Portia Jackson, DrPH, MPH - Advisory Board President
Dr. Portia A. Jackson Preston is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at California State University Los Angeles (UCLA), where her research agenda focuses on innovative teaching practices for first generation college students, as well as burnout and self-care practices in professional women of color. Dr. Jackson Preston’s current courses include Health Care Delivery Systems and Health Policy. Her professional background includes Deloitte Consulting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. She has provided consulting services for organizations including Susan G. Komen of Orange County, UCLA, and San Diego State University. She is also the founder of Active Steps Coaching, where she provides coaching and speaking services to help individuals achieve success without burnout. Dr. Jackson Preston received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, her Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, and her Doctorate of Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles.
Jammie Hopkins, DrPH, MS - Vice President
Dr. Hopkins’ is Project Director and Faculty Instructor at Morehouse School of Medicine. As a health disparities researcher, administrator, and wellness practitioner, He is committed to operating at the intersections of policy, research, and practice to promote healthy lifestyles and eliminate health disparities among vulnerable populations. Dr. Hopkin earned a BS in Exercise Science from University of California, Davis; an MS in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton; and a Doctor of Public Health degree (DrPH) from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. In 2013 he completed a Health Policy Leadership postdoctoral fellowship in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. He is currently Project Director for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities -funded Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research at Morehouse School of Medicine. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and serves as a clinical specialist in the Optimal Health and Wellness Clinic at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Dr. Hopkins’ research centers on the dissemination and implementation of “healthy by default” physical activity, healthy eating, and other lifestyle behavioral strategies in various settings (community, workplace, health systems, and schools.) He is mainly focused on the training and strategic engagement of peer wellness coaches, and improving clinical/organizational/community linkages to physical activity, healthy eating, and stress management assets. He is also a personal fitness trainer and founder of WORK IT OUT Wellness, a wellness consulting business based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Caree Jackson Cotwright, PhD, MS
Dr. Caree Jackson Cotwright is an assistant professor in the University of Georgia (UGA) Department of Foods and Nutrition where her research is focused on early childhood obesity prevention. Her research agenda focuses on promoting wellness practices and policies in the early childhood education (ECE) setting. The overall goal of her work is to create healthy ECE environments to prevent obesity in our youngest children ages (0-5), while working to decrease health disparities among low-income and minority populations.
Dr. Caree previously worked as a Research Fellow at the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. She promoted, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Child Care initiative. Dr. Caree’s research interests include nutrition intervention, community based participatory research, and health disparities. Her passion is creating innovative interventions, which use theater, media, and other arts-based approaches to combat the problem of obesity. Dr. Caree is a recipient of the 2016 Georgia Trend Magazine 40 Under 40 Award, the University of Georgia 40 Under 40 Award, and the University of Georgia college of Family and Consumer Sciences Pacesetter Award. She was also a featured TED talk speaker at the 2016 TED X University of Georgia. Dr. Caree earned a PhD and MS in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia. She is an esteemed graduate of Howard University, earning a BS in Biology. Dr. Caree is also a registered and licensed dietitian.
Carol A. Hass
Carol A. Hass is President & CEO of Community Works Consulting (CWC), a firm she launched in 2005 that is known for its quality services and excellent outcomes on behalf of the nonprofit sector they serve. Ms. Hass and her team collectively raise $2.5-$3 million in private contributions from foundation and corporate donors annually, facilitate large scale communitywide engagement and planning processes, and provide a range of capacity building services that help clients make strategic and thoughtful changes. A partial list of clients includes USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, California State University, Fullerton, the City of Long Beach, First 5 LA as well as community-based organizations such as the Environmental Nature Center and much more. Before launching CWC, Ms. Hass directed the day-to-day operations of the development department of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, a multi-million-dollar social service, health and community services center. In this position, Ms. Hass managed and directed an 11-person team that collectively raised more than $4 million annually from individuals, foundations and corporations. Ms. Hass brings to her role as Advisory Board member more than 20 years’ experience working with community-based nonprofit organizations. As a volunteer, Ms. Hass has served on boards of directors, advisory boards, event production committees and strategic planning workgroups for a range of nonprofit organizations.
Chandra L. Ford, PhD, MPH, MLIS
Dr. Chandra Ford is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The overarching aims of Dr. Ford’s research are to: (1) explain specific ways that societal inequalities (e.g., discrimination) limit access to public health resources (e.g., public health clinics) or contribute to high rates of disease (e.g., disparities) among socially marginalized populations; and, (2) to enhance the conceptual and methodological tools used to produce knowledge about societal inequalities and health disparities. Her areas of expertise include the social determinants of HIV/AIDS disparities and other health disparities, the Public Health Critical Race Praxis/Critical Race Theory, access to care, and health disparities affecting three key populations: racial/ethnic minorities; sexual minorities, a population that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons; and, older adults. Dr. Ford’s work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, the Annals of Epidemiology, Ethnicity & Disease, The Gerontologist, Social Science & Medicine, and other refereed journals.
Dr. Ford earned her doctorate from the Department of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining UCLA, she completed postdoctoral fellowships in Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina and Epidemiology at Columbia University, where she was a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg Health Scholar.
Charles J. Alexander, PhD.
Dr. Charles J. Alexander currently serves as the Associate Vice Provost for Student Diversity and Director of the Academic Advancement Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He provides full-time executive and intellectual leadership for a collection of programs designed for nearly 6,000 undergraduates from diverse populations, who have been historically underserved by higher education; these include students from low-income families, first-generation college students, and students from historically underrepresented groups. In addition to his role as Associate Vice Provost, Dr. Alexander is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry’s Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry. He has been a consultant and peer reviewer for federal agencies, foundations, and universities, and has written many articles on the health professions pipeline and workforce diversity in the health professions. He has also been the recipient of many awards and honors among them are, The California Wellness Foundation’s Champion of Diversity Award. In February of 2013, the Governor of the State of California appointed him to the Medical Board of California, Physician Assistants Board for a four year term which was recently renewed in 2017.
James F. Sallis, PhD, MA
Dr. James F. Sallis is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California, San Diego. He also is Director of Active Living Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His health improvement programs have been studied and used in health care settings, schools, universities, and companies. He is the author of over 600 scientific publications, on the editorial boards of several journals, and one of the world’s most cited authors in the social sciences. His current focus is using research to inform policy and environmental changes that will increase physical activity and reduce childhood obesity. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition and the Bloomberg-Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. Time Magazine identified him as an “obesity warrior”.
Dr. Sallis completed his B.A. in Business Administration at Belhaven College, received both an M.A. in Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Memphis State University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology at Stanford University, School of Medicine.
James (Jim) Whitehead
Jim Whitehead is Executive Vice President/CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Indianapolis, Indiana, a position he has held since 1990. Prior to his appointment at ACSM, Whitehead served in executive roles at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in Washington, DC and also was a principal with an association management firm that specialized in health and science organizational clients and political candidates at the U.S. federal level. Whitehead’s area of research and practice focuses on innovation within planning processes in addition to health policy and administration. Whitehead has extensive involvement in physical activity and health, for instance, co-founding the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, for which he also served as President and adjunct Executive Director. Whitehead is currently playing leadership roles with the U.S. National Physical Plan, the Physical Activity Network of the Americas, the Global Alliance for Health and Performance, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkability, and many other initiatives to promote active and healthy lifestyles and the resulting benefits for individuals and society overall. Whitehead attended the University of Alabama and has degrees in political science and history.
Rev. Joanne Leslie, ScD, MSc
The Rev. Dr. Joanne Leslie is a retired Professor of Nutrition from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is also the first woman archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Dr. Leslie has over twenty-five year's of experience in public health nutrition research with an emphasis on cultural factors determining nutrition related behaviors. She has worked for many years on maternal, adolescent, and child nutrition and health issues in various countries in West Africa and other parts of the world. A major focus of Dr. Leslie's work in the past decade has been the application of lessons learned internationally to local public health and nutrition programs in Los Angeles, particularly nutrition and fitness for under-resourced and marginalized communities. Working with a consortium of urban churches, Dr. Leslie has established innovative nutrition and fitness programs to promote improved health for congregations and surrounding communities. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Community Health Councils, Inc. Dr. Leslie has a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University and a Certificate in Theological Studies from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
Mary A. Pittman, DrPH
Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, is president and chief executive officer of the Public Health Institute (PHI). Dr. Pittman worked closely with Dr. Yancey on the PHI Board of Directors to expand the focus on physical activity and equity in approaches to address nutrition and obesity prevention. A nationally recognized leader in improving community health, addressing health inequities among vulnerable populations and promoting quality of care, her primary focus has been to achieve greater impact on public policy and practice in public health. Dr. Pittman headed the Health Research and Educational Trust, a Chicago-based affiliate of the American Hospital Association, from 1993 to 2007. She has served as president and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and a director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Pittman has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals as well as two books on AIDS and Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Dr. Pittman also serves on numerous boards and committees.
Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH
Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika is emeritus professor of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine. During her tenure on the Penn Medicine faculty, Dr. Kumanyika served as the Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, held a secondary appointment as Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Gastroenterology, Nutrition Section), and was affiliated with numerous Penn institutes and centers. Dr. Kumanyika's research focuses on identifying effective strategies to reduce nutrition-related chronic disease risks, with a particular focus on achieving health equity for African-Americans. Dr. Kumanyika founded and continues to chair the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality, and effective translation of research on weight issues in African American communities. She has extensive experience in advisory roles related to public health and nutrition policy in the US and abroad. Dr. Kumanyika is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is President of the American Public Health Association for 2015.
Dr. Kumanyika has an interdisciplinary background and holds advanced degrees in social work, nutrition, and public health.