Advisory Council

External experts will support the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, serving on the Advisory Council, the Proposal Review Panel and/or the Judges Panel. All experts will be invited to serve on the Advisory Panel; some of them will also be invited to participate in the review of submitted proposals and judging of participants’ projects to award prizes. Staff members from CEOs for Cities, APHA and Aetna Foundation will also participate on the Advisory Council and two panels.

The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Advisory Council will include subject matter experts in the fields of public health, urban planning and performance improvement. These individuals will serve as expert resources for the duration of the Challenge and help define finalist selection criteria and metrics used for awards. Some members of the Advisory Council will also serve on the Proposal Review Panel to recommend finalists for Phase 2 participation and/or on the Judges Panel for recommending award recipients. 

A team from the national Advisory Council will participate in a visit to the city, county and tribe finalists. Selection of the final winners will be conducted by the national Advisory Council Judges Panel.

MEET OUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Geoffrey Anderson

Geoffrey AndersonGeoffrey Anderson is the president and CEO of Smart Growth America. Named by Partners for Livable Communities as "One of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Sustainable Community Planning and Development," Geoff came to his current position after eight years heading the Smart Growth Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Geoff is a leader in the smart growth movement helping to found the movement as one of the authors of the foundational 10 smart growth principles. With an extensive list of publications, Geoff has served as an expert witness in front of the U.S. Congress, and is cited by the New York Times, NewsWeek, the Washington Post, Fox News, NPR, and numerous other outlets and publications. Geoff received his master’s degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a concentration in Resource Economics and Policy.

Irma Arispe
Michael Bird

Michael BirdMichael E. Bird is a Kewa/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Indian from New Mexico. He has over 30 years of public health leadership in the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities in the areas of medical social work, substance abuse prevention, health promotion and disease prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, behavioral health, and health care administration. For 20 years, Mr. Bird served with the United States Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, which provides health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives nationwide. Prior to leaving IHS, Mr. Bird was the Director of Preventive Health Programs for the Santa Fe Service Unit and the Albuquerque Area office. He also served with the Office of Tribal Activities and Office of Planning and Evaluation. In 2000 to 2001, Bird was the first American Indian and social worker elected to serve as president of the internationally renowned American Public Health Association. In his leadership capacity, he has been involved in numerous projects and served on local, tribal, national and international boards. He currently is an adviser on several boards, including the American Indian Graduate Center, AARP National Policy Council, and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health Advisory Committee in Canada. He previously served on the board of the Kewa Pueblo Health Corporation, the Seva Foundation, the Bernalillo County Urban Indian Health Commission, and the HRSA National Advisory Council for Nurse Education and Practice. Mr. Bird earned his Master’s in Social Work degree from the University of Utah, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Bird is currently a public health consultant and nationally recognized speaker on health disparities and Native American health.

Stephanie Boarden

Stephanie BoardenStephanie Boarden is a Senior Associate at PolicyLink.  As a member of the Center for Health Equity and Place, she provides strategic guidance and leadership to the Convergence Partnership – a national funder collaborative advancing health and equity. Focused on advancing racial and economic equity, she conducts research and provides technical assistance and training to foundations, community organizations, and government. 

Prior to joining PolicyLink, Boarden worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene coordinating community based research and programmatic evaluation activities related to health inequities, food access, active transportation and obesity. 

She holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in physiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ross Brownson

Ross BrownsonRoss C. Brownson, PhD, is the Bernard Becker Professor of Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis (Brown School and School of Medicine). He is involved in numerous community-level studies designed to understand and reduce modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and tobacco use. In particular, he is interested in the impacts of environmental and policy interventions on health behaviors and he conducts research on dissemination of evidence-based interventions (particularly in policy settings and health departments). Dr. Brownson is the author of seven books and over 400 peer-reviewed articles. He is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Prevention Research and Research Translation in Chronic Disease (2000, from CDC), the Abraham Lilienfeld Award for outstanding contributions in teaching and mentoring (2003, from APHA), and the Charles C. Shepard Science Award (2009, from CDC). Dr. Brownson has served APHA as a member of the Epidemiology Section Council and on the Joint Policy Committee. Prior to joining academe, he was a division director with the Missouri Department of Health. Dr. Brownson is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, served on the ACE Board of Directors from 2008 to 2011, and was president in 2013-2014.

Brian Castrucci

Brian CastrucciBrian C. Castrucci is the Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation, where he is responsible for identifying and fostering visionary public health projects. Brian came to his current position after 10 years working in state and local health departments. As an award-winning epidemiologist and public health leader, Brian has an extensive list of scientific publications. He is also a leader in the movement to improve collaboration between health care and public health as one of the editors of The Practical Playbook. Public Health. Primary Care. Together

He was also a co-creator of the first nationally representative study of the state-level governmental public health workforce – the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey. Castrucci blogs on public health topics at the Huffington Post, where he is committed to advancing an understanding and awareness of public health issues through new media. He received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University in 2006 and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health Leadership at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Anita Chandra

Anita ChandraAnita Chandra is director of RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment. Prior to her position as JIE director, she served as director of RAND's Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department. She also continues to lead studies on civic well-being and urban planning; community resilience and long-term disaster recovery; effects of military deployment; health in all policies; and child health and development. Throughout her career, Chandra has engaged government and nongovernmental partners to consider cross-sector solutions for improving community well-being and to build more robust systems and evaluation capacity. This work has taken many forms including engaging with federal and local government agencies on building systems for emergency preparedness and resilience both in the U.S. and globally; partnering with private sector organizations to develop the science base around child systems; and collaborating with city governments and foundations to reform data systems and measure sustainability, well-being, and civic transformation. Chandra has also partnered with community organizations to conduct broad-scale health and environmental needs assessments, to examine the integration of health and human service systems, and to determine how to address the needs of historically vulnerable populations in human service systems. These projects have occurred in partnership with businesses, foundations, and other community organizations. Chandra earned a Dr.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Mary Ann Cooney

Mary Ann CooneyMary Ann Cooney, RN, MS, MPH, is Chief of Health Systems Transformation for ASTHO. She oversees and provides strategic direction for the areas of Public Health Integration and Transformation, Public Health Law, Health Equity, and Public Health Informatics.  Mary Ann previously worked for 14 years at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. From 2003 to 2008, Mary Ann was the director for the agency's Division of Public Health Services. In 2008, she was confirmed as deputy commissioner and then in 2012 was appointed associate commissioner for the agency. In this most recent role, Mary Ann provided leadership and oversight for the agency's Division of Child Support Services; Division for Children, Youth and Families; Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative; Division of Family Assistance; Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services; Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services; Bureau of Community Based Military Programs; and Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs.

Mary Ann earned her baccalaureate in nursing from Saint Anselm College, a Master of Science in nursing administration, and Master of Public Health both from the University of New Hampshire. She completed the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government Leadership in Public Health program in 2007.

Andrew Dannenberg

Andrew DannebergAndrew L. Dannenberg, MD, MPH, is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he teaches courses on healthy community design and on health impact assessment. Previously, he served as Team Leader of the Healthy Community Design Initiative in the National Center for Environmental Health, at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. For the past decade, his research and teaching has focused on examining the health aspects of community design including land use, transportation, urban planning, architecture, and other issues related to the built environment. He has a particular interest in the use of a health impact assessment as a tool to inform community planners about the health consequences of their decisions.

He has worked in public health for over 30 years, including work in cardiovascular epidemiology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and in injury prevention at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, as well as directing public health training programs at CDC and at Johns Hopkins. He received his medical degree from Stanford University and his master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Dannenberg is the lead author, with Howard Frumkin and Richard Jackson, of the book Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability

Jonathan Fielding

Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, has served over 40 years in public health leadership positions.   He served for 16 years as Public Health  Director and Health Officer of Los Angeles County. From 1975-79 he was Commissioner of Public Health for Massachusetts. Since 1979 Dr. Fielding has been a UCLA professor in the Schools of Public Health and Medicine. He is a Presidential appointee to the national Prevention Advisory Committee, chaired the HHS Secretary's expert advisory group on the 2020 Healthy People Project, chairs the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force and is Editor of the Annual Review of Public Health.  Current research interests are modeling the health effects and economic effects of policies and programs in other sectors, such as transportation, education and housing. He received his MD, Masters in Public Health and Masters in History of Science from Harvard University and an MBA from Wharton School of Business.  He has published over 300 original articles, commentaries, editorials and book chapters and has been honored with many national and other awards for public health achievements, including the UCLA medal, the highest award given by that University and the Fries Prize.

Alyia Gaskins

Alyia GaskinsAlyia Gaskins is a Senior Associate at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. In this role, she works with local elected officials, their staff, and community partners to build healthier communities by advancing policies to address the social determinants of health and reduce critical health disparities. She is responsible for researching and promoting emerging city-level models, providing technical support and coordinating a national advisory panel on health disparities. Additionally, Alyia represents NLC on the National Safe Routes to School Active Transportation Diversity Task Force and The Food Trust National Working Group on Healthy Food Access.

Prior to joining NLC, Alyia was a Policy and Program Associate at D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center. In this role, she worked to increase participation in the federal child nutrition programs and improve the health of low-income residents in the District of Columbia through advocacy, research, coalition building, technical assistance, public education and program monitoring. As a result of her expertise, Alyia was invited to represent D.C. Hunger Solutions on a number of boards and coalitions including the DC Public Schools Health and Wellness Advisory Board, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education Coordinated Health Education Team, and the Action for Healthy Kids Regional Steering Committee.

She is a graduate of the Leadership Fairfax Class of 2014 and a 2015 Next City Vanguard. She serves on the Board of Directors for Prevention Connections and the Mid-Atlantic Make-A-Wish Young Professionals Council. She also very active in her community as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Junior League of Northern Virginia representative for the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board.

Alyia has a BA in Medicine, Health and Society from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.

Laura Hanen

Laura HanenLaura Hanen is the chief of Government Affairs for the National Association of City and County Health Officials in Washington, D.C. NACCHO is the voice of the approximately 2,800 local health departments across the country. These city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. Ms. Hanen’s primary responsibilities are to oversee policy development, federal lobbying and the Big Cities Health Coalition. Ms. Hanen is also a member of NACCHO’s executive management team. She joined NACCHO in March of 2011. 

Prior to coming to NACCHO, Ms. Hanen was the director of Government Relations for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors for 11 years. She was the senior lobbyist for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Ms. Hanen was a legislative assistant for Congressman Rick Boucher of the Ninth District of Virginia. Ms Hanen was also a legislative assistant in the Government Relations Department of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Ms. Hanen received her Bachelor's degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and a Master's degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Shelley Hearne

Shelley HearneShelley has spent over three decades as a change maker bent on boosting the health, safety, and sustainability of our planet and the people on it. As an independent consultant, she works with foundations, policy-makers, 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.

Currently, she is a Visiting Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, executive director for the Forsythia Foundation, and principal investigator for CityHealth.org, a project of the de Beaumont Foundation designed to catalyze solutions for cities' success. Shelley also serves as the chair (executive councilor) of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan, which provides medical oversight and research from the health effects of the atomic bombs and the Fukushima nuclear accident.  Most recently, Shelley helped establish the Big Cities Health Coalition, a forum for the health officials of the nation’s 27 largest metropolitan areas, at the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Dr. 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.  Before her time at Pew, she was the founding Executive Director of the Trust for America’s Health, a national health advocacy organization dedicated to preventing epidemics and protecting people. Shelley has also served the Executive Director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission, the Acting Director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Pollution Prevention, and as a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Shelley has authored many prominent national health studies on issues ranging from bioterrorism to obesity. Several of her “translational science” reports have been key contributors to federal and state policy improvements, and she has been called on regularly to testify before the U.S. Congress.

 Shelley’s service to the public health field includes serving on National Academies of Science Committees and chairing accreditation site visits to public health schools, including Harvard University and Yale University.  She received Bowdoin College’s Common Good Award and APHA’s Executive Director Citation for her work as a champion of public health and the public interest. Shelley received her B.A. with honors from Bowdoin College and her doctorate in public health in environmental health science from Columbia University.

LuAnn Heinen

LuAnn HeinenLuAnn Heinen, Vice President, Workforce Well-being, Productivity and Human Capital, National Business Group on Health

LuAnn Heinen leads the Business Group’s initiatives on employee, family and community well-being and workforce effectiveness. These include:

Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles® recognition program.

Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being, a source of thought leadership, benchmarking and tactical support to large employers on their health and well-being strategy, programs and communications.  

Institute on Health, Productivity and Human Capital, a forum for employers  to share innovations and best practices related to employee engagement, leave policy, the changing workscape and links between employee health and business performance.

She currently serves on AHRQ’s Evidence-Based Practice Center Expert Panel on Total Worker Health and the STOP Obesity Alliance Steering Committee. She is a regular speaker, media commentator and author.

Heinen earned a Master of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an AB in human biology with distinction from Stanford University.

Richard Jackson

Richard JacksonRichard Joseph Jackson is a Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. A pediatrician, he has served in many leadership positions with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. For nine years he was Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and received the Presidential Distinguished Service award. In October, 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Jackson was instrumental in establishing the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and in the creation of state and national laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he established major environmental public health programs and instituted the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the US population. He has received its Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Public Health Law Association and the New Partners for Smart Growth, the John Heinz Award for national leadership in the Environment, and the Sedgwick Medal, the highest award of the American Public Health Association. In 2015 he received the Henry Hope Reed Award for his contributions to the field of Architecture. 

Dick Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to built environment and health. He has co-authored the books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Making Healthy Places, and Designing Healthy Communities for which he hosted a four hour PBS series. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is an elected honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects as well as the American Institute of Architects. Richard Jackson is married to Joan Guilford Jackson; they have three grown children and two grandchildren. 

Beth Jacob

Beth JacobBeth Jacob brings nearly 20 years of experience in the policy trenches to her work as director of CityHealth.org. A true Jill of all trades when it comes to health and social policy, she’s managed national advocacy campaigns, advised some of our country’s leading foundations, and held elected office in a town famous for political junkies.

Most recently, Beth was a Director at Spitfire Strategies, a communication strategy firm in Washington, DC. At Spitfire, Beth’s portfolio included campaign and communication planning on some of the most pressing issues of the day, including comprehensive immigration reform, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and combatting the nation’s obesity epidemic. At Spitfire, Beth worked with foundation clients—including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation—to provide hands-on coaching, training, and counsel to build their grantees’ strategic capacity. Beth also served as one of the firm’s chief speech writers, crafting top-notch presentations for foundation leaders in the public health, environment, and economic security fields

Prior to her time at Spitfire, Beth managed a joint effort between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to promote healthy foods in schools and prevent the rise of childhood obesity. Beth played a central role in designing and implementing the campaign’s policy, research and communications strategies. While at Pew, Beth spent five years in state policy advocacy with the Pew Center on the States. During this time, she developed, launched, and managed Pew’s successful strategy to help states invest in proven programs for low-income and vulnerable families. Beth also helped to oversee Pew’s efforts to advance high quality pre-kindergarten for all three and four year-olds. Working with the Trusts’ lead advocacy organization, Pre-K Now, Beth helped to coordinate the campaign’s overall strategy and to manage its partnerships with national organizations in education, research, and the media.

Beth came to Washington from Madison, Wisconsin, where she represented the Second District on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Her elected service was an extension of a long history of hands-on work at the local level, with experiences ranging from training school board members in Wisconsin to serving as a volunteer teacher and community developer in rural Thailand.

Beth graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature from Dartmouth College and holds a master’s degree in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Douglas Jutte

Douglas JutteDouglas Jutte, MD, MPH, is the executive director of the Build Healthy Places Network, a national organization that catalyzes and supports collaboration across the sectors of community development, investment, and health. He has been a leader in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and RWJ Foundation's Healthy Communities Initiative, which has convened over two dozen conferences across the country bringing together leaders from these sectors. A pediatrician, associate professor and population health researcher at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, Dr. Jutte’s research focuses on important social determinants of health in childhood and the financial tools and policy levers available to protect at-risk families and communities. He has published in a number of prominent journals including Epidemiology, Pediatrics, the American Journal of Public Health, and Health Affairs. A graduate of Cornell University, Harvard Medical School and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Dr. Jutte’s clinical work has been in low-income community clinics and as a hospitalist caring for newborn infants.

Denise Koo

Denise KooDenise Koo, MD, MPH, was Advisor to the CDC Associate Director for Policy. In the Office of the Associate Director for Policy, she led the development of the recently released CDC Community Health Improvement Navigator, which provides an important unifying framework and tools to support hospitals, health systems, public health, and other community organizations and stakeholders that are interested in improving the health of their communities.  

Dr. Koo was graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Biochemical Sciences.  After combining medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, with an MPH in epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley, she completed a primary care internal medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Koo is a graduate of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and Preventive Medicine Residency.  Prior CDC positions have included running the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System, serving as Director of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Informatics, and serving as Director of CDC’s Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development. Dr. Koo holds appointments as Adjunct Professor of Global Health and of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and Consulting Professor, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center. 

John Lundell

John LundellJohn Lundell is serving his second term as Mayor of Coralville, Iowa although he has been active in the community for over thirty five years. Prior to being elected Mayor, John served on the Coralville City Council for ten years including serving as Mayor Pro-tem for six years. He served 20 years on the Coralville Public Library Board of Trustees and is a retired volunteer firefighter. John also graduated from the first Johnson County Citizens Police Academy.

Outside of his City responsibilities Mr. Lundell recently retired after a 22-year career in public health serving as the Deputy Director of the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center. Prior to this he served six years as Director of Transportation Planning for the Iowa City MPO and eight years as Transit Director for the City.

He is a third generation Hawkeye with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Iowa. John is married to Diana Lundell who also served on the Coralville City Council for 15 years prior to him being elected. They have two grown children.

Jeff Lundy

Jeff LundyJeff Lundy leads the Health & Wellness program at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. In this role, Jeff directs programming for business executives interested in addressing the most pressing wellness issues, especially around Community Health and Wellness. Additionally, Jeff oversees research at the Corporate Citizenship Center. In this capacity, he directs the Center’s research team to create useful insights to help the private sector create greater social impact.

He joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in February 2012 to oversee and advance the Corporate Citizenship Center’s research agenda. In this role, Jeff managed the Center’s thematic maps (e.g. disaster aid, environmental innovation, etc.). Jeff also provided analysis and reported on a broad range of issues in corporate citizenship.

Jeff previously served as a consultant for Empower Partners LLC, a social enterprise developing marketing models to help underserved inner-city businesses tailor their product lines to local consumers. Prior to that, he was an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, where he selected several new technologies for a test run, in order to improve the Bureau’s capture of respondent data.

Jeff earned his PhD in economic sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and completed a research assistantship at the University of Michigan. He also holds a BA in sociology from New College of Florida.

Gregory Nickels

Gregory Nickels

Gregory Nickels served eight years as Seattle’s 51st mayor and in September 2010 was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to be a Public Delegate of the United States to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. He served as a resident Fellow at Harvard University for Spring 2010. In that role he taught in the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government. He also served as a Distinguished Urban Fellow for Living Cities, a collaboration of the 22 largest philanthropies and financial institutions in America. In October 2011 Nickels travelled to Ukraine under the auspices of the National Democratic Institute to work with Mayors there to build democratic institutions.  

Prior to his election as mayor, Nickels was a member of the King County Council for 14 years. There he was a leader on public transportation, public health and the environment. He chaired the King County Board of Health for six years.

While mayor, Nickels focused on four priorities: getting Seattle moving, keeping neighborhoods safe, creating jobs and opportunity for all, and building strong families and healthy communities. He led the effort to build light rail in Seattle for over twenty years and worked with regional leaders to tackle longstanding transportation problems.  Nickels made a strong commitment to public safety, achieving the lowest crime rate in over 40 years and upgrading fire stations across the city to survive a major earthquake.   

Nickels is best known outside of Seattle for his leadership on climate protection and urban sustainability.  Rolling Stone magazine called Nickels the "Pied Piper" of mayors for his work to protect our climate and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded him its 2006 Climate Protection Award.  Nickels launched "Seattle Climate Action Now," a grassroots effort to protect the climate by taking action at home, at work and on the road.

Alonzo Plough

Alonzo PloughAlonzo L. Plough, PhD, MPH, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as vice president, Research-Evaluation-Learning and chief science officer in January 2014. He leads the Foundations long standing focus on building the evidence base to foster innovation in health services and systems and improve population health. He is responsible for Foundation-wide organizational learning and the two program areas that support those activities, the global and pioneer teams. 

Plough came to the Foundation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where he served as director of emergency preparedness and response from 2009–2013. In that role, Plough was responsible for the management of the public health preparedness activities protecting the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County from natural disasters and threats related to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies. He coordinated activities in emergency operations, infectious disease control, risk communication, planning, and community engagement.

Prior to this position, Plough served as vice president of strategy, planning and evaluation for The California Endowment from 2005–2009. He led the Endowment’s strategic planning and development, evaluation, research, and organizational learning activities. Plough also served 10 years as director and health officer for the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health, and professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. He previously served as director of public health in Boston for eight years.

Plough earned his PhD and MA at Cornell University, and his MPH at Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He did his undergraduate work at St. Olaf College, where he earned a BA. He has held academic appointments at Harvard University School of Public Health, Tufts University Department of Community Medicine, and Boston University School of Management. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for public service and leadership and is the author of an extensive body of scholarly articles, books, and book chapters.

Pat Remington

Pat RemingtonPatrick Remington received his BS in Molecular Biology and MD from UW Madison. After completing an internship at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, worked at the CDC for six, years, where he trained as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, and was assigned to the Michigan health department. He also completed a Preventive Medicine Residency in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition in Atlanta, and with the support of CDC’s Career Development Program, he obtained his MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. He then worked at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health for nearly a decade, before joining the UW, where he was the first director of the MPH Program, the Population Health Institute, and the Preventive Medicine Residency Program; and was the inaugural Associate Dean for Public Health in the renamed, School of Medicine and Public Health.  Dr. Remington’s current research examines ways to measure the health of communities and to use this information to mobilize action toward health. He led the development of the Wisconsin County Health Rankings, now a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He enjoys teaching public health principles and practice to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

Jeffrey Rich

Jeffrey RichDr. Rich is a cardiothoracic surgeon and has practiced adult cardiothoracic surgery at Sentara Heart Hospital for the past 25 years. He specialized in the surgical treatment of adults with acquired cardiac disease and has special interests in heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory assistance as well as in trans-catheter based cardiovascular care. He developed and directed the mechanical circulatory assist device program as well as the heart-lung transplant program at Sentara in 1990 after having finished his cardiothoracic training under Dr. Shumway at Stanford. He held extensive leadership positions there and developed, among others, the Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute that on average had 80 ongoing clinical trials and served as its Surgical Scientific Director, the Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement program and the Structural Heart Disease Center.

He has been involved extensively in quality improvement at the local, regional and national levels. He has developed innovative care delivery and payment reform models in Virginia over the last 15 years through the Virginia Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative that have emphasized high quality cost effective care and have led to significant health care savings. These efforts have been recognized nationally and highlighted in his four Congressional testimonies as a solution to widespread health care reform. He has held leadership positions in the NQF, AQA and Quality Alliance Steering Committee.  He was chosen by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and appointed by Secretary of Health Leavitt in 2008 to run the Medicare Program from a regulatory and policy perspective. In the latter capacity he worked to develop the principles of value based purchasing and payment reform now found in the Affordable Care Act, implemented bundled payment programs in cardiac and renal disease, and developed the principles of shared savings essential to aligning physician and hospital incentives that are foundational to the Medicare Shared Savings program and ACOs.

Following that experience he returned to cardiac surgical practice and continued to work to develop innovative cardiac programs and a Sentara clinically integrated network (Sentara Quality Network) involving primary care and specialists with pay for performance payment models. In Virginia he has worked on reductions in post-operative complications and resource utilization while maintaining or improving quality and is currently involved in developing a statewide protocol for reducing readmissions. Current efforts with broad implications include integrating cardiology into the VCSQI and developing longitudinal disease management protocols for coronary disease and CHF.

His current focus is on creating and implementing care delivery models that emphasize high quality and efficient care. He has written and lectured extensively on quality, cost and value in the health care system.  

Dr. Rich received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and his BS in Engineering at the University of Illinois. He completed his cardiothoracic surgery residency at Stanford University and general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He spent one year in Australia as a senior registrar in vascular surgery, which involved working under a hybrid model for health care delivery and examined its impact on access. His background in Biomedical and Systems Engineering has proven invaluable in health care system redesign.

Soma Stout

Soma StoutSoma Stout, MD, MS, is the Executive External Lead for Health Improvement for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and serves as Executive Lead of 100 Million Healthier Lives, which brings together hundreds of partners across communities to support 100 million people globally to live healthier lives by 2020. She also directs the Innovation Fellows Program at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and is Lead Transformation Adviser at the Cambridge Health Alliance. 

Dr. Stout is deeply committed to improving the health and wellbeing of underserved people and communities and has worked as a primary care doctor in the safety net for over 15 years. Previously, she served as Vice President for Patient Centered Medical Home Development at CHA, where she led a whole system transformation that garnered numerous national awards for achieving breakthrough results in the Triple Aim. In 2012, she was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leader Award for her contributions to improving the health of the nation.

Sarah Strunk

Sarah Strunk is Strategic Advisor at Active Living By Design in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. ALBD creates community-led change by working with local, state and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating. Previously, Sarah served as the organization’s founding deputy director (2002-2005) and as director/executive director (2005-2015), overseeing ALBD’s growth from a single grant-funded initiative to a nationally-recognized leader in the healthy communities movement. Sarah has over 20 years of leadership and management experience in strategic planning, business development and external relations in public health, health care and managed care organizations. She has served as an advisor and consultant to a variety of national boards, advisory committees and foundations. Sarah earned an MHA from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1991 and a BA from Duke University in 1987.  

Ronald Wyatt

Ronald WyattRonald M. Wyatt, MD, is Patient Safety Officer and Medical Director at The Joint Commission.

Dr. Wyatt directs data management and event analysis in the Office of Quality, and he collaborates in the development of National Patient Safety Goals, Sentinel Event Alerts, and Quick Safety publications. Dr. Wyatt leads The Joint Commission’s efforts to address health and health care disparity and equity. Additional areas of interest include professionalism and work place safety in health care. 

Previously, Dr. Wyatt was director of the patient safety analysis center at the Defense Health Agency (formerly the Department of Defense military health system). 

He is a board-certified Internist with over 20 years of practice experience, and is licensed in the state of Alabama. He was a George W. Merck Fellow with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 2009-2010. 

He earned his medical degree and the Executive Master of Science in Health Administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed the Harvard School of Public Health program in Clinical Effectiveness in 2009. Dr. Wyatt recently earned Green Belt Certification (lean, six-sigma and change management) at The Joint Commission. 

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