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Check out our great lineup of speakers for the 2024 Policy Action Institute. More coming soon!

Kelly Baden headshotKELLY BADEN

Kelly Baden (she/hers) brings nearly 20 years of experience in reproductive rights to her role as vice president for public policy at the Guttmacher Institute, which she joined in 2023. In her position, she oversees the Institute’s Public Policy team to advance evidence-based policies at the state, national and global levels. Before joining Guttmacher, Ms. Baden was the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at State Innovation Exchange (SiX), where she launched the country’s only national cohort of state legislators committed to reproductive freedom and piloted programs like convening a delegation of state legislators to visit El Salvador to learn about the devastating impact of abortion bans. Previously, Ms. Baden was in charge of the state advocacy and policy portfolio at the Center for Reproductive Rights; she has also worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey and EMILY’s List. Ms. Baden previously served on the board of URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity) and the New Jersey Abortion Access Fund and was a Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Fellow with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and women’s and gender studies from The College of New Jersey.

John Balbus headshotJOHN BALBUS, MD, MPH

Dr. Balbus is the director of the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity within OASH and the deputy assistant secretary for climate change and health equity. A physician and public health professional with over 25 years of experience working on the health implications of climate change, Dr. Balbus has served as HHS Principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program and co-chair of the working group on Climate Change and Human Health for the U.S. Global Change Research Program since he joined the federal government in 2009. Before coming over to the new Office, Dr. Balbus served as senior advisor for public health to the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Prior to joining NIEHS, Dr. Balbus was the chief health scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services. He received his MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.


Georges C. Benjamin is known as one of the nation’s most influential physician leaders because he speaks passionately and eloquently about the health issues having the most impact on our nation today. From his firsthand experience as a physician, he knows what happens when preventive care is not available and when the healthy choice is not the easy choice. As executive director of APHA since 2002, he is leading the Association’s push to make America the healthiest nation. He came to APHA from his position as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Benjamin became secretary of health in Maryland in April 1999, following four years as its deputy secretary for public health services. As secretary, Benjamin oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state’s Medicaid program. Benjamin, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians, an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Public Health and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.

Liz Bloom headshotLIZ BLOOM

Liz Bloom is a policy advisor and speechwriter on the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she works on LGBTQI+ policy, antisemitism and other issues. Previously in the Biden-Harris Administration, she worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the front office of Chair Gary Gensler.


Claire Borzner headshotCLAIRE BORZNER

Claire Borzner currently serves as senior professional staff member for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under the leadership of Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. She leads the portfolios for nutrition and international food aid, having previously covered specialty crops, agriculture labor and hemp for the Committee. She has spent over a decade on Capitol Hill and previously worked as a legislative assistant for Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and as a legislative correspondent for Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. A New Jersey native, she is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.

Robert Califf headshotROBERT M. CALIFF, MD

Dr. Robert M. Califf was confirmed as the 25th Commissioner of Food and Drugs. He also served in 2016 as the 22nd Commissioner, and immediately prior to that as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco. He has spent a good portion of his career affiliated with Duke University, where he served as a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, and was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He has had a long and distinguished career as a physician, researcher, and leader in the fields of science and medicine. He is a nationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, health care quality, and clinical research, and a leader in the growing field of translational research, which is key to ensuring that advances in science translate into medical care.

Lili Farhang headshotLILI FARHANG, MPH

Lili serves as one of Human Impact Partners’ two co-directors, leading the overall strategic direction of the organization, in alignment with its mission, vision, values, and its strategic plan. For 20+ years, she has visioned, developed, and implemented policy and systems change to advance health equity in the government and nonprofit sectors. She helped launch the practice of Health Impact Assessment in the United States, and has helped establish HIP as a well-regarded example of what it means to bring social justice and public health practice together. She’s excited by the prospect of making public health a more meaningful and engaged partner in social movements, and in supporting public health institutions to realize their full potential. She lives in Oakland, CA with her partner and two kids.

Michelle Fiscus headshotMICHELLE D. FISCUS, MD, FAAP

Michelle Fiscus is a board-certified pediatrician and public health advocate who practiced general pediatrics in Franklin, TN for 17 years before transitioning to a career in public health in 2016. She served as the medical director of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program and led the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts until July 2021. She now serves as the inaugural chief medical officer of the Association of Immunization Managers, the professional organization of the 64 CDC-funded immunization programs across the U.S. states, territories and major cities. Dr. Fiscus also served as a senior health policy consultant for the National Academy for State Health Policy and recently completed a term on the board of directors of the American Academy of Pediatrics as District IV Chair representing Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Dr. Fiscus is a proud graduate of Indiana University and Indiana University School of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Medical Center.


Katrina currently serves as the co-executive director of CityHealth. CityHealth is a national health policy initiative and Katrina collaborates with local elected leaders, policy experts, and other key stakeholders to expand the understanding of health beyond healthcare and drive municipal policy change to improve the conditions that most influence people’s health. Before joining CityHealth, Katrina served as both legislative director and deputy chief of staff for At-Large D.C. Councilmember David Grosso. In that role, she drafted more than 50 pieces of original legislation and was responsible for leveraging community and business relationships to drive the Councilmember’s legislative agenda and policy priorities. In 2020, she received the District of Columbia’s Behavioral Health Association’s Community Champion Award for her advocacy on behalf of D.C. residents experiencing mental illness or addiction, and for her commitment to advancing behavioral health issues. Katrina holds a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from George Mason University and a law degree from UIC’s John Marshall Law School. She is a self-proclaimed “music maven,” and enjoys spending time with her husband, dog and family, traveling, and shopping.

David Fouse headshotDAVID FOUSE

David Fouse is director of membership, marketing and communications with the Association of Public Health Laboratories. APHL represents our nation’s state, local and territorial governmental laboratories that perform diagnostic testing and disease surveillance to keep our communities safe from disease threats. He leads a team dedicated to communicating and promoting the work of APHL and public health laboratories and strengthening membership in the association. David joined APHL in 2019 after serving as director of communications and marketing with the American Public Health Association, where he helped raise the profile and impact of APHA and its American Journal of Public Health.

Lori Fresina headshotLORI FRESINA, MPP

Lori Fresina is the national vice president and executive director of Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association. Through her leadership, direction and dedication, Lori has made a significant contribution to making communities healthier and more equitable through effective public policy. As co-creator of the Power Prism® advocacy framework, Lori’s expertise includes campaign planning, equitable coalition practices, community mobilization, training, grassroots development, and media advocacy. Before joining the American Heart Association in March 2019, Lori had long stints in public interest advocacy as senior vice president and New England office director for M+R Strategic Services, Northeast Regional Advocacy Director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and a variety of roles with American Cancer Society. Lori received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Emerson College and a master’s degree in public policy and citizen participation from Tufts University.

Don Hoppert headshotDON HOPPERT

Don Hoppert is the director of government relations at the American Public Health Association where he leads the association's federal government relations and grassroots advocacy activities. He previously served as director of federal and congressional affairs at APHA from 1998 through 2004. Don is a long-time former member of the board of directors of the Coalition for Health Funding, the oldest and largest nonprofit alliance working to preserve and strengthen federal public health funding. He served as president of the coalition in 2015 and 2016. From 2004 through 2006, Don was a public policy and public affairs consultant in San Francisco, where he worked for both corporate and nonprofit clients on a variety of public policy issues, including prescription drug access, tobacco control and emergency health services. Don served as a congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown from 1994 through 1998. He advised Brown on several legislative issues including the environment, financial services, education and crime and judiciary matters. He received a BA in Environmental Policy and Analysis from Bowling Green State University.

Olivia Hunt headshotOLIVIA HUNT

Olivia Hunt is federal policy director at Advocates for Trans Equality (A4TE). She works with national coalition partners and government officials to craft policies on issues affecting transgender people. Prior to joining A4TE, Olivia served as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw their name and gender marker change program serving transgender clients throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. She has also worked in the fields of international election law, corporate law, and municipal law.

Camara Jones headshotCAMARA JONES, MD, PhD, MPH

Camara Phyllis Jones is a family physician, epidemiologist, and past president of the American Public Health Association whose work focuses on naming, measuring, and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of our nation and the world. Her allegories on "race" and racism are celebrated for illuminating topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss: that racism exists, racism is a system, racism saps the strength of the whole society, and we can act to dismantle racism. Dr. Jones taught six years as an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, developing the school’s first course on “Race” and Racism, and served fourteen years as a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading the development of the six-question Reactions to “Race” module for use on CDC’s surveillance systems. As president of APHA in 2016, she launched the association on a National Campaign Against Racism that catalyzed the first of what are now 262 declarations by local jurisdictions across 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia that “Racism is a public health crisis.” She has since shared her expertise on “race”, racism, and anti-racism in extended residencies as a Radcliffe Fellow, Harvard University (2019-2020), Presidential Visiting Fellow, Yale School of Medicine (2021), Presidential Chair, University of California, San Francisco (2021-2022), and Leverhulme Visiting Professor in Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London (2022-2023), while continuing as an Adjunct Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Kyndall Knight headshotKYNDALL KNIGHT

Kyndall Knight is a 17-year-old AP Honor high school student from Monroe, North Carolina. Kyndall currently serves as student ambassador for My School Votes (MSV), When We All Vote. As an MSV Ambassador, she works with her city government officials and other activists to develop and host voter engagement events for her peers and community. In addition, Kyndall is involved with the BeStrong program, See Something Say Something program for violence prevention in public schools, and is a member of The National Scholars Association. Kyndall is an active community service leader and she founded the Mental Health Awareness and Violence Prevention Club at her school. She has impacted the lives of many youth through her dedication supporting neurodivergent students and promoting mental health rights in her community. She plans to become an elementary special education teacher, an active member of her school board and state representative in the near future. A fun fact about Kyndall, she is a scare actor at her local haunted house, the 13th Acre.

Selina Mathis headshotSELINA MATHIS

Selina Mathis is a native Washingtonian to Washington, D.C. She currently has experience as a certified peer support specialist. Selina is a freshman, pursuing a bachelor of science in psychology. She serves at risk youth, families and adults. Selina serves with other organizations such as The TRIGGER PROJECT, Youth Move National, and our District 's Department of Behavioral Health. Selina stands for the success for all inner city residents. Selina is an active public speaker with Dream To Soar and The Speakers Bureau. As a certified peer support specialist, Selina acquired the ability to work with multiple populations. She is currently educated in trauma and mental health. Through her experience, Selina became skilled at finding/navigating resources, as well as different entities. Selina is skilled at matching clients to resources according to their needs. Overall, she is very passionate about youth/"at risk" populations. Selina has a passion for advocating in the favor of youth. As someone with the proper experience, she could never feel out of place in environments that demand her skills. Selina has held many roles that deal closely with education as well. These roles include City Year, MOMIES TLC After-school Programs, Youth Move National Mental Health Youth Board, a certified peer support specialist with DBH DC, Wanda Alston Foundation and SOMES. Selina is able to communicate and relate to all consumers, from various backgrounds. Selina remains active in furthering her education and research while in pursuit of change.

LaDon Love headshotLADON LOVE

LaDon is the founding executive director of SPACEs In Action/SIA, a membership-based community organization in D.C. and Maryland. Members are primarily Black, Latine, and immigrants. SIA’s campaigns include equity in pay for the early childhood education workforce, reducing the cost burden for families, access to quality health care - including mental health, economic opportunity for families, language justice, and climate justice. The organization’s wins include changing the tax law in D.C., yielding over $75 million for early learning, resulting in a $5k-14k pay supplement for early childhood educators, and the Healthcare for Child Care program. SIA was instrumental in expanding perinatal support and health services for pregnant people and for the first year after giving birth, including Medicaid reimbursements for doulas. LaDon has over two decades of experience in community organizing, narrative creation, leadership and organizational development. She uses grassroots organizing to engage in local, state, and national campaigns to affect public policy. LaDon is a published photographer and the lead trainer for the Latin Economic Development Corp’s Entrepreneurs Training for Success program. She has trained over 100 women business leaders who wrote business plans and pitched their businesses to graduate.

Marc Morial headshotMARC MORIAL, JD

Marc Morial, one of the few national leaders to possess “street smarts,” and “boardroom savvy,” is the transformative president and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. He served as the highly successful and popular mayor of New Orleans as well as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Marc previously was a Louisiana state senator and was a lawyer in New Orleans with an active, high-profile practice. He is a leading voice on the national stage in the battle for jobs, education, housing, health, voting rights, equity, and entrepreneurship. Marc is a published author; his leadership book, Gumbo Coalition: 10 Leadership Lessons That Help You Inspire, United, and Achieve has been widely acclaimed, and his column entitled To Be Equal, reaches hundreds of thousands. He is the host of the weekly syndicated television show, America’s Black Forum. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics and African American studies, he has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the top 50 Non-Profit Leaders by the Non-Profit Times, one of the 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in America and he has also been inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA.

Oluwatosin Olateju headshotOLUWATOSIN OLATEJU, DrPH, MSN-CPHN, BSN, RN

Dr. Oluwatosin Olateju is an assistant professor of nursing at Coppin State University. In 2019, she founded Food and Care for All Inc (FCFA) – a non-profit organization that promotes food security and access to health services for underserved populations. She holds a doctor of public health degree from Morgan State University. Dr. Olateju also earned a master of science in nursing and a bachelor of science in nursing from University of Maryland School of Nursing. She is a grassroots public health nurse leader with extensive experience working in Maryland's local health departments implementing, managing, and evaluating several critical health programs. In 2023, Dr. Olateju was appointed by Governor Wes Moore to serve as co-chair of the Maryland’s Commission on Public Health and lead the commission's efforts to assess the foundational public health capabilities of state and local health departments in Maryland and make recommendations for reform.

Dan Olson headshotDAN OLSON

Dan Olson joined the Vermont Public Health Association as executive director in March 2023. Over his 25-year career, Dan has held various roles in for-profit and nonprofit organizations, all focused on improving the health of human and natural communities. Dan served as the executive director of the Colorado and New Mexico-based environmental advocacy organization San Juan Citizens Alliance. He also held multiple product management roles at Ecova (now ENGIE Impact), including director of product management, leading the organization’s carbon accounting, waste, water, and strategy and engagement services. In addition to these roles, Dan was the founder of a consulting business that served the sustainable operation needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the Intermountain West, pioneered the use of environmentally-beneficial loan funds at Harvard University, and has served as a volunteer and board member at numerous nonprofits. Outside of work, Dan and his family enjoy exploring the many and varied cultural and natural wonders of Vermont and its surrounds.

Ilisa Halpern Paul headshotILISA HALPERN PAUL, MPP

Ilisa Halpern Paul is a senior policy advisor at Venable LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Ilisa co-leads the firm’s Federal Health Policy team, drawing on more than 30 years of recorded success in helping established and start-up healthcare companies, health and hospital systems and nonprofit patient and public health advocacy organizations advance their legislative, regulatory and business goals before Congress and the executive branch. Since 2015, Ilisa has been listed several times among The Hill’s Top Lobbyists: Hired Guns. Ilisa represents some of the country’s most significant integrated health and hospital systems, medical and nursing professional societies, public health organizations, patient advocacy groups, and other entities involved in the delivery of healthcare and related programs and services.
Ilisa earned a BA in English from UCLA and a master of public policy from Georgetown University. She began her public policy career working on the legislative staff of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and prior to her more than 20 year career in federal policy consulting, she ran the federal government relations operations at the American Public Health Association and the American Cancer Society. A native Californian, Ilisa lives in suburban Maryland with her husband, Scott, their twin teenage boys, and their rescue dog, Coco.

Headshot of Susan Polan, PhDSUSAN POLAN, PhD

Susan L. Polan is associate executive director for public affairs and advocacy with the American Public Health Association. She oversees the Association's departments of government relations and affiliate affairs, communications and membership. She is responsible for planning and directing APHA's legislative, regulatory and legal activities, communicating those initiatives and Association news to members and the public, and overseeing membership recruitment and retention and Affiliate, Caucus and Section relations. Prior to joining APHA, Polan worked as the director of government relations at the Trust for America's Health. Polan has almost three decades of experience in public health, government relations and associations. Polan earned her bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She later earned a master's of science degree in health psychology from San Diego State University and a doctorate in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine.

Zamaan Qureshi headshotZAMAAN QURESHI

Zamaan Qureshi is an activist and advocate for safer social media for teenagers and young people. He serves as co-chair of the Design It For Us coalition, a policy advisor for the Real Facebook Oversight Board and member of the Council for Responsible Social Media. He's written for publications including TIME and Tech Policy Press and has been featured by outlets including MSNBC, CNN, POLITICO and Axios. He is a senior at American University pursuing a BA in international studies and political science.


Jacqlyn Schneider is a partner at FGS Global, a strategic communications and government relations firm in Washington, D.C., where she co-leads the firm’s Global Food and Agriculture Practice. Jacqlyn joined FGS Global following more than 16 years leading food and agriculture policy on Capitol Hill, most recently serving as deputy staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry under Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). In her role leading the Committee, Jacqlyn directed the Chairwoman’s work on all food and agriculture policy, overseeing the development and passage of several Farm Bills, as well as a variety of key nutrition, food labeling, pandemic relief and climate bills. Jacqlyn brings a deep understanding of nutrition and food access issues, having worked extensively on policies related to SNAP, WIC, school feeding and food as medicine initiatives. She was also instrumental in the creation and expansion of policies related to specialty crops, local, regional and organic foods, and improving support for minority and underserved farmers. Jacqlyn is a graduate of James Madison University and a native Michigander.

Ilan Shapiro headshotILAN SHAPIRO, MD

Ilan Shapiro is the senior vice-president and chief health correspondent and medical affairs officer for AltaMed Health Services. He supports strategies for external health communications, advocacy, and community relations. As the chief health correspondent for AltaMed, Dr. Shapiro works closely with the public affairs, community affairs, government relations and civic engagement departments to help expand community health and wellness initiatives. Dr. Ilan Shapiro has been with AltaMed since 2016, and has made a significant impact on the organization and the greater communities it serves. He is a tireless advocate for health care equality, with a deep affinity for innovation and public health policy, especially relating to the Latino population. In his prior role as AltaMed’s medical director of health education and wellness, he helped to create and implement programs and services that expanded access to care and improved outcomes for the community. Dr. Shapiro’s background includes award-winning public health work, often on the international stage. After graduating as Honorary Valedictorian with his medical degree, he worked for the Mexican Secretary of Health as the liaison between Mexico and the World Health Organization. He has created binational public health programs to improve the health of Hispanic communities on both sides of the border.

Ellen Teller headshotELLEN TELLER, JD

Ellen is the chief government affairs officer at the Food Research & Action Center. She directs the development and implementation of FRAC’s legislative agenda, working with the Congress, national organizations, and FRAC’s state and local grassroots network. Ellen joined FRAC in 1986 as a staff attorney. She previously worked at the American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Center for Science in the Public Interest and Consumer Federation of America. Ellen majored in political science and English literature from the State University of New York at Oneonta and holds a J.D. from Western New England University School of Law. She is a member of the DC Bar and serves on a variety of Boards, including the Coalition on Human Needs (Board Chair). Ellen has been honored by the National WIC Association, National Commodity Supplemental Food Program Association, Congressional Hunger Center Emerson Fellows’ Fairy Godmother Award, Manna Food Center Hero Against Hunger Award and the State University of New York at Oneonta Alumni of Distinction.