National Advisory Council - Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement

Maryann Alexander is Chief Officer for nursing regulation at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), Chicago, where she oversees all activities related to research, education, practice, licensure and discipline. She oversees NCSBN’s research program, which is focused on building the science of nursing regulation, manages the Center for Regulatory Excellence Grant Program and is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nursing Regulation. Prior to her tenure at NCSBN she served as the executive director of the Illinois Board of Nursing. She was responsible for over 100 nursing education programs and 175,000 licensed nurses. During that time she led a statewide coalition that rewrote the Illinois Nurse Practice Act. She was also a clinical nurse specialist at Rush University Medical Center where she held a faculty appointment as an assistant professor in the college of nursing. Alexander received her BS and MS in nursing from Northwestern University and her PhD in Health Policy from the University of Illinois. She has authored articles and book chapters; has won several research awards and was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy internship.

Andre Blackman is a pioneering strategist with deep ties into the public health/healthcare, technology and branding landscapes. He is the Principal Strategist of Pulse + Signal, an innovation and strategy consultancy for healthcare and CEO of Onboard Health, a new venture focused on cultivating a diverse workforce for sustainable health innovation.

Andre is a sought after advisor to companies building the future of health and brand builder for the leaders who run them. His contributions have been featured in Forbes, NPR, Reporting on Health, U.S. News and World Report. He is on the advisory board for the American Heart Association, SXSW Interactive and the Mayo Clinic.

Sheree CruteChair of the National Advisory Council, is an award-winning writer and editor who covers a broad range of health topics and specializes in consumer and multicultural health. Sheree Crute is co-founder and editor-in-chief of A veteran journalist, Sheree was the founding director of the Minority Media Information Center (MMIC) at the Scientists’ Institute for Public Information, a groundbreaking, not-for-profit health news service for journalists serving African American, Native American, Latino and Asian audiences.  She was also the founding health editor for Heart & Soul magazine, the nation's first publication focused solely on the health needs of African American women; editor of the book, Health & Healing for African-Americans, (Rodale Press) and editor of the book, Covering Health in a Multicultural Society: A Guide for Journalists (The California Endowment). In addition, she was an archivist and writer for the Department of Health and Human Services, focusing on health care disparities. She is a writer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is currently in policy and research communications at The New York Academy of Medicine.

A contributing editor to Heart & Soul, Sheree has also written for Washington Monthly.

Patrick DeLeon is a psychologist, former chief of staff for United States Senator Daniel Inouye and past president of the American Psychological Association. He became an aide for Senator Inouye in 1973, when Inouye served on a committee investigating the Watergate scandal, and remained on the senator's staff for 38 years. After DeLeon's daughter survived meningitis in 1984, he was involved in the establishment of the Emergency Medical Services for Children program. DeLeon helped to create the nursing and pharmacy schools at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. DeLeon retired in 2011 as Inouye's chief of staff. Upon DeLeon's retirement, Inouye credited him with working to improve education in Hawaii and with furthering public awareness of the importance of psychologists, nurses and other health providers. He has written nearly 175 peer-reviewed papers and has served as a faculty member at several U.S. universities. He received the APA Award for Life Contributions to Psychology in 2009. An APA award in DeLeon's name honors a graduate student who contributes to the advancement of pharmacotherapy in psychology. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008. He has been named an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Since 2009, Scott Hensley has been writing posts and editing them for Shots, NPR's health blog. Before joining NPR, he was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog.

He wasn't always in the blogging racket. For years he covered the pharmaceutical industry for the Journal and wrote an online column about the business of health. Earlier in his journalism career he was a reporter for Modern Healthcare and American Banker. Hensley has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He holds a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University. You can follow him on Twitter: @scotthensley

Rosemary Gibson is a national leader in patient safety and health care quality.  She is principal author of the new book, The Treatment Trap, which puts a human face on the overuse of unnecessary medical tests and surgeries.  For policymakers in Washington and the states who are reforming health care, it offers a ten-step recovery plan to curb health-care excess and twenty smart steps for patients to avoid overtreatment.  She is author of the critically acclaimed book, Wall of Silence, which tells the human story behind the Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human.  Wall of Silence was reviewed in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Health Affairs, referenced in proceedings of the U.S. Senate, mentioned in Congressional testimony, noted in The Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe, and highlighted in the anniversary issue of O Magazine. Gibson has given keynote presentations on patient safety at hospitals around the country and national health care organizations.

Rose Iris Gonzalez, recently retired, worked in the Government Affairs Department at the American Nurses Association (ANA) for nearly 20 years, and served as the Director of Government Affairs for the past 13 years. In this role she provided oversight for the department that lobbies both the Executive Branch of the United States (U.S.) government and the U.S. Congress on issues important to nursing. These issues include nursing workforce development programs, staff nurse issues, and issues of concern to Advanced Practice Nurses. Dr. Gonzalez coordinated the work of the ANA-Political Action Committee which provides funding for candidates running for political office on the federal level and also the Nurses Strategic Action Team (N-STAT), ANA’s grassroots program, along with ANA’s State Government Affairs Program, which serves as a resource and provides strategy on state legislation to ANA’s state nurses’ associations. These responsibilities allow for an integrated approach to Federal and State legislative activities.

Before coming to ANA, Dr. Gonzalez served as the Acting Executive Secretary of the New York State (NYS) Boards for Optometry and Veterinary Medicine and prior to that worked with the NYS Board of Nursing. She has held various positions in nursing and worked in a variety of healthcare settings. She has a BSN degree from Mount Saint Mary College and a Master’s of Professional Studies degree with a concentration in healthcare administration from the State University of NY in New Paltz. In August 2011, she earned a PhD in Nursing from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

Helen Haskell is president of the nonprofit patient safety organization Mothers Against Medical Error. Since the medical error death of her young son Lewis in 2000, Helen has worked to improve health care safety and quality in the areas of medical education, patient-activated rapid response, infection prevention, medical error disclosure, and patient empowerment, among others. In her home state of South Carolina, she was the architect of the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Act, which required, for the first time, that health care providers be clearly identified and that patients be provided with an emergency response system in hospitals. She was closely involved in the passage and implementation of the South Carolina Hospital Infection Disclosure Act. Helen worked with the educational program company Transparent Learning on the production of the patient safety video The Lewis Blackman Story, winner of two national film awards.  Helen serves on the Board of Directors of the National Patient Safety Foundation. She is a World Health Organization champion and serves on the boards of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the International Society of Rapid Response Systems. She is a recently retired member of the AHRQ National Advisory Council, and a member of the steering committee of CUE, the consumer arm of the US Cochrane Center.  She is a winner of Consumer Reports’ first national Excellence in Advocacy award and in 2009 was named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.”

Janet Heinrich is a research professor of health policy and management in the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Heinrich served as the associate administrator of the Bureau of Health Professions in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) during the Obama administration, providing oversight for the Bureau, which provides national leadership on the planning, development and implementation of strategies and initiatives to expand and improve health professions’ education and training.

Maya Iwata MSSW is social worker, activist and grassroots philanthropist with 20+ years in the non-profit sector, including GMHC and Race Forward.  Working in the intersecting areas of health and mental health, and racial and social justice she has deep experience with communities of color, LGBTQ communities, peer services and women’s services, and served on boards and grants advisory committees.  She has presented at many national, state and local conferences and meetings such as the National Minority AIDS Council’s HIV Prevention Summit, New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute Case Management Unit Annual Conference, and at a panel at the Foundation Center in New York City.  She was also a former Field Instructor for students in graduate social work programs for New York University and Columbia University.  Currently, she is the Director of Operations & Development at the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) and is a co-chair for the Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) NY Chapter.  Iwata is also a founding member of the NY-based giving circle, the Asian American Impact Fund. She has a B.A. in social psychology from Cornell University and a M.S. from Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

Ivan Oransky, MD is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute, where he teaches medical journalism in the Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program, and co-founder of Retraction Watch. He's the president of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

He has served as vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today, executive editor of Reuters Health, managing editor, online, of Scientific American, deputy editor of The Scientist, and editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Praxis Post. For three years, he taught in the health and medicine track at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. He earned his bachelor’s at Harvard, where he was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson, and his MD at the New York University of School of Medicine, where he holds an appointment as clinical assistant professor of medicine.

Freida Outlaw serves as the Executive Academic Program Consultant for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) at the American Nurses Association (ANA), where she provides academic and scientific oversight. The program supports ethnic minority nurses in obtaining advanced degrees in mental health and/or substance abuse so they can work to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes in diverse communities. Outlaw has a long-standing relationship with the MFP program including participation as a Fellow from 1981 to 1983 and subsequently served on the MFP National Advisory Committee. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at Meharry Medical College where she served as Director of the Meharry Youth Health and Wellness Center, a health care delivery system for adolescents with a special focus on LGBTQ youth. Prior to this appointment, for eight years she was the Assistant Commissioner, Division of Special Populations, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. In this role she focused on developing policies and initiatives that improved treatment for children with mental health and substance abuse issues. In addition, she provided leadership in securing thirty-two million dollars of federal funding to support transforming the state’s mental health system for children and their families and was part of the leadership that was instrumental in passing legislation to create the Children’s Mental Health Council that was required to develop a plan for a statewide system of care implementation, which continues today.

Dr. Outlaw is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and is an active member of the Psychiatric Mental Health and Substance Abuse Expert Panel. Outlaw has published in the areas of depression; the impact of racism and stress on the health of African Americans; management of aggression, seclusion and restraint; religion, spirituality, the meaning of prayer for people with cancer; children’s mental health and substance use in the elderly. She is an editor of the Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care, 7th Edition.  Dr. Outlaw has received recognition for her excellence in clinical practice and for her work to improve the mental health of children and their families. She received a bachelor’s degree from Berea College, a master’s degree from Boston College, a doctoral degree from the Catholic University of America, and postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania.

Patricia (Polly) Pittman, Vice Chair of the National Advisory Council, is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. She is also the co-director of the GW Health Workforce Institute and is the PI for the HRSA-funded Health Workforce Research Center. Dr. Pittman teaches and focuses her research on health workforce policy. Her recent focus is on workforce innovations in the context of system change. She has provided research support for the RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing and with support from the MacArthur Foundation, has led a series of studies examining the recruitment of foreign-educated health professionals to the U.S. Prior to joining the Department of Health Policy in 2010, she taught comparative health systems at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and served as Executive Vice President of Academy Health. Over the years, she has worked as a consultant on health systems research for the Pan American Health Organization, WHO’s Tropical Disease Research Program, World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, and multiple foundations.

Joyce Pulcini is professor and chair of George Washington University School of Nursing (GW Nursing) Acute and Chronic Care Community and director of GW Nursing Community and Global Initiatives.  She is an expert on the evolving roles of nurse practitioners throughout the world, focusing on nurse practitioner education, reimbursement, political advocacy and removal of barriers to practice.  A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), she serves as the inaugural chair of the AAN Expert Panel on Primary Care. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and a Distinguished Practitioner and former Primary Care Policy Fellow in Nursing at the National Academies of Practice. Dr. Pulcini serves as a senior associate editor for the journal Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice and has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and policy papers and two editions of a textbook on pediatric primary care. She has supported the nursing profession through her service on numerous advisory boards and panels, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Technical Expert Panel and the nursing research advisory committees of the National Association of School Nursing and Children’s National Medical Center.  In 2016, Dr. Pulcini received the AANP Advocate State Award for Excellence for the District of Columbia.  Among her other awards and honors are the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award and the AANP Foundation Giving Circle Humanitarian Award.

Susan C. Reinhard is a Senior Vice President at AARP, directing its Public Policy Institute.   She also serves as the Chief Strategist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America at AARP, a national resource and technical assistance center created to ensure that America has the nurses it needs to provide care both now and in the future.  Prior to AARP, Dr. Reinhard served as a Professor and Co-Director of Rutgers Center for State Health Policy where she directed several national initiatives to work with states to help people with disabilities of all ages live in their homes and communities.  Previously, she served three governors as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, where she led the development of health policies and nationally recognized programs for family care giving, consumer choice and control in health and supportive care, assisted living and other community-based care options, quality improvement, state pharmacy assistance, and medication safety. She also co-founded the Institute for the Future of Aging Services in Washington, DC and served as its Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Education.

Yanick Rice Lamb is Chair/ Associate Professor of Cathy Hughes School of Communications and interim assistant chair of the new Department of Media, Journalism and Film. She teaches multimedia reporting, interactive editing and magazine writing. She is also adviser to 101 Magazine and the Howard University News Service. Her research focuses on the impact of social media and technology, media management and diversity in coverage. At Howard University. Yanick Rice Lamb’s mission is to give voice to the voiceless and share the gift of knowledge through the written word. An award-winning journalist and author, her mission is to give voice to the voiceless and share the gift of knowledge through the written word.

In addition to teaching, Yanick is a media consultant, Digitally Speaking columnist for Howard Magazine and co-founder of and Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Essence, Parenting, Ebony, The History Channel Magazine, and, part of MSNBC. Through an Association of Health Care Journalists fellowship, she spent a year investigating long-term care of the uninsured for the article “Stuck in the Hospital.” She is also the John A. Hartford/MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging & Health Fellow. She spent a decade at the New York Times as assistant style editor, deputy home and living editor, assistant editor of Connecticut Weekly, metropolitan copy editor and layout editor on the news desk. She was also senior editor at Child magazine, copy editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter at The Toledo Blade, editor-at-large at Essence magazine and contributing editor for Emerge. Her clients at Miyan Communications Group have included The Magazine Group, BET, Essence, Heart & Soul, Afro-American Newspapers, the Fort Greene News, and authors Cheryl Martin and the late Ron Walters. Yanick and her staffs have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a Folio: Editorial Excellence Award, several Unity Awards and five Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists. She also received an Industry Research Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, a McDonald’s Black History Maker of Today Award in Journalism, and various awards for leadership and service. She was recently named a History Maker in education. Yanick is co-author of Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson, Rise & Fly: Tall Tales and Mostly True Rules of Bid Whist and The Spirit of African Design. She is a contributor to BET on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama, Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader, Haternation, Social Media: Pedagogy and Practice, Aunties: 35 Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother and Health & Healing for African-Americans. She is completing her debut novel, Nursing Wounds. A native of Akron, Ohio, Yanick holds a bachelor’s in journalism from Ohio State University and an MBA from Howard University, specializing in media management and marketing. [email protected]

Ed Salsberg is a member of the research faculty at the GW SON. Mr. Salsberg makes contributions of data and analysis regarding the healthcare workforce supply. He previously served as a founding director for the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which was established in 2010. The HRSA Center is responsible for providing health workforce information and data to assist national and state health workforce policies, as well has health and education sector decision-making related to the health workforce. Prior to joining HRSA, Mr. Salsberg was the founding director of the Center for Workforce Studies and a senior director at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The AAMC Center was established in 2004 to inform the medical education community, policymakers, and the public as to the nation’s current and future physician workforce needs.  Before joining AAMC, Mr. Salsberg was the executive director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies, which he established in 1996 at the School of Public Health at the University at Albany of the State University of New York. From 1984 until 1996, Mr. Salsberg was a bureau director at the New York State Department of Health.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist, advisor and trend-weaver supporting organizations at the intersection of health, technology and people. Jane founded THINK-Health after working for ten years with health care consultancies in the U.S. and Europe. Jane’s clients are all stakeholders in health: technology, bio/life sciences, providers, plans, retail, financial services, food and consumer goods. She founded the Health Populi blog in 2007. Jane sits on the advisory boards of CAQH’s U.S. Health Efficiency Index, the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University, healthBank, Onboard Health, Stupid Cancer, WEGO Health, and Women of Color in Pharma. In her community of Phoenixville, PA, Jane sits on the Board of The Clinic, a free clinic for residents. Jane is a frequent speaker and also contributes to the Huffington Post.


Jane has been named one of the Top 100 Influencers and Brands in Digital Health, one of the Top 100 Influential Economists in the World, one of the Top 5 Women in Healthcare Blogs, one of 40 Healthcare Transformers, and one of 25 Health Care Leaders You Should Follow on Twitter.   Jane holds an MA (Economics) and an MHSA (Health Policy) from University of Michigan. While Jane loves her work, she is even more passionate about family and home, Slow Food and her local CSA, and living a full and balanced life. Follow Jane along with over 26,000 tweeters on Twitter @healthythinker.

Patricia Thomas was the first holder of the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia. She founded UGA’s master’s degree program in health and medical journalism in 2005, and for the next 12 years she directed that program, organized professional workshops for journalists working for traditional and ethnic news organizations, and did media training for students and professionals in public health, medicine and the sciences. She is now a Professor Emerita of Journalism and a Distinguished Visiting Professor in UGA’s Low Residency MFA Program in Nonfiction Media Writing. As a journalist, Thomas wrote about medicine, public health, and life science research for many years and from 1991 to early 1997 was editor of the Harvard Health Letter. For her book “Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine” (PublicAffairs, September 2001), Thomas won the 1998 Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship and the 2002 Ralph A. Deterling Award of Distinction from the American Medical Writers Association New England Chapter. Her book was named one of the best books of 2001 by the Washington Post. Thomas was also one of the first healthy volunteers injected with an experimental HIV vaccine.

She has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 2002-2003 was the Visiting Scholar at the Knight Center for Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University. During that year, Thomas taught graduate students, wrote a monograph analyzing news management and reporting during the anthrax attacks of 2001, and wrote a chapter for “The War on Our Freedoms: Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism”. She analyzed how post-9/11 laws such as the Patriot Act affect infectious disease research. Today she consults for newsrooms and leads workshops for journalists. 

Ellen-Marie Whelan is a Senior Advisor at the Innovation Center within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services where she is working to develop, implement and test innovative payment and service delivery models strengthening primary care, accountable care, perinatal care, and community-based population health. She coordinates the Pediatric portfolio across the Innovation Center. Previously, Dr. Whelan was the Associate Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress where her research, publications, and speaking engagements focused on development and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, system delivery and payment reform, safety net providers, primary care, health workforce policy, and prevention. During health reform she was an invited guest by many media outlets including NPR, C-SPAN, Bloomberg TV, BBC World Service, and MarketPlace Radio and has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Economist, National Journal, Reuters, AP, Gannet, and Congressional Quarterly.  Prior to joining CAP, she was a health policy advisor in the U.S. Senate for five years - working for both Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and as Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Aging to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions with Senator Barbara Mikulski.  In this capacity she worked on developing and passing legislation related to Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, public health and the FDA.

Before coming to Capitol Hill, Dr. Whelan was a health services researcher and faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University and practiced as nurse practitioner for over a decade. She has worked in a variety of primary care settings and started an adolescent primary care clinic in West Philadelphia. For this effort she received the Secretary's Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, presented by Donna Shalala and was one of the first nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania to obtain an independent Medicaid provider number. In 2011 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) honored Dr. Whelan with their Luminary Award acknowledging her contributions in public policy. Dr. Whelan holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University, a master's degree and Ph.D. in nursing and health policy from the University of Pennsylvania and The Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in primary care policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.


"The time is now for nurse leaders to engage in critical thinking, analysis and reflection, and to apply our knowledge in crafting salient, sanguine health policy."
Dean Pamela Jeffries
Dean and Professor