Oliver Brooks, M.D.
Immediate Past President
National Medical Association
Chief Medical Officer, Watts HealthCare Corporation
Dr. Brooks received his undergraduate degree in biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977, graduating in three years. While at Morehouse, he received the Frederick E. Mapp Prize in Biology for excellence in biology. Dr. Brooks received his medical degree in 1981 from Howard University College of Medicine, where he was a summer instructor in biochemistry. He completed a residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital-Oakland, where he practiced for four years before accepting a position at Watts Healthcare Corporation.
Dr. Brooks is Chief Medical Officer and past Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles, California (CA) where he also serves as the Medical Director of the Jordan and Locke High School Wellness Centers. He is a Medical Director for L.A. Care Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care plans whose mission is “to provide access to quality health care for Los Angeles County’s vulnerable and low-income communities and residents”. He holds staff appointments at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, CA where he was Chair of the Peer Review Committee and at Martin Luther King Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Brooks is Chairman of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, a consortium of 30 community health centers in the southern California area.
Dr. Brooks is the current President of the National Medical Association (NMA), and has held several leadership positions within the NMA, including the immediate past Speaker, House of Delegates (HOD), Vice-Speaker and Secretary, HOD, and Chairman of the Constitutional and By-Laws Committee. At the state and local level, he served as Past President of the Golden State (CA) Medical Association and Past President of the Miller-Lawrence Medical and Dental Society.
Dr. Brooks is Immediate Past President of the California Immunization Coalition and Chairman of the Immunize LA Families Coalition. He is a member of the national Leadership Panel for the Adolescent Immunization Initiative (AII), which advocated successfully for adding a column on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s Center for Disease Prevention and Prevention (CDC) yearly vaccine recommendations in 2017. Dr. Brooks is often requested to speak to the media on issues related to immunizations and is a vocal and passionate advocate for reduced disparities in immunization rates among disadvantaged communities. He also is frequently asked to present to physicians and other medical groups on the science and the implementation perspective of vaccine utilization. His community service extends beyond health and wellness and includes serving as Past President of the Long Beach Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees.
Dr. Brooks has received numerous honors and awards; he was honored by the National Council of Negro Women, Long Beach CA for Outstanding Service to the Community and in 2017, he was the Wall of Excellence for Medicine awardee for Long Beach 2016 Black History Month. In 2019, Dr. Brooks was honored as one of the Top Blacks in Health Care by BlackDoctor.org.
Dr. Brooks is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi (the Boule) fraternities. He is married to his wife of 32 years, Lisa and has two children, Alana and Joseph.
Gina Brown, M.D.
Principal Medical Scientist
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Dr. Brown joined the Medical Staff Affairs team at Gilead Sciences as a Principal Medical Scientist for the New York region. She provides HIV Prevention education and helps to develop prevention programs and investigator sponsored research.
Dr. Brown is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist with extensive experience in HIV clinical care and research. Before coming to Gilead, Dr. Brown was a Medical Officer in the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR) where she coordinated HIV research for non-vaccine biomedical prevention including PrEP, microbicides, and multipurpose prevention technologies; women’s and girl’s issues and comorbidities. Dr. Brown also provided expert consultation to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute HIV Guidelines Program.
Before joining the Office of AIDS Research, she was a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) from 2000-2004 and chaired the Advisory Council in 2004. Dr. Brown also chaired the OAR women and girls and microbicides research working groups.
Dr. Brown served as the maternal-fetal specialist at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology in the department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. While at Columbia, she also was the Women’s Health Director of the Women and Children Care Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, a clinic that provides comprehensive care for HIV positive women and their families. At the Center, she was a co-investigator for the Women and Infant’s Transmission Study (WITS) and the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG). Dr. Brown is a graduate of Harvard University and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She received her Ob/Gyn training at Harlem Hospital Center and completed fellowships in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Surgical-Anesthesia Critical Care at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
Virginia Caine, M.D.
Director and Chief Medical Officer
Marion County Public Health Department
Bicentennial Associate Professor of Medicine,
Division of Infectious Diseases
Indiana University School of Medicine
Virginia A. Caine, M.D.is Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health Department and Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Division. She previously served as past President for the American Public Health Association.
Dr. Caine set up the first nationwide physician educational program regarding AIDS for the National Medical Association (NMA), which was later duplicated by the American Medical Association. She led a process to create the first integrated HIV health care delivery system in Indianapolis and was principal investigator for the Ryan White Title III funds, which established the first HIV/AIDS clinics in the major city hospitals, ten community health centers, and the resource for community-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
She is the current Chair of the Infectious Diseases Section and Co-Chair for the HIV/AIDS Section for the NMA. She is a board member for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Editorial Board and member of the Federal National Biodefense Science Board.
Dr. Caine has earned a national reputation and received many awards for her dedication to improving public health. Dr. Caine earned her medical degree at New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She received her Infectious Diseases fellowship training at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Director of Caregiving Projects
AARP Public Policy Institute
As the Director of Caregiving Projects with the AARP Public Policy Institute, Rita Choula leads and provides content expertise on internal and external family caregiving initiatives. Bridging policy to practice, much of her work focuses on identifying and supporting the needs of multicultural family caregivers through a multi-disciplinary approach that elevates the diversity of family caregiving experiences.
In collaboration with clinical experts and key stakeholders, Rita develops programs and tools that enable health care professionals to better recognize and support family caregivers across settings. Through the Home Alone Alliance, she leads the development and production of easily-accessible “How-To” videos that provide family caregivers with the technical information and guidance necessary to perform complex medical/nursing tasks. Rita also manages a grant-funded initiative focused on elevating the recognition and support of family caregivers providing complex care by health care providers, particularly those in hospitals and larger health system, through the identification of promising practices within these settings.
Rita has a background in corporate research in the health and information technology sectors. She served in the education field as the Assistant Principal of a parochial school for several years. Rita holds a Master’s degree in the Management of Aging Services from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Based in Maryland, Rita is a wife, proud mother of two young children, and family caregiver for her own mother.
Doris Browne, M.D., M.P.H.
National Medical Association 118th President
Dr. Browne is the 118th President of the National Medical Association (NMA) and President and CEO, Browne and Associates, LLC (BAI), a health consulting company that manages programs addressing national and global health disparities. As President of the NMA, Dr. Browne’s program theme focused on a Collaborative Approach to Health Equity entitled “The Urgency of Now: Creating a Culture for Health Equity. She tirelessly champions many causes that have significantly contributed to improving the health status of vulnerable population. She has achieved both national and international recognition as an expert educator and speaker. She has been either featured or quoted in many news articles and Op-Eds to include the Army Times, US Medicine, Ebony, Essence, Washington Post, PBS News Hour, and ePolitico to name a few. She specializes in and is passionate about women’s health, cancer, environmental justice, sickle cell, HIV/AIDS and radiation casualties. Dr. Browne has made numerous briefings before senior executive government, congressional and White House officials. Her public health background includes health education programs on environmental health, substance abuse, sex education, cancer, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, and community health education programs, including participating in an international disaster preparedness and humanitarian assistance program for 17 West African Nations following the Ebola epidemic of 2015. She retired as a Colonel from the U. S. Army, Medical Corps where she was the Director for Medical Research and Development at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. She also retired from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute where she managed the breast cancer portfolio in the Division of Cancer Prevention. Dr. Browne is a graduate of Tougaloo College (BS), University of California at Los Angeles (MPH), and Georgetown University (M.D.) and completed an internship, residency, and fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Hematology-Oncology. She is member of Trinity Episcopal Church, numerous professional organizations, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and recipient of plentiful awards including the NIH Merit Award and the 2018 Top Blacks in Healthcare award.
Cartier Esham, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Emerging Companies
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
Cartier Esham serves as Executive Vice President for Emerging Companies at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). In this role, Dr. Esham manages and directs BIO’s policy development, advocacy, research and educational initiatives for BIO’s emerging companies, which comprise approximately 90% of BIO’s membership. This includes capital formation policy and health policy impacting emerging companies, as well as research and analysis of the biopharmaceutical industry and life-science investment and financing. Among the priorities of BIO’s Emerging Companies Section are: promoting a science-based FDA regulatory environment; supporting NIH funding and programs/initiatives such as SBIR and NCATS that promote the effective transfer of technology; and working to create a public and private market environment that incentivizes the research and development of innovative treatments and therapies. Prior to joining BIO, Dr. Esham was a Vice President and Director of Research at Dutko Worldwide, a private consulting firm in Washington, D.C. There she worked on a variety of environmental, education, science, technology and health care-related issues both on the federal and state/local levels. Esham has a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Georgia, a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Kentucky. She has published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals on water quality, marine microbial ecology, and bacterial phylogeny.
Tim Garnett, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President
Eli Lilly and Company
Dr. Timothy J. Garnett, MBBS, FRCOG, has been Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Lilly Research Laboratories managing Medical Affairs, Medical Strategy and Development, Global Patient Outcomes and Real World Evidence, Global Regulatory, Global Patient Safety, Clinical Development in China and Japan, and Early Phase Medicine for Eli Lilly and Company since 2002. Previously, Dr. Garnett has served as Vice President for Global Patient Safety; Global Brand Development Leader and Group Medical Director responsible for the development of Duloxetine for incontinence, pain and depression; Medical Director – Duloxetine SUI Team; and European Clinical Research Physician for EVISTA.
Prior to joining Lilly, Dr. Garnett had acquired 7 years of experience, holding a variety of positions in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe with Organon Laboratories.
He graduated in Medicine at St. George’s Hospital in London. He practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology for eight years prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry and conducted clinical research into menopause, pre-menstrual tension and post-menopausal osteoporosis.
Dr. Garnett is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the United Kingdom. He is also an active board member for the following: Centre for Innovation in
Regulatory Science; Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art; and WFYI Public Broadcasting
Dial Hewlett, Jr., M.D.
Medical Director, Division of Disease Control, Chief of Tuberculosis Services
Westchester Department of Health
Dr. Hewlett, is currently Medical Director, Division of Disease Control, Chief of Tuberculosis Services, Westchester Department of Health.
Dr. Hewlett received his MD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin and is board certified in Internal Medicine and in the sub specialty of Infectious Diseases. He served an internal medicine internship and residency at Harlem Hospital Center – Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City. He was also selected to serve an additional year as Chief Medical resident in Internal medicine at Harlem Hospital Center. Following internal Medicine training, Dr. Hewlett went on to complete a two year clinical and research fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Montefiore and Albert Einstein Affiliated Hospitals in the Bronx, New York. Dr. Hewlett served as the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center in the Bronx, New York and associate Professor of clinical medicine for nine years prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry in 1996. During that time and until 2014 he served as an Infectious Disease consultant at Lawrence Hospital Bronxville, New York.
Dr. Hewlett is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, The Infectious Disease Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine. He currently serves as a consultant in Infectious Diseases and Chair of Infection Control at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.
President, National Bar Association
CEO, The CK Hoffler Firm
Tricia “CK” Hoffler is the CEO of The CK Hoffler Firm, an Atlanta-based law firm that specializes in representing plaintiffs in trucking accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, civil rights litigation, commercial litigation, employment discrimination, opioid litigation and global commercial transactions. Ms. Hoffler is licensed in 5 states including Georgia, Florida, Virginia, DC and Pennsylvania. To date, Ms. Hoffler has tried and/or settled cases totaling over $800 million. An accomplished attorney, Ms. Hoffler was previously a partner at Edmond, Lindsay & Hoffler, LLP and a partner at Gary, Williams et al. in Florida. While a partner at Gary, Williams et al., she ran the commercial and international litigation practice for Willie Gary for 12 years. She is also counsel to civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson and has represented him, and the Rainbow Push and related organizations for the past 30 years. Ms. Hoffler also lectures extensively on trial strategies and winning trial techniques throughout the nation.
Ms. Hoffler brings a diverse set of skills and talents to the practice of law. She speaks French fluently and is proficient in Spanish and Portuguese.
Ms. Hoffler has managed several billion-dollar commercial cases, and in 2000, she co-led the trial team that won the largest medical negligence verdict ever in Roanoke, Virginia. She also co-led the trial team in 2012 and won the largest medical negligence verdict in Gwinnett County at that time. She has served as a trial lawyer on various other high-profile cases, including representation of the Roger Maris family against Anheuser-Bush in a breach of contract case that resulted in a $139 million-dollar verdict. Ms. Hoffler has also worked on significant civil rights and children’s rights cases that have resulted in bringing much needed justice for American citizens. She served as counsel in a class action lawsuit on behalf of 4,800 African- American and Latino civil service workers against the State of New York. Better known as Simpson v. State of New York, this case resulted in a historic settlement for the plaintiffs in 2010 and forced the elimination of the “battery test” as a basis for promotion within the ranks of civil servants in New York.
Ms. Hoffler has extensive professional work experience throughout Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. She has represented foreign interests and foreign governments and lobbied on behalf of various foreign countries while in practice in Washington, DC. She developed a new privatization practice for her firm in foreign markets, and managed the general representation of diverse local, national and international corporations and foreign governments. She participated in her firm’s efforts to advise a foreign government on reformation of its drug trafficking and money laundering laws. In addition, she has furnished advice and counsel to various African nations, including Angola, Guinea (Conakry) and Gabon, concerning election procedures and policies, and helped coordinate US Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) participation in elections. She also provided on-going legal counsel to numerous foreign government clients in their democratization process.
Ms. Hoffler was educated in Switzerland (College du Leman, University of Geneva), Canada (Branksome Hall) and the United States. She received her law degree from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree from Smith College.
A service-oriented attorney, Ms. Hoffler’s community involvement includes active participation in pro bono law clinics, extensive lecturing on First Amendment matters, women’s issues, children’s concerns and international matters. She was intricately involved in the merit retention efforts related to the Florida Supreme Court and successfully co-chaired Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince’s campaign for merit retention.
Ms. Hoffler served on the boards of The Pine School (Stuart, Florida), Georgetown University Law Alumni Board (Washington, DC), Planned Parenthood of South Florida (West Palm Beach, Florida) and Women in Philanthropy (Stuart, Florida – founding member), the Washington Urban League (Washington, DC), Norfolk Airport Authority (former Commissioner, Norfolk, Virginia), Places and Programs for Children, Inc. (Norfolk, Virginia), Old Dominion University Education Foundation (Norfolk, Virginia), and Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia (Virginia Beach, Virginia). She is also a very active member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) and hosts an informal shadowing program for lawyers throughout Georgia who she mentors. Ms. Hoffler is a frequent lecturer for various bar associations including the American Bar Association, GABWA, the Gate City Bar, and the National Bar Association, to name a few. She is frequently requested to lecture based on her knowledge and expertise in various trial strategies, and every aspect of trial work.
Ms. Hoffler is a trailblazing trial lawyer and has received numerous accolades and awards for outstanding contributions to her profession and philanthropy. Ms. Hoffler was named “Woman of the Year” for 2011/2012 by the National Association of Professional Women for her demonstrated excellence and dedication within her profession. She has also won numerous awards for excellence and her contributions as a lawyer. These awards include various National Bar Association Presidential Awards, the National Bar Association Governor’s Award, the Gate City Bar Association A.T. Walden “Legacy” Award, the “Esquire Award” for the Small Firms and Solo Practitioners’ Division of the National Bar Association, an award from the National Bar Judicial Council in recognition for commitment to service and outstanding fundraising in 2014, a Certificate of Silver Life Membership to the NAACP, the “Recognition of Support, Commitment, and Service” award from the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, an award for Outstanding Service and Contributions to the Theological Scholarship Foundation of the Tidewater Metro Baptist Minister’s Conference, the “Majestic Leader” Award from The Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, and a feature in the March 2012 edition of The Informer to name a few. In July 2018, she received the prestigious Leah Ward Sears Award for Distinction in the Profession Founders Award from GABWA.
Sonja S. Hutchins, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.
Director, Public Health and General Preventive Medicine
Residency Program and Professor, Department of Community
Health and Preventive Medicine
Morehouse School of Medicine
Dr. Sonja Hutchins is a retired Captain (Medical Director) in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). She retired in June 2017 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Senior Medical Advisor in the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). She first joined the CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer (EIS) in June 1986 at the beginning of measles resurgences in the United States. She initially played a key role in the description, prevention, and control of the new measles epidemiology: a disease primarily among unvaccinated preschool children living in large inner cities and whose parents could not afford to pay for vaccinations because of low income. In addition to measles prevention, Dr. Hutchins played a key role in preventing and controlling other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pertussis and diphtheria, largely through creating science that informed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). During her service at the CDC, she held leadership positions in the National Immunization Program, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and the OMHHE. Dr. Hutchins, as well as the teams she led, played key roles in the elimination of endemic circulation of measles from the United States; achievement of high, up-to-date vaccination of all children; elimination of child vaccination disparities; in addition to preparedness and response to bioterrorism, public health emergencies and climate change, particularly among the most vulnerable populations in society.
While in the OMHHE, Dr. Hutchins also served as the Acting Associate Director for Science, Associate Director for Medical Science and Co-Chairperson of the CDC Health Equity Workgroup. Because of her accomplishments, the USPHS awarded Dr. Hutchins numerous honor and service medals, including the Outstanding Service Medal and Foreign Duty Service awards. She is actually the first African American female to enter the EIS program and complete a 30-year career as a Commissioned Corps Officer in the USPHS who was stationed entirely at the CDC, given that African American females began entering the EIS program more than a decade before her in the early 1970s. Her CDC contributions are also recognized by a new Williams-Hutchins Health Equity Award. While at the CDC, Dr. Hutchins also enriched her professional experiences through membership, leadership and participation in scientific programs of the National Medical Association, the American Public Health Association and the American College of Preventive Medicine. She treasures these experiences because of their enormous growth opportunities.
While retired from the CDC, Dr. Hutchins is currently the Director of the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program at Morehouse School Medicine and Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. In these positions, she increases the diversity of and leadership in the public health and preventive medicine physician workforce, teaches medical students about the social determinants of health through active- and service- learning, and directs research that improves population health by eliminating disparities to create and advance health equity. She has approximately 90 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Hutchins received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with honors (cum laude) from Cornell University, a Doctor of Medicine with honors from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a Master of Public Health in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and a Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology and Public Health Leadership from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in Chapel Hill. Her residency training was in internal medicine at Washington Hospital Center and Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins. In addition to the terminal degree in public health, she is board certified in the medical specialty of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Hutchins’s avocations include worshiping at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, active involvement in their Health Ministry, in addition to serving as the Advancement Committee Chairperson for Scout BSA Troop #213. Her goal is to create diverse leadership through attainment of the Eagle Scout rank by African American males and their membership in the National Eagle Scout Association.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
U.S. House of Representatives
House Committee on Judiciary
House Committee on Homeland Security
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is an influential and forceful voice in Washington. She is serving her thirteenth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world. Considered by many as the “Voice of Reason”, she is dedicated to upholding the Constitutional rights of all people.
She sits on three Congressional Committees — a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security and appointed by the leadership as a Member of the crucial Budget Committee.
In the beginning of the 116th Congress she authored, introduced and saw passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Additionally, she introduced several bills including the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act, H.R. 71, the Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2015, and H.R. 4660, an Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015 affirming the authority of the Attorney General to reduce prison overcrowding by developing and implementing lawful policies relating to requests for executive clemency from deserving petitioners.
She is the past Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee for Maritime and Border Security wherein she co-authored HR 1417, a bipartisan bill which has been touted as the best vehicle for accomplishing comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is also the past Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection which under her leadership she passed the Transportation Security Act of 2007 which increased the funding for America’s transportation security. As Chairwoman, Congresswoman Jackson Lee supported enhanced technology, better intelligence, increased airplane cargo inspections, increased security for railroads, and implementation of the 9/11 Commission report.
She named by Congressional Quarterly as one of the 50 most effective Members of Congress and the U.S. News and World Report named her as one of the 10 most influential legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives. Also, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint initiative between the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University named her the 2nd most effective Democrat in Congress during the 114th Congress, the 15th most effective Democrat in Congress during the 115th Congress, and the most effective Democrat in the Texas delegation during the 115th Congress. She is a founder, member, and co-chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus and authored and introduced H.R. 83, the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act of 2013. She is past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Energy Braintrust, co-chair of the Justice Reform Task Force, and a leadership appointed member of the International Helsinki Commission. She serves as Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus, past Chairperson of the Texas Congressional Democratic Delegation for the 113th Congress, and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee earned a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University with honors in the first graduating class including females, followed by a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. She is married to Dr. Elwyn Lee who is also a Yale Graduate and an Administrator at the University of Houston. She has two children Jason Lee a graduate of Harvard University and Erica Lee a graduate of Duke University who is also a Member of the Harris County School Board in Houston, Texas. She is also the proud grandmother of two grandkids (twins), granddaughter Ellison Bennett Carter and grandson Roy Lee Carter, III.
Leon McDougle, M.D., M.P.H.
National Medical Association 121st President
Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Family Medicine with Tenure
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Dr. McDougle, is the 1st African American Professor with tenure in The Ohio State University Department of Family Medicine and he’s the 1st Chief Diversity Officer ‘Aka Chief Collaborating Officer’ for the OSU Wexner Medical Center. A graduate of the University of Toledo and OSU College of Medicine, he completed the family medicine residency at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, California, and earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy.
Dr. McDougle has been recognized as being among the top 10 percent of physicians nationally for patient satisfaction. He has been a member of the National Medical Association since completion of family medicine residency training in 1992. Other highlights include service as Chair of the NMA Aerospace, Military and Occupation Health section, Chair of the Committee on Administrative and Financial Affairs (CAFA) and election to serve as Treasurer and President-elect.
Dr. McDougle is a past Chair for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity and Inclusion. He has provided service for the AAMC as faculty for the Healthcare Executive Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program, Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar, and Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar. In addition, he directs several workforce diversity programs including the MEDPATH Postbaccalaureate Program.
He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. McDougle is a member of the Rhema Christian Center. He is a member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. A native of Sandusky, Ohio, Leon and his wife, Natasha Jones-McDougle, M.Ed. are the proud parents of Peri and Autumn.
Honorable Bob Menendez (NJ)
Senator Bob Menendez’s story is a quintessential American story. He grew up the son of Cuban immigrants in a tenement building in Union City and has risen to become one of 100 United States Senators. He served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 113th Congress. The Committee is one of the oldest and most revered Committees in the Senate, at a time when world affairs has a dramatic impact on our economy at home. He has earned a national reputation for his international leadership in the Senate, which pairs with his long-time reputation as a fighter for New Jersey families who puts their economic security ahead of powerful special interests.
A product of New Jersey’s public schools and a graduate of the state’s universities, Bob learned early on the importance of standing up for what’s right, no matter how powerful the opposition. He first entered public service as a 19-year-old college student when his high school would not provide books to students who could not afford them. Bob launched a successful petition drive to reform the local school board and a year later won a seat on that very board. He stood up to corruption in Union City and went on to become its mayor, a state legislator and was elected to Congress in 1992. He quickly rose to leadership positions and has given New Jerseyans a seat at the table during critical negotiations on every issue since then: war and peace, jobs and the economy, education, health care, veterans issues, world affairs, transportation and housing.
Senator Menendez’s career has been a tribute to his desire to protect the powerless from the powerful and ensure fairness for every American. He led the fight in Congress to make sure New Jersey received its fair share of recovery funds to help communities rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, chaired Senate Banking Committee hearings to hold the administration accountable for getting relief resources out of Washington, and passed landmark bipartisan legislation providing relief to homeowners hit with unreasonably high flood insurance premiums.
The son of immigrants, Bob understands the importance of New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, in the shadow of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, at the gateway for millions of immigrants who came to this nation seeking the American Dream and a better life for them and their children. That’s why he was one of eight Senators who wrote and fought for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate in 2013 with an overwhelming bipartisan show of support.
While Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he established himself as a new foreign policy leader for a new century, seeking to do globally what he has done in New Jersey – supporting the most vulnerable in our society and lending a voice to those least able to speak for themselves. He has advocated for women and children struggling with oppressive poverty in Central America and Africa, and stood by democracy activists struggling to reform governments from Cuba to China to Russia. In addition, he has evoked a strong national security posture in the face of tyrannical leaders of Russia, Iran and Syria. He has led the Foreign Relations Committee in bipartisan efforts, reaching across the aisle in September 2013 to unanimously pass a resolution to allow the President to use military force in Syria, which led to the end of the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Bob uses economic statecraft to realize the nexus between economic issues and foreign policy to allow America – and New Jersey – to prosper in our intertwined global economy
Bob has been widely recognized for his leadership on promoting safe and healthy families. He has championed legislation to support mothers suffering from postpartum depression, help families meet the challenges of autism, and keep young athletes safe from harm on the playing field. He serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and has championed increased consumer protection and corporate accountability, fairness in lending, affordable housing, and comprehensive approaches to community revitalization. He served as Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development where he fought for smart growth, jobs for the 21st Century and updating our aging transportation system. As a member of the Finance Committee, he has sponsored legislation increasing access to health care, advocated for fairness in the tax code to help middle class families get college educations and be able to retire, and Bob has pushed for trade initiatives to ensure America’s global competitiveness.
Bob received his B.A. from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and his law degree from Rutgers University. He currently lives in Paramus and has two children, Alicia and Robert.
Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., M.D.
Chief Medical Examiner - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Clinical Professor of Pathology, the George Washington University
Associate Professor of Surgery, Howard University
Chair, National Medical Association Task Force on Gun Violence
Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr. is a forensic pathologist who serves as the Chief Medical Examiner of the Nation’s Capital. He is one of only four black Chief Medical Examiners of a major city in the US. Dr. Mitchell is an expert in Violence as a Public Health Issue and has recently appeared on MSNBC Morning Joe and CBS Sunday Morning advocating for federal funding for firearm violence prevention research. He has been bringing attention to the issue of Firearm Violence in the African American Community for over a decade and serves as Chair of the Task Force on Gun Violence for the National Medical Association (NMA). He recently co-authored a position paper on The Violence Epidemic in the African American Community for the Journal of the National Medical Association, published in 2017.
Dr. Mitchell is a proud graduate of Howard University, Washington DC, and New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Dr. Mitchell is licensed to practice medicine in Washington DC. He has performed over 1400 autopsy examinations in his career and has testified as an expert on numerous cases. Dr. Mitchell made history when he served as the first black man in the FBI DNA Laboratories as a Forensic Biologist in January 1997.
Dr. Mitchell is a national expert on deaths that occur while in the custody of law enforcement and has served as an expert in many high profile cases. He recently served as Chairman and lead author among a group of nationally recognized forensic pathologists tasked with making recommendations for the Definition, Investigation, Postmortem Examination and Reporting of Deaths in Custody for the medical examiner/coroner community.
Dr. Mitchell has lectured for the Governments of, Egypt, Bangladesh, Mumbai, London and several countries in Africa and Asia. His most recent article is entitled: Incidence and Cause of Potentially Preventable Death after Civilian Public Mass Shooting in the US published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr. is a licensed minister at New Bethel Church in Washington DC and Master of Divinity student and Fuller Theological Seminary, who serves as a minister and mentor for those who are incarcerated. Dr. Mitchell is the author of a book entitled The Price of Freedom – A Son’s Journey where he shares how drugs and violence have shaped his own life. He is a dedicated husband to his wife, Angelique, of nearly 18 years and proud father to three teenagers (Matthew, Nina, and Nathaniel).
Charles Mouton, M.D., M.S., M.B.A.
Executive Vice President, Provost
Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor in the Department of Family Medicine
University of Texas Medical Branch
Dr. Mouton is Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Mouton previously served UTMB as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Medicine.
He joined UTMB in March 2017 from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where he served as Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine. He also was Adjunct Professor of Medical Education and Administration for Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine. Before moving to Meharry in 2010, Dr. Mouton was Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Howard University College of Medicine, where he received both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees. He also earned a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1997 and an MBA from Tennessee Technological University in 2018. He established Meharry’s first Clinical Simulation Center and helped lead Howard’s Master of Public Health program.
Dr. Mouton’s primary research interests are in women’s health, health disparities, late life domestic violence, and aging. He was a co-investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative, the first study to investigate health in a large sampling of women across the United States to determine how diet, hormone therapy, and calcium and vitamin D might prevent heart disease, cancer, and bone fractures. Dr. Mouton was elected as fellow of The Gerontological Society of America, American Academy of Family Physicians, and of the American Geriatrics Society. He is a member of the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils and a member of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education.
Patricia N. Whitley-Williams, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics
Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology & Infectious Disease
Associate Dean for Inclusion and Diversity
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Dr. Whitley-Williams is Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Associate Dean for Inclusion and Diversity at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS). A native of Boston, she received a B.S. degree in biology from Simmons College in Boston and an M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston City Hospital/Boston University School of Medicine.
She served on the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia before joining the faculty at Rutgers RWJMS (formerly known as the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ). She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She has published articles and several book chapters, served on national grant review committees, is the recipient of many awards, and has mentored many young pediatricians, residents and medical students.
She is a member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Medical Association. She serves on national committees including, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (President-Elect), the National Medical Association’s liaison member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chair of the USMLE (United States Medical Licensure Examination) Management Committee and a member of the American Board of Pediatrics’ Subspecialties Committee. She is an active member of the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS in women and children as well as childhood and adolescent immunizations.