently, Dr. Hunter served as Special Assistant to the President and director of University Neighborhood Partners (UNP), from 2006 – 2015 (received Honorable Mention for the CCPH award 2010).

Dr. Hunter’s focus is on community partnerships and participatory action research frameworks. This approach critically examines the power and access structures that too often disregard underrepresented and oppressed populations. Additionally, participatory frameworks value multiple forms of knowledge and respect groups that are often excluded from access points and who hold unique perspectives on structural barriers.

One example of this approach is the development of the Case Management Certificate Program – In 2011, Rosey was awarded the U of U, Public Service Professorship Award for her research project entitled, The Emerging Leaders Project: Connecting university resources to community-based organizations supporting refugee resettlement. The first phase of this two-part project included community-based participatory research with local leaders of refugee background; it assisted with the development of a leadership-training curriculum for new arriving populations. The outcome of Phase 1 was the development of a Case Management Certificate program offered through the College of Social Work’s Professional and Community Education program. The 9-month certificate program began in Fall 2013. The first cohort of 27 participants included community leaders of immigrant and refugee backgrounds, representing 14 different countries of origin.  The following year, the program was put online with the first cohort of graduates from Kakuma Camp, Kenya and Dzaleka Camp, Malawi. The second phase of the project connected student learning to community capacity building, by partnering students with local Community-Based Organizations (CBS’s) in semester-long community-driven project.

Rosey is also active in creating pathways to higher education for first generation students and minoritized community both locally and globally. In partnership with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education on the Margins, JC: HEM (, Rosey and her colleagues at the College of Social Work and Salt Lake Community College are developing a pathway to higher education and the completion of a BSW degree for communities living on the margins (refugee camp communities, other marginalized settings).

Rosey’s social work teaching, research and practice areas are focused on developing mutually beneficial relationships – connecting people to resources and shared power in ways that expand opportunities and build on strengths. Rosey has practice experience in community organizing, higher education administration, international social work, school social work, clinical social work. She has received several awards for her work with communities, including the 2015 YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award.

Farrah Jacquez, PhD, MA is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati whose work focuses on community-engaged approaches to health equity and broadening participation in science and research. Following graduate training in clinical psychology at the University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Jacquez came to UC and began focusing more directly on working with community members to develop evidence-based, contextually appropriate intervention programs. She promotes collaborative research in her role as Co-Director of Research for the Community Engagement Core of Cincinnati’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). She currently co-leads three projects working with communities to address health disparities. First, she partners Latinos Unidos por la Salud (LU-Salud), a team of Latino immigrant co-researchers assessing needs and developing interventions that are culturally and contextually appropriate for Latinos in Cincinnati. Second, through the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she works with community leaders using a place-based approach to promote early childhood wellness in two underserved neighborhoods in Cincinnati. Third, through an NIH-funded Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), she works with adolescents in rural Appalachia and urban Cincinnati doing community-based participatory research on drug abuse and addiction in local communities.

Angela Mashford-Pringle, PhD is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director for the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She is an urban Algonquin woman from Timiskaming First Nation in northern Quebec, Canada whose research is at the intersection of Indigenous health and education.  She has held leadership and administrative positions at Peel District School Board, St. Michael’s Hospital’s Well Living House, and Centennial College as the inaugural Aboriginal Programs Manager. Angela worked for more than 10 years at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian federal government) managing Indigenous social programs. Her research interests are at the intersection of Indigenous health and education with a focus on social policy, self-determination, and community engagement.

Rhonda McClinton-Brown, MPH  is the Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement within Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences. She co-leads Stanford’s Community Engagement Program for Stanford’s Clinical and Translational Science Award and chairs the community engagement core for Stanford’s Precision Health for Ethnic and Racial Equity (SPHERE).  Since joining Stanford in 2007, she has worked to strengthen community partnerships, increase collaborative initiatives to improve the health of ethnically diverse local community members, and build skills among Stanford faculty, trainees, students, and community partners to conduct effective community-engaged research and service projects.  She has provided consultation to individuals and groups on various approaches to community engagement and has led the development of numerous successful and ongoing academic-community partnerships. She has developed and taught courses at Stanford and San Jose State University on community engagement, population health, health policy, health care organizations and health care administration. Rhonda maintains longstanding relationships in the local community with over 17 years-experience as a community health center director and Chief Executive of an association of community health centers. She is an active member of her local community and continues to be committed to issues related to equity and social justice.

Georgia L Narsavage, PhD, APRN, FAAN, FNAP, ATSF has been a University administrator, educator, researcher, and advanced practice nurse who aims to improve care for older patients with chronic lung disease.  She was founding director of the Office of InterProfessional Education at West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, developing a team of educators from Schools of nursing, medicine, dentistry, allied professionals (OT/PT/Lab sciences), pharmacy, and public health who worked with over 500 students annually to learn IP skills.   Through research and practice, she worked with nurses and other healthcare providers to improve patients’ quality of life and provide community-based care through education and research. As Dean and Professor of Nursing at West Virginia University in Morgantown, with her team, she built on the WVU School of Nursing’s and university’s mission to improve the health of West Virginians through strengthening partnerships between service, education and research. Her career has been influenced by a trajectory of administrative responsibility for health science program development and introduction of service-learning in university settings by promoting community partnerships. She began involvement with CCPH in 1999.  At Case Western Reserve University and the Medical College of Georgia, she developed new programs and rejuvenated others by working with school and community partnerships and is delighted to be appointed to the CCPH Board of Directors in 2018.

Chioma Nnaji, MPH, MEd is a Nigerian born in America. As a long time community health activist in the Greater Boston area, she delicately blends the multiple roles of a Community Activist, Truth-Seeker, Educator, Spiritual Dancer and Auntie. Currently, Ms. Nnaji is the Program Director at the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC) in Boston, the largest AIDS serving organization in New England exclusively dedicated to mobilizing communities of color to end the HIV epidemic. She developed and currently manages the Africans For Improved Access (AFIA) Program – an HIV prevention and screening program targeting African immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts. Under her leadership, the AFIA program has become nationally known for its innovative work in addressing HIV among African immigrants, including developing
culturally appropriate interventions, community research projects and community mobilization strategies. At the MAC, she also oversees Community Health Nexus, MAC’s capacity building and technical assistance program targeting providers and small minority CBOs/FBOs and Be the Generation, MAC’s community education program on biomedical HIV prevention research. She also serves as President of the African National HIV/AIDS Alliance (ANHA). ANHA is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve the health outcomes of Africans living in the United States through culturally and linguistically competent approaches in education, advocacy and research.

In November 2012, Ms. Nnaji began working at the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR) as the Program Director. CHEIR is a collaborative partnership between UMass Medical School and UMass Boston dedicated to improving the health of socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations in Massachusetts. It serves as a Comprehensive Center of Excellence by NIMHD, which is part of the National Institutes of Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (P60MD006912).

Ms. Nnaji holds a Master’s degree in Public Health, with a concentration in International Health and a Master’s degree in Education from Boston College, with a concentration in Curriculum & Instruction. She is passionate about her work and is committed to bringing the voice and needs of racial/ethnic marginalized communities to the table of health policy, research, and service delivery in a way that recognizes community assets and respects cultural values.

Ann-Gel Palermo, MPH, DrPH is the Chief Program Officer of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion of the Mount Sinai Health System and the Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, the diversity center of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Ann-Gel also holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Pediatrics. Ann-Gel co-founded the nonprofit Harlem Community & Academic Partnership, Inc. in 1999, and the East Harlem Emergency Preparedness Collaborative in 2013 and the East Harlem COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) in 2015, all of which utilize a community-driven and action-oriented approach to community identified issues. Ann-Gel has developed a career portfolio working at the intersection of public health and medical education with a principal focus on community-based public health training and education, community-based research and advocacy, diversity affairs and medical education, and healthcare workforce diversity. Ann-Gel earned her Master of Public Health degree (majoring in Health Policy) from the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health in 1999 and a Doctorate of Public Health at the City University of New York Graduate Center School of Public Health at Hunter College in 2012.  Ann-Gel is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Health Innovators Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Melvin Thompson, MBA is Executive Director of the Endeleo Institute, the nonprofit community development arm of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois.  The mission is to empower Washington Heights and surrounding communities by strengthening existing assets and improving health, education and community development outcomes for greater quality of life.

Melvin has an extensive community development background and a growing body of community-academic experience, with emphasis on Community-based Participatory Research.  Previously, he was Development Director for Habitat for Humanity Chicago South Suburbs and worked with a private housing developer on the City of Chicago Plan for Transformation.

Melvin currently serves as Steering Committee Member of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) as part of the Center for Community Health at Northwestern University, a member of the National Health Equity Task Force at the American Heart Association and on the Board of Directors at the Community Renewal Society.

Antonio Tovar-Aguilar, PhD is a Mexican Medical Anthropologist working at the Farmworker Association of Florida for the last 12 years. He has co-directed multiple Community-based Participatory Research Projects with academic institutions working on farmworkers issues. He is currently conducting research on heat related illness including kidney disease of unknown etiology in partnership with the College of Nursing at Emory University; testing the effectiveness of training preventing heat stress and pesticide exposure in collaboration with University of California at Davis, Florida State University, and the University of Florida; finally Dr. Tovar is evaluated the impact of climate change on agricultural practices with the Boricua Agroecology Collective and the University of Puerto Rico. In Mexico, Dr. Tovar completed his Bachelor degrees in Philosophy at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico, worked as a journalist for 10 years covering politics, science and culture and, completed a master degree at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Community Health and Rural Development. At the University of Florida and University of South Florida Dr. Tovar completed his Doctoral degree in Anthropology and Certificates on Latin American Studies, and Social Marketing.

Karriem Watson, DHSc, MS, MPH is a Senior Research Specialist overseeing community engaged research for the University of Illinois Cancer Center (UICC). In this role, Karriem utilizes his expertise in community-engaged research to develop a research and community engagement and outreach infrastructure that examines cancer disparities. Karriem has been involved in the design and conduct of clinical and translational research studies for over 14 years and serves as a reviewer for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Karriem also conducts research that examines attitudes, beliefs and barriers that affect the participation of African Americans and Latinos in clinical and translational research. He has been with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) since 2005 and has served in several capacities such as Research Director in the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Early Outreach Program in the Urban Health Program (UHP). Karriem has a commitment to community engagement and increasing educational opportunities for underrepresented minorities in the STEM (Science, Technology and Engineering and Math) fields. His community engagement includes sitting on several boards that promote improved public health like Project Brotherhood that serves primarily African American men and their health needs on the south side of Chicago. He also inspires youth to go into STEM careers and serves as Adjunct Instructor at DePaul University and also teaches in the graduate college at Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. In his role at the Cancer Center, Karriem also engages the FQHCs Mile Square Health Clinics, community-based organizations,families and survivors in bidirectional exchange that supports the development of evidence based programs that improves cancer screening, prevention and treatment outcomes. In addition, Karriem serves on the Board of Directors for Village Leadership Academy where he has been instrumental in exposing inner city youth to a global education experience that has ranged from study abroad programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico and Brazil to name a few. Lastly, Karriem has worked passionately to incorporate faith into a public health framework. He has created several projects that use the impact of faith to increase awareness of such conditions as Breast and Prostate Cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Sacoby Wilson, PhD is an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland-College Park.  Dr. Wilson has over 15 years of experience as environmental health scientist in the areas of exposure science, environmental justice, environmental health disparities, community-based participatory research, water quality analysis, air pollution studies, built environment, industrial animal production, climate change, community resiliency, and sustainability.  As Director of the Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health (CEEJH) Initiative, he works primarily in partnership with community-based organizations using citizen science to study and address environmental justice and health issues and translate research to action. Through CEEJH, Dr. Wilson is engaging communities in the Washington, DC region on environmental health issues including stormwater impacts on neighborhoods; environmental justice and green infrastructure; cumulative impacts of hazards in Brandywine, MD; air pollution issues in the Buzzard Point area of Washington, DC; industrial chicken farming on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; and other topics.  In addition, he is working with schools in the region on pipeline development efforts in the STEM+H disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health).

He has worked on environmental justice issues including environmental racism with community-based organizations through long-term community-university environmental health and justice partnerships in South Carolina and North Carolina including the Low Country Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC), in North Charleston, South Carolina; the West End Revitalization Association (WERA) in Mebane, NC; and the Graniteville Community Coalition (GCC) in Graniteville, SC. He has provided technical assistance to REACH in Duplin County, NC; RENA in Orange County, NC; and the NC Environmental Justice Network.

He is Founder of 17 for Peace and Justice and a Co-Founder of the DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) Environmental Justice Coalition. He is a member of the USEPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a past Chair of the APHA Environment Section, on the Board of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, a former member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC NCEH/ATSDR, and former Chair of the Alpha Goes Green Initiative, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He is also a senior fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.

Dr. Wilson has received many awards for his contributions and achievements as an environmental justice researcher and advocate. He received a 2018 Audubon Naturalists Society Taking Nature Black Environmental Champion Award.  He also received the APHA Environment Section Damu Smith Environmental Justice Award in 2015.  From the University of Maryland School of Public Health, he received the George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award (2014-2015) and the Muriel R. Sloan Communitarian Award (2012-2013).  He received a USEPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award given to Low Country Alliance for Model Communities, North Charleston, SC and Mitigation Agreement Committee. Additionally, Dr. Wilson received the Steve Wing International Environmental Justice Award in 2008.

Dr. Wilson, a two-time EPA STAR fellow, EPA MAI fellow, Udall Scholar, NASA Space Scholar, and Thurgood Marshall Scholar, received his BS degree in Biology/Ecotoxicology with a minor in Environmental Science from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1998. He received training in environmental health in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Wilson received his MS degree in 2000 from UNC-Chapel Hill and his PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005.