Conference Speakers:


Rafael Barrera, MD, MHCDS

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Dr Rafael Barrera is a Professor of Surgery and Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Zucker School of Medicine

  • Director Global Surgery, Northwell Surgical Service Line Northwell
  • Director Surgical Intensive Care Unit LIJMC-Northwell
  • Director Surgical Continuum of Care LIJMC-Northwell

Specializes in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Clinical Nutrition

He is a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine, Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition

He has numerous publications and book chapters; current ongoing research is on outcomes in critical care patients.

Alejandro David Cané, MD

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Vaccines Scientific and Medical Affairs Lead North America, Pfizer


Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS

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17th Surgeon General of the United States
Chief of Health Innovations, Canyon Ranch
Distinguished Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Eric Cioè-Peña, MD, MPH, FACEP

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Eric Cioè-Peña MD MPH is the Founding Director of the Center for Global Health of Northwell Health and the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.  He is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine.  He is also the ACEP lead ambassador to El Salvador and Botswana.  He is a graduate of SUNY Downstate Emergency Medicine Residency program and the Columbia University International Emergency Medicine Fellowship.  He has worked in Botswana, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador on health systems development projects, trauma care and humanitarian assistance following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.  He has a Masters in Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Cioè Peña is leading an initiative at Northwell and Hofstra to unify and consolidate Global Health programming to     be integrated and horizontally focused.  His work is centered currently on breaking down siloes in a large University system and an even larger Health system with over 70,000 employees, 23 hospitals and 12 schools and colleges at the University.  Dr. Cioè Peña is the president of the Global Emergency Medicine Academy of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and is also the president of the International Emergency Medicine fellowship consortium.  He served on the Public Health and Injury Prevention committee and is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  Dr. Cioè Peña lives with his wife, María, and two children, Emiliano and Aurelia in Montclair, NJ.


Karina Davidson, PhD

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Karina W. Davidson is senior vice president of research, dean of academic affairs, and Institute Director at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health. She is the Endowed Donald and Barbara Zucker Professor in Health Outcomes in Department of Medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University/Northwell Health. Her research focuses on innovations in personalized trials and healthcare systems to manage chronic disease and patient symptoms that incorporate patient preferences and values. She currently serves as Chair of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. She has a Ph.D. in clinical health psychology and a M.A.Sc in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.


Enid J. García-Rivera, MD, MPH

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Dr. Enid García-Rivera is a family physician and epidemiologist with extensive experience in applied epidemiology, clinical research, and health disparities. Her prior experience includes working as medical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and being the Puerto Rico State Epidemiologist. Currently she faculty of the UPR School of Medicine and director of the Endowed Health Services Research Center, a center sponsored by NIH and aimed to enhance current infrastructure for health disparities research. Her areas of interests include vector-borne diseases, health disparities, implementation research, and teaching epidemiology methods.


Richard Gooden, MBA

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Richard Gooden,  MBA, serves as the Program Director of the Morehouse Healthcare Telehealth Program in the Family Medicine Department of the Morehouse School of Medicine. In this position, he is responsible for strategic and operational oversight of all telehealth/telemedicine services at Morehouse Healthcare. He is responsible for the design, implementation, optimization and delivery of telemedicine services for MHC patients. In coordination with clinical and administrative leaders at MSM, he provides leadership and system-wide subject matter expertise focused on the delivery of innovative, value-based virtual care. Mr. Gooden is building a network of partners within the Metro Atlanta Area, rural Georgia and nationally to assist in the advancement and creation of health equity in telemedicine and telehealth.

Prior to joining MHC, Mr. Gooden led all of the communication and distance learning activities associated with the Center, including promotions, outreach, campaigns, technical support for multiple webinar series. Mr. Gooden supervises a team of staff, contractors and consultants who support efforts that allow the National Center for Primary Care to offer distance learning to frontline clinicians nationwide via various programs.

Mr. Gooden is a co-instructor of course on the principles of health communications at Morehouse School of Medicine Master’s of Public Health Program. He has just completed a three-year project in which he served as the principal investigator for the American Cancer Society entitled, “Utilizing Effective Media Platforms, Technology and Social Network Strategies for Reaching African Americans with Health-Related Early Detection, Prevention and Risk Reduction Messages.”

Mr. Gooden was hired by the 16th Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, as a health communications specialist to lead the communications of the National Center for Primary Care in 2005. Upon his arrival he launched a newsletter, annual report, and other products intended to elevate the exposure of the National Center for Primary Care.

Prior to arriving at the National Center for Primary Care, Mr. Gooden worked as a Senior Research Project Coordinator at Emory University. During the tenure at Emory University, Mr. Gooden assisted in starting a health disparities lecture series, designed and developed a series of newsletters, brochures and informational videos.

Gooden started his career as a journalist covering an assortment of beats, from the military to the school board.

He started his professional career as a fulltime print journalist covering college and high school football in New York and Virginia. He would later become a sports editor before transitioning into public health. He received his MBA from Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business and his undergraduate degree in Journalism from Norfolk State University.


Tesheia Johnson, MBA, MHS

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Tesheia Johnson, MBA, MHS, is Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of YCCI and the Director for Clinical Research for Yale School of Medicine, where she provides leadership and direction in the area of clinical research. Her career has focused on the development of clinical research programs and support infrastructure. She is the co-founder, along with community leaders of the AME Zion Church and Junta for Progressive Action, of the Yale Cultural Ambassadors program, launched more than ten years ago with a mission to catalyze the sustainable advancement of patient diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical research. Prior to assuming her current position, she held positions as Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Director of Clinical Trials at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She has served as a consultant for several academic centers interested in establishing clinical research programs and as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.

Ms. Johnson is nationally recognized for her expertise in the design and setup of clinical research programs. She has been an invited speaker at many national and international conferences on topics such as developing funding for central support for clinical research, staffing models for clinical and translational research, training programs for research professionals, clinical research regulation, and contracting and budget negotiation. She has served as Chair and co-Chair for several National Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium Group/Committees. She sits on the external scientific advisory boards for the CTSAs at Stanford University, NYU, Washington University, Rockefeller, the Universities of Buffalo, Colorado, Florida, Rochester and Washington and at University College London Hospitals’ Biomedical Research Centre. Ms. Johnson also one of the team leaders chairing the, Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) on clinical trials diversity. She serves as the Yale Leader for the School of Medicine partnership with the FDA Office of Minority Health and Health Equity which also focuses on diverse participation in clinical research.


Damaris Jusino, MBA

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Provide consultation to study teams on the implementation of eCOA solutions for their clinical trials. Oversee eSource Proof of Concept projects and conduct feasibility assessments from an operational and regulatory standpoint. Develop and implement process improvements to enhance the eCOA experience and prepare our infrastructure for future state. Participate in projects that support clinical innovation and efficiencies in the eSource space. Oversee eCOA Managers and our CRO partners supporting eCOA activities.

Sean T Liu, MD, PhD

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Sean Liu is the Medical Director of the COVID Trials Unit at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Sean earned his PhD at Princeton University studying human cytomegalovirus in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Shenk. He completed his post-doctoral training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai developing universal influenza vaccine candidates under the guidance of Dr. Peter Palese. He completed his infectious disease fellowship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is an ABIM Board Certified physician in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Since March 2020, Sean helped to establish the convalescent plasma treatment program at the Mount Sinai Hospital as well as coordinate multiple COVID-19 clinical studies.


  • MD, UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Residency, Internal Medicine
    North Shore University Hospital
  • Fellowship, Infectious Diseases
    Mount Sinai Hospital

Nat Med   2020 Nov;26(11):1708-1713.

doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-1088-9. Epub 2020 Sep 15.


Patricia Maxwell

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Distinguished Prof. Public Health, Health Promotion Sciences & Community, Environment and Policy (EHS)
Health Promotion Sciences Department, the University of Arizona, Mel &Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Canyon Ranch Institute, Tucson, Arizona


Carlos Mellado Lopez, MD

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Coming Soon!


Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD

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Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD, is an accomplished physician-scientist and transformational leader, with designations in the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine. He is recognized throughout the world for his scientific contributions in the areas of genomics, precision medicine and toxicology.

With formal training in pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and medicine, Dr. Ramos is helping to steer the changing landscape of medicine and healthcare. He leads several translational, clinical and educational programs that integrate diverse approaches to elucidate genomic mechanisms of disease. Dr. Ramos has provided academic, executive, administrative, and scientific leadership in genetics and genomic medicine and toxicology at several institutions, and over the course of his career has influenced the career of numerous clinicians and scientists engaged in medical, veterinary and pharmaceutical practice. He is committed to initiatives that advance modern technological applications to improve quality of healthcare and reduce disease burden and health-associated costs.

Dr. Ramos’s research has paved the way for groundbreaking research on genomic medicine, with a focus on LINE-1 retroelements and their role in chromatin remodeling, DNA damage and repair, and genetic reprogramming. His group was the first to establish a role for retinoblastoma proteins as master regulators of epigenetic silencing of LINE-1 and later characterized novel targets for pharmacologic regulation of cancer cells. He is currently examining the utility of circulating LINE-1 products both free and within exosomes as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers of various diseases and cancer types, which combined with imaging modalities may improve precision for early detection. This knowledge is being used to develop targeted therapies for lung, liver and breast diseases and cancer.


Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, FACP

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As senior vice president of community and population health, Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, oversees Northwell Health’s community and public health strategy, including community health investment, community relations, strategic community partnerships, the Center for Equity of Care, as well as the smoking cessation, human trafficking and Food as Health programs. Dr. Salas-Lopez’s leadership was critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her team have partnered with various community and faith-based leaders to identify their most-pressing needs, which became the catalyst for Northwell’s faithbased testing initiative — a program where Northwell partners with community and faith-based centers to offer free diagnostic and serology (antibody) testing. Dr. Salas-Lopez is also leading the Long Island Regional Health Equity Task Force, which has been tasked with providing equitable and safe COVID-19 vaccine distribution and education to lower-income communities. Dr. Salas-Lopez joined Northwell in 2019 as senior vice president for transformation, responsible for system value-based initiatives that improve health and care delivery. She assumed her leadership role after serving as the chief transformation officer at Lehigh Valley Health Network, where she led strategy and oversaw a unique and broad portfolio, including community-based and population health initiatives, telehealth, connected care, and innovation, strategic partnerships, and operational redesigning of the clinical delivery system. At Lehigh Valley, Dr. Salas-Lopez held various academic and clinical leadership positions. In 2009, she was appointed as the Leonard Parker Pool Chair of Medicine, a role she served in until 2015 when she became an associate chief medical officer. In 2017, she was appointed chief transformation officer for Lehigh Valley Health Network. Academically, she was a professor of medicine at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine and the College of Public Health. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. She has collaborated with many community-based organizations on issues related to prevention, screening, and healthcare access and has partnered with other healthcare institutions to address community needs. She has led initiatives to improve quality of care and the health of the community, reduce costs, and provide better care coordination. Dr. Salas-Lopez is a nationally recognized speaker and educator in women leaders in medicine, healthcare disparities and equity in care, cultural awareness and language-appropriate services, and the impact of social and economic factors on health. In 2021, Modern Healthcare named her to its annual Top 25 Women Leaders as a “Woman to Watch.” She also received the 2021 Tribute to Excellence in Health Care award from the United Hospital Fund.


Sam Salman

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Sam co-founded miR Scientific in 2014. Sam is a serial entrepreneur and a renowned executive who throughout his career held senior executive and board level positions developing game-changing technologies and companies across industries, including Biotech (president – Errant Gene Therapeutics), Art Authentication (CEO – Provenire Authentication), Aquaculture (Chairman – Greenfins Global) and Financial Services (Mission Markets Inc., a pioneering financial services firm focused on impact and sustainability markets.). Sam attended the American University of Paris in France and Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Selectors of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.


Frances Santiago-Schwarz, PhD

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Frances Santiago-Schwarz, Ph.D., is Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Professor, Elmezzi Graduate School, Northwell Health.

Her contributions to the field of human immunology include: isolating and functionally characterizing for the first time, human immune dendritic cells (DCs) from circulating blood; the initial delineation of cytokine-driven human DC hematopoiesis from cord blood progenitors, deciphering key molecular events related to the positive and negative control of DC development and function, the first description of a leukemic counterpart of myeloid DCs. Most recently, at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Santiago-Schwarz’ research focused on the control of monocyte and DC development in normal and abnormal physiology and, developing new therapeutic agents for autoimmune diseases.

Throughout her career as an educator and biomedical scientist, Dr. Santiago-Schwarz has been actively engaged in a variety of mentoring, diversity, and global humanitarian initiatives. As Visiting Scholar in the Center for Global Health of Northwell Health and Chair of Global Health Research and Education, Dr. Santiago-Schwarz brings her collective professional experiences and expertise so as to help promote public health, research, and education in a global and diverse setting.


Ana Santos Rutschman, SJD

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Ana Santos Rutschman is assistant professor at Saint Louis University School of Law, where she teaches courses related to health law, innovation in the life sciences, intellectual property, and law and technology. She has been named a Health Law Scholar (2018) and a Bio Intellectual Property Scholar (2017) by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics for her scholarly work on the intellectual property of vaccines. Her book, Vaccines as Technology: Innovation, Barriers and the Public Interest, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.


Walkitria Smith, MD

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As a physician and community health advocate, Dr. Walkitria Smith has been dedicated to reducing health disparities through education, primary care, and preventative medicine. Her commitment to helping others live an optimal life has propelled her to the current positions of Associate Director for Fm Residency, Medical Director of Telemedicine at MSM, and Assistant Professor in the Department of FM. A graduate of Spelman College and The Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Smith has been devoted to those within her community, directly impacted by chronic disease. Dr. Smith’s clinical and medical research includes Women’s Health and Pediatrics Preventative Medicine with a strong focus on diet, exercise, and living a holistically healthy life.


John Q. Young, MD, PhD

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Dr. Young is Professor and Vice Chair for Education and Program Director in the Department of Psychiatry at the Zucker School of Medicine. He received a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Harvard University with a double concentration in Social Studies and the Comparative Study of Religion. He earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a PhD in Health Professional Education from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He obtained his MD from the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine where he also completed residency training in general adult psychiatry.