Emma Robbins

Emma Robbins is the director of the Navajo Water Project, which provides infrastructure for Navajo families to access running water in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The project is a part of the water nonprofit DigDeep.

Native American households face barriers to accessing running water. About 30% of families on the Navajo reservation don’t have running water, according to the project. Robbins joined the project after growing up in an area with a high concentration of water poverty. She is a Diné artist, and uses her work to raise awareness about the need for clean water across all Native American nations. She is also an Aspen Institute Health Communities Fellow. 

Robbins has been interviewed by the magazine Marie Claire about how Navajo women have been on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 and AZCentral on how the nation’s water shortage may exacerbate the virus’ spread.

Emma Robbins headshot

Location: Los Angeles, Calif. 

Expertise: Activism, environmentalism, water access 

Contact info:

Email: press@digdeep.org

Last updated: May 17,2020

Dean Seneca

Dean Seneca is CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions, a consulting agency that provides tribal nations and other clients with assistance in economic and community development. The agency’s services include strategic planning, epidemiology and health research.

Seneca has been interviewed by Indian Country Today and Democracy Now!, among other news outlets, about how COVID-19 is impacting Indian Country. 

With over 20 years of experience with infectious disease outbreaks, Seneca has worked to combat Anthrax, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. Seneca was previously a senior health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, where he was responsible for building the CDC’s ability to support health departments across the country.

Prior to his time at the CDC, Seneca was the tribal planning director for the Seneca Nation of Indians, which is based in western New York.

Dean Seneca_podium

Location: Cattaraugus, N.Y.

Expertise: Chronic and infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, toxicology and maternal/child health, American Indian/Alaska Native health

Contact info:

Phone number: (678) 524-5177

Email: thundereagle1042@gmail.com 

Listen to Dean Seneca on Democracy Now!:

Last updated: May 17, 2020

Azzeddine Azzam

Azzeddine Azzam is a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Azzam has worked in the field for about 34 years, and his teaching and research interests include microeconomics and agricultural and natural resource economies.

The Washington Post reported about Azzam’s research on how Americans could lose weight by switching to diets common in other countries. He was also quoted by the Norfolk Daily News in 2018 on the Trump administration’s trade policies. He has written about topics such as how a greenhouse gas tax would affect the price of a burger for the industry publication Beef Magazine.

Azzam previously taught as a Fulbright scholar at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and as a teaching fellow at Harvard University. He chaired the economics department at the University of Dubai, and served as senior economic adviser at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He founded the Center for Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, as well as the Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, where he is also an editor.

Azzam1

Location: Lincoln, Neb. 

Expertise: Microeconomics, industrial organization, agriculture, livestock

Contact information: 

Phone: 402- 472-5326 (o)

Email: aazzam1@unl.edu

Listen to Azzeddine Azzam on the Policy Center for the New South:

Last updated: May 11, 2020

Aletha Maybank

Dr. Aletha Maybank is the first chief health equity officer of the American Medical Association and one of its vice presidents. Her role is to oversee efforts across the entire organization to address disparities in health care, and she leads the association’s Center for Health Equity.

A pediatrician by training, Maybank was the deputy commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she launched their Center for Health Equity. 

Before that, she was an assistant commissioner in the NYC Health Department with the Brooklyn District Public Health Office. There, she oversaw several centers that worked to connect community organizations, health care providers and patients in predominantly minority neighborhoods throughout New York. Maybank was also the founding director of the Office of Minority Health in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, located in New York, from 2006-2009.

Alongside her work in government, Maybank has taught medical students on topics such as public health leadership and management, and community organizing in health. She was previously the president of the Empire State Medical Association, the New York affiliate of the National Medical Association. 

She also helped create the “We are Doc McStuffins” campaign, based on the popular Disney cartoon character, which aimed to inspire young African American girls to practice medicine. The group eventually formed the Artemis Medical Society.

Location: NYC and Chicago, Ill.

Expertise: health equity, minority health, community engagement 

Contact information:

Cristina Mutchler, AMA public information officer

Phone: 312-464-4710

Email: Cristina.Mutchler@ama-assn.org

Listen to Aletha Maybank on Oprah Talks COVID-19:

Source of the Week · Aletha Maybank – Oprah Talks COVID-19

What it’s like to run a business in Georgia right now

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The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, as seen from Google Street View in 2017.

Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp decided last week to allow several businesses to reopen, such as barbershops and fitness centers. This week, restaurants, theaters and private social clubs will also be allowed to welcome customers. 

Source of the Week is spotlighting local business owners of color who will have to choose to either start up business again or stay shut, as deaths caused by COVID-19 in the state continue to increase.

Ryan Wilson (CEO) and TK Petersen (COO) are co-founders of The Gathering Spot, a membership-only club that provides workspaces and networking opportunities in Atlanta. The club has hosted events with brands such as Spotfiy, Coca-Cola, Google and Netflix. The co-founders were college roommates. After graduating, they realized there weren’t a lot of local spaces where they could connect with new people. The pair raised $3 million to launch the Atlanta-based business in 2016.

Ryan Wilson is an Atlanta native. He was named the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year. He was featured on The Root magazine’s 2018 “Root 100” and Ebony magazine’s “Power 100,” which feature influential African Americans in a variety of fields. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. 

TK Petersen manages the club’s operations. He graduated from Georgetown University and previously worked in the financial sector. The pair have been featured in Fast Company’s story on black tech entrepreneurs, and interviewed in USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek on the growing number of black entrepreneurs in Atlanta.

Contact information: 

Email: rwilson@thegatheringspot.club and tpetersen@thegatheringspot.club

Phone: 678-232-7076

Listen to Ryan Wilson speak on the Atlanta Small Business Show.

Chrisopher Escobar is the owner of The Plaza Theatre, which he says is the oldest movie theater in Atlanta, and one of the only independent theaters in the area. The Plaza was shut down because of COVID-19 on March 19, the longest closure in the theater’s history. Escobar said the theater stayed open through World War I, 9/11 and the AIDS epidemic. 

Escobar is a first-generation American. He is the first minority executive director of the Atlanta Film Society and produces the annual Academy Award-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival. He has been named a “40 under 40” and “CFO of the Year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, among other recognitions. He graduated from Georgia State University with an M.A. in Moving Image Studies with a concentration in production. 

Listen to Chris Escobar on Hybrid Atlanta. 

Contact information: 

Email: chris@atlantafilmfestival.com

Phone: 678-698-9048 (c)

Mother and daughter pair Ellen and Lana Ector founded Gymnetics Fitness, a private fitness studio in Atlanta. They offer personalized nutritional advice, weight loss programs and workout regimes. During the shutdown, they have been offering live daily workouts on Instagram and streaming fitness videos on their website portal. 

Contact information:

Email: info@gymneticsfitness.com

Phone: 678-468-7968

Listen to the Ectors on Fox 5 Atlanta

Last updated: April 27, 2020

 

Shashi Shekhar

Shashi Shekhar, a McKnight Distinguished University Professor at the University of Minnesota, is a leading scholar of spatial computing (think Google Maps, Uber and geotagging) and Geographic Information Systems. That’s the technology at the center of efforts to use smartphone apps to help trace the spread of COVID-19.

Shekhar teaches computer science, is a board member of the Computing Research Association, and is co-editor-in-chief of the international, GIS-focused journal GeoInformatica. His publications include more than 350 refereed papers, a textbook and an encyclopedia. 

He has received the 2015 Education Award from the University Consortium for GIS Science and the 2006 Technical Achievement Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, among others. 

shashi shekhar_headshotExpertise: Computer science, spatial computing, geographic information systems

Location: Minneapolis, Minn. 

Contact information: 

Email: shekhar@umn.edu

Phone: 612-624-8307 (o)

Listen to Shashi Shekhar on the Tonya Hall Innovation Show:

Last updated: April 20, 2020

Sylvia Partida

Sylvia Partida is the CEO of the National Center for Farmworker Health, where she oversees efforts to train medical professionals at community health centers serving uninsured or underinsured patients on the health needs of agricultural workers. The organization works with 174 community health centers across the country that receive federal funding to serve farmworker families. The center also collaborates with state health departments, universities and the CDC.

Partida has been interviewed by HuffPost on why migrant farmworkers face high health risks during the coronavirus pandemic, and by U.S. News & World Report for a story about how children of migrant farmworkers in rural Yakima Valley in Washington state receive treatment for cancer. 

Prior to Partida’s role at NCFH, she researched and developed community programs for at-risk youth, many of whom were Latino, and those impacted by HIV/AIDS. At the University of Texas Health Science Center, she led a project studying the HIV risks of farmworkers in South Texas in order to provide them with accessible care. 

Sylvia Partida

Expertise: Public health, farmworker health

Location: Buda, Texas

Contact information: 

Email: partida@ncfh.org

Phone: (512) 312-5457 (o)

Listen to Sylvia Partida talk to Source of the Week:

 

Last updated: April 13, 2020

 

Angela Anandappa

Angela Anandappa, Ph.D., is the founding executive director of the nonprofit Alliance for Advanced Sanitation, an organization focused on improving food safety. 

Anandappa has researched and worked in food industry safety and genomics for over 20 years. She helped establish the Food Systems Innovation Center at the University of Kentucky with the goal of providing resources for local food businesses. She is also board chair of the Animal Digestible Food Packaging Initiative.

Her research interests focus on improving sanitation in manufacturing plants to mitigate environmental and public health harm. She teaches online classes on food science and risk assessment at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. 

Angela Anandappa_headshot

Expertise: Food safety, sanitation, genomics, supply chains

Location: Chicago, Ill. 

Contact info: 

Phone: 847-778-0567

Email: angela@sanitationalliance.org

Listen to Angela Anandappa at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

 

 

Last updated: April 3, 2020

Lona Mody

Dr. Lona Mody is a professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan. Her research lab studies antibiotic-resistant pathogens and develops measures to prevent their spread.

With a research focus on the aging population, Mody has studied interventions to prevent infections and reduce transmission of drug-resistant pathogens in high-risk populations. She is also the associate division chief of Geriatric and Palliative Care Medicine at the university, associate director of translational research (which looks at new ways to diagnose and treat diseases) for the Geriatrics Center and the principal investigator of the Infection Prevention in Aging Research Group

She has been quoted by the U.S. News & World Report talking about why older adults are vulnerable to viral strains and the importance of hand hygiene among health care workers to prevent the transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Washington Post spoke to her about the need for nursing homes to improve their pandemic plans. And Detroit station WWJ Newsradio 950 cited her research into contaminated hospital privacy curtains in Michigan.

Mody’s research has been funded by Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes on Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and other foundations.

ModyLona_28_aExpertise: Geriatrics and palliative medicine, epidemiology, drug-resistant pathogens and older adults

Location: Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Contact information: 

Email: lonamody@umich.edu or kegavin@umich.edu, U Michigan public relations

Twitter: @LonaMody

Listen to Lona Mody on the GeriPals Podcast:

Last Updated: March 30, 2020

Jean Accius

Jean Accius is senior vice president of thought leadership and international affairs for AARP. His expertise is in aging, longevity, health and long-term care policy. 

He has been quoted by Kaiser Health News on the rising costs of long-term care, TIME on how millennials are increasingly providing care to their older relatives, and U.S. News & World Report on what to consider before joining a continuing care retirement community.  He’s also written about the growing numbers of  male caregivers in the U.S. 

In 2018, Accius was a Gerontological Society of America Fellow,  and he received a 40 Under 40 Award from the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund. Additionally, Black Enterprise named him a “Modern Man of Distinction.”

Accius holds a master’s degree in aging studies from Florida State University, and a doctorate in public administration from American University.  

JeanAccius_3345X3445Expertise: Health, long-term care policy, male caregivers

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Contact information:

Email: media@aarp.org 

Phone: 202-434-265, AARP media relations

Twitter: @JeanAccius

Listen to Jean Accius speak on the Senior Zone radio show:

Last Updated: March 23, 2020