Trust for America's Health Board of Directors
Gail C. Christopher, DN President
Dr. Christopher is currently vice president for health at the WK Kellogg Foundation. She was previously 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 in 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, M.D.
Dr. Fleming is director of public health for Seattle King County (WA). 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), where he served from 2000 to 2003 as Deputy Director for Science and Public Health, and in 2002, as 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 and federal advisory committees. Dr. Fleming has a BS and an MD from the State University of New York.
Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., M.P.H.
Arthur Garson, Jr., is the Director, Center for Health Policy, University Professor, and Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is responsible for the planning and operations of the University's 10 schools, as well as academic planning. He co-chairs the Commission on the Future of the University. In 2002, Dr. Garson was appointed Vice President and Dean of the University of Virginia's School of Medicine.
Dr. Garson graduated (Phi beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude) from Princeton University in 1970 and received his M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) from Duke University in 1974, remaining at Duke for Pediatric residency through 1976. In 1979, he completed his Pediatric Cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, becoming Chief of Pediatric Cardiology in 1988. In 1992, he received a Master's degree In Public Health from the University of Texas Houston. Also in 1992, he joined the faculty at Duke University, becoming Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, where he served as Medical Director of Government Relations for the Medical Center; and professor in the Sanford Institute of Public Policy. In 1999-2000, Dr. Garson served as President of the American College of Cardiology. He currently chairs the committees concerned with health care reform of the American College of Cardiology and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is the author of more than 450 publications including 8 books.
John Gates, J.D.
John Gates is the founder, operator and manager of Nashoba Brook Bakery, an artisan bread company. Gates serves on the board of the directors for the Cambridge Camping Association, Gaining Ground, Global Leadership Council NRDC and Tibetan Poverty Alleviation Fund. Previously, Gates was the assistant director of real estate for the Conservation Fund.
Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D, DABT, Vice President
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, M.D., Treasurer
Dr. Harris brings to the Board 18 years' experience in health care administration, and 26 years' experience in 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. Additionally, Dr. Harris is a board-certified internist and maintained a part-time clinical practice while in his full-time administrative positions. Presently, he serves as a volunteer physician at a free clinic and engages agencies dedicated to serving the health care needs of the Latino immigrant worker population, which is growing rapidly in North Carolina.
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.).
Alonzo Plough, M.A., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Dr. Plough joined the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in January 2009. As Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, he is responsible for the leadership and management of the public health preparedness activities to protect the 11 million residents of Los Angeles County from natural disasters and threats related to emerging infections and bioterrorist events. Dr. Plough coordinates activities in emergency operations, infectious disease control, risk communication, planning, and community engagement. Prior to this appointment Dr. Plough served as Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Evaluation, for the California Endowment from 2005 to 2009. In this position he was responsible for the leadership, management, and overall direction of the Endowment’s strategic planning and development, evaluation, research, and organizational learning. Dr. Plough served for 10 years as Director and Health Officer for the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health, one of the foremost metropolitan health departments in the nation. He continues his appointment as Professor of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle.
Dr. Plough serves on the boards of the National Association of City and County Health Officials, the American Lung Association of Washington, United Way of King County, and the Washington Dental Foundation. He is the Chair of the Board of the Education Development Center, Inc., and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the King County Health Action Plan. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, National Center for Health Statistics.
Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H
Dr. Sanchez is a 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.
Theo Spencer, Secretary
Theo Spencer is a senior advocate, Climate Center, with the Natural Resources Defense Council working on global climate change issues. He earned his B.A. from Middlebury College and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Spencer has extensive experience as a journalist, working previously as a reporter with Fortune Magazine, New York Newsday, the Albuquerque Tribune and the Stamford Advocate. He has written numerous freelance articles for national publications such as the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine and Art Forum.
Mr. Spencer serves on the Board of Directors for the Benjamin Spencer Fund, Environmental Advocates, and as Vice President of the Rockefeller Family Fund.