Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., is the Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern University, and he is also an associate professor of medicine. Dr. Bennett is also currently associate dean of the Graduate School, associate dean for diversity, and director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in the division of biology and medicine at Brown University. A dynamic leader, Dr. Bennett brings a deep passion for diversity and inclusion in higher education, as well as pertinent experience creating and implementing sustainable initiatives and programs that support and advance underrepresented faculty, staff, and students. As associate provost, he chairs Northwestern’s Diversity Council and serves as the senior administrator responsible for leading and coordinating efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all Northwestern community members.
In addition to his roles at Northwestern, Dr. Bennett also serves as Brown’s institutional coordinator among various national organizations working to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities in graduate and medical education. In 2010, Dr. Bennett launched the Brown Executive Scholars Training Program (BEST) to better equip graduate students for leadership roles in higher education administration. Before joining Brown in 2009, Dr. Bennett was the administrative director of the Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. During this time Dr. Bennett increased the number of underrepresented minority faculty and trainees at the hospital and engaged medical and undergraduate students in basic, clinical, and translational research through creation of the Summer Training in Research and
Academic Scholarships (STARS) Program. Since 2002 Dr. Bennett has held faculty appointments at Brown University, Harvard Medical School, Lesley University, and Roxbury Community College.
Dr. Bennett received his B.S. in biology and a minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College. At Meharry he was funded as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for the Enhancement of Science Education and Technology Graduate Teaching Fellow, and later as a United Negro College Fund-Merck Postdoctoral Research Fellow while training in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bennett is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program and the Harvard University Administrative Fellowship Program.
Bechara Choucair, M.D., M.S., is Senior Vice President of Safety Net Transformation & Community Health at Trinity Health. Dr. Choucair is responsible for working directly with Trinity Health Regional Health Ministries (RHMs) to improve the health of populations and impact the community-based social determinants of health. He is responsible for the development of new care delivery models and new relationships with payers, public health agencies, and community organizations. He and his team are also responsible for leading community benefits throughout the ministry. For 5 years prior to joining Trinity Health, Dr. Choucair was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). There he and his team launched Healthy Chicago, the city’s first comprehensive public health agenda. Since its launch, CDPH has reported historic lows in childhood obesity rates and both teen and adult smoking rates, as well as significant increases in overall life expectancy. Under his leadership, CDPH became the first big city public health agency to be awarded national accreditation. Prior to his appointment as CDPH commissioner, he served as the executive director of Heartland Health Centers in Chicago and as the medical director of Crusader Community Health in Rockford, Illinois. Dr. Choucair serves on numerous boards and has a faculty appointment at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. In addition to earning a number of local and national awards, he was named one of Chicago’s 40 under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2012. Dr. Choucair, a family physician by training, holds an M.D. from the American University of Beirut and a master’s degree in health care management from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Kelly Fischer, M.A., is a Staff Analyst at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Program. Her work has focused on improving cross-sector collaboration to prevent community violence, and examining the link between violence prevention and chronic
disease. Ms. Fischer coordinates strategic planning and research for the Parks After Dark strategy. She has published a discussion paper and rapid health impact assessment on this emerging practice, several case studies and reports, and has presented at local, state, and national conferences. She served on the planning and implementation committee for the county’s Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, and coordinated the assessment of a pilot project designed to improve coordination of services to probation youth and their families. Ms. Fischer is also helping to coordinate the development of a comprehensive youth violence prevention strategic plan for the community of Westmont West Athens, 1 of 12 sites selected for a national initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ms. Fischer has a master’s degree in anthropology from California State University, Northridge.
Lisa Hampton currently serves as Programming and Public Affairs Manager for the Midwest sector of LeadersUp. In this role she uses her policy and program expertise to build relationships with government, education leaders, employers, and other key stakeholders to advance opportunities for youth through talent development and training opportunities. She has more than 10 years of experience in policy and program development in workforce development and reentry, specifically in transitional jobs, youth employment, and job seekers with a criminal background. Additionally, she has more than 18 years in direct service working to improve the lives of people living in hunger and homelessness, persons with HIV/AIDS, youth development, and youth and families affected by the child welfare system.
Ms. Hampton’s former roles includes 8 years with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the Illinois Department of Corrections as a Senior Program Service Administrator working on employment and education opportunities for offenders, and she spent 5 years as a Senior Policy Associate at the Chicago Jobs Council focusing on workforce development issues such as race and hiring practices and employment barriers for ex-offenders. Ms. Hampton holds a B.S. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a master’s from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.
Brenda Palms Barber is the CEO of Sweet Beginnings, LLC, and is the Executive Director of the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) in Chicago. The NLEN mission is to improve the earnings potential of residents in North Lawndale, one of the most severely economically disadvantaged communities in the city of Chicago. Because of the lack of job opportunities available to NLEN clients, Ms. Barber developed an innovative social enterprise business called Sweet Beginnings, LLC.
A wholly owned subsidiary of NLEN, Sweet Beginnings is a transitional jobs program that provides green collar jobs producing honey in an
urban neighborhood setting and manufacturing and marketing honey-based personal care products under the beelove label throughout the Midwest region at Whole Food stores and high-end specialty boutiques, like Mark Shale. Under Ms. Barber’s leadership, NLEN received one of the first 2006 MacArthur Foundation Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, the Shore Bank Community Impact Award in 2007, and the federal Going Home Pilot Program in partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Most recently, Ms. Barber joined the Board of Directors for the Emergency Fund.
Ms. Barber holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix, and in July 2008 she attended the Harvard Business School, Strategic Perspectives in Non Profit Management, as a Roman Nomitch Fellow and scholarship recipient. She has a master of science in Nonprofit Management from the Spertus Institute. She was also a member of the second class of graduates from the Chicago Urban League’s nextONE program, an intensive business marketing entrepreneurial training program that included classes at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Ms. Barber was featured in the April issue of Chicago Magazine as a 2009 Green Awards recipient, was the 2008 Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow, and was awarded the 2009 Phenomenal Woman Award by the Black Women’s Expo. Her work has been covered by ABC’s Living Green; NPR, The Story with Dick Gordon; The Root.com—Green Hero Award; 2009 NBC Jefferson Award; Chicago Sun-Times; Chicago Tribune; Chicago Urban League; Next TV on Fox; and ABC’s Living Green with José Saunders.
Joanne G. Schwartzberg, M.D., is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). She received her B.A. from Harvard, her M.D. from Northwestern, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Illinois’ Chicago College of Medicine and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Schwartzberg is a past-president of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, the Illinois Geriatrics Society, and the American Academy of Home Care Physicians.
Dr. Schwartzberg served as co-chair of the Illinois Delegation to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging, Caucus on Health and Social Services. She also served on the Advisory Committee of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. From the start of her career, as a founder of the first multidisciplinary not-for-profit home health agency in the Midwest to her 22 years as Director of Aging and Community Health at the American Medical Association (AMA), to her current work at ACGME on evaluating the interprofessional educational programs and practices offered through
residency programs across all specialties, Dr. Schwartzberg has successfully advocated for and created programs to improve the quality of health care for older Americans. At the AMA, she directed initiatives on medical education and geriatric competencies; practice management and geriatric care by design; older driver safety; medical management of the home care patient; health literacy; safe communication; medication reconciliation; and patient self-management. She led the AMA Foundation’s Health Literacy Training of Trainers program, which with 38 interprofessional faculty teams around the country reached more than 30,000 health professionals. Dr. Schwartzberg received the David H. Solomon Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Geriatrics Society on May 3, 2013.
Dr. Schwartzberg is the 2001 recipient of the Henry P. Russe, M.D., Citation for Exemplary Compassion in Healthcare awarded by the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Rebecca Spencer is the Director of Benefits for Marriott International, Inc., a leading hospitality company with 140,000 employees nationwide. Ms. Spencer joined Marriott in 2003, and she is responsible for the strategy, design, and management of Marriott’s health plans with an emphasis on well-being and health promotion. Ms. Spencer also oversees Marriott’s well-being strategy and TakeCare wellness program initiatives to improve health, productivity, and employee engagement.
Ms. Spencer is a board member for the Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being for the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), and she serves on the National Committee on Pharmacy Benefits and Personalized Medicine for NBGH. She also serves on the Purchaser’s Advisory Committee for National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Prior to working for Marriott, Ms. Spencer was with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an international nonprofit organization, as a Human Resources Manager where she managed the health and retirement plans and operations. Prior to IFES, Ms. Spencer was a Human Resources Generalist for a global satellite company. Ms. Spencer obtained her B.A. from Salisbury University.
William Spriggs, Ph.D., is a professor in, and former Chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University and serves as Chief Economist to the AFL-CIO. In his role with the AFL-CIO he chairs the Economic Policy Working Group for the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and he serves on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Spriggs served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, having been appointed by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At the time
of his appointment, he also served as chairman of the Healthcare Trust for United Auto Workers (UAW) Retirees of the Ford Motor Company and as chairman of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust, vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute; and on the joint National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration’s Committee on the Fiscal Future for the United States. As Senior Fellow of the Community Service Society of New York, he served on the boards of the National Employment Law Project and very briefly for the Eastern Economic Association.
Dr. Spriggs’s previous work experience includes roles leading economic policy development and research as a Senior Fellow and Economist at the Economic Policy Institute; as Executive Director for the Institute for Opportunity and Equality of the National Urban League; as a Senior Advisor for the Office of Government Contracting and Minority Business Development for the U.S. Small Business Administration; as a Senior Advisor and Economist for the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce; as an Economist for the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress; and, as staff director for the independent, federal National Commission for Employment Policy. He is a former president of the National Economics Association, the organization of America’s professional black economists.
He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, and holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also taught 6 years at Norfolk State University and for 2 years at North Carolina A & T State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Academy of Public Administration.
Latricia Tillman, M.P.H., is the Director for Public Health at the Multnomah County Health Department. Her goals throughout her career have been to promote a highly qualified, diverse workforce; to engage communities experiencing disparities in promoting health and well-being; and to reduce social inequities. She has worked over the past 22 years to improve the health of culturally diverse communities in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Oregon. This January, Ms. Tillman returned to work at the Multnomah County Health Department to serve as Director for Public Health. Prior to this, she was the Director for the Office of Equity and Inclusion in the Oregon Health Authority. Under her leadership, the Office of Equity and Inclusion elevated the mandate for health equity and civil rights, increased state funding for culturally specific community organizations to promote health and well-being, created opportunities for highly qualified and diverse health professionals to serve in policy leadership roles, and created and implemented policies that promote equity and civil rights in health and human services. She advocated for the integration of health care interpreters, com-
munity health workers, doulas and other “traditional health workers” in health systems transformation as proven health equity strategies.
In her new role, she will continue to work to ensure that health equity and culturally and linguistically appropriate service standards are a strong part of Multnomah County.
Travis Watson has worked at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) since 2007. During that time he has led the organization’s community benefits work, securing roughly $35 million in subcontracts for minority- and women-owned business enterprises, and provided work hours for residents, minorities, and women at historic levels. In 2011 Mr. Watson was appointed Boston Employment Commissioner, and was in charge of increasing employment opportunities for Boston residents, workers of color, and women on construction projects funded by the City of Boston. He was also responsible for monitoring for compliance with labor standards and prevailing wages on federally funded projects. Additionally, he has been deeply involved with the reporting and outreach of DSNI and manages their website and social media. DSNI is a nonprofit, community-based planning and organizing entity in the Roxbury/North Dorchester neighborhoods, some of the poorest areas of Boston. It is the only community-based nonprofit in the United States to be granted eminent domain authority over abandoned land, which it has used to permanently transform more than half of the area’s 1,300 abandoned parcels of land into schools, parks, community buildings, urban agricultural plots, and affordable housing. He previously served on the Steering committee of the Green Justice Coalition, a partnership of community groups, labor unions, environmental groups, and other organizations that support a sustainable, equitable, and clean energy economy in the Boston region. He is also deeply involved with the Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network and is a photographer. Much of his work highlights urban agriculture in Boston and Cuba as well as minor league baseball.
Kyle Westbrook has worked in and around Chicago Public Schools for nearly 20 years as a teacher, teacher leader, leadership coach, and central office leader. Mr. Westbrook began his career in 1995 as a history teacher at Lincoln Park High School. In 2001, he joined the faculty at the then new Walter Payton College Prep where he served in several teacher leadership roles including department chair and Local School Council representative. In 2007, Mr. Westbrook accepted a position as Director of Secondary School Supports for the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. In 2011 he returned to Chicago Public Schools, this time at the central office as Executive Director of Magnet, Gifted, and International Baccalaureate Programs. Mr. Westbrook is excited to be a part of the policy
team leading the mayor’s efforts to develop City Colleges of Chicago as the premier city college system in the United States, as well as ongoing efforts to strengthen workforce partnerships.
Clyde Yancy, M.D., M.Sc., is Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief of the Division of Cardiology, and the Magerstadt Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Until recently, he was the Medical Director at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute and Chief of Cardiothoracic Transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center. He co-chairs the Coalition to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cardiovascular Outcomes sponsored by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). He has served as President of the American Heart Association (AHA) and on the Executive Council of the Heart Failure Society of America. He is a member of the ACC Guideline Taskforce, which oversees all ACC/AHA guidelines. His research interests include the emerging role of registries in cardiovascular diseases, management of advanced heart failure with new drugs and devices, and heart failure in special populations. He received an M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine (1982) and did his residencies at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He is board certified in cardiovascular disease.