Leslie Bernard is Director of Special Projects for Associated Black Charities, a public foundation established in 1985 to represent and respond to issues of special significance to Maryland’s African American communities. With an extensive career in philanthropy, Ms. Bernard has worked as a Program Officer for The Kresge Foundation, a Development Officer for The Philadelphia Foundation, and a Director of Outreach Efforts for a community partnership of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Ms. Bernard has been involved in local, national, and international grant making, working with underserved populations in various communities to address issues related to health care, education, the arts, the environment, and public affairs. Currently, she oversees Associated Black Charities’ health initiatives. She works with local community organizations and public officials to inform and develop policy, strategies, and initiatives to reduce health disparities in Baltimore, particularly in the area of childhood obesity. Ms. Bernard holds a B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an M.A. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Derek Birnie is Executive Director of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, a community development organization serving one of Seattle’s most diverse and underinvested neighborhoods. The Association is the lead community partner for the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, a Kellogg Foundation–funded effort to address childhood obesity and other disparate health outcomes resulting from regional inequities. In 2009, Mr. Birnie completed an executive master’s in public administration
at the University of Washington and celebrated 20 years of community organizing.
Daniel Drummond is serving his first term on the Fairfax City Council, in Fairfax, Virginia. He serves as the city’s representative to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors, the Transportation Planning Board, and the Virginia Municipal League’s General Laws Committee. Previously, he served on the city’s Economic Development Authority, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Crossings Condominiums Board of Directors, and the 2004 School Bonds Task Force Steering Committee. Mr. Drummond is also on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Economic Bridge, a partnership between George Mason University and Southwest Virginia communities; the Board of Directors for the Barter Theater (Virginia’s state theater); the Southeast Fairfax Citizens Association; the Knights of Columbus; and various other economic development task forces throughout Virginia. Professionally, Mr. Drummond is a Director in the public affairs practice of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and strategic communications firm. Prior to joining the private sector, he was communications director for Virginia Congressman Jim Moran. He also had a career in journalism, last working as a reporter at The Washington Times, as well as other small and regional newspapers across Virginia.
Rebecca Flournoy is Associate Director with PolicyLink in Oakland, California, where she leads research, policy analysis, capacity-building, and advocacy efforts to improve community environments in ways that support good health. Her work focuses on ensuring equitable access to high-quality and affordable healthy food, as well as healthy school and housing environments, clean air, appealing and safe opportunities for physical activity, and other components of healthy communities. Ms. Flournoy has more than 15 years of experience in public health and holds an M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. Before joining PolicyLink, she was a researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, collaborating on survey projects with reporters at The Washington Post and National Public Radio.
Canary Girardeau has been a leader in nursing for more than five decades. After completing her Registered Nurse certification at the University of Wisconsin, she served as Head Nurse at Milwaukee County Hospital. She served as a Public Health Nurse in the Milwaukee City Health Department and completed her certification in public health nursing at Marquette University. Ms. Girardeau went on to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood and child development. In 1972, she was called to Washington, DC, to work with the Child Development Associate
Consortium and traveled nationwide to promote the credential. In 1989, Ms. Girardeau moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and became a Senior Community Health Nurse Supervisor for the Duval County Health Department. She was recognized as Florida Public Health Nurse of the Year in 2001. Ms. Girardeau is presently serving as Senior Program Associate at Summit Health Institute for Research and Education in Washington, DC. She heads a Childhood Obesity Prevention project funded by the Office of Minority Health in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Genoveva Islas-Hooker is Regional Program Coordinator for the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP). CCROPP addresses environmental and policy-level factors that contribute to the escalating incidence of obesity in the central California counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. Ms. Islas-Hooker earned a B.S. in health science with an emphasis in community health from California State University Fresno and received an M.P.H. in health education and promotion from Loma Linda University. Her experience in public health spans more than 18 years in both the public and private sectors. As a health educator, she has worked in the arenas of HIV/AIDS education and prevention as well as diabetes prevention and control. In addition, she has taught at the junior college level and lectured within the California State University system. In the health care arena, she has worked in medical managed care and supervised cultural and linguistic services. Ms. Islas-Hooker is a board member for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, an advisory board member for Radio Bilingue, and a steering committee member for California Convergence. In her spare time, she serves as a tutor for the Tulare Read literacy program.
Allison Karpyn is Director of Research and Evaluation at The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization committed to providing access to affordable nutritious foods. In addition, she teaches program planning and evaluation as well as community assessment courses in the M.P.H. program at Drexel University. Ms. Karpyn is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society for Public Health Education, and the American Evaluation Association and is certified as a professional researcher by the Marketing Research Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in public health at the Johns Hopkins University and her master’s and doctorate degrees in policy research evaluation and measurement at the University of Pennsylvania.
George L. Leventhal was elected to an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council on November 5, 2002, after many years of active involvement in local politics and community affairs. He served a 1-year term as
Council President in 2006 and is currently serving his second term in office. Councilmember Leventhal chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and is a member of the Transportation and Environment Committee. He also serves on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Human Services Policy Committee.
Jeffrey Levi is Executive Director of Trust for America’s Health, where he leads the organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of a modernized public health system. Dr. Levi oversees the Trust’s work on a range of public health policy issues, including its annual reports assessing the nation’s public health preparedness, investment in public health infrastructure, and response to chronic diseases such as obesity. Dr. Levi is also an Associate Professor at The George Washington University’s Department of Health Policy, where his research has focused on HIV/AIDS, Medicaid, and the integration of public health with the health care delivery system. He has also served as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Public Health and as Deputy Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Dr. Levi received a B.A. from Oberlin College, an M.A. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the George Washington University.
Gerardo Mouet is Executive Director of the City of Santa Ana’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency. When he became head of Parks and Recreation 5 years ago, he led an effort to change the mission of the agency to incorporate the promotion of health and fitness for all agency programs. The City of Santa Ana is the ninth-largest city in California, with a population estimated at 370,000. The city is very densely populated, is 76 percent Hispanic, and has very little recreational open space compared with most cities in the nation. Parks and Recreation is responsible for all parks, bike trails, recreation centers, senior centers, pools, stadiums, libraries, and the zoo.
Gretchen Musicant is Minneapolis Health Commissioner, overseeing the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support, whose mission is “to promote health equity in Minneapolis and meet the unique needs of our urban population by providing leadership and fostering partnerships.” Prior to working for the city, Ms. Musicant was Vice President of Community Health for the Minnesota Hospital Association and a Government Affairs Specialist for the Minnesota Nurses Association. She holds both a B.S. in nursing and an M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota. She has substantial public policy experience as a state-level lobbyist and as a fellow with the Humphrey Institute. She has chaired several statewide and regional efforts, including the Universal Coverage Committee of the Minnesota Health Care Commission, the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency Board,
the Social Conditions and Health Action Team of the Minnesota Department of Health, the Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund, and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Alumni Society. She is the 2007 recipient of the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Public Health Achievement Award, given by the Minnesota Public Health Association, and has been designated one of the 100 Distinguished Nursing Alumni of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.
Loel Solomon is National Director of Community Health Initiatives and Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefits Program, a philanthropic venture that seeks to improve the health of communities through partnerships, education, sharing of clinical expertise, research, and grants and services to vulnerable populations. Since joining the program in 2003, he has been responsible for a national effort to improve health outcomes in Kaiser Permanente communities by focusing on environmental and policy change. Earlier, Mr. Solomon served as Deputy Director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for Healthcare Quality and Analysis, where he oversaw hospital outcomes and analyses of racial and ethnic health disparities. He was also a Senior Manager at the Lewin Group, where he helped design and facilitate community health initiatives sponsored by the United Auto Workers and the automobile industry. Mr. Solomon’s policy experience includes service on Sen. Edward Kennedy’s health staff and former President Bill Clinton’s Task Force on National Healthcare Reform. He received his Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University and his master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several journal articles and a book chapter.
Marion Standish is Director of Healthy Environments at the California Endowment in Oakland, California. She leads the Endowment’s efforts to develop initiatives to address the health disparities and environmental factors that contribute to the poor health of underserved communities. In that capacity, Ms. Standish serves as lead officer on many of the Endowment’s major funding initiatives, including Healthy Eating Active Communities, which supports community coalitions to develop and implement policies and programs to reduce obesity; Community Action to Fight Asthma, which focuses on reducing environmental triggers for asthma among school-aged children; and The Partnership for the Public’s Health, a 5-year program designed to build strong, effective partnerships between local public health departments and the communities they serve. Ms. Standish also designed the Endowment’s partnership project with the Rockefeller Foundation, California Works for Better Health, a 4-year effort to build the capacity of community-based organizations to improve neighborhood health status
through regional employment strategies. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Food Research and Action Center, the San Francisco Community Boards Program, and the Neighborhood Funders Group. She was recently appointed by California’s Chief Justice to the Judicial Council’s Legal Services Trust Fund Commission and by Mayor Gavin Newsom to San Francisco’s Children, Youth and Families Commission. Ms. Standish received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and both her M.A. and undergraduate degrees from New York University.
J. Walter Tejada is serving his third term on the Arlington County Board in Arlington, Virginia. He served as Chairman of the Board in 2008 and Vice Chairman in 2007. A community advocate, Mr. Tejada has distinguished himself as a leader committed to enhancing the diversity of Arlington and the region’s community voice. During his tenure, he has reached out to local communities and encouraged residents to be active participants in various efforts throughout the county and the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. He has been instrumental in convening community stakeholders to address a wide range of issues, including health and fitness, among others. In 2004 and 2005, he was elected to serve as Chairman of the Human Services Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), and he also serves on COG’s Public Safety Policy Committee to address regional matters. Additionally, he is a member of the National Association of Counties’ Member Programs and Services Committee and the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, as well as the Virginia Association of Counties’ Administration of Government Committee, and he serves as Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic County Officials. Mr. Tejada studied government and communication at George Mason University and has worked as an investigator, a business consultant, and an aide to Congressman Jim Moran.
Benjamin Thomases is Food Policy Coordinator in the Office of the Mayor in New York City. Thomases began at the Mayor’s office after serving as President of FirstSource Staffing, a company that works to help low-income people with barriers to entering the workforce get jobs that will put them on a path to self-sufficiency. Mr. Thomases earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School where he studied building an antipoverty program that is not overly reliant on government and philanthropic support. As Food Policy Coordinator, Thomases will try to ensure that those who are eligible for food stamps receive them as well as oversee a plan to expand to 1,000 stores a program that encourages bodegas (corner stores) in low-income areas to offer more products like low-fat milk and fresh vegetables. The newly created position of Food Policy Coordinator is responsible for coordination between the many city agencies that will play
a role in expanding the range of easily accessible, affordable, and nutritious food options to New Yorkers.
Pierre Vigilance is Director of the Washington, DC, Department of Health. He joined the District government after having served as Director and Health Officer for the Baltimore County Department of Health since 2005. In that capacity, he led an agency of 500 staff covering a jurisdiction of approximately 800,000 residents with a $50 million annual budget. He established a quantitative management reporting system to improve performance management and was responsible for improving access to care for the medically uninsured by increasing the number of Kaiser Permanente “Bridge” program slots from 300 to 525 (75 percent) in just 2 years. Mr. Vigilance has been instrumental in local legislative changes aimed at reducing youth access to tobacco and has been a collaborator with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to provide regular applied public health internship opportunities. He has also served as incident commander for local and statewide emergency preparedness deployments and drills.
Annina Catherine Burns is a Program Officer and Study Director with the Food and Nutrition Board. She serves as Study Director for Community Perspectives on Childhood Obesity Prevention and Perspectives from United Kingdom and United States Policymakers on Obesity Prevention. She is also a Program Officer for Childhood Obesity Prevention: Austin, Texas. Ms. Burns previously worked for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. At WHO, she led the development of a report titled Interventions on Diet and Physical Activity: What Works. Ms. Burns was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, United Kingdom, where she pursued her master of science in economic and social history; her thesis was on The Emergence of Obesity in Scotland: Historical and Contemporary Dietary Intakes. She is currently completing a Ph.D. from Oxford University, with a focus on nutrition policy, obesity, and economics. Ms. Burns holds a B.S. in nutritional sciences and a B.A. in media studies from Penn State University.
Nicole Ferring is a Research Associate with the Food and Nutrition Board. She works with the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention and the Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments. Ms. Ferring previously worked for the Center for Science in the Public Interest on the Nutrition Action Healthletter. She recently
finished a year-long dietetic internship through Virginia Tech to obtain the registered dietitian credential. The internship allowed her to rotate through different types of nutrition settings in the Washington, DC, area, including hospitals, community nonprofits, policy organizations, and even a farm. She holds a B.S. in magazine journalism with a minor in nutrition from Syracuse University and an M.S. in nutrition communication from Tufts University.
Lynn Parker is a Scholar and Study Director for the IOM’s Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention, Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments, and Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision Making. She received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in human nutrition from Cornell University. Before joining the IOM, she was a nutritionist at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a national organization working to end hunger and undernutrition in the United States, serving most recently as Director of Child Nutrition Programs and Nutrition Policy, directing FRAC’s work on child nutrition programs, research, and nutrition policy. She also led FRAC’s initiative on understanding and responding to the paradox of hunger, poverty, and obesity. Ms. Parker served on the Technical Advisory Group to America’s Second Harvest 2001 and 2005 National Hunger Surveys, on the National Nutrition Monitoring Advisory Council (appointed by then Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell), and as President of the Society for Nutrition Education. She also served two terms as a member of the Food and Nutrition Board and was a member of its Committee on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools. Before joining FRAC, Ms. Parker worked with New York State’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program at Cornell University.
Matthew Spear is a Senior Program Assistant with the Food and Nutrition Board. He works with the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention, the Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments, and the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision Making. Mr. Spear holds a B.A. in economics from Boston College. He recently completed a year-long course and internship studying culinary arts in Florence, Italy, and working as a private chef. International travel and interest in languages drew him out of the kitchen and formed his interest in public policy, leading him to the IOM.