Skip Navigation
CHS blue logo square
 
 
Home > Our Work > Events > PanREMEDY

Post-Pandemic Recovery: From What, For Whom, and How?

Zoom Webinar
October 4 and 6, 2022

 

Professional Biographies

October 4 Opening Remarks

Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD

Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist, is a Senior Scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a Senior Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since 1998, she has focused her public health career on generating and applying evidence to advise policymakers and practitioners on how to collaborate with private citizens, businesses, and faith- and community-based groups in efforts to manage catastrophic health events, both effectively and equitably. Her areas of expertise include community resilience to disaster, public engagement in policymaking, crisis and emergency risk communication, and public health emergency management (readiness/response/recovery).

During the COVID-19 pandemic response, Dr. Schoch-Spana has worked diligently to translate social scientific insights into actionable recommendations for policymakers and practitioners, including most recently as co-Principal Investigator for CommuniVax—a national ethnographic research coalition whose expert advisory group and 6 local teams are partnering with communities of color to tackle COVID-19 vaccine access and acceptance issues and to put equity at the center of the pandemic recovery process. She has also collaborated in generating an ethical framework for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, advanced understanding of the pandemic’s mental health challenges, contributed to decision-making guidance for governors on safe reopening strategies, consulted on crisis standards of care and their communication to the public, and spotlighted the need for a transformative pandemic recovery process focused on the whole person.

Dr. Schoch-Spana’s national advisory roles include currently serving on the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the US Environmental Protection Agency and on the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), which she also formerly cochaired. She also serves on the NASEM Committee on Community Engagement in Southeast Texas: Pilot Project to Enhance Community Capacity and Resilience to Floods and served on the NASEM Committee that planned the March 2022 workshop, “Building Public Trust in Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (PHEPR) Science.”

Dr. Schoch-Spana has helped guide the direction of policy and practice in public health emergency management such that planning and operations are more behaviorally realistic and contribute to health equity; public health communicators are better equipped to meet the population’s informational needs in an emergency; citizens have more venues to contribute their practical, intellectual, and ethical inputs to readiness and response endeavors; and national and local communities are striving to withstand and learn from disasters, rather than merely respond to them.

From 2003 to 2017, Dr. Schoch-Spana worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security; prior to that she worked at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, starting in 1998. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Bryn Mawr College.

 

October 4 Opening Keynote

Lawrence T. Brown, PhD

Dr. Lawrence T. Brown is a public health scholar, equity scientist, and urban Afrofuturist. In June 2018, he was honored by OSI Baltimore with the Bold Thinker award for sparking critical discourse regarding Baltimore’s racial segregation. His first book, The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in January 2021.

Dr. Brown is currently a research scientist in the new Center for Urban Health Equity at Morgan State University. His portfolio of work includes conducting public health research, creating mapping/data platforms, and launching K-12 history exhibits and a heritage tour. His next two book projects are a visual companion to The Black Butterfly and a work titled “Building the Abolition Democracy.”

 

October 4, Roundtable 1

Cassandra R. Davis, PhD

Dr. Cassandra R. Davis is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has researched environmental disruptions, specifically the impact of natural hazards on low-income communities of color. Dr. Davis’ goal is to support community leaders, educators, and policymakers to improve responses, preparedness, and recovery in areas with the highest need. Her most recent project focused on gathering insight from community members and government officials on the best strategies to distribute equitable support to marginalized communities and build trust between groups. She is also working with the US Department of Homeland Security to create a conceptual framework around the use of equity and social justice in emergency management.

 

Donna J. Gambrell

As President & CEO of Appalachian Community Capital, Donna J. Gambrell is responsible for attracting and directing investments to Community Development Financial Institutions (or CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders in Appalachia. These lenders, in turn, use the investments to make loans to small business owners, including to minority- and women-owned businesses, in underserved communities throughout the region. Since it began lending in 2015, ACC has deployed over $20 million to help finance renewable energy projects, manufacturing sites, elder care facilities, restaurants, ecotourism, and downtown redevelopment, among other projects.

Gambrell serves on several CDFI boards. She is also the Board Chair of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, a 501(c)(3) organization comprised of more than 60 executives that was formed in 2018 to identify solutions to closing the racial wealth gap in the communities served by the members.

 

John Henneberger

John Henneberger is Co-Director of Texas Housers, one of Texas’ leading experts on low-income housing issues, and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. He is recognized for his steadfast commitment to social justice, helping low-income people advance model solutions to housing issues in their communities and forging common-ground solutions from diverse housing interests. He is a past board member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Henneberger’s advocacy work won TxLIHIS the Texas Outstanding Public Service Award from his public interest colleagues. He has a BA in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as an adjunct instructor in Disaster Recovery Housing in the School of Architecture and in Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Racial Equity in the Plan II Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Jennifer Horney, PhD, MPH

Dr. Jennifer Horney is Professor and Founding Director of the Epidemiology Program and Core Faculty at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on measuring the health impacts of disasters.

She is currently a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for Preparedness and Response, a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program Enhancing Community Resilience (EnCoRe) committee, a member of the NORC/CDC Technical Workgroup on Improving Processes for Identifying and Reporting Disaster-Related Deaths, and a member of the Publications Board of the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Horney has led interdisciplinary research projects funded by many federal agencies and was part of the public health response to Hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Katrina, Wilma, Irene, and Harvey, where she conducted rapid assessments of disaster impacts on individual and community health. She has also provided technical assistance to public health agencies globally around disasters, emerging infectious disease outbreaks, and pandemic influenza planning and response.

 

Onora Lien, MA

Onora Lien is Executive Director of Northwest Healthcare Response Network where she oversees strategic growth, partnership development, preparedness programming, and response operations. She led the Network’s successful transition in 2014 from a collaboration between King and Pierce County health departments to a non-profit emergency preparedness healthcare coalition and public-private partnership. Before being appointed in 2014 as Executive Director, Lien served as the Network’s program manager for many years, overseeing regional healthcare emergency response and preparedness initiatives. Prior to her work in Seattle, she served as a research and policy analyst in Baltimore, MD, with the UPMC Center for Biosecurity and the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. She holds an MA in sociology from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on the individual and organizational dimensions of public health emergencies and disaster response.

 

Sarah Matthews, PhD

Dr. Sarah Matthews is a research scientist and consultant in public health, healthcare, and modeling and simulation. With a BS in chemistry, a Master of Public Health, a Master of Modeling and Simulation, and a PhD in modeling and simulation, Dr. Matthews’ career spans the gambit of research scientist in private industry to public servant as an applied epidemiologist in governmental public health. Among her accolades, Dr. Matthews has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards. Her research is in technology acceptance in AI research and development within the public health domain.

 

Gayla Quillin

Gayla Quillin is CEO/Administrator at Parmer Medical Center in Friona, Texas.

 

Janet Zeis

Janet Zeis is the Senior Community Health Program Coordinator at Pottstown Hospital–Tower Health. She is currently working to implement the Community Needs Health Assessment (CHNA) at a small community-based hospital outside of Philadelphia. In her previous role as the Chester County Food Bank’s Director of Agency & Community Partnerships (2020-2022), she focused on strengthening the food security system by cultivating and maintaining partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders focusing on equity, social impact, and sustainability. This built on her previous work at Chester County Department of Emergency Services (2011-2020) developing and implementing solutions to address disaster-related planning considerations at the individual, community, and system levels. She continues to assist with recovery efforts related to the remnants of tropical storm Isaias in the Eastwick neighborhood of Philadelphia (2020) and Hurricane Ida across Southeastern Pennsylvania (2021).

 

October 4, Roundtable 2

Arrietta Chakos, MPA

Arrietta Chakos is a Policy Advisor who works on disaster resilience and recovery, risk reduction, and urban public policy. She was Assistant City Manager in Berkeley, California, with 18 years of public service directing innovative risk reduction programs. Her subsequent position as Research Director at the Harvard Kennedy School’s “Acting in Time” Advance Recovery Project focused on disaster recovery in American communities.

Her work from 2013-2018 with the Resilience Program at the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) centered on developing a multimillion-dollar program on regional collaboration, disaster and climate resilience and recovery.

Chakos emphasizes the need to address risk before disruptions strike; her experience with resilience implementation and recovery funding propels communities to act on locally developed resilience implementation.

As a past member of the Resilient America Roundtable at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), she advised on national-level resilience and disaster recovery policy and implementation. She was an appointee to the NAS Committee to Advise the US Global Change Research Program mandated by Congress to “…understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” Recent advisory projects include work with The Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, GeoHazards International, US Geological Survey and US Department of State.

 

Reverend Anthony Evans, MDiv

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Reverend Anthony Evans has been an advocate for justice from an early age. While a student in Vermont, he mobilized local colleges to raise over $15,000 to help fund the investigation of the Atlanta child killings in the early 1980s. After which, Reverend Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in religion in 1981 from Middlebury College in Vermont. He was ordained in 1982 and went on to earn a Master of Divinity in 1988 from Howard University School of Divinity. Shortly after earning his master’s, Reverend Evans became President of the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) in 1992 and, for the past 25 years, he has devoted his expertise to leading the organization, working tirelessly on social and economic justice issues facing the Black faith community.

 

Brian W. Flynn, EdD (RADM, USPHS, Ret.)

Brian W. Flynn is a consultant, writer, trainer, and speaker specializing in preparation for, response to, and recovery from the psychosocial aspects of large-scale emergencies and disasters. He has served numerous national and international organizations, states, and academic institutions.

Dr. Flynn currently serves as Associate Director for Health Systems in the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland.

On January 1, 2002, he left federal service as a Rear Admiral/Assistant Surgeon General in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). He has directly operated, and supervised the operation of, the US Government’s domestic disaster mental health program (including terrorism), programs in suicide and youth violence prevention, child trauma, refugee mental health, women’s and minority mental health concerns, and rural mental health.

Dr. Flynn has served as an advisor to many federal departments and agencies, states, and national professional organizations. He is recognized internationally for his expertise in large-scale trauma and has served as an advisor to practitioners, academicians, and government officials in many nations.

Dr. Flynn is the author of many publications in the area of human response to both natural and human-caused disasters and is a frequent contributor on these topics in both print and electronic media. During his career, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Health Leader of the Year Award for 2000 awarded by the Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Association and the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest honor of the USPHS.

He is the author of three books in the popular press blending photography and text: Wisdom of Stones, Voices of Stones: On Loss and Hope, and The Voices of Fishermen: On Superstitions.

Writing and performing music has been a life-long passion. In fall 2020, a CD that includes his own songs and his favorite songs by others, Campobello Sky (The Cormier Sessions), was released (brianflynnarts.com).

He holds an MA in clinical psychology from East Carolina University and an EdD in mental health administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

 

Debra A. Pinals, MD

Dr. Pinals serves as Senior Medical and Forensic Advisor and Editor-in-Chief for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), and as the Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and is the Director of the Program in Psychiatry, Law, & Ethics and Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and Clinical Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She has worked in outpatient, inpatient settings, forensic and correctional facilities, emergency rooms and court clinics, has received public service awards and has been an expert witness in many cases. She is Board Certified in Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine. During her career she has been a clinical policy advisor related to the opioid crisis and has consulted on complex systems cases for people with mental illness, substance use disorder, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities who are receiving treatment or support in various places- such as in community, court, carceral, forensic and state hospital settings. Dr. Pinals was appointed as the Assistant Commissioner of Forensic Services from 2008 to 2016, overseeing work for persons with serious mental illness at the intersection of police, courts and correctional services, and also was appointed Interim State Medical Director from 2012-2013 for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She teaches and publishes extensively and has led and consulted on numerous federal grants including those related to opioids, co-occurring disorders, juvenile justice, and behavioral health and justice partnerships. Recently she has been a lead subject matter expert on issues pertaining to competence to stand trial for the SAMHSA GAINS Center. She conducts work as an expert witness and subject matter expert across the country. She is a past President of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, past Chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Psychiatry and the Law and Council on Advocacy and Government Relations, as well as past Chair of the Forensic Division and current Chair of the Medical Directors Division for NASMHPD. In her work with NASMHPD she has co-authored key policy papers including “Beyond Beds:The Vital Role of a Full Continuum of Psychiatric Care” and “Crisis Services, Meeting Needs, Saving Lives.”

 

Jennifer Llewellyn, MA, LLB, LLM

Jennifer Llewellyn, an ever-present voice and advocate for restorative justice, is the Chair in Restorative Justice and Director of the Restorative Research, Innovation and Education Lab (RRIELab) at Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law. In 2018, she served as the scholar in residence for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She has previously been a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, Victoria University in Wellington, NZ, and Australian National University, and was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canberra University in 2018. Having published extensively on the theory and practice of a restorative approach, her teaching and research are focused in the areas of relational theory, restorative justice, truth commissions, peacebuilding, international and domestic human rights law, public law, and Canadian constitutional law. From 2006-2012, Professor Llewellyn was the Director of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA), a collaborative research partnership between university and community partners focused on the institutionalization of restorative justice. She is currently Director of the International Learning Community on a Restorative Approach, an international collaboration of researchers, policymakers and practitioners supporting jurisdictions committed to being restorative communities.

An international subject matter expert in restorative justice, Professor Llewellyn has advised governments and NGOs and supported many governments, projects, and programs including the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Jamaican government, the government of New Zealand, and the United Nations. Her world-renowned expertise resulted in her appointment as an expert on the UN mechanism to review the UN Basic Principles for the Use of Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters. Additionally, Professor Llewellyn facilitated the design process for the first-ever restorative public inquiry (into the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children) and served as a Commissioner for the Inquiry. She previously advised the Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the response to Residential School abuse.

Recognized for her contribution in the field of restorative justice, Professor Llewellyn was awarded the National Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award from Correctional Services Canada in 2015 and was the 2018 recipient of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council National Impact Award, the highest award for research achievement and impact in Canada. In 2019, she received the Dalhousie University President's Research Excellence Award for Research Impact.

Professor Llewellyn has also worked extensively in the field internationally, including with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Jamaican government, the government of New Zealand, and the United Nations. She has co-edited two books in the area: Being Relational: Reflections on Relational Theory and Health Law (UBC Press, 2011) and Restorative Justice, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press, 2014).

 

Eboo Patel, PhD

Named “one of America’s best leaders” by US News and World Report, Dr. Eboo Patel is Founder and President of Interfaith America (formerly Interfaith Youth Core), the leading interfaith organization in the United States. Under his leadership, Interfaith America has worked with governments, universities, private companies, and civic organizations to make faith a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He served on President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council, has given hundreds of keynote addresses, and has written five books, including We Need to Build: Fieldnotes for Diverse Democracy, published in May 2022. He is an Ashoka Fellow and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

 

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD

The first woman Rabbi to head a Jewish congregational union and a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD, became President and Chief Executive Officer of Reconstructing Judaism in 2014. Reconstructing Judaism is the central organization of the Reconstructionist Movement. She has drawn on her training as a rabbi and historian to be the Reconstructionist movement’s leading voice in the public square.

Through visiting numerous affiliated congregations (more than 60 at last count), making public appearances in person and online, and in writing for the Forward, The Times of Israel, The Philadelphia Inquirer, HuffPost, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and other news and academic outlets, Rabbi Waxman projects a vision of Judaism that embraces all people and inspires Jews to be strong allies to the most vulnerable among us.

Since Rabbi Waxman has assumed her leadership role, Reconstructing Judaism has undertaken major initiatives, including reimagining its rabbinical college’s curriculum, building even stronger relationships with affiliated congregational leadership, innovating Judaism for the 21st century, and bolstering the organization’s ties to Israel. Most recently, Reconstructing Judaism hosted the largest convention in the movement’s history, and launched an online project, Evolve, which enables substantive Jewish learning, nuanced models, and respectful discussion, and serves as an incubator for ideas that can positively transform Jewish life. Rabbi Waxman is the creator and host of Hashivenu, a popular podcast about resilience and Judaism

Since 2002, Rabbi Waxman has taught courses at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College on Jewish thought and practical rabbinics. She is the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Presidential Professor.

Waxman is a cum laude graduate of Columbia College, Columbia University, and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She earned a PhD in American Jewish history from Temple University.

In 2016, Rabbi Waxman was named to the annual “Forward 50” list of most influential Jews by the Forward, a pre-eminent American Jewish publication. In naming her to this list, the Forward remarked: “In the long communal conversation over how to relate to Jews who marry non-Jews, those in the ‘be welcoming’ camp won a major battle this year, thanks in large part to Rabbi Deborah Waxman.”

 

October 6 Opening Remarks

Sanjana Ravi, PhD, MPH

Dr. Sanjana Ravi is a Senior Analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her primary research interests include infectious disease outbreaks, vaccine policy, health systems strengthening efforts in low- and middle-income settings, and the intersections between health, security, and human rights.

Dr. Ravi’s work focuses on understanding and improving health system responses to a range of public health threats. She is involved with many globally focused Center projects examining health system resilience, risk communication and community engagement, and global health security. Between 2014 and 2016, she helped plan several strategic dialogues on biosecurity policy between the United States and partners in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. More recently, she helped develop a checklist to improve health system resilience to infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards and contributed to the development of the Global Health Security Index, the first comprehensive assessment of health security capacities across 195 countries.

Dr. Ravi’s domestically focused work includes analyses of challenges related to the emergency dissemination of novel medical countermeasures, strategies for strengthening healthcare coalitions, and risk communication challenges during public health emergencies. In 2020, Dr. Ravi served as a member of the Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccine, which issued recommendations for promoting uptake of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in the United States. Subsequently, she joined the CommuniHealth (formerly CommuniVax) Coalition to support equitable COVID-19 vaccination and community health-strengthening efforts in the US. Currently, she also supports an effort to identify metrics of holistic recovery from epidemics and pandemics.

In 2022, Dr. Ravi completed a PhD in Health Systems through the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where her doctoral research examined last-mile challenges in vaccine delivery, post-epidemic routine immunization challenges, and vaccination equity in resource-constrained settings. She was a Fellow in the 2015 class of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program. In 2013, she received an MPH in infectious disease management, intervention, and community practice from the University of Pittsburgh and served as a Global Impact Fellow with Unite for Sight in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, delivering basic eye care to underserved regions. Ravi received a BA in biology from Saint Louis University in 2011.

 

October 6, Roundtable 3

Jane Cage

Jane Cage has been involved in community disaster recovery since May of 2011, when Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by an EF-5 tornado that destroyed one-third of her city. From 2011 to 2014, she was heavily involved in the community's recovery as the volunteer leader of the CART (Citizens Advisory Recovery Team). This group worked to develop a long-term vision for Joplin. She has seen firsthand how difficult long-term community recovery is and has had opportunities to work with cities across the country. In 2012, the US Department of Homeland Security awarded Cage the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience. In 2013, she attended the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) program and, in 2016, was named the NPLI Meta-Leader of the Year. In 2016, she organized the Joplin Proud Disaster Recovery Summit attended by more than 300 people from 30 states.

Since 2013, Cage has been active through her consulting company, Insightfive22. She is a peer group and meeting facilitator. She is a contract instructor for the FEMA Emergency Management Institute and teaches the E02010 Class, "Long-term Recovery – The Role of the Local Community." Cage continues to work on long-term recovery issues through projects such as curriculum development and instruction for communities and nonprofit agencies around the topics of resilience and preparedness. Cage also speaks at conferences and webinars for FEMA and other recovery organizations. She serves as a member of the Resilient America Roundtable at the National Academy of Sciences and on the external assessment panel at the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning at Colorado State University, a NIST Center of Excellence. She also serves on Joplin's "Smart Cities" Initiative Board and the organization committee of the Downtown Joplin Association.

For over 25 years, Cage was an entrepreneur and a COO running the internal operations of a regional IT networking company. Cage was recognized as one of the Top 100 Women in the IT Channel and inducted into the CompTIA IT Hall of Fame.

 

Zeke Cohen, MPP

Zeke Cohen has represented the First District on the Baltimore City Council since 2016.

He grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of a social worker and a psychiatrist. Cohen’s belief that "community comes first" was inspired by his mother's stories of marching for Civil Rights and registering voters during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. After graduating from Goucher College, Cohen taught in West Baltimore and, as a teacher, was awarded the Elizabeth Lawrence Prize for Excellence. He attained a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University. Cohen started his nonprofit, The Intersection, to help young people learn community organizing and civic leadership. He ran for office with the belief that democracy only works when everyone has a voice in the process.

In July 2019, Cohen introduced the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, making Baltimore the first city in the country to comprehensively legislate trauma-responsive care. The bill, which was signed into law in February 2020, and the movement that propelled it forward were created to help Baltimore heal from the enduring legacies of trauma, racism, and violence.

 

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg

Social-practice visual artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg’s medium of choice is empathy. She champions human dignity through the topics she explores, including homelessness, gun safety, politics, and drug addiction.

She grounds her work in research, reading, and interviews. Then, she chooses materials best suited to communicating her messages. Firstenberg ventures beyond traditional media, employing buffalo skulls from her native South Dakota, concrete rubble, even shipping containers to effect social change. Her artworks lure viewers with beautiful aesthetics, then deliver their powerful messages.

She represented the United States at the 2016 Harbin (China) International Ice Sculpting Competition, winning the Creativity Prize. For her Empty Fix art series to destigmatize drug addiction, she traveled more than 57,000 miles, interviewing hundreds of people. Images of her art have appeared in the press on six continents.

Her latest work, In America: Remember, an art installation of over 700,000 white flags honoring those lost to COVID, appeared on the National Mall in September 2021 and is being replicated in communities across the country. Google included the art in its “2021 Year in Search.” Artsy Magazine honored this as one of twelve worldwide exhibitions considered the “Best Public Art for 2021.” Washingtonian Magazine named Firstenberg as a “Washingtonian of the Year.”

 

Christine Keeves, MPH

A proud child of immigrants, Christine Keeves grew up in New York City and was the first in her family to attend college. She holds a Bachelor of Science from The George Washington University and a Master of Public Health from Boston University. For more than 15 years, she has successfully leveraged storytelling, advocacy, and health communications to secure progress on a range of issues from health care to LGBTQ+ rights. Since co-founding Marked By COVID in June 2020, Keeves has co-led the movement for COVID justice and remembrance, transforming our pandemic failures into a roadmap for a more inclusive, equitable world.

 

Linda Langston

Linda Langston is the former Director of Strategic Relations for the National Association of Counties (NACo) in Washington, DC, and presently leads a small business, Langston Strategies Group, assisting small not-for-profit organizations and local governments with leadership and resilience building. Langston previously served as an elected official on the Linn County, Iowa, Board of Supervisors from 2003-2016. She served on the NACo Executive Committee and as President of NACo. Her presidential initiative was Ready and Resilient Counties, which led to the founding of the Resilient Counties Advisory Board at NACo.

She was named Iowa Public Health Official of the Year and to the Hall of Fame for International Women in Emergency Management.

Langston is the former chair of the Resilient America Roundtable for the National Academy of Sciences (member 2011-2020) and serves on the Societal Experts Advisory Network at NAS. She served six years on the National Advisory Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Langston now serves as Vice Chair of the Linn County Public Art Commission, the City of Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission, and on the Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster (LAPAID). She continues to teach at the US War College and for FEMA as an adjunct instructor.

Born in Chicago and raised in Chicago and Iowa, Langston graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, with a degree in history. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government program for State and Local Elected Officials in 2007. She now lives in Iowa and continues her work to cultivate resilience in communities.

 

Apoorva Mandavilli, MA, MSc

Apoorva Mandavilli is a reporter for The New York Times, focusing on science and global health. She currently covers the coronavirus pandemic, the monkeypox outbreak, vaccinations, the World Health Organization, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of the pandemic and also a member of the team that was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. She is the 2019 winner of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting and has won numerous other awards for her writing.

She is the founding editor in chief of Spectrum, an award-winning news site on autism science that grew an audience of millions. She led the team there for 13 years. She joined The Times in May 2020, after two years as a regular contributor.

Her work has been published in The Atlantic, Slate, and The New Yorker online, and in the anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing.

She co-founded Culture Dish, an organization dedicated to enhancing diversity in science journalism, and was the founding chair of the Diversity Committee for the National Association of Science Writers. Mandavilli has a Master of Arts degree in journalism from New York University and a Master of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.

 

Steve Moddemeyer

Steve Moddemeyer is a principal of Collinswoerman with 31 years’ experience leading governments, landowners, and project teams towards increased sustainability and resilience. He creates tools, policies, and programs that empower communities to implement resilience principles into planning for land use and urban infrastructure. He works on climate change adaptation, sustainability strategies for large urban redevelopments, and advanced sustainability strategies for landowners, cities, counties, and utilities.

 

Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley is a New York Times bestselling author, an investigative journalist, and host of the Slate podcast “How To!” She has spent her career trying to make sense of complicated human mysteries, from how people get out of dysfunctional conflicts to how countries educate virtually all their kids to think for themselves. Ripley’s most recent book is High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out, published by Simon & Schuster in 2021. Her previous books include The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why, which was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary, and The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, a New York Times bestseller which was also turned into a documentary film.

In her books and magazine writing, Ripley combines storytelling with data to help illuminate hard problems—and solutions. She follows people who have been through some kind of a transformation—including the survivors of hurricanes and plane crashes, American teenagers who have experienced high school in other countries, and politicians and gang members who were bewitched by toxic conflicts and managed to break free.

For The Atlantic and other outlets, she has written feature stories on how journalists could do a better job covering controversy in an age of outrage, on the least politically prejudiced town in America, and on the strange history of state laws that punish teenagers for acting like teenagers. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Politico, The Guardian, Harvard Business Review, and The Times of London. Her stories helped Time win two National Magazine Awards.

To discuss her writing, Ripley has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX News, and NPR. She has spoken at the Pentagon, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as conferences on leadership, conflict resolution, and education.

Ripley started her journalism career covering courts and crime for Washington City Paper, where she had the great fortune to work for an editor named David Carr, who made his writers think anything was possible. She then spent 10 years working for Time Magazine in New York, Washington, and Paris. Currently, Ripley lives in Washington, DC, with her family.

 

Kristin Urquiza, MPA

Kristin Urquiza is the nation’s top disaster equity advocate, with expertise in race, economic, environmental, and health policy. An experienced grassroots organizer, Urquiza co-founded Marked By COVID and catalyzed the nation’s foremost community-led COVID justice movement days after the death of her father, Mark Urquiza, to COVID-19 in June 2020. By uplifting impacted voices, Urquiza improved the nation’s COVID response and advanced legislation for a just recovery, recognition, and pandemic prevention. Over the last 20 years, she has transformed global power dynamics to put power back in the hands of people at former Congressman Henry Waxman’s Mighty Earth, Angela Glover Blackwell’s PolicyLink, California’s leading environmental justice organization Communities for a Better Environment, and US PIRG. Urquiza holds a BA from Yale University and an MPA from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and is the recipient of the Arizona Public Health Association’s 2021 Community Partner Award and the Goldman School’s inaugural Alumni Award for Social Justice Impact.

 

October 6, Roundtable 4

Thomas Bonner

Thomas Bonner is currently serving as Recovery Officer, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

 

Joanne Cech

Jo Cech is the Fiscal Recovery Manager for the City of Fort Collins, responsible for implementing the City’s Recovery Plan and managing ARPA funding.

Cech has been with the City of Fort Collins for five years, also working in program evaluation. Prior to working for the City, she worked in corporate finance in the private sector.

 

Cate Eckenrode

Cate Eckenrode is a Senior Process Improvement Specialist at the City of Fort Collins and served on the Recovery Core Team as the lead for Data, Performance Measurement, and Reporting functions. Eckenrode has been with the City of Fort Collins for more than 8 years, having started in program management within the Recreation Department and moving to an internal consultant role just before the pandemic started.

 

Russell Hopkins

Russell Hopkins is Director, Public Health Emergency Preparedness at Northeast Texas Public Health District.

 

Khara Jabola-Carolus, JD

Khara Jabola-Carolus is the Executive Director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, the feminist government agency of Hawaii. She also serves as a board member of Stanford’s Global Center for Gender Equality. Jabola-Carolus holds a JD from the University of Hawaii with a specialization in Native Hawaiian rights. She is an avid skateboarder and mom of two.

 

Kara Main-Hester, PhD

Dr. Kara Main-Hester serves as the Chief Recovery and Resilience Officer for Snohomish County. Dr. Main-Hester was previously the Deputy Director of the office. She has more than 13 years of public sector experience in policy and budget development, fiscal reporting, and strategic planning. Before joining Snohomish County, Dr. Main-Hester served as a Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the City of Seattle Budget Office, where she provided analysis, insight, and oversight on issues related to public safety, police accountability, emergency management, and homelessness and human services. She also served as the Deputy Director of the Seattle Animal Shelter, where she managed a team of 15 city staff and 600 volunteers. Dr. Main-Hester has a PhD in microbiology from the University of Washington.

 

James Schwab, FAICP

James (Jim) Schwab is a nationally recognized leader in the field of planning for hazard mitigation and post-disaster recovery, with more than 35 years of experience. As the manager of the Hazards Planning Center for the American Planning Association until his retirement in 2017, he made APA the “go-to” source for planners for practical research on natural hazards through projects supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Forest Service, and other federal agencies and entities. These included a long string of groundbreaking Planning Advisory Service Reports, dealing with hazard mitigation, floodplain management, urban forestry, disaster recovery, and other topics.

Since 2008, Schwab has been adjunct assistant professor for the University of Iowa School of Planning and Public Affairs. In 2020, he became a certified instructor for recovery courses at the Emergency Management Institute, the training arm of FEMA.

In 2017, he created Jim Schwab Consulting LLC, a one-person firm through which he has worked with several clients such as the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), BNIM, and Johns Hopkins University. He has keynoted conferences or conducted workshops for a variety of professional audiences.

In 2016, Schwab was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the highest honor APA offers to professional planners. In 2018, ASFPM bestowed on Schwab the Goddard-White Award, its highest honor, recognizing national impact in the field of floodplain management. In 2000-2001, he served as chair of the APA Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division.

 

Leslie Wright

Before launching Collective Clarity, Leslie Wright served as the Senior VP of Community Building for United Way of East Central Iowa. She was a visionary leader and successful intrapreneur. She led teams focused on designing and implementing innovative solutions to human challenges. Projects included collaborative care coordination networks, leadership development programs for underrepresented people, and disaster response and recovery coalitions.

For more than a decade, Wright has focused on learning how to better understand how complex systems operated and how they could be influenced to achieve healthier outcomes. This required the ability to work in the spaces “in between,” to sense emerging forces, and to identify and connect key stakeholders. She has demonstrated strengths in building inclusive networks to achieve collaborative community solutions.

Wright brings a “sense-making” and data driven mindset to her work. Experience as a corporate buyer, business analyst, and nonprofit community researcher resulted in highly developed skills in trend spotting and data synthesis. These essential skills contribute to powerful environmental scans and priority-setting results.

Wright has been a speaker and trainer for the United Way Worldwide network, a facilitator and trainer in organizational development and performance improvement, and a strategic planning consultant.

 

October 6 Closing Keynote

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway: Madison, WI

Satya Rhodes-Conway is the 58th Mayor of Madison, WI. Her administration is focused on affordable housing, rapid transit, climate change, and racial equity. She has extensive experience in local policy and practice, having worked with mayors across the country for over a decade and having served three terms on the Madison Common Council. Elected in 2019, she is the city’s second female mayor and the first out LGBTQ person to serve as Mayor of Madison.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway is a co-chair of Climate Mayors, an appointed member of EPA's Local Government Advisory Committee, a founding member of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and a member of Mayors Against Gun Violence. She serves on various committees and task forces for the US Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. Mayor Rhodes-Conway provided testimony to the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on Building Climate Resilient Communities in June 2021.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway was born in New Mexico and grew up in Ithaca, New York. She has degrees from Smith College and the University of California-Irvine. She moved to Madison in 2002 and has lived there ever since.

Before being elected Mayor, Rhodes-Conway was the Managing Director of the Mayors Innovation Project and a senior associate at the COWS (Center on Wisconsin Strategy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 13 years. She worked with cities across the country to implement innovative policy and researched and wrote extensively about local policy that promotes sustainability, equity, and democracy. Rhodes-Conway served on the Board of the UniverCity Alliance and is a member of AFT Local 223.

Before her time at UW, she analyzed state endangered species programs for Defenders of Wildlife, researched and wrote about progressive environmental policy at the State Environmental Resource Center, and taught undergraduate biology and ecology.

 

 

Our Mission

To protect people’s health from epidemics and disasters and ensure that communities are resilient to major challenges.