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Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis Series - Sept. 20, 2021

Speaker Biographies

William Jefferson Clinton

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. 

H.E. Dr. Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa

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 

Sister Simone Campbell  

Sister Simone Campbell (a Roman Catholic Sister of Social Service) is a religious leader, attorney, and author with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. For almost 17 years she was the executive director of NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and leader of Nuns on the Bus. In 2010, she wrote the “nuns’ letter” that was seminal in the passage of the Affordable Care Act. She has twice spoken at the Democratic National Conventions, appeared on numerous television and radio programs and received many awards including a “Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award” and the “Defender of Democracy Award” from the Parliamentarians for Global Action. Prior to her work in Washington, this native Californian did interfaith state-based advocacy in Sacramento and for 18 years was the founder and lead attorney at the Community Law Center in Oakland to serve the family law and probate needs of working poor families in Alameda County.  Her two books, A Nun on the Bus (2014) and Hunger for Hope (2020), are award winning reflections on the substance of her life and the call to faithful justice seeking. 

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75

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. 


Dr. Nora Volkow

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Volkow’s scientific research was instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain and, as NIDA Director, her work has promoted research that improves the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.  As a research psychiatrist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic and addictive effects of abusable drugs.  Her studies documented disruption of the dopamine system in addiction with its consequential functional impairment of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, executive function and self-regulation.  She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, and ADHD and has published more than 820 peer-reviewed articles, written more than 100 book chapters and non-peer-reviewed manuscripts, co-edited a Neuroscience Encyclopedia and edited four books on neuroimaging for mental and addictive disorders. 

Dr. Leana Wen 

Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, a CNN medical analyst, and author of the critically-acclaimed book on patient advocacy, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) and a new memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health (Metropolitan Books, July 2021). 

Previously, she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child health. 

Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her residency training at Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.  

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Wen has received recognition as one of Governing's Public Officials of the Year, Modern Healthcare's Top 50 Physician-Executives, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People.  

Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their two young children in Baltimore.