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Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis Series

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 

 


 

Dr. Chinazo Cunningham 

Dr. Chinazo Cunningham profile photo.

Dr. Cunningham is a physician, researcher, and public health professional who brings over 20 years of expertise in substance use treatment to OASAS. Prior to joining OASAS, she served as the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Mental Hygiene at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was a practicing physician at Montefiore Health System, and a Professor of Medicine, Family and Social Medicine, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Cunningham has more than 20 years' experience in research, care, and program-development that focuses on people who use drugs. She has also partnered with community-based organizations to develop pioneering programs to promote the health of this population. Dr. Cunningham led one of the first clinics in New York City to integrate buprenorphine into primary care. She has trained hundreds of doctors to treat substance use disorders in primary care. She has also led several research studies and published numerous research articles that focus on treating substance use disorders. 

 


 

Patrick J. Kennedy

Patrick J. Kennedy profile photo.

During his time in Congress, Patrick J. Kennedy was the lead author of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction. In 2015, Kennedy co-authored the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America. In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.  

Kennedy is also the founder of DontDenyMe.org, an educational campaign that empowers consumers and providers to understand parity rights and connects them to essential appeals guidance and resources; co-founder of One Mind, an organization that pushes for greater global investment in brain research; co-chair of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 (National Response); and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force. 

 


 

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75 

Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, MsC ’75

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. 

 


 

Rabbi Arthur Schneier 

Rabbi Arthur Schneier profile photo.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi of Park East Synagogue and Founder and President of Appeal of Conscience Foundation is widely recognized for his lifetime leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and inter religious cooperation. President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal for “his service as an international envoy for four administrations and as a Holocaust survivor, devoting a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance.” Pope Francis awarded him the rare Papal Knighthood of St. Sylvester for “his unceasing work to promote peace and mutual understanding.” U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres cited him, “an inspiration for the world.” Former United States Alternate Representative to the United Nations, High Level Group - Ambassador of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. His alma mater, Yeshiva University, established the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for International Affairs, recipient of twelve honorary degrees from U.S. and European universities. Awarded Légion d’honneur of France and received high honors from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Russia, Spain, City of Vienna; Guru Nanac Interfaith Prize.

Member, Council on Foreign Relations, Asia Society, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Committee on Conscience Hon. Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, American Joint Distribution Committee, Member, Leadership Council, The Centre for Responsible Leadership.

He is married to Elisabeth Nordmann Schneier.