About The Center

Meet Our Team

The Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement has an active core faculty that is highly engaged in the strategic planning and activities of the Center.

The core faculty and staff are:

Y. Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH, is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement. He chiefly focuses his scholarly interest in policy issues at the intersection of the legal and health systems, especially in the following areas: Vaccination Law and Policy, Pharmaceuticals and FDA-regulated Products, Medical Malpractice and Maternity Care. He takes an empirical approach to most of his research, blending methods from the econometrical and statistical sciences with more traditional legal research methods. He seeks to work on some of the most pressing health policy issues of the day to provide new and valuable information for policymakers.

David M. Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is the Director of Fellowships of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement. He is a nationally recognized policy specialist, nurse educator, administrator, and consultant. His work has focused on reimbursement, workforce, ethical and legal issues related to nursing and health care policy. He has served on the professional staff of state and national nursing organizations and in volunteer leadership roles in several organizations, including previous service on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Nursing. He served for a decade as Editor-in-Chief of Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice, a scholarly journal focused on nursing and health policy. He has published, spoken and taught widely on nursing and health policy. 


Richard Ricciardi, PhD, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN, is the Director of Strategic Partnerships of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement. He is a professor and health policy faculty in the Policy, Populations and Systems community at the School of Nursing. Dr. Ricciardi comes from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), where he served as the Director, Division of Practice Improvement. At AHRQ, Dr. Ricciardi's research focused on primary care practice improvement science in the areas of team-based care, quality and safety, and the management of patients with complex needs, including those with multiple chronic conditions, and those with opioid use disorder. His scholarly interests include implementation science, preventing and mitigating adverse body composition and sedentary behavior, and the role of nursing in the delivery of primary care. Prior to joining AHRQ in 2010, Dr. Ricciardi served on active duty in the Army for 30 years and held numerous clinical, research, and senior leadership positions within the Department of Defense, including as a pediatric and family nurse practitioner, research scientist, and educator. Dr. Ricciardi maintains a part-time clinical practice and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. He is president-elect for Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society for nursing.

Ellen T. Kurtzman, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, is a nurse and health services researcher whose program of research explores the impact of federal, state, and institutional policies on health care quality and the role of the health care workforce in achieving higher value care. In 2014, Dr. Kurtzman was named the National Center for Health Statistics/Academy Health Health Policy Fellow, and she currently serves as a 2018-2019 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow.

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been a leader in developing nursing's voice on important policy issues of our times. As president of the American Academy of Nursing, she led the organization's enhanced focus on developing policy positions on myriad health and social issues. Through her writings, speaking and consultations, she has helped to educate multiple generations of nurses on the relevance of policy to practice, research and health promotion and enlarged nursing's voice in policy on local, regional, national and global levels.

Mary Jean Schumann, DNP, MBA, RN, CPNP, FAAN, is an associate professor in the Policy, Populations and Systems Community. Dr. Schumann’s focus on policy activity and teaching builds on her 10 years’ experience as the Director of Practice and Policy and Chief Programs Officer for the American Nurses Association, as well as her MBA and DNP. She engages at the intersection of quality, policy and finance in health care and nursing, has overseen the implementation and aggregation of nursing sensitive measurement data, patient engagement strategies and the integration of policy with scopes and standards of practice, certification and regulation of APRNs, and in governmental affairs. Having served as executive director of two national health care organizations focused on children and families, and as a pediatric nurse practitioner, she has emphasized policies and practices that improve the quality and delivery of services to children, adolescents, young adults and their parents.  

Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, is a professor at GW School of Nursing and where she served as the Director of Community and Global Initiatives for over 6 years as well as Chair of the Acute and Chronic Care Community. Dr. Pulcini has a career of over 30 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), educator and author and has been a leader in health care and nursing policy at local, state and national levels. She was inaugural Chair of the Expert Panel on Primary Care at the AAN, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Jeongyoung Park, PhD, MPH, focuses her research on three major areas: (1) Health care policy, delivery and payment system; (2) Health care workforce; and (3) Health care access, costs, and outcomes. Dr. Park has been conducting various research to evaluate health policies and strategies for improving quality of care, with special emphasis on health care workforce (including but not limited to the nursing workforce) as the backbone of reforming health care systems. Her goal is to make a significant contribution to a timely and important policy debate.

Sherrie Flynt Wallington, PhD, is a tenure-track assistant professor and health disparities researcher specializing in oncology in the Policy, Populations and Systems department. Dr. Wallington teaches and conducts research on health communication, social determinants of health, and community-based participatory research strategies that focus on prevention, health disparities, and clinical trial recruitment and engagement. She has a particular interest in cancer, particularly prostate, breast, and HPV-associated cancers. The American Cancer Society, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Cancer Institute support her research. She has authored several peer-reviewed publications and serves as a scientific grant reviewer for the NIH and other national foundations. In addition, she is a program evaluator and consultant on NIH-funded, governmental, and foundation grant awards. 

Ashley Darcy-Mahoney, PhD, NNP, FAAN, a neonatal nurse practitioner and researcher, has worked throughout her career to advance nursing research, education and practice, with a focus on neonatology, infant health and developmental pediatrics. Her research has led to the creation of programs that improve health and developmental outcomes for at-risk and preterm infants. An associate professor of nursing and the director of infant research at George Washington University’s Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, Dr. Darcy-Mahoney is also a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Nurse Faculty Scholar, a fellow of the American Academy of Nurses, a 2017 Josiah Macy Scholar, and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence. 

N. Maritza Dowling, PhD, MS, is a tenure-track assistant professor of biostatistics and research.  Her research interests emphasize risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders, and non-pharmacological therapeutic strategies to preserve and improve cognitive abilities affected by age. The application of novel latent variable modeling approaches to improve the sensitivity of cognitive measures has been a key component of this research. She has led and co-led multiple NIH and Alzheimer’s Association grants supporting her work. Most recently, Dr. Dowling has been studying how groundbreaking technologies for health care delivery such as telemedicine have impacted Medicaid reimbursement policies and access to care and health outcomes for rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients living with AD and related dementias. She has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and serves as a scientific grant reviewer for the Alzheimer’s Association and other national and international foundations.

Edward Salsberg, MPA, is a leading national expert of health workforce studies. Over the past 25 years, he was the founding director of three health workforce research centers including the DHHS National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. In these positions, Mr. Salsberg has actively promoted and helped improve health workforce data collection and analysis. Mr. Salsberg regularly tracks and publishes on registered nurse and nurse practitioner supply and demand.

Haley Stepp, MPH, Senior Communications Associate