Cambridge, MA: December 2

Our third meeting was held in Cambridge, MA, on December 2, 2019. We heard from two panels of experts, the first of which focused on the health-related needs of different populations and the barriers to addressing them, and the second of which focused on the role of the health system in serving the needs of various populations.

Watch the Event Here


Alva Ferdinand, DrPH, JD

Alva Ferdinand is the assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Her research interests are health laws and ethics, disparities in health outcomes, research integrity, state and federal regulation in health care delivery and effectiveness at laws aimed at improving public health. Dr. Ferdinand has had multiple works featured in publications, including her research about the impact of texting bans on motor vehicle crash-related hospitalizations published in the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Ferdinand received her Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Oakwood University and Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health in health care organization and policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her JD form Michigan State University College of Law.

Linda Goler Blount, BS, MPH

Linda Goler Blount joined the Black Women’s Health Imperative as the President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2014. Linda oversees the strategic direction for the Imperative and is responsible for moving the organization forward in its mission to achieve health equity, reproductive and social justice for Black women across the lifespan.

Before joining the Imperative, Linda served as the Vice President of Programmatic Impact for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she led a team focused on achieving transformation in health, income, education and housing stability through place- and population-based work.

A Michigan native, Linda holds a Master of Public Health, Epidemiology from the University of Michigan and Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering/Operations Research from Eastern Michigan University.

Kathy Ko Chin, MS

Kathy Ko Chin is president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians (NHs), and Pacific Islanders (PIs). Kathy is a renowned voice for the AA community and served on the President Obama’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. Kathy has served on many Boards, including currently serving as a Trustee of The Kresge Foundation, and formerly with Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Asian Women’s Shelter, CompassPoint, Public Health Institute and California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.

Harold Pollack, PhD

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration. He is also an Affiliate Professor in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division and the Department of Public Health Sciences.
He is Co-Director of The University of Chicago Crime Lab and a committee member of the Center for Health Administration Studies (CHAS) at the University of Chicago.
He has published widely at the interface between poverty policy and public health. His research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Public Health, Health Services Research, Pediatrics, and Social Service Review.
A 2012-14 Robert Wood Johnson Investigator in Health Policy Research, Professor Pollack has been appointed to three committees of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Before coming to SSA, Professor Pollack was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at Yale University and taught Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Bechara Choucair, MD

Bechara Choucair, MD, is senior vice president and chief community health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Dr. Choucair oversees the organization’s national community health efforts and philanthropic giving activities aimed at improving the health of its 12.3 million members and the 68 million people within the communities it serves.
Choucair comes to Kaiser Permanente from Trinity Health, where he served as senior vice president, Safety Net and Community Health. For five years prior to joining Trinity Health, Dr. Choucair was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. There, he and his team launched Healthy Chicago, the city’s first comprehensive public health agenda. Since its launch, CDPH has reported historic lows in childhood obesity rates and both teen and adult smoking rates, as well as significant increases in overall life expectancy.

Shola Olatoye, MPA

Shola is an experienced executive and leader with a national network of relationships. She thrives in fast, complex and diverse environments. She has worked in the nonprofit, public and private sectors with a focus on affordable housing, real estate finance, and strategic organizational development. She’s skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Urban Planning, Public Speaking, Fundraising, and Economic Development. Shola is excited by complex policy and management problems, cares deeply about vulnerable families and communities and is committed to developing diverse leaders.

Gary Sing, PhD

Gary Sing is the Director of Delivery System Investment and Social Services Integration at MassHealth, Massachusetts’ Medicaid agency.  He is a member of the Payment and Care Delivery Innovation team and oversees various investment programs, including MassHealth’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program.  Gary also works to advance integration of health-related social services into MassHealth, which includes overseeing the design and implementation of the Flexible Services program.  Beginning in early CY2020, this program will pay for certain health-related nutrition and housing supports for certain eligible members enrolled in a MassHealth Accountable Care Organization.
Prior to joining MassHealth, Gary worked as a strategy consultant in the life sciences industry, earned a PhD from Harvard University in Engineering Sciences with a focus on computational neuroscience, and earned dual B.S.E.’s from Duke University in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

Betsey Tilson, MD, MPH

Elizabeth Tilson serves North Carolina as the State Health Director and the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she promotes public health and prevention activities, as well as provides guidance and oversight on a variety of cross-Departmental issues including the Opioid Epidemic, Early Childhood, Medicaid Transformation, and Healthy Opportunities.
Tilson received her BA in biology from Dartmouth College, earned her Medical Degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  She completed a Pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a General Preventive Medicine/Public Health Residency at the University of North Carolina –Chapel Hill and is board certified in both fields.