NAHN is excited to feature the following speakers for the Hispanic Health Policy Summit, February 9-11, 2023 in Washington, DC!
Alberto A. González Jr., MPP
Senior Advisor for External Engagement
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service
Alberto A. González Jr., MPP. González currently serves as Senior Advisor for External Engagement at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Alberto’s role at FNS involves engaging healthcare, food, nutrition, and anti-hunger partners on FNS’s 15 federal nutrition assistance programs and the USDA’s nutrition security initiative to advance health equity.
Prior to his role at the USDA, Alberto was Senior Project Manager for Health Policy at UnidosUS, where he worked on health and nutrition policy related to federal government programs and led a federal legislative campaign to pass the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2020.
Before joining UnidosUS in 2018, he worked as a Senior State Advocacy Manager at Community Catalyst in Boston, MA and served on the steering committee for the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign. Alberto also held roles at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) and the California State Assembly. González has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Andie Lee Gonzalez, PhD, MPH, RD, LD
Pediatric Medical Science Liaison
Dr. Andie Lee Gonzalez is a registered dietitian with nearly 15 years of nutrition and public health experience. Her focus has been on pediatric and community nutrition. Dr. Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition and internship training from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. She has a master’s degree in public health from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, with a concentration in nutrition and migrant farmworker health. She then completed her doctorate from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX in and a certificate in Business Analytics from Michigan State University.
In 2022 she was awarded the National Health Leadership Advocate award by the National Hispanic Medical Association and in 2017was named Retail Dietitian of the Year by Produce for Better Health.
She has experience in community nutrition where she taught as an adjunct Professor and Preceptor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg Texas and currently serves as an instructor at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas. Dr. Gonzalez’s clinical research has included childhood obesity, maternal health, leadership, and health amongst Hispanic and Latino population in the US. She has presented her research at national professional organization conferences, and local practice group meetings.
She currently serves as a Pediatric Medical Science Liaison for Abbott Nutrition and is co-owner of a local Private Practice in South Texas where she supports families by providing bilingual nutrition education. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, Arturo and Aolani and her husband Ricardo.
Deputy Chief of Staff
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Angela Ramirez is the Deputy Chief of Staff at HHS. She most recently served as Special Assistant to the President in the Office of Legislative Affairs at The White House. Prior to this, she was "day one" senior staff on the Biden-Harris Transition, Chief of Staff to Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, and the Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Angela has had a long career on the Hill and prior to this she was a Health Policy Analyst for the Advisory Board Company where she examined healthcare best practices and presented findings to hospital administrators. She was also a California Senate Fellow working in the office of State Senator Betty Karnette. She graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in Political Economy, where she was the first woman to co-chair the 115-year-old humor magazine, The Princeton Tiger.
Ashley Waddell PhD, RN, FAAN
Director of Government Affairs and Educational Program
Organization of Nurse Leaders
Ashley Waddell is Director of Government Affairs and Educational Programs at ONL, where she leads ONL's public policy advocacy efforts and manages ONL's wide ranging programing and professional development opportunities for nurse leaders.
With a passion for education and a strong belief that nurses should influence health policy decisions, Dr. Waddell's research and practice interests' focus on how nurses influence and participate in health policy and how nursing curricula prepares nurses for such work. Her doctoral studies resulted in the development of a nursing conceptual model and theory-based instrument that is valid and reliable for measuring nurses' health policy participation.
Dr. Waddell has a strong clinical background in pediatric nursing and a contemporary understanding of the political and operational complexities of the health care system. She was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University, Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar and served on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Faculty Policy Think Tank in 2018. In 2022, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.
Dr. Waddell completed her undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, received a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Northeastern University, and her PhD in Nursing and Health Policy from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Ilan Shapiro, MD
Senior Vice-President and Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer
Dr. 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. Between 2016–2017, he also served as Medical Director for Behavioral Health, and was instrumental in strengthening the practice and expanding AltaMed’s offerings.
Dr. Shapiro has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a leading health expert, providing care, education and information. He has become a trusted media resource for both regional and national news outlets, including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, and Univision. At AltaMed, he is the face of our Community Affairs digital segment Conversaciones Vitales. Born from the pandemic, the episodes seek to educate the community and prevent any disinformation around important health topics as well as provide reliable information around common health care concerns.
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 (WHO). He has created binational public health programs to improve the health of Hispanic communities on both sides of the border.
In 2011, he was invited to join the White House Hispanic Policy Group and help educate and raise awareness for the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Shapiro is also a recent recipient of the Othli Award, an honor presented by the Consul of Mexico to recognize individuals working to improve the lives of Mexican nationals living in the United States and abroad. Prior to joining AltaMed, Dr. Shapiro held numerous health and leadership roles that focused on traditionally underserved communities. He spent five years working with migratory agricultural workers’ families and the homeless in Southwest Florida and as a pediatric resident at Mount Sinai Children’s Hospital in Chicago. He believes these roles sparked his passion for meaningful, community-focused work. In addition to his work at AltaMed, Dr. Shapiro serves on the Board of Governors at L.A. Care Health Plan.
Isha Marina Di Bartolo, MD FACP
Primary Care Physician
Cooper University Hospital
Dr. Di Bartolo was born in Caracas, Venezuela and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of Princeton University and obtained her medical degree at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. It was in New Haven that Dr. Di Bartolo developed a passion for caring for underserved patients, especially those from immigrant and Latinx backgrounds.
She completed her residency with a focus in primary care at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is now board certified in Internal Medicine and is now a practicing primary care physician in North Camden at Cooper University Hospital. Additionally, she serves as an assistant professor of medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, where she heavily involved in the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and serves as an academic advisor for medical students.
Dr. Di Bartolo is a member of the American Academy of Physician Leadership, the Society of General Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Di Bartolo resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, her cat, and enjoys watching holiday movies, learning languages and playing board games.
Jeanette Contreras, MPP
Project Director, Health Equity Campaigns
Jeanette Contreras is the project director for health equity campaigns at UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza. In her role, Jeanette provides the vision and strategic goals for UnidosUS’ health equity portfolio, leading the development of policies that improve health equity and access for Latinos.
Prior to joining UnidosUS, Jeanette served as the director of health policy at the National Consumers League, where she was the key spokesperson and consumer advocate on drug affordability, health care access and the promotion of vaccines across lifespan. Jeanette also previously served as the manager for national grassroots advocacy at the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Jeanette began her health policy career in the legislative office of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and spent over a decade in public service at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
During her tenure at HHS, she served as a public health advisor in the HHS Office of Minority Health and led stakeholder engagement for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services where she played a key role in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increasing health coverage in medically underserved communities.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the California State University, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Public Policy from American University in Washington, DC.
Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC, CCTP
Director of Nursing Programs
American Nurses Association
Dr. Katie Boston-Leary is the Director of Nursing Programs at ANA overseeing Nursing Practice and Work Environment and Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation. She has been a Registered Nurse for 27 years who specialized and certified in Perioperative Nursing, Nursing Administration and Executive Leadership. She is a John Maxwell Trained Speaker and Coach and is also Adjunct Faculty at University of Maryland School of Nursing teaching Doctoral Level Nursing Leadership courses and is also adjunct faculty at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She was recently the System Chief Nursing Officer at University of Maryland Capital Region Health (UMCRH) in Maryland and was elected and served as the President of the Maryland Organization of Nurse Leaders. She was previously the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Union Hospital of Cecil County in Maryland for 5 years. Katie led her team at Union to their second ANCC Pathway to Excellence designation and to win the coveted annual ANCC Pathway to Excellence award in 2017.
She also has strong partnerships with deans and chairs of nursing programs in the communities she has worked in to improve nursing curriculums and effectively preparing nurses to transition from novice to experts and has developed many nurse leaders from charge nurses to executives. She was a featured guest at the Inaugural SEHA nursing conference in Abu Dhabi which was a hospital system seeking ANCC Pathway Designation. She has also been invited to Capitol Hill in Washington DC with the American Organization of Nurse Leaders to discuss the havocs of regulatory burden on hospitals. She was recently identified August 2019 Health Leaders Journal as “One of Five Chief Nursing Officers Changing Healthcare”.
Katie Huffling, DNP, RN, CNM, FAAN
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Katie Huffling is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and the Executive Director of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). With ANHE, Dr. Huffling works with nurses and nursing organizations to elevate environmental health issues, such as climate change, toxic chemicals, and sustainability in healthcare, amongst the nursing profession. Dr. Huffling is a passionate supporter of nurse led advocacy in support of healthier environments for all.
Dr. Huffling received her DNP in Health Innovation and Leadership from the University of Minnesota. In 2020 she was appointed as a member of the US Environmental Protection Agency Children’s Health Protection Advisory Council. She was also the recipient of the 2018 Charlotte Brody Award which recognizes nurses who go beyond everyday nursing endeavors to proactively promote and protect environmental health.
Kristin Williams, MPH
Manager of Policy and Research
Kristin Williams is a Manager of Policy and Research at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). In her role, she supports public policy analysis and research on issues related to health equity and prescription drug coverage. Kristin received her Master of Public Health in Health Policy from The George Washington University. She is committed to helping develop equitable solutions to address disparities in health outcomes and access to care among marginalized populations.
LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH
Office of Minority Health
Dr. LaShawn McIver joined CMS as the Director of the Office of Minority Health in August 2020. She is a proven public health leader with experience in driving successful health initiatives and public policy efforts aimed at promoting health equity, improving health outcomes, increasing access to care, and promoting health system reform.
Before joining CMS, Dr. McIver led Government Affairs & Advocacy (GA&A) efforts at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as its Vice President of Public Policy & Strategic Alliances and later as its Senior Vice President of all GA&A. During her 9-year tenure with the ADA, she provided strategic direction and oversight of the ADA’s advocacy activities which focused on increasing federal and state funding for diabetes research and programs; eliminating diabetes disparities; diabetes prevention; and improving the availability of accessible, adequate, and affordable health care. She has also served as the inaugural HIV/AIDS fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus’ Center for Policy Analysis and Research and as a program director at the Baltimore City Health Department.
Dr. McIver earned a Medical Degree in International Health & Medicine through the Medical School for International Health in Collaboration with Columbia University’s Medical Center and a master’s degree of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Leonardo Cuello, J.D.
Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families
Leonardo Cuello has worked on Medicaid law and policy for the past two decades, most recently as the Health Policy Director of the National Health Law Program, where he has been involved in many of the major issues and litigation of recent times — such as work requirements. Leo’s current work focuses on Medicaid and Marketplace waiver authority, Medicaid managed care, payment and delivery system reform, Medicaid expansion, and Medicaid benefit packages.
Before joining the National Health Law Program, Leo worked for the Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) for six years, focusing on a wide range of healthcare issues dealing with eligibility and access to services in Medicaid and Medicare. At PHLP, Leo ran a project focused on immigrant and Latino health care, including direct representation of low-income immigrants and Latinos, and worked on numerous Medicaid eligibility and services issues through direct representation and policy work. Leo graduated with a B.A. from Swarthmore College and received his J.D. from The University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Leo loves all topics Medicaid and is excited to work on issues like Medicaid system design and managed care, waiver authorities, and addressing health-related social needs. One of his goals is to help develop accessible and actionable educational resources to support advocates, policymakers, and the general public – in both English and Spanish.
Melissa deCardi Hladek PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Melissa deCardi Hladek PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and a researcher-clinician focusing on how stress, self-efficacy, and sociocultural factors influence the biology of aging, chronic disease and frailty.
Her research goals are to further understand the role of stress, coping and social determinants of health in aging and develop novel strengths-based, person-environment strategies and policies to mitigate these effects and center the patient's voice in modern healthcare. As such, Dr. Hladek’s current work focuses around: 1. biological underpinnings of self-efficacy and resilience, 2. adaptation of a person-environment patient-directed intervention to improve end stage renal disease-related outcomes and 3. dissemination of a structured approach to center patient goals in shared decision-making with older adults, especially older Latinos.
As a FNP, Dr. Hladek has worked with vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness and incarceration in both rural and urban settings with primarily Spanish-speaking communities and is currently an FNP at Esperanza Center in Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Hladek teaches and mentors PhD and DNP students. She is the President for the NAHN-DC Metro Chapter and advisor for the Latinx Health Advisory Group at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics
Melody serves in the Biden-Harris Administration as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics.
Housed at the U.S. Department of Education, under the leadership of Secretary Miguel Cardona, the Initiative: advances cradle to career policy goals with federal agencies and external stakeholders, leads a 21-member Commission and runs a federal interagency group centered in advancing equity and the Latino community’s access to federal resources. The Initiative also leads online and in-person public engagement efforts, such as a new multi-city White House Initiative Latino Economic Summit series uplifting accomplishments and opportunities around the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and federal jobs, procurement, grants and programs.
With nearly 20 years of federal, advocacy, union and nonprofit experience, Melody is committed to building the capacity of organizations and leaders shaping a brighter future for our nation. She most recently led Latino advocacy and partner engagement for the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union representing 3 million educators. Her prior experience includes serving: on the Biden-Harris transition team; as a Senior Executive Service-level appointee in the Obama-Biden Administration -- starting as the U.S Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration Chief of Staff and then serving as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Deputy Chief of Staff; as former Congressman Xavier Becerra’s Legislative Assistant then Director of Member Outreach for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus; and as the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda’s Latino Appointments Program Founding Director. She also mobilized Latino voters as Virginia’s Latino Vote Director for former Governor Ralph Northam and the 2012 Obama-Biden re-election campaign, 2010 Get out the Vote Director for Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and Latino Vote Canvass Team Lead for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign in Greeley, Colorado.
Originally from San Diego, California, Melody started her career as a news writer for San Diego’s NBC News affiliate and General Manager of the Class Vista Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego, where she serves on the national alumni board, as well as a master’s of public policy and an executive leadership coaching certificate from Georgetown University.
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez, DMSc, PA-C
Association for Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Melissa Rodriguez has been an OB GYN PA for 12 years and serves as adjunct faculty and preceptor at Adventhealth University. She is the current president of the Association for Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is newly elected as Secretary for the Florida Academy of PAs.
Melissa also serves in several voluntary roles including several ACOG/AIM subcommittees, the NCCPA Health Foundation's Mental Health Steering Committee, the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, and as the AAPA Liaison for ACOG.
She is the Legislative Chair of PAs for Women Empowerment and a part of the PAs for Latino Health CME committee. Her passion is advocating for women, improving women's health, and increasing the number of PAs practicing medicine in OB GYN.
Melissa Torres-Montoya, J.D., M.P.H.
Senior Manager of Lawyer Engagement
Melissa Torres-Montoya, J.D., M.P.H. is the Senior Manager of Lawyer Engagement at If/When/How. Melissa is a reproductive justice and sexual health advocate who has worked at nonprofit organizations shaping policies at every level of government. She has dedicated her professional career to addressing the lack of affordable quality healthcare in the United States and advancing sexual and reproductive autonomy.
Ms. Torres-Montoya earned a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and received a Masters in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University. Melissa spent the year following her graduate education as an If/When/How public policy and legal fellow at the National Women’s Health Network. She also attended the University of California, Davis where she earned her A.B. in History and Political Science. Melissa is admitted to practice law in the state of Maryland.
Sharon A. Lamberton, MS, RN, FAAN
Deputy Vice President, State Policy and External Outreach
Ms. Lamberton serves as Deputy Vice President of State Policy and External Outreach at PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America, a trade association of 33 biopharmaceutical companies based in Washington, DC. In her role, she analyzes policy, provides strategy, and serves as a lobbyist for the industry in the states issues such as Medicaid, cost and value of medicines, adherence, Insulin, vaccines, clinical trials and conducts outreach with patient and provider groups.
Ms. Lamberton works closely with the National Governors’ Association and serves on Boards for the National Foundation of Women Legislators, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization, and most recently, appointed to the Advisory Board for her alma matter, the College of Health and Human Services at GMU.
Prior to working at PhRMA, she worked for a senior’s organization on Medicare and long-term care issues. She has also worked at the GAO, on Capitol Hill for a former Virginia senator, at the Center for Health Policy, Research, and Ethics at GMU, and as a clinical research nurse at National Institutes of Health on neurological patient protocols such as Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, brain and spinal cord disorders, cancer and more.
Ms. Lamberton graduated from nursing school at Texas Woman’s University in Houston and served as President of both the Texas Student Nurses Association and National Student Nurses Association. She currently enjoys being a guest lecture for graduate level health policy courses and motivating other healthcare providers to join the ranks of healthcare lobbyists that improve access and care for patients. She works as a nurse volunteer, working with patients as part of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps in Arlington.
Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PhD, MHS, RN, FAAN, FAHA, FPCNA
Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing
Dr. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity.
As a nurse scientist and cardiovascular disease epidemiologist, her program of research seeks to advance cardiovascular health equity among African-descent populations locally (United States) and globally (sub-Saharan Africa) through epidemiological and community-engaged methods. She is the Principal Investigator of the LINKED-BP Program and co-PI of the LINKED-HEARTS Program, two cluster-randomized controlled trials, which are testing the implementation of multi-level interventions to improve hypertension control and the management of chronic conditions in community health centers. She is co-PI of the Addressing HypertensIoN CaRe in Africa (ADHINCRA) Study,a cluster-randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of a nurse-led, mobile health intervention to improve hypertension control in Ghana, using an implementation science approach.
She is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Hypertension Control Roundtable and serves on the Advisory Boards of the National Hypertension Control Initiative and Target:BP. She is a Board member for the American Heart Association Baltimore and Greater Maryland area.