About the Trust

Trust for America's Health Board of Directors

Gail C. Christopher, DN, Chair of the Board

Dr. Christopher is president and founder of Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature. Previously Dr. Christopher was senior advisor and vice president at the WK Kellogg Foundation and, before that, vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' Office of Health, Women and Families in Washington, D.C. She directed the Joint Center Health Policy Institute, a multi-year initiative created to engage underserved, racial, and ethnic minorities in health policy discussions. Prior to that, she was guest scholar in the Governance Studies Department at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government ing Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, Christopher served as director and naprapathic physician with the Naprapathic Health Centers in Chicago, Illinois. Christopher took her doctor of naprapathy degree from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy in Illinois and completed advanced study in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in holistic health and clinical nutrition at the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities at Union Graduate School of Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Christopher received a 2007 Leadership Award from the Health Brain Trust of the Congressional Black Caucus, for her work with Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and its impact on public policies to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. She has authored and co-authored three books, a monthly column in the Federal Times, and has written more than 250 articles, presentations, and publications. Her list of national broadcast and print media credits is also extensive.

David Fleming, MD, Vice Chair

Dr. Fleming is Vice President for PATH, overseeing its global public health portfolio including programs in reproductive health, maternal and child health, nutrition, non-communicable diseases, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Dr. Fleming came to PATH from the Seattle and King County public health department in Washington State where he served as Director and Health Officer and oversaw all elements of the Department’s operations.  Prior to joining the Seattle & King County Department of Public Health, Dr. Fleming directed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Strategies program. His work at Gates focused on vaccine-preventable diseases, nutrition, maternal and child health, community-based solutions, leadership and emergency relief.

Dr. Fleming previously served at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Fleming was Deputy Director for Science and Public Health, and, in 2002, was Acting Director of the agency. While at CDC, Dr. Fleming provided oversight of the agency's global health portfolio, including HIV/AIDS prevention, polio eradication, global tobacco prevention and funding for global immunizations.

Before joining CDC, Dr. Fleming worked at the Oregon Health Division as State Epidemiologist. He also has served as President of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologist and on numerous Institute of Medicine, federal, and global health advisory committees. Dr. Fleming has a BS and an MD from the State University of New York.

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, MD 

Dr. Mayfield Gibson is an experienced health executive who served in the private and public health sectors in Kentucky for over 20 years.  Dr. Mayfield Gibson was the first African American and first woman commissioner of health for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She was responsible for expanding Kentucky’s newborn screening finding Kentucky with the highest incidence in the world for a specific metabolic disorder leading to international presentations. As commissioner and state health official, she was a member of the Governor's executive team to expand Medicaid and reduced uninsured rates more than all other states that expanded Medicaid; and co-chairing the state’s first health in all policy, which focused on clinical, social, and environmental health.

Most recently, she led the transformation of the largest health care system in Kentucky to address basic human needs across the total continuum of health as the senior vice president for Population Health, KentuckyOne Health and chief medical officer for KentuckyOne Health Partners. While at KentuckyOne Health, Dr. Mayfield Gibson established multi sector communities of practice to promote the role of health systems as anchor institutions to build resilient healthy communities. She also chaired the total roadmap to health transformation across 18 states for Catholic Health Initiatives in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Stephanie serves on the board of directors for Changelab Solutions and is currently a population health consultant to healthcare systems and a global pharmaceutical company. A board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist, Dr. Mayfield Gibson’s background includes work in public health, health care, science, education, and private enterprise. She holds an MD from Meharry Medical College; medical residency training from University of Louisville;  and graduate executive education from Harvard University.

Cynthia M. Harris, PhD, DABT

Dr. Cynthia M. Harris is the Director of the Institute of Public Health and Professor at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. She received her Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College with concentration in the areas of nutritional biochemistry and toxicology. Previous to her appointment at Florida A&M, Dr. Harris served as a staff toxicologist and branch chief with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a sister agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Harris has served on numerous committees and panels, which includes membership on the Board of Directors for the Florida Public Health Association, Chair of the Florida Public Health Partnership Council on Stroke, member of the Pregnancy Mortality Review Board, member of the Florida Sickle Cell Task Force, member of the American Public Health Association, member of the editorial board of the Harvard Journal of Public Health, reviewer for the Journal of Environmental Health, and board member for the Panhandle Chapter of the Florida March of Dimes.

Robert T. Harris, MD, Treasurer

Dr. Harris is medical director at the North Carolina Medicaid Support Services, CSC, Inc. and brings to the Board many years' experience in health care administration and clinical medicine, as a primary care physician. He has served at the senior management level at several health insurance companies and managed care companies. Most recently, he was chief medical officer and senior vice president for Healthcare at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, where he launched nationally acclaimed initiatives addressing obesity/childhood obesity, smoking/second hand smoke, immunization promotion, and affordable outpatient drugs with no-copay generics. Dr. Harris is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives. Presently he is the medical director for CSC, Inc., in its contract with the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services and its Medicaid operations.  In addition to serving on the TFAH Board he serves on the board of a privately-held clinical laboratory company and on the board of a community theatre in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Harris is a graduate of Duke University (B.S), Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (M.H.S.), and Emory University School of Medicine (M.D.).

Dr. David Lakey, MD

Dr. David Lakey is currently the Chief Medical Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health at The University of Texas System. Dr. Lakey is also the Founding Dean of the School of Community and Rural Health and Isadore Roosth Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler.  Dr. Lakey received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, his postdoctoral clinical training from Vanderbilt University Medical Center specializing in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Infectious Disease. His obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.  Previously Dr. Lakey served as the Commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, where his responsibilities included the state’s public health regulatory programs, emergency medical services and trauma services, WIC services, family planning, vital statistics and health data, infectious disease control, chronic disease prevention, public health laboratory services, substance abuse services, the mental health system and the health components to disaster response.  Accomplishments include responding to emergencies such as H1N1, West Nile, Ebola, West Fertilizer Company explosion, and multiple hurricanes.  Dr. Lakey lead efforts to decrease infant mortality and prematurity, expansion and improvement to the Texas Newborn Screening program and Texas Mental Health System, and improved agency infrastructures. During his tenure as Commissioner, Dr. Lakey served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in 2011-2012, and received several national awards including the AMCHP President’s Award, the March of Dimes President’s Public Health Leadership Award, and the Arthur T. McCormack Award. Dr. Lakey currently serves on the Board of the ASTHO and the March of Dimes in addition to Trust for America’s Health. 

Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., MD, MPH, MBA, FAPA 

Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., F.A.P.A., is executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin.  The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas.  As executive director, he oversees the vision, mission, goals, strategic planning and day-to-day operations of the foundation.  The Hogg Foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Martinez holds an appointment of Associate Vice-President within the division.  He is also a clinical professor with an appointment in the university’s School of Social Work; and holds an adjunct professor appointment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.  His academic interests include minority health, health disparities, and workforce issues.

Dr. Martinez has a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, a doctor’s degree in medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration with a concentration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin.  He was Chief Resident during his psychiatric training at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and is an alumnus of The Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP

Dr. Karen Remley is the CEO/Executive Vice President​ of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is a nonprofit organization that represents 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists. The mission of the American Academy of Pediatrics is to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Dr. Remley assumed this post in July 2015 and is the first female CEO of the organization.

Dr. Remley earned her medical degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and completed her pediatrics residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital-Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Boarded in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine, she has practiced in a small practice as well as complex academic centers. Dr. Remley received an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and an MPH at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine.

Dr. Remley most recently was the chief medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia, which provides service to more than 4 million Virginians. From 2008 to 2012, she served as commissioner of health for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she acted as the lead advisor to the governor on public health issues and oversaw a $560 million budget and 4,000 employees. During her tenure, the state saw significant improvements in key public health indicators including teen pregnancy, infant mortality and cardiovascular disease. Her career includes senior leadership positions for several healthcare organizations, including Operation Smile Inc., Physicians for Peace, and Sentara Healthcare, in addition to a prior position at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia. She was the founding director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she led the institute’s effort to connect the medical school’s clinical, research and educational programs to specific health concerns in the community. She is married to John Onufer, M.D., and they have two daughters.

John Rich, MD, MPH

John A. Rich, MD, MPH, is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel Dornsife University School of Public Health. He is also the Co-Director of the Drexel Center for Nonviolence and Justice, a multidisciplinary effort to address violence and trauma to improve physical and mental health. Dr. Rich’s work has focused on issues of urban violence and trauma, health disparities, particularly as they affect the health of men of color. Dr. Rich is also an expert in qualitative research methods and narrative analysis. In 2006, Dr. Rich was granted a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In awarding this distinction, the Foundation cited his work to design “new models of health care that stretch across the boundaries of public health, education, social service, and justice systems to engage young men in caring for themselves and their peers.”

Prior to joining Drexel University, Dr. Rich served as the Medical Director of the Boston Public Health Commission where he led the city’s initiatives on Men’s Health, Cancer, Cardiovascular Health and Health Disparities. As a primary care doctor at Boston Medical Center, he created the Young Men’s Health Clinic and initiated the Boston HealthCREW, a program to train inner city young men as peer health educators. His book about urban violence titled Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) has drawn critical acclaim.

Dr. Rich earned his A.B. degree in English from Dartmouth College, his M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine, and his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his internship and residency in primary care internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and a fellowship in general internal medicine at the Harvard Medical School. In 2009, Dr. Rich was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He currently serves on several boards including the Philadelphia Board of Health and the Board on Population Health of the National Academy of Medicine. He previously served on the Board of Trustees for Dartmouth College from 2008-2016.

Eduardo J. Sanchez, MD, MPH

Dr. Sanchez serves as Chief Medical Officer for Prevention for the American Heart Association. Formerly, Dr. Sanchez served as Vice President and the Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.  Prior to joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, he served as Director of the Institute for Health Policy at The University of Texas (UT) School of Public Health. Dr. Sanchez served as Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services from 2004 to 2006 and the Texas Department of Health from 2001 to 2004.  He served as the city/county local health officer and Chief Medical Officer for the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department from 1994 to 1998.

Dr. Sanchez received his M.D. in 1988 from the UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He holds an M.P.H. from the UT School of Public Health; an M.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University, and a B.S. in biomedical engineering and B.A. in chemistry from Boston University. Dr. Sanchez is chairing the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is Chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP), which has ranked clinical preventive services and is doing work to evaluate community preventive services. Dr. Sanchez served on the IOM Committee on Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity and is currently serving on the IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity. He recently chaired the IOM Committee on Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity and co-chaired the National Governors' Association Shaping a Healthier Generation Advisory.

Dr. Umair Shah, MD, MPH

Dr. Umair A. Shah is the Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) – the county public health agency for the nation’s third largest county with 4.5 million people located in Houston. Dr. Shah earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and an M.D. from the University of Toledo Health Science Center. He completed an Internal Medicine residency, a Fellowship in General Medicine and Primary Care, and the MPH Program in Health Management and Policy at The University of Texas Health Science Center. During his training, he also completed an international health policy internship at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Switzerland. Upon completing his training, Dr. Shah began a long and distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. He launched his career in public health as the Chief Medical Officer of the Galveston County Health District, before joining HCPH initially to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio.

Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous awards for foundational work including the 2016 Local Health Department of the Year by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Dr.Shah is slated to become NACCHO President in July 2017 and is currently President of the Texas Association of City and County Health Officials (TACCHO). Over his career, Dr. Shah has made significant contributions to the field of public health as a clinician, an innovator, an educator, and a leader.

Theo Spencer, Secretary

Theo Spencer is Senior Policy Advocate at the Natural Resource Defense Council. Since joining in 2001 with the creation of NRDC’s Climate Center, Theo has worked on a wide variety of climate, land and water issues. Those include state, regional and federal vehicle and power plant emissions standards, efforts to overhaul the federal coal program, challenges to proposed new coal plants, and the impacts of climate change on water resources. He has also helped manage NRDC’s urban climate preparedness initiative. As a former reporter at Fortune magazine, he has worked with the financial community to raise awareness about risks posed by climate change, and opportunities in clean energy investment. Theo holds a Bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, and a Masters from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Theo serves on the boards of the Population Council, the Trust for America’s Health, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Facing Addiction. He is a past President of the Rockefeller Family Fund. Theo lives in New York City with his wife, Tracy, and three sons, Henry, Avery and Benno.

Vince Ventimiglia, JD

Mr. Ventimiglia is Chairman of the Leavitt Partners Board of Managers and Vice Chairman of Leavitt Partners Board of Directors. Vince also leads the Leavitt Partners D.C. office, including the firm’s alliances and federal advocacy work. With over three decades of congressional and health policy experience, Vince plays an integral role in facilitating relationships with congressional and executive branch offices and providing in-depth analysis of federal government action. He also leads complex, multi-disciplinary collaborations among multi-sector health care organizations seeking to implement significant health care policy initiatives.

In previous roles, Vince was the assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this capacity he served as the department’s liaison to Congress and as the Secretary’s chief advisor on all legislative matters affecting the department. Prior to his time at HHS, Vince served on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as Health Policy Director of the Chairman´s Health Policy Team. In 2005, he moved with Chairman Gregg to serve as Policy Director for the Senate Budget Committee, where he also worked on entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and welfare. From 1998 to 2001, Vince served as director of the Government Affairs Office for Medtronic, Inc., one of the world´s leading medical technology companies Before joining Medtronic, Vince a held a variety of health policy positions on Capitol Hill, serving as counsel to the United States Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee for Senator Dan Coats of Indiana. He previously worked with the committee on health issues from 1985 to 1988.

Vince graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr., Founding President (2001-2011)

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