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Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis Series - May 4, 2021

Speaker Biographies


Bill Clinton profile

The first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs. 

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation, and today, the renamed Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, works to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. 

Today the Foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the independent Clinton Health Access Initiative, through which over 11.5 million people in more than 70 countries have access to CHAI-negotiated prices for HIV/AIDS medications. The Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership are applying a business-oriented approach to promote sustainable economic growth and to fight climate change worldwide and in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity and preventable disease through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative. Established in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. So far, more than 3,600 Clinton Global Initiative commitments have improved the lives of over 435 million people in more than 180 countries. 

In addition to his Foundation work, President Clinton has joined with former President George H.W. Bush three times – after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, and with President George W. Bush in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Today, the Clinton Foundation supports economic growth, job creation, and sustainability in Haiti. 

President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, have one daughter, Chelsea, and live in Chappaqua, New York. 


Mohammad Abdulkarim al issa profile

Secretary General, The Muslim World League
Chairman, Centre for Responsible Leadership

HE Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa received his higher education from the University of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he earned a master’s degree and a PhD in Comparative Judicial Studies (Constitutional Law).

Dr. Al-Issa has held many prestigious public offices. He worked as a judge in the Ministry of Justice until he reached the highest rank of Chief Appellate Judge. He was then appointed Vice-President of the Court of Grievances, during which time he also worked as an acting Advisor at the Royal Court.

His Excellency was appointed Minister of Justice in 2009 and a royal decree was issued, appointing him to serve as an Advisor at the Royal Court.

Dr. Al-Issa has since travelled extensively throughout the United States and Europe, meeting with dignitaries and parliamentarians from the fields of justice, law and human rights.   

He currently supervises the Intellectual Warfare Center, an international center affiliated with the Ministry of Defense in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, dedicated to combatting extremist and terrorist ideology.  

Dr. Al-Issa assumed his role as Secretary-General of the Muslim World League in August 2016 and has been actively engaged in presenting the true image of Islam, its tolerant principles, around the world. He is committed to promoting religious and intellectual awareness among Muslim minorities and works tirelessly to disseminate the values of justice, tolerance and peace.

As a proponent of constructive dialogue with followers of different faiths, civilizations and cultures, Dr. Al-Issa visited the Vatican in September 2017 to meet Pope Francis and the late Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In April 2018, Cardinal Tauran, in turn, visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and signed an historic cooperation agreement which included joint programs to enhance communication and bridge gaps.

Dr. Al-Issa continues to meet with senior leaders of politics, religion, science, thought and culture, discussing ways of constructive cooperation in combating extremism and immunizing communities of different religions and cultures against the dangers of extremism. 

He frequently lectures at international events and delivered a keynote speech on behalf of Muslims at the International Summit on Religion in Kyoto, Japan, presided over by the chief priest of the Tendai Buddhist sect in August 2017. He also spoke on behalf of Muslims at the 39th Meeting for Friendship Among People in the Italian city of Rimini in August 2018. 

Dr. Al-Issa is the recipient of numerous domestic and international awards, including:

  • The Galileo International Award of 2018, awarded by the Galileo Foundation in Florence, Italy for his international achievements and pioneering leadership in promoting religious and cultural peace and harmony
  • The Moderation Prize of 2018, awarded by HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Governor of Makkah Region and Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, for his distinguished and outstanding efforts in promoting moderation 


Sanjay Gupta Profile

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. Dr. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for all of CNN’s shows domestically and internationally, and regularly contributes to In addition to his work for CNN Dr. Gupta is in associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Dr. Gupta received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. 


Ellen MacKenzie inline profile

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75, is the 11th dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

MacKenzie leads an organization that includes over 800 full-time faculty working in 60 countries and teaching more than 2,900 students from 87 nations. Under Dean MacKenzie’s leadership, the School seeks lifesaving solutions across a broad range of issues from chronic and infectious disease prevention to immunology, nutrition and child survival.

In 2018, MacKenzie led the creation of the Bloomberg School’s five-year strategic plan. The plan centers on five main themes—Education, Science, Partnerships, People and Advocacy—to focus energy and resources that aims to shape not just the School’s agenda but the future of public health.

Elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2018, MacKenzie is an internationally recognized leader in public health, a renowned researcher on improving trauma care systems and policy, and a respected academic leader. An advocate for science, health equity and human rights, MacKenzie has spoken out forcefully against family separations at the U.S. border, gender-based discrimination and political interference in scientific research.

After earning graduate degrees from the Bloomberg School, MacKenzie joined the School’s Health Policy and Management (HPM) faculty in 1980, with a joint appointment in the Department of Biostatistics. A Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, she holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine’s departments of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 

MacKenzie founded and leads the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium, a collaboration of more than 50 U.S. trauma centers and military treatment facilities. A former director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, she has shaped the field of trauma services and outcomes research, leading to improved quality of life for trauma survivors.

As a professor, department chair and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Bloomberg School, MacKenzie has distinguished herself as an inspired leader. As HPM chair, MacKenzie enhanced practice as a part of the department’s mission, established a faculty development program that has served as a model for other departments and facilitated the development of a core curriculum in policy. She also helped establish the DrPH cohort programs in Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, the Pacific Rim, UAE and China.

MacKenzie’s vision for the Bloomberg School is shaped by her broad disciplinary background, commitment to fairness and equity for all, and substantive record of accomplishments across education, research, practice and administration.



Bishop Vashti McKenzie

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Her historic election in the year 2000 represents the first time in the over 200-year history of the AME Church, a woman had obtained the level of Episcopal office. The firsts continue as she served as the first woman President of the Council of Bishops, Chair of the General Conference Commission and was the first woman Host Bishop for the 49th Session of the General Conference of the AME Church in June 2012, with more than 30,000 in attendance. Her husband, Dr. Stanley McKenzie serves with her as Episcopal Supervisor. 

Currently, she is honored to serve as the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District, where she provides leadership to all of the AME Churches in the entire state of Texas. She exercises ministry and administrative responsibilities for over 200 churches. This includes Paul Quinn College, a 140 year-old liberal arts historically black college where she serves as the vice chairwoman. In the past four years, $8.5 millions dollars have been contributed from philanthropic donors to undergird the Work College Program, We Over Me Farm and a new dormitory. She is also the founder and chair of 10th Future Inc., a 501c3 non-profit that gives scholarships to students and grants for local church and community service projects. The 10th Future Inc. Annual Golf Tournament has raised over $200,000 for special projects in Texas. 

Bishop McKenzie was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the inaugural President’s Advisory Council of the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She recently was invited to preach at the annual White House Easter Prayer Breakfast at the invitation of President Obama. 

Bishop McKenzie is the author of five books. The first two, Not Without A Struggle and Strength in the Struggle are concerned with leadership and professional growth for women. Journey to the Well helps women seek new directions for personal growth and transformation following the footsteps of the Biblical Samaritan woman. Her book, Swapping Housewives, tells the stories of Rachel, Jacob and Leah and shares the 21st century implications for married and unmarried love. A revised updated version of Not Without A Struggle was released in 2012. In 2013 her newest book Those Sisters Can Preach! was released. It includes 22 sermons as pearls of wisdom from nationally known preachers who happen to be women. 

Bishop McKenzie, well known as an electrifying preacher, has been honored for her leadership, community service, and outstanding achievements by several diverse civic, educational, business, and governmental organizations and leaders. She was named in 2015 by Huffington Post as one of the 50 most powerful women religious leaders in the world. 


David Satcher profile

16th Surgeon General of the United States, Founder and Senior Advisor, Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., is the founder of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI), has dedicated his career to uncovering the social determinants of health disparities. Dr. Satcher joined the Morehouse School of Medicine in 2002 with the National Center for Primary Care and in 2006 founded SHLI. Having held distinguished roles in public service as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Assistant Secretary for Health and 16th Surgeon General of the United States.  

Dr. Satcher is leading change towards eliminating health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities through his teachings and research. More recently, he has released his memoir entitled, “My Quest For Health Equity: Notes on Learning While Leading”, published by John Hopkins Press. During his time with SHLI he has developed leadership programs, raised over $12 million dollars in endowments, and worked on groundbreaking research for underserved populations. Dr. Satcher is a graduate of Case Western Medical School where he obtained his M.D. and Ph.D and completed his undergraduate studies with Morehouse College.