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2023 Alumni Award Winners

Bloomberg School alumni have a growing list of accomplishments.

Each year, the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association recognizes deserving graduates, faculty, and friends of Johns Hopkins through one of its six awards

Congratulations to our BSPH winners!

Learn more about the awards process here, and nominate them when the next cycle opens in fall 2023.

Learn More About Our Award Winners

Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PhD, MHS ’19, RN
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Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PhD, MHS 19, RN

Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Global Achievement Award

Yvonne Commodore-Mensah is a cardiovascular nurse epidemiologist whose current program of research seeks to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease risk among Africans locally (United States) and globally (sub-Saharan Africa) through community-engaged research.  Her research expertise includes immigrant health, global health, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and social determinants of health.

Dr. Commodore-Mensah is the principal investigator of the ADHINCRA Study, a randomized control trial to address hypertension control in Ghana, and the African Immigrant Health Study, which is examining the health of African immigrants in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. She is a fellow of the American Heart Association and was awarded the American Heart Association (AHA) Martha N. Hill New Investigator Award in 2016 and is also a current fellow and board member of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Dr. Commodore-Mensah served on the writing committee of the 2019 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Clinical Performance and Quality Measures for Adults with High Blood Pressure and is the chief executive officer of the African Research Academies for Women, a non-profit, which seeks to address gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Africa

Lisa Egbuonu Davis, MD, MPH ’83, MBA
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Lisa Egbuonu Davis, MD, MPH 83, MBA

Vice President, Medical Innovations, DH Diagnostics; Interim Chief Medical Officer, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics

Distinguished Alumna Award

Lisa Egbuonu Davis is the Vice President, Medical Innovations, DH Diagnostics, a Danaher company and Interim Chief Medical Officer, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, former Chief Medical Officer, Leica Biosystems. She serves as Board Director for Omega Healthcare and is on the Board of Trustees for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Lisa received her medical and master of public health degrees at Johns Hopkins in 1983. She was part of one of the first groups of black students recruited by Dr. Levi Watkins, and joined her classmates in honoring Dr. Watkins with an endowed scholarship. She has served on the School of Education’s Board of Advisors and the Bloomberg School of Health Advisory Board.

She has focused on reducing health and educational disparities faced by minority and disadvantaged youth, while also working with nonprofits to enhance the future pipeline of minority students in science and medicine. Professionally, she is a senior executive with extensive leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, public health and consulting. Her experience includes line management of large multidisciplinary global research staff and budgets, merger and acquisition management, licensing and portfolio decisions and public, private, and academic partnership development.

Dr. Egbuonu has worked most of her professional life to increase access to medicine on a global scale and decrease identified health disparities. 

Andrea Gielen, ScD ’89, ScM ’79
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Andrea Gielen, ScD ’89, ScM 79

Professor Emerta Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Heritage Award

Andrea Gielen is a champion for the health and safety of women and children and a global leader in the injury and violence prevention fields. Her work focuses on programs to prevent domestic violence and childhood injury related to the home, prescription pain medications, and motor vehicles.

Dr. Gielen is also a dedicated philanthropist and mentor, keen to support the next generation of Johns Hopkins University injury and violence prevention researchers and practitioners. As director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy from 2005 until 2020, Dr. Gielen led a team of researchers who have demonstrated vital impacts in prevention, treatment, and outcomes across the injury spectrum.

She was instrumental in creating the hospital-based Johns Hopkins Children's Safety Center, which offers free safety education and low-cost safety products for families to help prevent a wide range of childhood injuries. To expand the program into the community, Gielen and colleagues worked with the Baltimore City Fire Department to develop a Mobile Safety Center. These safety center models have been replicated nationally and internationally, positively impacting the health and safety of children across the globe.

Earlier in her career as a health educator in the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Gielen and her collaborators created Maryland's Project KISS (Kids in Safety Seats). Working in partnership with pediatricians, law enforcement and community organizations, the program created new educational resources, developed the first car seat loaner programs in the state, and established coalitions that successfully advocated for passage of Maryland's first child passenger safety law.

Ana Rita González, ScD ’94
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Ana Rita González, ScD 94

CEO, Policy Wisdom LLC

Global Achievement Award

Ana Rita González is a visionary leader and large-scale strategic thinker whose expertise in health policy has led her to work on consulting and health system strengthening projects across the world.

Dr. González founded global health consulting firm Policy Wisdom, LLC in 2010 to work with governments, NGOs and the private sector as they try to identify and advance solutions to public health issues. The organization has worked in over 145 countries and guides local, national and supranational policy makers and agency leaders in developing evidence-and data-driven public health initiatives that target the specific needs of unique populations.

Dr. González also has extensive experience in health systems research. She has served as a hospital director in Puerto Rico and later worked with the World Health Organization- Pan American Health Organization (WHO-PAHO). Her work at the WHO-PAHO included significant focus on health care reform design, health policy planning and influencing, crisis management, and policies for disaster preparedness. She has been especially outspoken about the health system of Puerto Rico, where inefficiencies in infrastructure were exposed after hurricane Maria in 2017 and again after Fiona in 2022.

Having been recognized in CIO Views magazine as one of the 10 Most Disruptive Women Leaders in 2022, Dr. González is a unique and powerful force in the fields of health system strengthening/reform and public health consulting.

Adil Haider, MBBS, MPH ’00
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Adil Haider, MBBS, MPH ’00 

Dean, Aga Khan Medical College 

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Adil Haider is a dynamic leader and internationally acclaimed trauma surgeon and health disparities researcher.

Dr. Haider is credited with establishing the field of trauma disparities research and is known as one of the leading authorities in patient-centered outcomes research. His research has uncovered significant disparities in mortality and other healthcare outcomes based on unconscious bias from medical professionals, and his research also recognizes the continued need to understand the exact mechanisms that lead to disparity outcomes and how providers can be trained to eliminate disparities in care. This work contributes significantly to health disparities research and the future of public health and healthcare.

When flooding hit Pakistan in June of 2022, placing one third of the country under water and displacing nearly 33 million people, Dr. Haider knew the disaster would result in multiple public health catastrophes. As Dean of the Medical College at Aga Khan University in Pakistan, he mobilized resources to train over 4,000 healthcare providers to serve in emergency response positions as pre-existing research field sites, resulting in over 400,000 individuals receiving treatment in the first two months.

Dr. Haider's work in trauma disparities research and his incredible leadership in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods in Pakistan truly demonstrate the global impact of his work. 

Nimisha Kalia, MD, MPH/MBA ’12
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Nimisha Kalia, MD, MPH/MBA 12

Chief Medical Officer at GE Corporate and an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Distinguished Alumna Award

Nimisha Kalia is the Chief Medical Officer at GE Corporate and an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

In the past, she served as Interim Director for the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Executive Director of Health, Safety and Environment for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System. She earned her M.D. at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. She also received an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and an MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

In her role at GE, Dr. Kalia serves approximately 195,000 employees at GE to provide them physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. She provided critical leadership at GE during the pandemic where she led their response to COVID-19 through compassionate leadership and care. Along with her professional success, Dr. Kalia is active in the Johns Hopkins community. She serves on the Council for Equity and Belonging at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Dr. Kalia is passionate about mentorship and serves as mentor to students at the Carey Business School and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as a mentor at the Biomedical Science Careers Program at Harvard Medical School. BSCP provides mentoring to underrepresented students interested in science and medicine.

George Korch, PhD ’85
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George Korch, PhD 85

(Retired) Director of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center

Public Service Award

George Korch has had an outstanding career with the United States government, working to defend the public against national health security threats through medical and public health responsiveness defense.

Dr. Korch served as Director of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center from 2018 until his recent retirement in late 2022. There he led a talented team in support of the Department of Homeland Security's National Defense Enterprise, specializing in the identification of biological defense threats to national security and advising on ways to mitigate those threats. Throughout his career, Dr. Korch's work has focused on identifying strategic initiatives that enable the U.S. to have a flexible, resourceful ability to respond to naturally occurring and deliberate threats.

Prior to his role at the Center, he worked with the Department of Health and Human Services, rising to the level of an Acting Assistant Secretary, where he responded to high-profile public health situations, including the H1N1 influenza pandemic, hurricanes, the West African Ebola outbreak and Zika virus response. As a long-standing biodefense expert, Dr. Korch has held a variety of leadership roles including Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, overseeing the Department of Defense's only maximum containment laboratory.

Dr. Korch's public service career has been spent advancing medicines, policies and initiatives that protect the public against national security threats.

Jason Matheny, PhD ’14, MPH ’04
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Jason Matheny, PhD ’14, MPH 04

President and CEO of the RAND Corporation

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Jason Matheny is President and CEO of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

Prior to RAND, he led White House policy on technology and national security at the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previously, he was founding director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University and director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), where he was responsible for developing advanced technologies for the U.S. intelligence community.

Before IARPA, he worked for Oxford University, the World Bank, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Center for Biosecurity, and Princeton University. Matheny has served on many nonpartisan boards and committees, including the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, to which he was appointed by Congress in 2018.

He is a recipient of the Intelligence Community's Award for Individual Achievement in Science and Technology, the National Intelligence Superior Service Medal, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He was also named one of Foreign Policy's “Top 50 Global Thinkers.”

Houssam al-Nahhas, MD, MPH ’20
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Houssam al-Nahhas, MD, MPH 20

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Researcher, Physicians for Human Rights

Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

Houssam al-Nahhas is a physician and researcher with extensive personal and professional experience researching and responding to human rights violations and attacks on health systems during times of conflict.

When the uprising started in Syria in 2011, Dr. al-Nahhas joined an underground medical team in Aleppo city where he treated injured demonstrators and victims of violence, coordinated a team of healthcare providers, conducted field assessments, established a referral network for injured patients, and developed a national protocol to respond to mass casualties from chemical threats. While treating the injured and preparing for unthinkable atrocities, he also had constant concern for his safety from the government as four members of his team were identified and tortured to death. Dr al-Nahhas was later detained and tortured for providing health care.

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Baltimore, Dr. al-Nahhas again joined a direct response team. He volunteered as a deputy area commander at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he supported emergency department leadership by helping coordinate operations in the surge tent.

He currently works with Physicians for Human Rights, focusing on research activities related to attacks on health care, detention, human rights violations, and COVID-19 implications in Syria collaborating with Ukrainian partners to develop educational materials for chemical threats mitigation, develops strategies to create safer and healthier environments for communities affected by conflict.

Whether acting as an emergency physician or researcher, Dr. al-Nahhas has impacted the health and safety of communities all around the globe.

Patricia Neuman, ScD ’93, MHS ’87
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Patricia Neuman, ScD ’93, MHS ’87

Senior Vice President, Executive Director, Program on Medicare Policy, and Senior Advisor to the President, Kaiser Family Foundation

Distinguished Alumna Award

There is likely not one student who has graduated from the Bloomberg School in the Departments of Health Policy and Management, Health Behavior and Society Mental Health, or Population Family and Reproductive Health that has not read a Kaiser Family Foundation report written or supervised by Dr. Patricia Neuman.

Dr. Neuman is a Senior Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Her work is the go-to place for information on Medicare, health and long-term needs and challenges facing older adults and people with disabilities, prescription drugs, and other health policy issues. Her work is frequently cited in the major media outlets, by members of Congress and in peer reviewed journals.

After finishing her MHS and ScD in the Department of Health Policy and Management, she worked in the US House of Representatives on the Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health and then transitioned to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). She has written many peer-reviewed articles, but that is not her main way of communicating her findings to policymakers. She has testified in Congress on multiple occasions and often briefs Congressional staffers and members of Congress about health policy issues and legislation. Tricia and her team produce analyses that are widely used to inform health policy discussions and prepare summaries of proposed legislation that are used by both Republications and Democrats to understand the complexities of the issues being discussed.

She is frequently quoted as an independent expert in the media, such as New York Times,  and on radio and TV. Dr. Neuman was recently nominated by President Biden to serve as a public trustee for the Medicare, Social Security and Disability Insurance Trust Funds.

Jane Oski, MD, MPH ’09
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Jane Oski, MD, MPH 09

Attending Pediatrician, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation

Distinguished Alumna Award

No one was more surprised than Jane Oski’s father, Frank A. Oski, M.D., then Director of the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, to learn that she had decided on a career with the Indian Health Service, rather than accept the pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship position she had been offered. Jane had completed medical school at Johns Hopkins and was nearing completion of pediatric residency in the Harriet Lane Program, and she had excelled in every aspect of her education and training.

During the ensuing 28 years, as a member of the pediatric staff and leader in the Indian Health Service, first at Kayenta and then in Tuba City, AZ, Jane has cared for and advocated for the children of the Hopi and Navajo populations in the area. True to her Hopkins roots, she has also worked to improve the systems of care that have for so long failed to ensure the health and healthy living conditions of Native American children.

Whether advocating for enhanced patient education, collaborating in efforts to reduce infections and respond to epidemics, or developing community-based programs to reduce obesity in children and adolescents, Jane has led in a difficult and under-resourced environment to enhance child health.

Through national and international presentations, publications, and committee membership, Jane has sought to disseminate knowledge of the culture and the privations of the Native American community in the Southwest. Her understanding of the hardships and special needs of the population she serves helps influence policy.

Rajesh Panjabi, MD, MPH ’06
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Rajesh Panjabi, MD, MPH 06

Special Assistant To The President and Senior Director Global Health Security & Biodefense, The White House

Public Service Award

Rajesh Panjabi is a globally recognized public health leader, social entrepreneur, physician, and epidemiologist with a history of building successful community programs promoting health equity and preventing disease.

President Biden recognized Dr. Panjabi's expertise, first appointing him as U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator to head the President's Malaria Initiative then asking him to serve in his current role as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the White House National Security Council. In this role, he advises President Biden on matters of national security, specifically emergency response, crisis management and preparedness. He was also recently asked by the World Health Organization to be part of an independent panel for pandemic preparedness and response which evaluated the global response to COVID-19 with the hope of identifying opportunities for better preparedness in the future, expertise he continues to share in his role as Special Assistant to the President.

Dr. Panjabi received global attention during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa where Last Mile Health, an organization he co-founded in 2007, trained thousands of community health workers to support Liberia's National Ebola Operations Center. This model of partnering with the government to build strong community health systems has expanded across Africa and has helped identify and prevent well over 4,000 potential epidemic events.

Tanjala Purnell, PhD ’12, MPH
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Tanjala Purnell, PhD 12, MPH

Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Community Champion

Tanjala Purnell is a trailblazing researcher, mentor, and national thought-leader in health equity and social justice.

She is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Surgery at Johns Hopkins, where she also serves as Director of Education for the Brancati Center for the Advancement of Community Care, Executive Director of the Health Freedom Path to Wellness Community-Based Program, and Founding Director of the Faith-Based Alliance for Kidney Health Equity. She has over a decade of expertise focused on implementing patient- and community-engaged initiatives to promote health equity.

Dr. Purnell has facilitated health equity mentoring opportunities for over 150 diverse scholars, organized novel seminars for over 7,000 academic and community members, and developed health equity research methods courses for over 6,000 learners at Johns Hopkins and other communities worldwide. She is a four-time recipient of the JHBSPH Teaching Excellence Award. Nationally, Dr. Purnell is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, a member of the Governing Board for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, and a member of the National Kidney Foundation Transplant Advisory Committee. She is Immediate Past Chair of the American Society for Transplant Surgeons DEI Committee.

Locally, she is a respected community leader who works closely with pastors and lay health ministry leaders at Baltimore churches to foster relationships between academic researchers and congregation members to advance health equality.

Huda Constantine Zurayk, PhD ’74
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Huda Constantine Zurayk, PhD 74

Emeritus Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health; Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut

Global Achievement Award

Huda Zurayk is a change-driven leader who has brought together a multitude of stakeholders to advocate for women's and reproductive health in the Arab world, where much of her research has illuminated the overlap of biomedical, public health, social, and war-related factors of health and well-being for women in the region. Dr. Zurayk is recognized for leadership in three major initiatives, most notably:

(1) Her contribution to the landmark 1994 Cairo Declaration on Population and Development through providing findings from innovative team research she led on women’s health in rural Egypt, and through encouraging context-driven group research by the Reproductive Health Working Group she founded, while working with the Population Council’s Regional office in Cairo, to continue the flow of policy relevant findings on women’s health and healthcare needs in the region. 

(2) Her lifelong commitment to building partnerships is evidenced in the support she gave to the production of Public Health in the Arab World, a group- edited book with over 80 contributors; in her participation in organizing 10 Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance conferences; and in serving on the Lancet Global Independent Commission on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century.  

(3) Her deep concern for excellence and global linkages was behind her efforts as Dean of Public Health at the American University of Beirut to work for CEPH accreditation of the MPH Program, which was the first to become accredited outside the Americas. She also worked to enhance  the research capacity of her faculty to provide strong evidence in context that can speak to policy.

Dr. Zurayk is a phenomenal leader with a demonstrated record of shaping policy and advancing women’s health and well-being of women across the Middle East.