Yanira Cruz

Yanira Cruz is CEO and President of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in Washington, D.C.  NHCOA focuses on improving the quality of life for the older Latino population as well as their families and caregivers. She is an expert in public health, aging issues, and advocating for health programs and policies for Hispanics.

Dr. Cruz is an adjunct faculty in the Department of Global Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. She also serves on the Advisory Panel on Medicare that advises the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the effectiveness of a Medicare educational program. Prior to joining NHCOA, she served at several Hispanic focused health organizations, including the Institute for Hispanic Health at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

CEO and President, National Hispanic Council on Aging 

Areas of Expertise: Public Health, Aging Issues, Advocating For Health Programs and Policies For Hispanics

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information:
Email: ycruz@nhcoa.org
(202) 347- 9733
Fax: (202) 347- 9735

Heard On: Comcast Newsmakers

Last updated February 2021.

Seema Yasmin

Seema Yasmin is director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, clinical assistant professor in Stanford University’s Department of Medicine, and visiting professor at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA where she teaches crisis management and communications. Previously, she was a reporter at the Dallas Morning News, professor of public health at the University of Texas at Dallas and Medical Contributor for both CNN and NBC Channel 5. An expert in epidemiology, she has served as a disease detective at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has her own column for the Dallas Morning News called ‘Debunked’, which exposes medical myths.

Yasmin has examined epidemics in Kenya, Botswana, the United Kingdom and the Americas, working in environments ranging from maximum security prisons to American Indian reservations. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals as well as the Scientific American and Reuters. In 2016 her reporting on Chagas Disease won an Emmy for Continued Coverage. The same year, her first collection of poetry won the Diode Editions chapbook contest.

Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative

Location: Stanford, CA

Areas of Expertise: Epidemiology, journalism, media studies, gender-based violence, public health, multimedia storytelling

Contact Information:

E-mail: seemayasmin@gmail.com
Twitter: @DoctorYasmin
Website: http://seemayasmin.com/about/

Manager: Chris Sablan


Last updated February 2021.

Raina Merchant

Dr. Raina Merchant is an associate vice president at University of Pennsylvania Medicine and an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine. She is the Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health and Co-Director of the Penn National Clinician Scholars Program. Merchant was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of 10 young investigators likely to have a significant impact on the future of health and health care in the US.

Her work is at the intersection of health and social media, mobile media, and crowdsourcing. She has specifically conducted projects evaluating health behaviors and communication on social media sites like Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, Foursquare, and Gigwalk. One of her projects in this area involves “banking language” through the development of a unique longitudinal database of social media data merged with health record data. Much of her work also bridges new technologies in the field of cardiovascular health and resuscitation science. In this context, she is the Director of the MyHeartMap Challenge, a social media and crowdsourcing project aimed at improving AED (automated external defibrillator) access and awareness by engaging the public to serve as citizen scientist. Her current research focuses on the impacts on Twitter and cardiovascular health.

Raina Merchant

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Expertise: Public health, Social media research, crowdsourcing, resuscitation science

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Contact Information:

Email: raina.merchant@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Twitter: @RainaMerchant

Heard on WHYY – The Pulse: What Medicine could learn from Facebook stalking you

Added November 2015

Last Verified: February 2021.

Julio Frenk

Julio Frenk is the president of The University of Miami. He was previously the Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Minister of Health of Mexico, from 2000 to 2006. He has written extensively about universal health coverage and health equity. In 1998, Dr. Frenk joined the World Health Organization (WHO) as executive director in charge of Evidence and Information for Policy. He served as a senior fellow in the global health program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as president of the Carso Health Institute in Mexico City. In 2008 Dr. Frenk received the Clinton Global Citizen Award.

Julio Frenk

President of the University of Miami

Areas of Expertise: Public Health, Health Care Policy, Global Health, Higher Education

Location: Miami, FL

Contact Rudy Fernandez, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications and Chief of Staff

Email: rudyfernandez@miami.edu

Phone: 305-284-4330

Heard on NPR

Heard on ForaTV: Is Public Health Care a Right or a Reward?

Added June 2015. Last edited February 2021.

Alex Ortega

Alex Ortega, PhD, is the director of the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a professor of Public Health and Psychiatry & Bio-behavioral Sciences. He is also the Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Eliminating Health Disparities and a faculty affiliate in the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Previously, he was Director of the UCLA Center for Population Health & Health Disparities and Associate Director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. He has also served as Director of the UCLA Institute for Social Research. Prior to his UCLA appointment, he was on the public health faculty at Yale University.

Professor Ortega is an internationally recognized expert on the application of epidemiological methods in health services research, and his work focuses on the physical, medical, and mental health needs of Latino children and their families both in the United States and in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He has also published health research on the homeless, military veterans, and undocumented immigrants. He is the 2008 recipient of the Distinguished Nationally Known Public Health Professional Award by the Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association.

Alex Ortega

Professor of Health Policy and Psychiatry and Bio-behavioral Science at UCLA

Areas of expertise: Public Health, Health Disparities, Health Needs of Latino Children and Families, Epidemiology

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Contact Information:

Email: aortega@ucla.edu
Phone: 310-825-0712

Heard on NPR Morning Edition: It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert

Heard on Zócalo Public Square: UCLA Epidemiologist Alex Ortega on Whether Menu Labeling Works

Added February 2015. Last verified February 2021.

Valerie Montgomery Rice

Valerie Montgomery Rice is the president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Rice is the first African-American woman to lead a freestanding medical school. She is a Harvard-trained obstetrician and gynecologist and renowned specialist in women’s and minority health issues.

Montgomery Rice’s medical expertise spans a wide range of health topics. She is an infertility specialist and researcher whose current work focuses on planning initiatives for patient care, research and community engagement. Her research includes a partnership with the University of Zambia, which focuses on the development of a vaginal microbicide to prevent HIV.

Montgomery Rice’s work in women’s health and research has been recognized by a number of organizations, and she has been featured on TheGrio.com, MadameNoire.com and on CNN.

Dean and Incoming President of the Morehouse School of Medicine at Spelman College

Areas of Expertise: Women’s Health, Medicine, Public Health, Patient Care, HIV Prevention, Minority Health, Health Disparities, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Endocrinology, Infertility

Location: Atlanta, GA

Contact Info:

Please contact Rashida Cloud, Executive Administrative Manager

Phone: (404) 752-1130

Email: rcloud@msm.edu

Or Necole Merritt, Office of Marketing and Communications

Phone: (404) 752-1761

Email: nmerritt@msm.edu

Speaking for Spelman College

Advancing the Health of Black Women

Jerome Williams

Jerome Williams is a professor of management and global business at Rutgers University, as well as director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. His work focuses on multicultural marketing, Internet privacy and public health communication.

Williams has been named as an expert witness in more than 100 court cases on consumer racial profiling. In December of 2013–in the wake of “Barneys-gate”–he spoke to Tell Me More’s Michel Martin about why black shoppers are more likely to be profiled (despite not being more likely to shoplift) than white shoppers.

He is the co-author of “Diversity in Advertising: Broadening the Scope of Research Directions,” and the co-author of an upcoming book on the fair treatment of customers from diverse backgrounds.

Professor of Management and Business, Rutgers University

Areas of Expertise: Multicultural Marketing, Consumer Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion in the Marketplace, Fair Treatment of Customers, Internet Privacy, Public Health Communication

Location: Newark and New Brunswick, NJ

Contact Information:
Email: jeromew@business.rutgers.edu
Phone: (973) 353-3682

Heard on NPR:

Tell Me More: Are Black Shoppers More Likely To Be Profiled?


Pedro “Joe” Greer

Physician Dr. Pedro Jose is the dean of the Roseman University College of Medicine. Previously, he was a professor of medicine, founding chair of the Department of Humanities, Health, and Society and associate dean for community engagement at Florida International University. According to Roseman’s press release, Greer “was one of the first to recognize the importance of training physicians in the social determinants of health, and he developed a unique educational program to address a critical gap in medical education.” From the beginning of his career, Greer has practiced a unique brand of medicine that emphasizes compassion as much as health care: He established a clinic for the homeless as a young medical intern, started various free clinics for migrant workers and even treated homeless patients under bridges.

Greer’s commitment to compassionate, socially-minded health care has earned him a MacArthur Genius Grant, the Presidential Medal of Service and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

He has published more than 25 articles on health disorders as well as issues of policy, poverty and health in the U.S. and continues to advise federal and local politicians on health-care policy.

Greer has been featured on The Diane Rehm Show, NBC Latino and PBS.


Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Florida International University’s College of Medicine

Areas of Expertise: Public Health, Home-Based Health Care, Underserved Communities

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Contact Info: 

Office: (305) 348-4554

Direct: (305) 348-0169

Mobile: (305) 450-2822

Heard on Storycorps: Dr. Pedro Jose Greer Talks To His Wife, Janus

Featured on NBC Latino: Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Miami’s pioneering physician of the people

Last updated February 2021.

Edwin Park

With over ten years of experience analyzing Medicaid and other public health care programs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he is now the Vice President for Health Policy, Edwin Park knows health care—and better yet, he knows how to make the often-confusing subject understandable and relatable for everyday consumers.

Prior to his current role he worked as a Medicaid professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and as an attorney specializing in health law. He has brought his intricate knowledge of federal and state health policy to the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. He is also a frequent guest on NPR, most recently discussing health insurance exchanges and concerns over the federal COBRA option for unemployed workers.

Vice President for Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Areas of Expertise: Medicaid, Medicare, Public Health, Health Care, Health Care Reform

Location: El Cerrito, CA

Contact Info: 

CBPP Press Office


Phone: (202) 408-1080

Heard on NPR:

All Things Considered: GOP Budget Plan Slashes Health Care Spending

Wayne Riley

Dr. Wayne Riley is the president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, one of the oldest historically black academic health science centers in the country. He teaches internal medicine at Meharry and Vanderbilt University and is also the senior health policy associate at Meharry’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy.

Dr. Riley worked previously at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston as vice president and vice dean for health affairs and governmental relations and as an associate professor of internal medicine.

According to his bio, Dr. Riley was named the 2012 Healthcare CEO of the Year by the Nashville Business Journal and is a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the Nashville Academy of Medicine and the American College of Physician Executives.

President and CEO of Meharry Medical College

Areas of Expertise: Obamacare and Affordable Care Act, Public Health, Health Care for Minority and Under-served Communities, Health Care Policy, Health Care Management, Medicine (Primary Care, Internal Medicine)

Location: Nashville, TN

Contact Info: To book Dr. Riley, please contact either Janet Caldwell or Carina Qualls
Janet M. Caldwell, Associate VP of Communications and Marketing:
Phone: (615) 500-0632
Email: jcaldwell@mmc.edu

Carina Qualls, Executive Assistant:
Phone: (615) 327-6759
Email: cqualls@mmc.edu

Heard on WBUR:

On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Obamacare Rollout