We’re excited to host this interactive conference about strategies to improve the ability of public health to effectively address health disparities and to adapt public health services to the current pandemic situation. We’ll have a combination of live and pre-recorded presentations on our conference agenda, as well as discussion boards for you to interact with your fellow conference participants. One of the benefits of having this conference in a completely virtual format, apart from being able to participate from your home or office, are that the recordings will be available for you to access online whenever you’re available.

Check out the speakers that will be presenting each week below. Conference sessions, including the live Q&A sessions on Fridays, will be active from 11am-2pm Pacific Time.

Conference Program

Week 1: August 4-7, 2020 Speakers

Barry Levy, MD, MPH, "How COVID-19 Has Exposed Society's Failures to Protect Public Health"

Barry Levy is a physician and epidemiologist who has worked in public health for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Tufts College, Cornell Medical College, and the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed residencies in internal medicine and preventive medicine. Dr. Levy has served as a medical epidemiologist with the CDC, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a director of international programs and projects. For many years, he has been an Adjunct Professor of Public Health at Tufts University School of Medicine. He has written more than 200 papers and book chapters and has edited 20 books on occupational and environmental health, climate change, social injustice, and the impacts of war and terrorism on public health.  He has served as president of the American Public Health Association and received its Sedgwick Memorial Medal.

Elizabeth Krupinski, PhD, "The Future of Telemedicine in Public Health"

Dr. Krupinski is Professor and Vice-Chair for Research at Emory University in the Department of Radiology & Imaging Sciences and subject matter expert for the Emory Telehealth Program. She received her BA from Cornell, MA from Montclair State and PhD from Temple, all in Experimental Psychology. Her interests are in medical image perception, observer performance, decision making, and human factors. She is Associate Director of Evaluation for the Arizona Telemedicine Program and co-Director of the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center. She is Past President of ATA, Past Chair of Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine, Past Chair of the SPIE Medical Imaging Conference, and President of the Medical Image Perception Society. She is Co-Editor of the Journal of Telemedicine & Telecare and on the Editorial Board of the Telemedicine & E-Health Journal.

Mestisa C. Gass, PsyD, "Embracing Aloha: Opportunities for Community Engagement and Resilience"

Mestisa C. Gass is the new Program Director for Mental Health America of Hawai‘i (MHAH). She graduated with a Master’s and Doctorate degree, in Clinical Psychology. Her education and experience has been focused on diverse populations including inpatient acute adolescent care, community mental health, and military mental health. Her training and work has emphasized diversity and trauma-focused care. She is a certified trainer for the MHAH’s Youth Suicide and Bullying Prevention Training for Trainers (T4T) curriculum and Mental Health First Aid for Adults and Youth. She is a member of the Mental Health Task Force, the Statewide and Oahu Suicide Prevention Task Forces, and a board member for the Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse. She has been working in Hawaii since 2006, being originally from a small, farming community in the Appalachian Mountains. She is passionate about bringing education, support, and resources to rural communities, like those in which she spent her childhood.

Michelle Doty Cabrera, "Establishing New Norms: Addressing Behavioral Health Needs Post-Pandemic"

Michelle Doty Cabrera joined County Behavioral Health Directors Association as Executive Director in May 2019. Ms. Cabrera has a wealth of experience on state budget and policy as an advocate and staff for the California legislature. Prior to joining CBHDA she served as the Healthcare Director for the California State Council of the Services Employees International Union (SEIU California), where she advocated on behalf of healthcare workers and consumers, including SEIU California’s county behavioral health workforce. She served as a Senior Consultant for the Assembly Human Services Committee, where she specialized in child welfare issues and staffed legislation which extended foster care in California to age 21. Ms. Cabrera also served as a Program Officer for the California Healthcare Foundation, working as a liaison on state health policy in Sacramento. Ms. Cabrera serves as a member on the National Quality Forum’s Standing Committee on Disparities and on the Board of Directors of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.

Patricia Haynes, PhD, CBSM, "Sleep and social rhythms: important health considerations after involuntary job loss”

Dr. Haynes is an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist with an expertise in cognitive behavioral therapies for PTSD, depression, and insomnia. Her research examining sleep and stress has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the American Sleep Medicine Foundation. She has authored multiple publications in the area of traumatic stress, and she has substantial experience training mental health providers in the areas of sleep and stress recovery. Currently, she has a well-established partnership with the Tucson Fire Department, where she provides services to fire service members and assists in the establishment of behavioral health policies and programs designed to foster firefighter mental health and stress resiliency.


Week 2: August 11-14, 2020 Speakers

Renae Badruzzaman, MPH, "Addressing systemic racism: A place-based approach to building healthy communities"

Renae Badruzzaman is Program Manager at Build Healthy Places Network where she operationalizes and implements the Network’s place-based strategy. Renae brings a decade of experience working in multidisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations to advance health equity, inclusion and justice for people of color and communities with low-income. Prior to joining the Network, Renae served as the Program Manager for Health Equity Investments at the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative. She played a key role in the strategic development and policy advocacy of an anchor mission strategy for local public health departments. While in Chicago, Renae directed a center that promoted a socially just and self-determined system of long-term services and supports, and managed a federally-funded leadership program focused on children with special health care needs. She received an MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Community Health Sciences and BA in Psychology.

Melissa Jones, MPA, "COVID-19 Response and Rolling Recovery: Centering Those Most Impacted & a Social Determinants of Health Informed Response"

Melissa Jones is the Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII). She is passionate about creating the conditions that increase quality of life and makes life more fair for more people. Her work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, social inequity, and well-being. Her experience includes work in municipal government and non-profits, in the Bay Area’s large and small cities. Melissa is an active community member in Oakland and also serves on the Association of Bay Area Government’s Regional Planning Committee, which advises on regional planning issues. Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative. Melissa has additional experience funding and implementing programs focused on community economic development, family financial stability, education, and civic empowerment.  Specifically, she has served in youth empowerment organizations, as Program Specialist for the City of Alameda, and as Program Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Early in her career, she served as Director of Professional Development for Partners in School Innovation where she trained staff to support school reform efforts in San Francisco Unified, San Jose Unified, and Oak Grove Unified school districts.

Katherine Schaff, DrPH, MPH, "Keeping equity at the forefront: How local health departments can help create the new normal"

Dr. Katherine Schaff works to help build the organizational and communications capacity of local health departments, government agencies, and community-based organizations working towards racial and health equity. Prior to joining Berkeley Media Studies Group, she spent 11 years at the Alameda County Public Health Department working towards racial, social, and health equity through policy change, community partnerships, and building institutional and staff capacity within the health department and the county. Before moving to the Bay area, Katherine supported local health departments at the National Association of County and City Health Officials in Washington, DC. She received her Masters of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Her doctoral research focused on how local health departments addressed and communicated about the foreclosure crisis as a driver of health inequities.

G. Robert "Bobby" Watts, MPH, MS, CPH, "Protecting the Health of People Experiencing Homelessness in the COVID Pandemic"

Bobby Watts is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, which supports the 300 federally-supported Health Care for the Homeless programs and 90 Medical Respite providers with training, technical assistance, sharing of best practices, research, publications, and an active policy and advocacy program working to eliminate homelessness. A nationally recognized advocate and leader in meeting the health needs of people without homes, Bobby has 30 years of experience in administration, direct service, and implementation of homeless health services, beginning as a live-in counselor at the NYC Rescue Mission. He spent most of his career prior to joining the Council at Care for the Homeless, which operates clinics, shelters, and conducts policy analysis and advocacy in NYC, beginning as an intern, and serving as the Executive Director for twelve years. He has served on numerous boards and government-appointed task forces and councils. He is a graduate of Cornell University and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health from which he holds a Master’s in Public Health in health administration and a Master’s of Science in epidemiology.  He also earned a Certificate of Theological Studies from Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY.

Ananya Roy, PhD, MCP, "Addressing the Conjoined Crisis of COVID-19 and Homelessness: Towards Racial and Housing Justice"

Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is inaugural Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA, which advances research and scholarship concerned with displacement and dispossession in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the world. Working in alliance with social movements, the Institute seeks to build power and abolish structures of inequality. Ananya’s work has a determined focus on poverty and inequality with special emphasis on housing insecurity and urban displacement. Her most recent book is Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (University of California Press, 2016), which was accompanied by the #GlobalPOV video series. Currently, she leads a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network on Housing Justice in Unequal Cities. 

Week 3: August 18-21, 2020 Speakers

Brian Castrucci, DrPH, MA, "Skills and Strategies for Where the Puck is Going -- Wait, Is it Even Still a Puck?"

Brian Castrucci is a disruptor, instigator, and fierce advocate for public health. Inside Philanthropy once described him as a “fount of knowledge and passion when it comes to health” who speaks with “sound-bite-perfect urgency” on the social determinants of health. Over the past eight years, Brian has helped build the de Beaumont Foundation into a national powerhouse in public health philanthropy and advocacy, and he now serves as the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. An award-winning epidemiologist with 10 years of experience in state and local health departments, Brian brings a unique background that allows him to shape and implement visionary and practical initiatives and partnerships that bring together research and practice to improve public health. Under his leadership, the de Beaumont Foundation is driving change to improve population health, foster collaboration between public health and other sectors, and strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure. CityHealth, the BUILD Health Challenge, and the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey are among the national projects he has helped to create while at the Foundation.

Jennifer McKeever, MSW, MPH, "Making the Connection: How the Drive to Connect in a Socially Distanced World Could Improve our Approaches to Learning in Public Health”

Jennifer McKeever is an independent consultant with over 15 years of experience turning big ideas into actionable programs. She specializes in creating teams, systems, and processes to successfully implement large public health initiatives. Jennifer is well-known for her ability to design, convene, and facilitate meaningful conversations and learning events. Most recently, Jennifer led the creation of NNPHI’s National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training (NCCPHT), guiding the organization's investment in the public health workforce. Through innovative learning technologies and proven approaches grounded in adult learning theory, NCCPHT serves all public health professionals by expanding access to high-quality training, tools, and resources they need to effectively respond to complex public health issues. She also created the www.phlearningnavigator.org and NNPHI's Project ECHO network. Jennifer’s work is driven by the belief that the workforce is public health’s most valuable asset, and we should demonstrate that value through funding and quality workforce development. 

Douglas Taren, PhD, MS, "The Post-COVID Workforce of the Future"

Douglas Taren is a Professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He has more than 30 years of experience conducting research and training students in international health. His research and teaching activities have included projects in Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, China, Nepal, Kenya, Senegal, and the US Associated Pacific Islands, and more. Dr. Taren currently directs the Western Region Public Health Training Center (WRPHTC) for HRSA Region 9 (Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii and the US Affiliated Pacific Islands). The WRPHTC works to strengthen the public health workforce through interactive, skill-based training.

Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, "The Post-COVID Workforce of the Future"

Betty Bekemeier is a professor at the University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing and Director of the UW School of Public Health’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. She is a distinguished public health systems researcher focused on improving the effectiveness of our prevention systems and related workforce.  She has led numerous studies regarding local health department services and their impact on health outcomes and equity. She emphasizes the inclusion of rural public health jurisdictions to generate evidence that will improve the reach and distribution of services to underserved communities and meet the needs of the rural workforce. Dr. Bekemeier is also PI of the Public Health Activities and Services Tracking (PHAST) Study, initiated in 2010 through the RWJF. PHAST is a highly regarded, growing database of uniquely detailed and linked data regarding LHD services and financing, including the PHAST Uniform Chart of Accounts which is helping local health departments have better access to meaningful financial data for decision-making. Dr. Bekemeier’s projects and studies are carried out in close partnership with public health practice leaders and have been immediately relevant to addressing current policy issues. She has also held many leadership positions in, including those in the Washington State Public Health Association, the American Public Health Association, NACCHO’s Profile Workgroup.

Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, "Mitigating the Fear of the Unknown: Strategies to Build Resilience in the Face of COVID-19"

Michael Fraser is chief executive officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national nonprofit organization representing state and territorial leaders of public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state‐based public health practice. Dr. Fraser is a dynamic leader in the health care and public health fields. Prior to joining ASTHO, he served as the executive vice president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Medical. Michael has been a distinguished leader in public health for over twenty years. He served as CEO of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) from 2007 to 2013, he was the deputy executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials from 2002 to 2007 and served in several capacities at the US Department of Health and Human Services, including positions at the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tracy Delaney, PhD, "Advancing Equity During COVID-19: Lessons and Opportunities"

Tracy Delaney is founding director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, a regional coalition of eight local health departments whose members have statutory responsibility for the health of 50% of California’s population. Her work advances population health and equity through multi- sector initiatives addressing policy, systems and environmental change. She has spearheaded multidisciplinary projects integrating land use and transportation, food systems, climate and water resources and community equity indicators. During her tenure at the County of San Diego, she was Principal Investigator for Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, the nation’s largest federal obesity prevention award, and the CDC’s Community Transformation Grant. She holds a doctorate in Nutrition from University of California, Davis.  Dr. Delaney was honored with the Leadership Award by the Southern California Public Health Association. 

Lisa Villarroel, MD, MPH, "Arizona Surge Line: A 24/7 Transfer Service that Crosses Counties, Regions, and Hospital Systems"

Dr. Lisa Villarroel serves as the Medical Director for the Division of Public Health Preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services.  She received her Bachelors in Biology at Princeton University and her Doctor of Medicine at Northwestern University before getting her Master’s in Public Health and becoming board certified in Family Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona.  At the Department she has served as the Medical Director for the Arizona emergency response to Ebola, Zika, Opioid and COVID-19 Crises.  She was a lead for the Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines (2018), the Arizona Pain and Addiction Curriculum (2018), the Arizona Surge Line, and the Arizona Surge Staffing Initiative.  In addition to her work at the health department, she is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a practicing locum tenens.