Previous Health Policy Summer Series Speaker Bios

2022 Health Policy Summer Series Speakers Panelist Bios

Thursday, October 27: 6:30-7:30 pm EST
Accountable Health Organizations: Lessons & Future Directions

Bradley Sakaguchi
Dr. Sakaguchi has a diverse background in medical business and finance. He is an accomplished physician and surgeon completing residencies in both general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology. Over the past 22 years, Dr Sakaguchi has held key executive and administrative positions in the military, large healthcare organizations and in the private sector. Recently he co-founded Kembra Group, a consulting company specializing in guiding organizations through complex healthcare challenges.

Dr. Sakaguchi has a passion for helping organizations manage their journey of healthcare reform and guiding leadership teams through successful change management. He specializes in value-based payment reform and aligning stakeholders during this challenging time.

Shriram Parashuram
Shri Parashuram is a health economist and Program Area Director at NORC. He has over 18 years of experience in health services research, policy analysis, and healthcare management. Parashuram leads multidisciplinary teams to monitor & evaluate innovative approaches to healthcare delivery & payment. He also steers NORC's efforts in conducting data-driven policy evaluations for clients, including studying impacts of newer models of accountable care for CMS. 

Tuesday, May 31: 1-2 pm EST               
Federal and State Health Policymaking Priorities Now

Audrey Smith 
Audrey is Senior Policy Advisor covering health, labor and education policy for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). She has worked with the Senator for over 3 years. Prior to joining the Senator’s office, she worked as Executive Director for the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Coalition, where she represented small rural hospitals across the United States.

Audrey also worked on health care policy for The Joint Commission, and Mylan, Inc. where she analyzed legislation and monitored health care policy for hospital accreditation and generic pharmaceuticals. Before going to Mylan, Audrey served as Legislative Assistant to Congressman David B. McKinley (WV-1).

Audrey received her undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and her master’s in public policy from George Mason University.

Hemi Tewarson
Hemi Tewarson, JD, MPH is the Executive Director of the National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP), a nonpartisan forum of policymakers throughout state governments, learning, leading, and implementing innovative solutions to health policy challenges. Ms. Tewarson joins NASHP from the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy where she had been a leader of the Center's emerging state policy portfolio, including COVID-19 testing and containment, vaccine distribution and education, coverage and health system reform, Medicaid system improvements and addressing equity within and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, Ms. Tewarson served as the director of the Health Division at the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices, overseeing a broad project portfolio including Medicaid transformation and coverage, Medicaid data systems, health care delivery and payment system reform, workforce, opioids, and behavioral health and social determinants of health. She also served as senior attorney for the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Government Accountability Office addressing Medicaid and related health care topics for members of Congress. Ms. Tewarson holds a JD from George Washington University, an MPH from George Washington University, and a BA in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 14: 1-2 pm EST                  
Policies to Reduce Harms from Substance Use Disorder

CAPT Jeffrey Coady
CAPT Jeffrey Coady, Psy.D., ABPP is a Commissioned Officer in the U. S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and a board-certified clinical psychologist. Since 2011, he has served as the Region 5 Administrator and is currently the Acting Director for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)

As the acting Center Director, CAPT Coady is the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use on policy, program development, financing, of substance use disorder prevention. CAPT Coady’s career has been committed to advancing behavioral health through developing multisector collaborations, promoting public and private partnerships, and fostering resilient communities.

Prior to joining SAMHSA, he served as the National Behavioral Health Consultant for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid Integrity Group. In this position, he provided policy guidance to states for improving program integrity in behavioral health programs and reducing drug diversion. CAPT Coady served in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) where he developed and implemented primary behavioral health care integration programs in Atlantic City, NJ and San Francisco, CA.

Since his commission in 2004, CAPT Coady has served a central role in conceptualizing, developing, and training federal mental health disaster response teams within the USPHS. He has served as a team leader and deployed to numerous public health emergencies including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, multiple Tribal behavioral health emergencies, Scott County HIV outbreak, Flint Water Contamination Crisis, and COVID-19.

Prior to his commission in the USPHS in 2004, CAPT Coady served as Executive Director at the Roseland Community Mental Health Center within the City of Chicago, Department of Public Health spearheading collaborations with He began his career as a psychologist at the Core Center of Cook County Hospital/Rush University Medical Center, one of the nation's largest HIV/AIDS clinics, conducting applied research on integrated care.

CAPT Coady has received numerous professional, military, and civic honors throughout his career. He has an unwavering commitment to individuals with behavioral health disorders, their families, and the communities which they reside.

Elise Simonsen
Elise Simonsen serves as a senior policy analyst on the Public Safety and Legal team at the NGA Center for Best Practices. At NGA, Dr. Simonsen has provided research, policy analysis, and technical assistance to governors and senior state officials across a range of public safety and criminal justice issues, including broad criminal justice reform from pretrial to reentry, juvenile justice, probation and parole, stimulants and polysubstance use, and impaired driving.

Prior to joining NGA in 2018, Dr. Simonsen worked in academia. She served as an instructor at two higher education institutions in Florida. Dr. Simonsen’s published work includes topics such as gangs, substance use, childhood antisocial behavior, gubernatorial criminal justice priorities, and state-level opioid data.

Dr. Simonsen holds a doctorate in criminology, sociology and law with a concentration in criminal justice from the University of Florida, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminology from the same institution

Tuesday, June 28: 1-2 pm EST 
Policies to Promote Health Equity

Cristal Gary
Cristal Gary is a health policy expert, strategist and healthcare executive, with an extensive record of leadership in public and private healthcare organizations. She is currently Chief Advocacy Officer for Ascension Illinois, a health system with 14 hospitals and over 150 care sites across the Chicagoland area. In this role she is responsible for developing Ascension’s policy positions and government affairs strategies for the Illinois market. She also leads the market’s diversity & inclusion, health equity, and patient experience initiatives.

Cristal has a track record of creating policies and strategies to achieve transformational change, resulting in better, more equitable outcomes for traditionally underserved populations. She is a former Ohio Medicaid Director, where she led the state’s transition to a managed care delivery model. She also served a term as Deputy Governor of Illinois, serving as the Governor’s senior advisor on all health care related issues and overseeing the state’s Medicaid expansion and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Since leaving public service, Cristal has advised health care executives and presidential campaigns on a variety of health care issues.

In her free time, Cristal is active in her community and serves on several Boards and Advisory Councils, including CommunityHealth, the largest volunteer-staffed free clinic in the country, and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Melissa Monbouquette
Melissa Monbouquette is the Deputy Director of the BUILD Health Challenge, a national initiative that advances multi-sector, community-driven partnerships to improve health equity. She serves as a thought leader and key resource for awardees and partners by guiding BUILD’s strategy and implementation, and leads the program’s innovation efforts to drive sustainable improvements in community health. Melissa has over a decade of experience in nonprofit strategy and operation. She holds a master’s degree from The George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.

Jessica Nadler
Dr. Jessica Nadler is a scientist and Managing Director in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice with experience leading large scale transformation strategies for agencies aimed at integrating health services, improving health outcomes, and increasing healthcare efficiency across rural and inadequately served communities. She has advised senior executives across sectors, including HRSA, IHS, ACF, HHS, VA and non-profit advocacy and research organizations, and focuses on different aspects of the healthcare system, including the use of clinical and population outcomes data to inform basic research directions, as well as the use of innovations to expand access to care, improve health outcomes, and increase healthcare efficiency. Prior to Deloitte, Dr. Nadler spent 13 years studying animal models of human disease and as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following her research career, Dr. Nadler was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow at the US Department of Health & Human Services Personalized Healthcare Initiative. Dr. Nadler earned her PhD in Genetics from the University of Washington and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, July 12: 1-2 pm EST                 
Policies to Support the Health Care Workforce

Hannah Maxey
Dr. Hannah Maxey is Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Director of the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a nationally recognized expert in health workforce policy with more than two decades of experience in health care and public health.

Dr. Maxey has been a licensed dental hygienist in Indiana for over 20 years. She spent nearly a decade practicing in public health clinics operated by the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) prior to pursuing a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management (2011), and a Doctor of Philosophy in the same area (2014). Her experience as a practicing health care professional in public health clinics provided perspective on the intersection and relationship between health care and public health, as well as the critical role the health workforce has in ensuring availability and accessibility in both public health and health care services.

Dr. Maxey has been actively engaged in developing strategies and leading health workforce initiatives within multiple states since 2014. She serves as an expert consultant to the National Governor’s Association, and has worked on issues ranging from health workforce data collection to policy design and implementation.

Wednesday, July 27: 1-2 pm EST 
Policies to Promote Efficiency, Reduce Surprises and Elevate Transparency

Niall Brennan
Niall Brennan is the Chief Analytics and Privacy Officer at Clarify Health. Niall leads the company’s analytics and informatics strategy. He also leads the Clarify Health Institute, which leverages Clarify’s data assets to provide thought leadership and establishes research partnerships with academics and policymakers across the industry. Prior to Clarify, he was President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute and served as the Chief Data Officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, where he led the Obama administration’s health care transparency efforts, built an advanced analytics enterprise, and played a key role in implementing numerous Affordable Care Act provisions, including the Qualified Entity Program and the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Niall received his MPP from Georgetown University and his BA from University College Dublin, Ireland. 

James C. Capretta
James C. Capretta is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center. He served in positions at the Office of Management and Budget and on the staff of the Senate Budget Committee during most of the period from 1987 to 2004. Among his recent publications is “Toward Meaningful Price Transparency in Health Care,” published by AEI in 2019.

Mr. Capretta has an MA in public policy studies from Duke University and BA in government from the University of Notre Dame.

Sharon A. Lamberton
Ms. Lamberton serves as Deputy Vice President of State Policy and External Outreach at PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America, a trade association of 33 biopharmaceutical companies based in Washington, DC.  In her role, she analyzes policy, provides strategy, and serves as a lobbyist for the industry in the states issues such as Medicaid, cost and value of medicines, adherence, Insulin, vaccines, clinical trials and conducts outreach with patient and provider groups.   

Ms. Lamberton works closely with the National Governors’ Association and serves on Boards for the National Foundation of Women Legislators, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization, and most recently, appointed to the Advisory Board for her alma matter, the College of Public Health at Mason.   

Prior to working at PhRMA, she worked for a senior’s organization on Medicare and long-term care issues.  She has also worked at the GAO, on Capitol Hill for a former Virginia senator, at the Center for Health Policy, Research, and Ethics at GMU, and as a clinical research nurse at National Institutes of Health on neurological patient protocols such as Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, brain and spinal cord disorders, cancer and more.   

Ms. Lamberton graduated from nursing school at Texas Woman’s University in Houston and served as President of both the Texas Student Nurses Association and National Student Nurses Association. She currently enjoys being a guest lecture for graduate level health policy courses and motivating other healthcare providers to join the ranks of healthcare lobbyists that improve access and care for patients.  She works as a nurse volunteer, working with patients as part of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corp in Arlington.  

2021 Health Policy Summer Series Speakers Panelist Bios

Tuesday, June 1: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
Health Policymaking Priorities Now 

Jessica S. Banthin, PhD
Jessica S. Banthin is a senior fellow in the Health Policy Center, where she studies the effects of health insurance reform policies on coverage and costs. Before joining the Urban Institute, she served more than 25 years in the federal government, most recently as deputy assistant director for health at the Congressional Budget Office. During her eight-year term at the Congressional Budget Office, Banthin directed the production of numerous major cost estimates of legislative proposals to modify the Affordable Care Act. Banthin has contributed to Congressional Budget Office reports and written about how reform proposals affect individuals’ and families’ incentives to enroll in coverage, influence employers’ decisions to offer coverage to their employees, and affect insurance market competitiveness. In her recent work, Banthin has written on competition in insurer markets and the accuracy of various data sources used in modeling health reforms. 

Banthin has also conducted significant work on the financial burden of health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs on families, published in scientific journals. She has special expertise in the design of microsimulation models for analyzing health insurance coverage and a deep background in the design and use of household and employer survey data. Banthin’s experience in estimating the effects of health reform on cost and coverage extend back to her service on the President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993. She earned her PhD in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her AB from Harvard University. 

Ellen Montz, PhD
Ellen Montz, PhD, MPAff is the Chief Deputy and Chief Health Economist at Virginia's Department of Medical Assistance Services. She previously worked on health care and tax policy related to health insurance coverage in the private market and Medicaid for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the White House Domestic Policy Council. She holds a PhD from Harvard University and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. 

Stuart Portman
Stuart Portman serves as Health Policy Advisor for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. In this capacity handles issues related to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the ACA Exchanges. Previously, he served as the Senior Health Care Legislative Assistant and Legislative Correspondent for Senator Orrin Hatch and provided policy details on concepts within CMS, FDA, and NIH’s jurisdiction.  

Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Stuart attended the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University where he focused his coursework on Medicaid, CHIP, and ethical debates within the health care services community. He also worked as a Research Assistant on a project evaluating federal and state investments in health information technology.  

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Stuart attended the University of Denver for his Bachelor degree in Biology and Political Science. He enjoys the thrill of travel, baking cookies and pies, reading/falling asleep in the sun, and discussing policy issues with people holding a diverse array of opinions.  

Audrey Smith 
Audrey serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for health policy for Senator Joe Manchin. Prior to this position, she worked as Executive Director for the Critical Access Hospital (CAH)  Coalition, where she represented small rural hospitals across the United States. 

Audrey has also worked in health policy at both The Joint Commission and Mylan, Inc. where she analyzed legislation and monitored health care policy for hospital accreditation and generic pharmaceuticals. Before going to Mylan, Audrey served as Legislative Assistant to Congressman David B. McKinley (WV-1).  

Audrey received her undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and her master’s in public policy from George Mason University.  

Tuesday, June 15: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
Promoting Housing Stability Through Health Policy

Shira Hollander
Shira Hollander is a senior associate director for payment policy at the American Hospital Association. In this role, Shira develops and advocates for policy positions regarding value-based payment arrangements, social determinants of health and issues related to physician payment including fraud and abuse. Shira also leads the AHA’s advocacy regarding telehealth coverage and payment, and secured several telehealth flexibilities for AHA members during the COVID-19 pandemic. She provides analysis and insight to members and the larger healthcare field regarding federal rules and regulations and regularly represents the AHA at policy forums, meetings with government and other officials, and in multi-stakeholder coalitions.

Prior to joining the AHA, Shira practiced law at Latham & Watkins, LLP, where she specialized in matters concerning Medicare and Medicaid fraud and represented veterans seeking discharge upgrades and TRICARE insurance.

Shira holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was the recipient of the Ellen S. Raphael award, bestowed upon one graduating MPP student who exemplifies academic achievement and public service. Shira also holds a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Anna Cleveland
Anna works at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), as a Government Operations Consultant, in the Specialized Services unit in Florida. She is a subject matter expert on the Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Housing Assistance Pilot. Additionally, she is the subject matter expert on a variety of other subjects for the unit. This includes hospice and home health services. Prior to working for AHCA, Anna worked for the Florida Department of Health in Disability Determinations. She worked on Social Security and Medically Needy disability applications. Anna holds an MPA from Florida State University and a BA from Eckerd College.

Tuesday, June 29: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
City Policy: Forming Unique Partnerships to Improve Health

Catherine Patterson, MPP
Catherine is the Co-Executive Director of CityHealth. Prior to joining the CityHealth team, Catherine served as the Managing Director for Urban Health and Policy at the de Beaumont Foundation. In that role, Catherine developed, managed, and led all work related to policy interventions that sought to improve the health and wellness of urban residents. Before joining the de Beaumont Foundation, Catherine worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she led campaigns to improve children’s dental health across the country. Catherine began her career as an early childhood educator, working directly with children and families. 

Captain Kimberly Elenberg, RN, DNP
CAPT Kimberly Elenberg is the Modeling and Analytics lead for the Department of Defense COVID Task Force. She has a distinguished career in high impact public health roles including her work with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Office of the Chief Medical Officer as the Deputy Director of Population Health and Medical Management, as the Director of Training and Manager of Medical Readiness in the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment, Office of the Surgeon General, and as Director for Biosurveillance and Emergency response at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CAPT Elenberg is also the recipient of the 2020 G2Xchange Leading for Impact, Women in Leadership Award. 

William Hazel, MD
Bill Hazel exemplifies the gold standard ideals set forth by Dr. Claude Moore as few other professionals associated with the Foundation can. As our Senior Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Hazel brings educational, professional and philanthropic credentials to the organization that are beyond compare. He holds an M.D. degree from Duke University School of Medicine and served his Orthopedic Surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Most recently he worked in the Office of the Provost at George Mason University. 

For eight years, Dr. Hazel was the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources and oversaw eleven state agencies. His past leadership roles also include service as the President of Medical Staff of INOVA Fairfax Hospital and as a past member of Inova’s Board of Trustees and Trustee of the American Medical Association. He has even served as Team Physician for the Washington Redskins and DC United. Dr. Hazel’s commitment to charitable works includes volunteerism near and far, from serving communities in rural Virginia to Bolivia. He is also the author of multiple professional publications. Dr. Hazel’s experience in the medical field, and his lifelong commitment to public health and health education, personify the mission of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. 

Tuesday, July 13: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
Top Priorities for Access and Affordability  

Shawn Martin
Shawn Martin is the executive vice president and chief executive officer designee for the American Academy of Family Physicians. On August 1, 2020, he will become the executive vice president and CEO of the AAFP, succeeding Douglas E. Henley, MD. 

Prior to his current role, he served as the senior vice president, advocacy, practice advancement and policy at the AAFP.  In that role, he provided strategic leadership to the AAFP and directed the public and private sector advocacy efforts of the nation’s largest primary care organization.   

He is nationally recognized for his thoughtful leadership on a range of health care and workforce issues.  While his career portfolio has focused on numerous health care and public policy issues, he is best known for his extensive work on the development and implementation of primary care delivery and payment models.  He is a strategic leader with a proven track-record of accomplishments.   

During his career he has served in leadership roles of several coalitions and partnerships during his career, including a six-year period as chair of the Health Coalition on Liability and Access.  He currently serves on the board of the National Coalition on Health Care and the Coalition for Sustainable RX Pricing.   He was recognized by The Hill as one of the top 10 health care lobbyists in Washington, DC. and is nationally recognized as an influential leader on numerous health care issues. 

A native of Oklahoma, Martin earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and marketing from Phillips University a Masters of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College.   

Jeannette Thornton
Jeanette is the Senior Vice President of Product, Employer, and Commercial Policy at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) in Washington, D.C. Over the past 15 years, Jeanette has played a leading role in developing and advancing policy reforms in support of the industry’s top legislative and regulatory priorities.

In her current role, she oversees AHIP policy development covering the commercial market ranging from the individual market (including Exchange implementation and operations), the small group market, employer sponsored health insurance and financial health and wellness coverage. She has extensive experience working with the Administration and federal agencies, Congressional leadership and Committee staff as well as stakeholders on a range of policy issues related to the Affordable Care Act, including technical expertise around regulatory implementation and health plan operations. Before joining AHIP, Jeanette held positions in the Federal government at the Office of Management and Budget and Social Security Administration.

Peter Bach, PhD
Dr. Bach is a physician, epidemiologist, researcher, and healthcare policy expert who studies US health care policy at Memorial Sloan Kettering, is a Senior Scholar at the International Agency for Research on Cancer within the World Health Organization and Chairs the Medicare committee charged with evaluating Coverage Policy.  In 2012, he and other Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians drew attention to the high price of the cancer drug Zaltrap, leading the company to halve its US price. Along with Mark Trusheim, he developed the subscription based “Netflix” model now being used to finance Hep-C treatments in Louisiana and Washington. His work on how cancer drugs are packaged in excessively large containers has led to legislation that is estimated to return more than $1B to Medicare over the next decade. Dr. Bach is a graduate of Harvard College, the University of Minnesota Medical School, and the Harris School for Public Policy at the University of Chicago.  He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and editorials in scientific journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association and has been inducted into the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Academy of Physicians, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.   

Tuesday, July 27: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
Public Health, Lessons Learned

Bechara Choucair, MD
Bechara Choucair, MD, is responsible for overseeing the national vaccination efforts under the Biden-Harris administration. He has been named White House COVID-19 Vaccinations Coordinator and focuses on coordinating the timely, safe, and equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations for the U.S. population, in close partnership with relevant federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local authorities. Dr. Choucair also leads the administration’s ambitious effort to administer 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days. 

Prior to joining the administration, Dr. Choucair served as senior vice president and chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Choucair oversaw the organization’s efforts focused on addressing the social health of its 12.2 million members and the 68 million people who live in the communities it serves.  This work included the creation of the nation’s largest social health network to meet the housing, food and transportation needs of its members. He also managed Kaiser Permanente’s community health portfolio, including $3.4 billion dedicated to supporting medical financial assistance and charitable care as well as grants and community health initiatives.  

Before his time at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Choucair was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health for five years before serving as senior vice president of Safety Net and Community Health at Trinity Health. He has been named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Health Executives in the U.S., one of the Most Influential People in Healthcare and as one of the Top 25 Innovators in Healthcare. 

Reuben Varghese, MD, MPH
Reuben K. Varghese, M.D., M.P.H.,  promotes disease control and prevention and overall community health as chief of the Public Health Division of Arlington County, Virginia. Varghese began his career at a health maintenance organization, where he served as an internist. He served as chief of the Medical Affairs and Surveillance Branch of the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2004 to 2005. From 2000 to 2002 he was an epidemic intelligence service officer for CDC. While at CDC, he was part of a team sent to New York City to monitor latent health effects caused by 9/11 — an asset to a community such as Arlington, which also was directly affected on 9/11. Prior to his work at USDA, Dr. Varghese was director of the Three Rivers Health District based in Middlesex County, Virginia, from 2002 to 2004. He received his M.D. from Brown University and has an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. 

Sharon Lamberton, MS
Ms. Lamberton serves as deputy vice president in state government affairs for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade association of more than 37 biopharmaceutical companies located in Washington, DC. She provides clinical expertise and policy support and strategy for issues related to the industry, including cost and value of medicines, adherence, prescription drug abuse and the industry’s latest innovations. She works closely with the National Governors Association, Women in Government (an association of state women legislators) and serves on the Board’s Advisory Council for the National Foundation of Women Legislators and on the Corporate Advisory Council for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Previously, Ms. Lamberton worked for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), a large national grassroots seniors’ association. Other work experiences include: the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Congressional office of Senator Chuck Robb, the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University, and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she worked as a Neurology nurse to provide direct patient care to patients from all over the world. A few years ago, Ms. Lamberton worked weekend shifts at a local hospital’s emergency room in Northern Virginia.

Ms. Lamberton attended nursing school at Texas Woman’s University in Houston and served as president of the National Student Nurses’ Association and president of the Texas Nursing Students’ Association. Ms. Lamberton also holds a master’s degree in health systems management from George Mason University.

Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH
Marcus Plescia is chief medical officer of ASTHO. For the past fifteen years, Plescia has served in public health leadership roles at the state, local, and federal levels, including director of chronic disease for the North Carolina Division of Public Heath, director of national cancer control programs at CDC, and county public health director in Charlotte, NC. Prior to this, Plescia spent ten years in academic family medicine, teaching medical students and family medicine residents and providing patient care. In addition, Plescia has remained active in public health research, publishing in medical and public health literature and serving as principle investigator of REACH 2010, a large, CDC-funded health disparities intervention project.