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2020 Policy Action Institute Speakers

Archer is director of health for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department. He is vice chair of the Public Health Accreditation Board and chairs PHAB's Accreditation Improvement Committee. He is a past president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials and recently received NACCHO’s Maurice “Mo” Mullet “Lifetime of Service Award.” Archer has served on numerous national committees involving public health and is responsible for safeguarding the public health of nearly half a million residents and a daytime population of nearly one million people. Under his leadership, the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department is, to date, the only health department in the country to receive PHAB accreditation and reaccreditation, a two-time winner of the NACCHO’s Local Health Department of the Year award, and  lead their community to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. He is recognized as a Public Health Leadership Institute Scholar by UCLA/CDC and has served as physician in charge of the Employee Health Programs for Ford Motor Company and has held local and state health positions in Maryland.

Auerbach is president and CEO of Trust for America's Health, where he oversees the organization's work to promote sound public health policy and make disease prevention a national priority. Over the course of a 30-year career he has held senior public health positions at the federal, state and local levels. As associate director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he oversaw policy and the agency’s collaborative efforts with CMS, commercial payers, and large health systems. During his six years as the Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he developed innovative programs to promote health equity, combat chronic and infectious disease, and support the successful implementation of the state’s health care reform initiative. As Boston’s health commissioner for nine years, he directed homeless, substance abuse, and emergency medical services for the city as well as a wide range of public health divisions. Auerbach was previously a professor of practice in health sciences and director of the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern University; program director of one of the country’s first community health centers; and director of a clinical training program at a tertiary care safety-net hospital.

Boyd is director of health policy and legislative affairs for the Black Women's Health Imperative. An established health care executive with proven expertise in government relations, political compliance, and advocacy, she has extensive experience in creating and executing federal legislative policy strategy and facilitating outreach to members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. She previously was managing partner for TKB Global Strategies, LLC /Watts Partners, where she successfully executed government affairs strategies through engagement of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and Department of Veteran Affairs. Along with her past roles with DaVita, Inc., and Johnson and Johnson, Boyd also served as legislative director for Rep. John Lewis, where she exercised oversight over legislative activities within the office, including tax, trade, health care (Medicare, Medicaid, and Graduate Medical Education), financial services, judiciary and energy. Boyd is a member of the American, National, and Mississippi Bar Associations and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has been featured in USA Today, Clarion Ledger, Huffington Post and Essence Magazine during inaugural events for the Smithsonian National African American History & Culture Museum.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, where he played an instrumental role in passing the historic Wall Street reform law. He also serves on the Senate Committee on Finance. Brown is also the first Ohio Senator in 40 years to serve on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where he has been instrumental in strengthening the farm safety net and addressing childhood hunger. He served chairman of the Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation. Brown has fought for our veterans, service members and their families throughout his career. He is the only Ohio Senator ever to serve a full Senate term on the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Prior to serving in the United States Senate, Brown served as a United States Representative for the 13th District, Ohio’s Secretary of State, a member of the Ohio General Assembly, and has taught in Ohio’s public schools and at The Ohio State University. An Eagle Scout, Brown is a native of Mansfield, Ohio, where he spent summers working on his family’s farm. He is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz. They reside in Cleveland, Ohio, and have three daughters, a son, a daughter-in-law, three sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren.

Choucair is senior vice president and chief community health officer at Kaiser Permanente. He oversees the organization’s national community health efforts and philanthropic giving activities aimed at improving the health of its 12.2 million members and the 68 million people who live in the communities it serves. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, he was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health for five years before serving as senior vice president, Safety Net and Community Health at Trinity Health. In 2018, Choucair was named #10 on Modern Healthcare’s list of the 50 Most Influential Health Executives in the U.S.

Constible has been a climate change communicator since 2006. She quickly turned to advocacy after coauthoring the book "Climate Change from Pole to Pole: Biology Investigations," which includes a chapter on heat-related mortality in people. She is currently a senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she helps advance state and federal policies to cut carbon pollution and protect communities from the present-day harms of climate disruption. She is particularly focused on ensuring that workers and our public health and health care systems are prepared for rising temperatures, sea level rise, and more extreme weather. Prior to joining NRDC, Constible oversaw the science and solutions department at the Climate Reality Project and later served as an adviser to the Climate Action Campaign. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Victoria in Canada, and a climate change and health certificate from the Yale School of Public Health.

Cornett is a former TV personality, businessman, and four-term mayor of Oklahoma City. His new book "The Next American City" is a blueprint for how to create a livable, vibrant, modern city.  Following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 television sportscaster/news anchor/sports play-by-play broadcaster diverted his attention to public service and served as a full-time college professor before winning a seat on the Oklahoma City Council in 2001. In 2004 he won the city-wide election for mayor. Cornett is best known for helping to bring an NBA franchise to Oklahoma City and for addressing the community’s shortcomings in areas of health and wellness. He was the president of the United States Conference of Mayors in 2016-17. Cornett decided not to run for a fifth term as Mayor, and ended his tenure after 14 years. He has a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from New York University.

President and founder of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, Crear-Perry addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge a human rights framework to improve maternal mortality. Previously, she served as the executive director of the Birthing Project, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the Director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department where she was responsible for four facilities that provided health care for the homeless, pediatric, WIC and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area. Crear-Perry continues to work to improve access and availability of affordable health care to New Orleans’ citizens in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. After receiving her bachelor’s training at Princeton University and Xavier University, Crear-Perry completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University’s School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Abdul El-SayedABDUL EL-SAYED, MD, DPhil
El-Sayed is a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He is the chair of Southpaw Michigan. His forthcoming book, "Healing Politics" (Abrams Press), diagnoses our country’s epidemic of insecurity and the empathy politics we will need to treat it, and he is the host of the “America Dissected” a podcast. In 2018, he ran for governor of Michigan. Previously, he served the city of Detroit as health director, appointed to rebuild Detroit's Health Department after it was privatized during the city's bankruptcy. Prior to entering public service, he was assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he lead Columbia’s Systems Science Program and Global Research Analytics for Population Health. He has over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications that have been cited over 1,200 times. El-Sayed earned a Doctorate in Public Health from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He also holds a Medical Degree from Columbia University where he was an NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow and Soros New Americans Fellow. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan, where he was chosen to deliver the student remarks alongside President Bill Clinton.

Hall is senior vice president for civic and community initiatives at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where he oversees the work on the "Healthy KC" project. That initiative is a partnership with more than 250 Kansas City area organizations and aims to make greater Kansas City a destination for healthy living. Since its launch in 2015, the project has worked with area organizations to implement best-practice workplace wellness policies, created a region-wide program to make the greater Kanas City area "trauma-informed," and successfully partnered with 33 local governments to raise the minimum age of purchase and sale of tobacco products — including e-cigarettes and related paraphernalia — to 21. He has spoken across the country to a variety of audiences about tobacco prevention, workplace wellness and community health. He was recognized by KC Magazine as a "Rising Star" and as one of the "100 People Making Kansas City a Better Place."

Hearne works with foundations, policymakers, the private and non-profit sectors to tackle some of the thorniest health and environmental issues of the day: from finding solutions in urban health policy to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday lives. She is the principal investigator for CityHealth and a senior advisor to the Big Cities Health Coalition, which is a forum for the leaders of the nation's largest metropolitan health departments. She is also the executive director of the Forsythia Foundation. Previously, Hearne was the managing director of the Pew Health Group of The Pew Charitable Trusts, overseeing its food safety, medical safety, research, and biomedical programs. She was also the founding executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a national health advocacy organization dedicated to preventing epidemics, protecting people. Her past posts include executive director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission, the acting director of the NJ DEP Office of Pollution Prevention, and a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She was chair of the American Public Health Association’s Executive Board and vice President of the Council on Education for Public Health – the accreditation body for public health schools. She has authored many national health reports, from bioterrorism to obesity. Hearne has testified regularly before the U.S. Congress on bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness, health tracking and public health funding. She provides continual service to the public health field serving on National Academy of Science Committees (including the Oversight Committee, Division on Earth and Life Studies) and chairing accreditation site visits to public health schools, such as Harvard and Yale Universities.

McMurrow is a principal research associate in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, using quantitative methods to study the factors that affect individual health insurance coverage and access to care as well as the impacts of state and national health reforms. She has extensive experience analyzing several sources of federal survey data and a deep understanding of Medicaid eligibility policies and coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act. She has also worked on topics related to  women's health and access to preventive and reproductive health services. McMurrow received her PhD in Health Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

As a board-certified family physician with over a decade of experience leading population health initiatives in governmental public health agencies, Nesbitt mobilizes organizations and communities to implement innovative solutions that promote health and wellness, and achieve health equity. She is director of the District of Columbia Department of Health in Washington, D.C., a position she has held since January 2015 when appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Throughout her career she has led multi-sector collaborations to address innovation in health care delivery and its impact on high cost, high need and other special populations; the integration of public health and health care; and the impact of medical marijuana and decriminalization of marijuana possession on the public’s health. Prior to her role in D.C., Nesbitt served as the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, where she led initiatives focused on Affordable Care Act implementation and violence prevention.

Olsen is the Medical Director for the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services, a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment center in Baltimore City. She also provides part-time medical consultation to the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration. After medical training at Harvard Medical School, and internal medicine residency with a year as Primary Care Chief Resident at the Boston Medical Center, she received a Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has previously served as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, as the Deputy Health Officer for the Harford County Health Department, and as the Medical Director for the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s outpatient substance use treatment services. Dr. Olsen also serves as Vice President for the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is on the board of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Maryland. She is co-author of the book, “The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

Parekh is the Bipartisan Policy Center’s chief medical advisor providing clinical and public health expertise across the organization, particularly in the areas of aging, prevention, and global health. Prior to joining BPC, he completed a decade of service at the Department of Health and Human Services. As deputy assistant secretary for health from 2008 to 2015, he developed and implemented national initiatives focused on prevention, wellness and care management. Briefly in 2007, he was delegated the authorities of the assistant secretary for health overseeing ten health program offices and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Earlier in his HHS career, he played key roles in public health emergency preparedness efforts as special assistant to the science advisor to the secretary. Parekh is a board-certified internal medicine physician, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he previously completed his residency training in the Osler Medical Program of the Department of Medicine. He provided volunteer clinical services for many years at the Holy Cross Hospital Health Center, a clinic for the uninsured in Silver Spring, Maryland. Parekh is an adjunct professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He currently serves on the dean’s advisory board of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the Presidential Scholars Foundation board of directors, and the board of directors of WaterAid America. He has spoken widely and written extensively on a variety of health topics such as chronic care management, population health, value in health care, and the need for health and human services integration.

Roskam is the legal director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence where she drafts and analyzes federal and state legislation, congressional testimony, educational reports and other materials on gun violence, the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence, and the intersection of mental health and gun violence. She sits on the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Gun Violence. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and the Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson School of Law.


Saha has dedicated her career to improving health, well-being and equity through the development of thriving people, organizations and communities. She serves as founder of Well-being and Equity in the World and Executive Lead of the Well Being In the Nation Network. She has worked as a primary care internist and pediatrician in the safety net and a global public health practitioner for over 20 years. Over the last five years, Saha has served as executive lead of 100 Million Healthier Lives, which brings together 1,850+ partners in 30+ countries to improve health, well-being and equity and transform systems that contribute to poor health and wellbeing outcomes for hundreds of millions of people. She helped found and build 100 Million Healthier Lives while serving as vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, as part of its mission to improve health and health care worldwide. In 2012, Saha was recognized as one of ten inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leaders for her contributions to improving the health of the nation. She has consulted with leaders from across the world, including Guyana, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark and Brazil. She has appeared on a panel with the Dalai Lama, keynoted conferences around the world, and had her work featured on Sanjay Gupta, the Katie Couric Show, PBS and CNN. In 2016 she was elected as a Leading Causes of Life Global Fellow.

Since 2013, Shah has served as executive director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health – the nationally accredited county public health agency for the nation’s third largest county with 4.7 million people. Shah earned his BA (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University; his MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center; and completed an Internal Medicine Residency, Primary Care/General Medicine Fellowship, and MPH (management) at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization headquarters in Switzerland. Upon completing training, Shah began a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. He started his formal public health journey as chief medical officer at Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous national awards including recognition as Local Health Department of the Year from the National Association of County and City Health Officials in 2016. Shah currently holds numerous leadership positions with respected entities like the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Trust for America’s Health; Network for Public Health Law; and Texas Medical Association. He previously served as president of NACCHO (and its Texas affiliate) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments.

Tuckson is Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC. Previously, he enjoyed a long tenure as Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group; Senior Vice President for Professional Standards of the AMA; Senior Vice President of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; President of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; and Commissioner of Public Health for the District of Columbia. He is president of the American Telemedicine Association and serves on the Board of Directors of LifePoint Health, a leading hospital company dedicated to providing high-value care and services to growing regions, rural communities and vibrant small towns across the nation; Cell Therapeutics, Inc., a public corporation concerned with the development of cancer pharmaceuticals; and he is a special advisor to the CEO of ViTel Net, LLC, a leading innovator in telehealth solutions. Additionally, he serves on the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health; he is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, serving in a leadership position on the use of data and analytics in healthcare; he is a Board Member of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which is concerned with advancing humanism in medical care; an Advisory Board Member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; and a Trustee of the Board of Howard University. Previously, Tuckson was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health; served as Chairman of the Secretary of Health’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society; and he has served on several U.S. Government cabinet level health advisory committees concerned with health reform, infant mortality, children’s health, violence, and radiation testing.

Welter is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration, Interim Director of the Doctorate in Public Health Leadership, and the Associate Director of the Policy, Practice and Prevention Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health. She specializes in engaging diverse stakeholders in planning, evaluation, and research to identify root causes of complex problems; facilitating co-creation of multi-level policy and systems initiatives; and promoting learning and leadership development. Welter’s current projects include serving as the principal investigator of UIC SPH’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health funded Center for Healthy Work where she is conducting an action research project to increase policy and systems strategies that address precarious work. She is also the co-investigator in the Centers for Disease Control funded Policy, Prevention, and Practice Research Center where she is leading a process to increase governmental public health agency readiness for policy and systems change. Welter also serves on the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Center’s Adaptive Leadership Core and previously served as the Deputy Director at the Cook County Department of Public Health where she catalyzed the establishment of several ongoing and award-winning leadership collaboratives and secured over $25 million in funding to implement policy, systems and environmental changes initiatives.

Woolf is professor at the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has published more than 150 articles in a career that has focused on evidence-based medicine and the development of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, with a special emphasis on preventive medicine, cancer screening, quality improvement, and social justice. He received his medical degree in 1984 from Emory University and underwent residency training in family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. A clinical epidemiologist, Woolf was trained in preventive medicine and public health at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Master of Public Health degree in 1987. He is board certified in family medicine and in preventive medicine and public health.


Benjamin has been executive director of APHA since 2002 and is leading the Association’s push to make America the healthiest nation in one generation. He came to APHA from his position as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene following four years as its deputy secretary for public health services. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health. Benjamin started his medical career by managing a 72,000-patient visit ambulatory care service as chief of the Acute Illness Clinic at the Madigan Army Medical Center and was an attending physician within the Department of Emergency Medicine. He served as chief of emergency medicine at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and then chaired the Department of Community Health and Ambulatory Care at the District of Columbia General Hospital. He was promoted to acting commissioner for public health for the District of Columbia and later directed one of the busiest ambulance services in the nation. The author of more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters, Benjamin is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Formally the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and also serves on the boards for many organizations including Research!America.

Learn more about the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference that takes place the two days before APHA's Policy Action Institute.