SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES: S-Z

Anthony Santella

Daniel Salas
Disease Intervention Specialist
City of El Paso
Department of Public Health
El Paso, TX

Daniel serves as a Disease Intervention Specialist/ Health Prevention Specialist with the city of El Paso Department of Public Health. Born and raised in the El Paso, he has developed a passion to keep his community and neighbors healthy. He holds a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has volunteered with several programs including FEMAP at a local low income hospital in the city of Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He has also lived in different areas of Mexico, and South Texas. Previous to his position with the Department of Public Health he held management positions for nearly 8 years.

John Sapero
Office Chief, HIV Prevention Program
Arizona Department of Health Services 
Phoenix, AZ

John Sapero is the Office Chief for HIV Prevention for Arizona Department of Health Services. He leads an awesome team of staff and volunteers that implement innovative, collaborative initiatives designed to end the HIV epidemic in Arizona. John has a long history of working in the Phoenix HIV community as an educator, director of two AIDS Walks, and volunteer for several HIV organizations.John currently serves as the Chair of the Phoenix EMA Ryan White Part A Planning Council, and as a member of the City of Phoenix 90-90-90 Commission, which oversees the local implementation of the UNAIDS Fast-Track Cities Initiative. On July 21, John celebrated his 29th anniversary living with HIV.

Maureen Scahill
Nurse Practitioner/Senior Public Health Advisor
University of Rochester
Center for Community Practice
Rochester, NY

Maureen Scahill is a nurse practitioner, completing her MS in 1992 at the University of Rochester (UR), and has worked for the UR Medical Center (URMC) for over 43 years, in a various clinical settings. The past 24 years have been with the URMC Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, working as an NP in the County STD Clinic Program, as well as with the UR-Center for Community Practice (CCP). As an NP and Senior Public Health Advisor, this ID work has focused on HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis (VH). CCP is designated as an HIV national capacity building assistance (CBA) organization, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also designated as the New York State Department of Health-AIDS Institute (NYSDOH-AI) as the statewide STD Center of Excellence for the Clinical Education Initiative (CEI). CCP is also the Upstate NY Regional Training Center for the NYSDOH-AI, for HIV/STD/VH prevention. The training and other technical assistance (TA) are provided to a wide range of clinical and other healthcare service providers in HIV/STD/VH prevention. Ms. Scahill has worked in direct clinical STD public health settings (e.g., main clinic, criminal and juvenile justice settings, mobile van projects) for 24 years. She has extensive public health program experience including direct patient/client services, supervision, coordination, and staff development. In addition, she has provided didactic training for the aforementioned target audiences. Through CDC funding, Ms Scahill has delivered over 22 years of training/TA to these same audiences, particularly to health departments. In addition, Ms Scahill has provided clinical training and other TA for STD care and prevention. Ms Scahill has experience in development of curricula, behavioral and biomedical intervention development and implementation, clinical and didactic training, and preceptor-/mentor-ships for academic and direct service providers.

Carl Schmid
Deputy Executive Director,
The AIDS Institute
Washington, D.C.

Carl Schmid has been with The AIDS Institute, a national nonpartisan, public policy, advocacy research, and education organization that advocates for people with HIV and viral hepatitis, since February 2004.  He leads the Institute’s federal policy work before the executive agencies and the Congress.

Schmid helps lead the HIV and hepatitis communities’ advocacy efforts in Washington DC to ensure domestic HIV and hepatitis programs, including the Ryan White Program, CDC HIV and hepatitis prevention programs, and NIH AIDS Research, are based on sound public policy and fully funded. He is a Convening Group member of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership and co-chairs its AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition. He has expertise in health care financing systems, including Medicaid and Medicare, and led efforts to ensure that Affordable Care Act implementation meets the needs of people living with or at risk of HIV and hepatitis.

As part of the Institute’s work in advocating for people with HIV and hepatitis, Schmid works extensively with other patient and disease groups on collective efforts to ensure that patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, have access to quality and affordable health care.  In January 2018, Schmid was appointed as a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In December 2018, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appointed Schmid as Co-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, a group that he served on from 2007-09 and chaired its Domestic Subcommittee. In 2010, he was named by POZ Magazine as one of the 100 most effective AIDS fighters and by Whitman Walker Health as one of the 25 individuals who have played prominent roles in the fight against HIV in DC. In 2016, he was named the Champion of the Year by the ADAP Advocacy Association.

Mr. Schmid earned a B.A. in Public Affairs and a M.B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Melissa Schwarz
Evaluation Specialist
Access Community Health Network
Washington, DC

Melissa Schwarz has served as an Evaluation Specialist at ACCESS Community Health Network for six year, evaluating a portfolio of grant-funded programs, primarily relating to HIV prevention in high-risk populations and HIV/HCV testing expansion in the general clinical setting. In that role she has provided regular feedback and reporting for program improvement and compliance with funder requirements. She has worked with IS and operational teams to develop systems to capture and extract necessary data elements and collaborated with external academics and internal stakeholders to disseminate findings from evaluation studies and quality improvement projects. Prior to working at ACCESS, Ms. Schwarz was a Senior Analyst at Metro Chicago Information Center, a non-profit research and consulting agency that provided information and insight to enhance program and planning decision made by civic, social service and philanthropic organizations. In that capacity she developed and implemented research plans to collect quantitative and qualitative data, including overseeing telephone surveys, moderating focus groups and participating in evaluation research. She worked extensively with data, developing and compiling data models and indices of community conditions to track and inform community development efforts. As an evaluator and data specialist with almost twenty years of experience, Ms. Schwarz believes in the power of data to inform decisions and shape programs, and she recognizes the challenges in making that happen. She is happy to explain the nuances of the data and how its collection and processing impact its use.

Gregory Seaney-Ariano

Mr. Seaney-Ariano has been working with the Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health for 15 years in the area of HIV/AIDS, originally as a Program Analyst, then Supervisor and is now currently Manager of the Training and Special Initiatives Unit.

Jacqueline Sherbuk, MD
Research Fellow
Infectious Diseases
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Jacqueline Sherbuk, MD, is a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the University of Virginia.

Ron Simmons, Ph.D
Principal
Ron Simmons Consulting
Washington, DC 

Ron Simmons, Ph.D., is the former President/CEO of Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc. (UHU), a nonprofit organization that specializes in HIV prevention and support services for the African-American community. Under his leadership, UHU evolved from a support group for HIV-positive Black gay men to one of the largest Black AIDS services organizations in the nation. He retired in 2016. In 2018, he started Ron Simmons Consulting, LLC, and developed the Bodemé Workshop, a HIV prevention intervention for young Black gay men, ages 16 to 29. He is a member of the DC Regional Commission on Health and HIV, the Global Network of Black People working in HIV (GNBPH), and serves on the Steering Committee of ICASA, the international AIDS conference for African nations.Dr. Simmons’ published works include: “Some Thoughts on the Challenges Facing Black Gay Intellectuals” in Brother To Brother: New Writings By Black Gay Men; “Sexuality, Television and Death: A Black Gay Dialogue On Malcolm X” in Malcolm X: In Our Own Image; “Baraka’s Dilemma: To Be Or Not To Be” in Black Men on Race, Gender and Sexuality; “The Voice” in For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough; and “Joe, Essex, Marlon, and Me” in Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call;. He was a field producer, photographer and cast member of the award-winning documentary, Tongues Untied. His honors include: the 2010 Life Time Achievement Award from the Black Gay Research Group; the 2010 Harvey Milk Alumni Award from the State University of New York at Albany; and the 2004 Heroes in the Struggle Award from the Black AIDS Institute. He was inducted into the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities’ Black Gay Men Hall of Fame in January 2013 and selected by POZ magazine as one of the POZ 100 most influential AIDS activists in the United States.

Scott Spiegler 
Program Planner
Care and Treatment Program
Bureau of HIV
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
New York, NY

Scott Spiegler currently serves as the Program Planner for the Care and Treatment Program in the Bureau of HIV at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Scott came to the role with a diverse background in direct services, public health program management, research, and evaluation. In his role as Program Planner, Mr. Spiegler develops Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and helps oversee the procurement process for the Ryan White Part A (RWPA) New York EMA portfolio. Scott also aids in identifying appropriate program models for use in NYC RWPA programs, RFP drafting, grant writing activities, and project coordination across departments.

Shannon Stephenson
ChiefExecutive Officer
Cempa Community Care
Chattanooga, TN

Shannon Stephenson is the Chief Executive Officer of Cempa Community Care, formerly Chattanooga CARES, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Shannon comes from a background in regulatory compliance, public health and safety, business administration, and emergency management. Shannon has a proven track record as a pioneer in cultivating the values of an organization to lead it to success. As an innovative and strategic leader, she uses her visionary approach to move the agency forward by developing culture, enhancing communication, creating strong alliances, and building high performing teams in a desirable work environment. Since arriving in October of 2015, Shannon has been instrumental in expanding the programs and services offered by Cempa Community Care. After assessing the community needs, Cempa restructured its mission to include Hepatitis C and Sexually Transmitted Infections. This led to the creation of an STI clinic that offers both Hepatitis C and PrEP services. Additionally, the agency expanded its operations and opened a sister site in partnership with East Tennessee State University Center of Excellence. Further strategic initiatives include introducing the Rapid Antiretroviral Program Initiative for new Diagnosis and Rapid Syphilis Testing; enhancing behavioral health and care coordination programs; launching a rural mobile clinic and syringe services program; rebranding the agency; and expanding access in minority communities. As an emerging leader in Healthcare Administration, Shannon has engaged as a speaker or panelist concentrating on innovative practices, fiscal oversite, and program compliance. Most recently, she accepted an invitation as a panelist for SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions focused on Sustaining Integrated Care. Nationally, she serves as President of the Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access. Regionally, she serves as the President for the Association of Governmental Accountants. Locally, she serves as a board member or committee member with several community based organizations.Since taking the helm, in collaboration with the forward-thinking Board of Directors, Cempa has demonstrated achievement in the following areas:Fiscal Efficiency and GrowthGrant Revenue: Increased from $1,306,994 to $2,135,800Pharmacy Revenue: Added new covered entity and increased from $5,424,603 to $13,623,031 Contributions and Donations: Increased 90%Special Events: Increased 31% including 8 new and unique corporate sponsorsNet Assets: Purchased new building and increased assets by 52%Fiscal Audit Findings: Decreased from 4 to 1Grant Audit Findings/Corrective Action: Decreased to 0 across all state and federal programsStaff Benefits: Added comprehensive benefit package to create legacy employeesOperational Efficiency and GrowthEmployees: Increased from 26 to 45Viral Load Suppression: Increased from 74% to 91%Clinical Patients: Increased 34%New Diagnosis to Prescribing Practitioner Visit: Decreased from 4 weeks to same day servicesPrograms: Added 6 including 3 new clinical services/locationsCommunity Education Outreach/Partnerships: Increased 63%Service area: Added 14 counties in East TennesseeStaff Development: Training and development increased by 235%Client Nutrition: Added a Registered Dietician and additional mobile market availabilityBi-lingual Staff: Increased from 2 to 5Organizational Advisory Boards: Created Client, African-American, and Hispanic CommitteesHIV, HCV, STI Testing: Increased by 43%Education & CredentialsCertified Public Accountant, State of Tennessee, License 24190M.B.A., Lincoln Memorial University, 2008B.A., Tennessee Wesleyan University, 2005Panelist/SpeakerNational Ryan White Conference on Care & Treatment 2016: Abstract Presenter Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Task Force: How & Why The Drug Discount Program Works for Minority PopulationsFamilies USA: Roundtable Discussion for Patient and Consumer Advocates on Program IncomeSAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions: Sustaining Integrated CareDivision of Community HIV/AIDS Program (DCHAP) National Business Meeting: Behavioral Health Integration340B Coalition 2018: Communicating the Value of the Program Curant Health: Removing Barriers and Finding Solutions through Care ManagementCenter for Healthcare Innovation: Executive Healthcare RoundtableUniversity of Tennessee at Chattanooga: Professor for a DayUnited States Conference on AIDS: Community Leader Panel & OpioidsCommitteesCenter for Healthcare Innovation: Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity SymposiumChattanooga Chapter Association of Governmental Accountants: Executive Committee, President of the BoardNational Minority Aids Coalition: Leadership Institute CommitteeTennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants: Nonprofit and Governmental Committee Godsong Ministries: Finance CommitteeRyan White Clinics for 340B Access: Executive Committee, President of the BoardAids United: Public Policy CouncilAssociations/MembershipsTennessee Society of Certified Public AccountantsChattanooga Women’s Leadership InstituteAssociation of Governmental AccountantsNational Minority Aids CouncilRyan White Clinics for 340B AccessAmerican Institute of Certified Public AccountantsCommunity Involvement (including roles served) Chickamauga Lake Property Owners Association: President and Board MemberAssociation of Governmental Accountants: President and Board MemberCommunities in Schools: Vice President and Board Member Waconda Bay Community Club: Past-President and Board MemberThe Bethlehem Center Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care: Board MemberTennessee Emergency Management Task Force III: Canine Handler and Trainer.

Sharon Stancliff

Jason Stern
Chief Operating Officer
Hepatitis Education Project (HEP)
Seattle, WA

Jason is Chief Operating Officer at Hepatitis Education Project (HEP), a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, support, education and direct-services for people affected by viral hepatitis. In this role, he oversees programming, operations, grant management, and strategic plan development. Jason also supports the organization’s health policy and advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level. Jason comes from the corporate sector where he spent over 10 years leading business development, marketing and strategic planning efforts. He worked along-side executive management developing go-to-market solutions and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships to mobilize resources, improve innovation, and maximize impact. Prior to joining HEP, Jason was the Executive Director for PRONTO International, a global health nonprofit organization that works to reduce maternal and infant mortality in low- and middle-income countries. At PRONTO, he operationalized the start-up organization and secured major grant funding to expand programming into India, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.

Ashley Michelle Tarrant
Chief Operations Officer
Medical Advocacy and Outreach
Montgomery, AL 

Ashley Michelle Tarrant, a Birmingham, Alabama native, relocated to Montgomery in 2010. She graduated from The University of Alabama in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and obtained a Masters of Public Health Degree (MPH) from the University of Alabama – Birmingham in 2009. In 2017, Ashley boosted her professional knowledge by participating in the Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Executive Program at the UCAL Anderson School of Management—Los Angeles, California. Ashley serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO) based in Montgomery, Alabama. Ashley’s passion for working towards the improvement of the health status of adolescents, minorities, women, and disenfranchised populations grew while she spent the Fall of 2009 working with the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA) in Ocho Rios, Jamaica conducting community HIV/AIDS education and outreach activities. After working internationally in the field of HIV/AIDS, Ashley returned to the U.S. and began working with MAO in 2010. Over the last 8 years, she has served in various positions at MAO including Ryan White Programs Administrator, Chief Programmatic Officer, and Compliance Officer. Ashley has been a member of the Alabama Quality Management Group since 2010 and currently serves as the group’s Co-Chair. She has presented on HIV Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) topics locally and nationally in addition to having served on national grant and abstract review committees. Ashley’s professional organizational memberships include The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation (WBL). Outside of her professional duties, Ashley is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®–Beta Nu Omega Chapter and The Junior League of Montgomery. She has served in leadership positions in both organizations. Ashley enjoys reading with a local book club, travel, Alabama football, and volunteering in her spare time. Her favorite quote is by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Mark Thompson
Program Coordinator
New York State Dept. of Health AIDS Institute’s
(NYS DOH AI) YGetIt? Project
New York, NY

Mark Thompson is the program coordinator for the New York State Dept. of Health AIDS Institute’s (NYS DOH AI) YGetIt? Project which uses social media tools to engage, educate and empower young adults about all facets of the HIV care continuum. Mark is an active member of the AIDS Institute’s Digital Health Initiative which develops and disseminates best practices and policies regarding use of digital technologies, such as social media, to effect health outcomes.Mark’s passion for prevention and HIV care began while he was an outreach and HIV testing associate with Just Been Tested (JBT Foundation). At JBT, he facilitated the development of a robust social media presence and used STI surveillance data to create a more impactful outreach strategy. Mark’s work at AI has helps to communicate and implement HIV treatment and prevention options in an increasingly interconnected and tech savvy population. Mark hopes to continue the fight against HIV and looks forward to meeting NY’s ETE2020 goals. Mark is a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.Mark holds a Masters of Public Health from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a Bachelors of Biology from Iona College.

Mary Evelyn Torres

Evelyn Torres has an MBA in Health Administration. She is the Program Implementation Administrator, at the Philadelphia Department of Health, AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO). AACO administers federal (including Ryan White and CDC), state and local funding for the provision of services to persons living with HIV and those at risk for acquisition of HIV. It has a budget of approximately 50 million. As administrator, Ms. Torres has direct responsibility for the overall operations of five AACO units involved in surveillance, sub-recipient monitoring and quality assurance, data collection/reporting, performance evaluation and continuous quality improvement; as well as education and special initiatives. She has over twenty years’ experience in the HIV field, including case management, program implementation and quality management. Ms. Torres implemented the Client Services Unit at AACO; a centralized medical case management intake unit that includes a client grievance line for AACO funded services. She has represented AACO in collaborative efforts with HRSA, CDC, the HIV Integrated Planning Council and other Philadelphia Department of Health units.

 

Alecia Tramal

Alexander Valentine 

Karen Jeaneen Washington 
Public Health Program Representative
City of St Louis Department of Health 
St Louis, MO

Karen Jeaneen Washington completed her graduate degree in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University-St. Charles MO. Ms. Washington currently works as a Public Health Program Representative, for the City of St. Louis Department of Health- Communicable Disease Prevention Services. She has an extensive background in HIV/STI prevention and care services with over 18 years of public speaking, presentation, and educational experience in the HIV/STI field. With her education in counseling and professional background she has a unique and effective approach in providing awareness to the public, private, and community sectors while working with women and families. MS. Washington strive to provide clients with tailored treatment plans, safety plans, and education focusing on advocacy, prevention, HIV/STI testing, treatment, and care, as well as, resources in the area of violence against women.”

Jeffrey J. Weiss, PhD, M
Associate Professor
Icahn School of Medicine
Mount Sinai
New York, NY

Jeffrey J. Weiss, PhD, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is the Director of the Respectful & Equitable Access to Comprehensive Healthcare (REACH) Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine. REACH is a community outreach and primary care-based harm reduction treatment program providing stigma-free care, including HCV treatment, to persons who use drugs. He has worked for 25 years in the United States and Europe as a licensed clinical psychologist providing care to persons with infectious diseases; conducting research on behavioral interventions to improve their quality and length of life including strategies to improve medication and treatment adherence; and providing education and mentorship to medical providers and public health professionals. His NIH-funded research studies led to the development of the open-access, web-based Psychosocial Readiness Evaluation and Preparation for hepatitis C treatment (PREP-C) assessment tool which has been accessed by over 1800 health care professionals from around the world and shown to improve rates of HCV treatment initiation among HIV/HCV co-infected persons. His current research focuses on the intersection of HIV. HCV, and the opioid crisis and he serves as a co-Investigator on two HCV elimination studies in Kentucky.

Aisha Wilkes 

Grace Wilkens 

Ashlee Wimberly
Coordinator
DC PrEP for Women Initiative
Washington, DC

Ashlee Wimberly is the project coordinator for the DC PrEP for Women Initiative, a public-private partnership between the Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health. With the overall aim of increasing the knowledge and utilization of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among women of color in Washington, D.C., Ashlee’s activities focus on PrEP grantmaking, capacity building among providers, and community outreach. Ashlee also collaborates with DC Health’s condom coordinator to host small group presentations around sexual health and HIV prevention. Prior to her current role, she provided program support to the National Association of Community Health Centers. Ashlee graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health, and Society and obtained a MPH in Health Policy from the George Washington University.

Cara Wood
Sr. Health Project Coordinator,
University of Rochester Center for Community Practice
Rochester, NY

Cara Wood is a Senior Health Project Coordinator at the University of Rochester Center for Community Practice (URCCP). She joined the team at URCCP after working for nearly 5 years as an LGBTQ+ Health care coordinator, advocate, and educator at a community-based organization in upstate New York. During that time, she provided HIV test-counseling for members of priority populations, including many transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals. Cara has continuously worked to translate her experiences as a community health provider and member of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the experiences shared by the communities she served, into meaningful education for health and human services providers. Cara seeks to use her platform as a trainer and technical assistance provider at URCCP to encourage health professionals to address issues in healthcare access, stigma, and health disparities experienced by marginalized populations. In addition to creating innovative, dynamic, culturally responsive educational curricula and materials, Cara aspires to raise up the voices of communities most affected by HIV and health inequity.

Dennis Young