Hadassah

Women's Health Empowerment Summit 2018

The Coalition for Women's Health Equity's

Women's Health Empowerment Summit

Breaking Barriers, Changing Futures

presented by Hadassah

May 16, 2018 | 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | Washington, DC
The Capital Hilton
1001 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The Women's Health Empowerment Summit’s bipartisan Honorary Host Committee includes:
US Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA); US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); US Senator Ed Markey (MA); US Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK); US Senator Patty Murray (WA); US Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA); US Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-3); US Representative Don Beyer (VA-8); US Representative Kenneth Buck (CO-4); US Representative David N. Cicilline (RI-1); US Representative Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5); US Representative Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11); US Representative Jim Cooper (TN-5); US Representative Lou Correa (CA-46); US Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7); US Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-1); US Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12); US Representative Lloyd Doggett (TX-35); US Representative Lois Frankel (FL-21); US Representative Andy Harris (MD-1); US Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7); US Representative Joe Kennedy (MA-4); US Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-6); US Representative Ann Kuster (NH-2); US Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14); US Representative Alan Lowenthal (CA-47); US Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY-12); US Representative Jim McGovern (MA-2); US Representative Grace Meng (NY-6); US Representative Seth Moulton (MA-6); US Representative Stephanie Murphy (FL-7); US Representative Donald Norcross (NJ-1); US Representative Scott Peters (CA-52); US Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-1); US Representative Raul Ruiz (CA-36); US Representative Linda Sanchez (CA-38); US Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-9); US Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28); US Representative Dina Titus (NV-1)

Summit Planning Committee: Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America; American Heart Association; HealthyWomen; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health; WomenAgainstAlzheimer's and WomenHeart.

Program Overview
Speaker Bios Below

SUMMIT EMCEE: Samantha Abrams, Executive Director, March on Washington Film Festival

Keynote Speaker: Fatima Goss Graves, President & CEO, National Women's Law Center

Introduction
Ellen Hershkin, Hadassah National President

Policy Primer
Dr. Janice Weinman, CEO/Executive Director, Hadassah

Legislator Keynote
The Honorable Raul Ruiz, M.D.,
U.S. Representative (CA-36)

Caregiving Across the Lifespan: The Disparate Impact of Caregiving on Women and Opportunities for Change*
Moderator: Jill Lesser, President, WomenAgainstAlzheimer's

Speakers:
Dr. Tamilyn Bakas, Professor and Jane E. Procter Endowed Chair at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)
Diana Drake, Chair Elect, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)
Jane Heller, New York Times best selling author
*Sponsored by American Heart Association and WomenAgainstAlzheimer's

Lunch by Potomac 18

Fireside Chat
Gender and Mental Health: How Bias Affects Women's Mental Health and Treatment*
A conversation with Mary Giliberti, CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness and Dr. Jennifer Payne, Director, Women's Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
*Sponsored by The Shane Foundation

Women & Clinical Trials: Past, Present and Future
Moderator: Fran Hawthorne, Award-winning author and journalist
Speakers:
Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, Co-leader, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Clincial Core; Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center
Dr. Monica Mallampalli, Scientific Consultant, HealthyWomen
Zikria Syed, Co-Founder and CEO, VitalTrax
Dr. Jamie Holloway, Clinical Research Advocate, Science 37

Testimonials
Kathryn Fox, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patient Advocate
Starr Mirza, Heart Disease Patient Advocate
Dr. Donna Zfat-Zwas, Director of the Hadassah Medical Center's Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women 

Click here for details about the 2017 Inaugural Women's Health Empowerment Summit.


Speaker Bios:
Additional speaker information to come

Samantha Abrams
Executive Director, March on Washington Film Festival

Samantha Abrams, a longtime Washington-based corporate and nonprofit business strategist, is the Executive Director for the March on Washington Film Festival (MOWFF). In this role, Samantha is responsible for leadership of the organization which includes overseeing MOWFF’s strategic direction, fundraising, and partnerships. The March on Washington Film Festival finds, encourages, and brings to life stories of both icons and foot soldiers from the Civil Rights Movement. MOWFF educates, inspires and motivates people to have a better understanding of our history.

Before joining MOWFF, she was responsible for strategy and development at the Black Women’s Health Imperative and served as a senior member of the team. Prior to joining the Imperative, Samantha served as a consultant to government interest companies, nonprofit associations, and business owners. During her 17 years in corporate and nonprofit roles, Samantha has become a seasoned expert in creating successful for-profit and nonprofit partnerships, leading corporate social responsibility initiatives and fundraising.

Previously, Samantha served GEICO Insurance Company for twelve years where she served in many leadership roles in Public Affairs and Marketing. She was responsible for designing affinity partnership programs, activating the federal workforce through dynamic program alignment and multi-channel advertising campaigns. Additionally, she managed multi-million-dollar marketing budgets and supported the execution of the company’s social responsibility goals and diversity initiatives. Samantha has had long-term relationships with many legacy civil rights and nonprofits organizations. She ensured corporate commitment included financial and talent support, lead employee participation and provided Board support nationwide.

A proud mother to Zoie and Zion, Samantha is also a successful co-owner of her local family restaurant.


Neelum T. Aggarwal
Co-Leader, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Clinical Core; Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center

Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, is a population health neurologist and clinical researcher in the field of longevity and aging. She is an Associate Professor and Faculty member in the Department of Neurological Sciences and the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. She is a Principal Investigator for multiple NIA and industry sponsored Alzheimer's disease clinical trials and is the Director of Research – Rush Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. For over 20 years she has served as the senior examining neurologist for community based observational studies, conducting over 2500 "in home" neurologic evaluations in Chicago's minority neighborhoods. She is the co-principal investigator for the federally funded PCORI grant, “Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke (CEERIAS)” study, which addresses socioeconomic, race/ ethnicity and sex and gender disparities in stroke awareness, barriers to health care access, treatments and outcomes in Chicago’s minority communities.

Dr. Aggarwal has served in numerous leadership and mentoring roles throughout her career. She is the Chief Diversity Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), a Founding Member of the Women Against Alzheimer’s Disease Network of US Against Alzheimer’s Disease, and the National Chair of the Women in Bio Mentoring, Advisors and Peers Committee.

A recipient of the 2016 AMWA Women in Science Award and the Academy of Neurology - Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Award, Dr. Aggarwal is a long-standing voice for community based research, public health initiatives, policy and advocacy locally and nationally. She serves as the Senior Policy Advisor of Women's Health Issues, Research, Equity and Policy for HELEN (Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network ) and works closely with the HELEN team and multiple stakeholders to draw together evidenced based data on health disparities, inequity due to sex and gender and raise awareness on the specific problems facing women that impact their ability to attain high standards of health, and on the policies and actions that can address them.

Noting the continuing impact and potential prominent role of technology and innovation to improving health care, access to care and services to women and underserved communities, she regularly meets with and mentors, a diverse group of professionals from entrepreneurs, scientists, policy and government professionals, to discuss their projects and share her expertise at prominent Chicago healthcare incubators.

Dr. Aggarwal, is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), Member of the Governing Council of the American Medical Association (AMA) - Women's Physician Section, and Fellow of the Institute of Medicine Chicago. In 2016, she was awarded the Woman in Science award from the American Medical Women's Association, in 2017 she received the American Medical Association Women Physician Section Inspirational Physician Award and in 2018, she received the American Medical Women’s Association, Exceptional Mentor Award and was appointed Chairperson for the 2018 Chicago Medical Society’s Women’s Forum.

Dr. Aggarwal holds a B.Sc. (Honors) from the University of Windsor, and a doctorate in medicine from Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine. She completed her Neurology training at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan and completed an Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders Fellowship from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.


Dr. Tamilyn Bakas
Professor and Jane E. Procter Endowed Chair at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

Dr. Bakas is Professor and Jane E. Procter Endowed Chair at the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing. She conducts research aimed at improving the quality of life of family caregivers of persons with chronic illness. Her research in this area has resulted in publications focusing on the needs and concerns of family caregivers, the development of clinical assessment tools and measurement instruments for family caregiving research, and the design and evaluation of theory-based interventions to improve quality of life outcomes in family caregivers of stroke survivors. She also conducts research using telehealth to promote healthy aging. Dr. Bakas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association and has been an active participant on various committees in both the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing and the Stroke Council. She has taught courses that focus on research design, instrumentation, and data analysis. She has mentored both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and colleagues in conducting research. As the Jane E. Proctor Endowed Chair, she is creatively leveraging the use of technology to lead the transformation of healthcare for family caregivers and older adults.


Dr. Yanira Cruz
President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)

Dr. Cruz focuses on on public health, older adult and caregiver issues, increasing policy-maker and public understanding of the needs impacting vulnerable sectors of our society and encouraging the adoption of programs and policies that equitably serve everyone. To further these efforts, Dr. Cruz serves on the Board of Directors for Justice in Aging and is a member of the Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO) collaborative – Eight of the nation’s leading aging-focused organizations have formed this unprecedented partnership to create a better public understanding of older adults’ needs and contributions to society — and subsequently to improve the lives of all people as they age. She is also a founding member of the Diverse Elders Coalition. Dr. Cruz was named one of the top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment at The George Washington University School of Public Health.


Dr. Diana Drake
Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing

Dr. Diana Drake DNP is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program (WHNP) at the University of Minnesota (UMN) School of Nursing (SoN) and the Program Director for Integrative Women's Health at the Women's Health Specialists Clinic in Minneapolis. Dr. Drake also holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Center for Spirituality and Healing. She has been an innovative community clinical educator, clinic leader, and women’s health nurse practitioner for over two decades in private settings, community health, and academic clinics, and leads annual international women's health trips to Salvador, Brazil. On the national level, she serves on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) as the Chair Elect, and also Chairs the Policy Committee.

Dr. Drake’s scholarship focuses on a) implementing integrative care concepts and interprofessional health care models to enhance student learning and improve patient care delivery, b) community engagement focusing on access and economics issues specific to women’s health care, and c) a comprehensive approach to women’s health and well-being at mid-life and beyond.


Kathryn Fox
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patient Advocate

Kathryn Fox is a Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Activist, photographer, and former business professional. She received a BA in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame, and worked for 13 years as a finance executive for Fortune 100 companies such as PwC and Deloitte before becoming disabled with ME in 2009. A former marathon runner, she is now mostly homebound and a photographer only well enough to work a few times per year; most days she lacks the strength to hold a camera. Kathryn advocates for #MEAction and the Solve ME/CFS Initiative attending protests, speaking engagements, and authoring policy papers. Most notably, Kathryn met with National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and several Institute Directors in 2017 to discuss research, funding, and public support of ME.


Mary Giliberti
CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mary Giliberti is the chief executive officer of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and has been leading the nation’s largest grassroots advocacy organization for people with mental illness and their families since 2014.

Prior to becoming chief executive officer of NAMI, Ms. Giliberti was a section chief in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, she was the director of public policy and advocacy for federal and state issues at NAMI.

During her 20+ years in the mental health field, Ms. Giliberti was also a disability counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and a senior attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Mary earned her B.A. at Harvard College and her J.D. at Yale Law School. She is a native of North Bellmore, N.Y.


Fatima Goss Graves
President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center

Ms. Goss Graves has served in numerous roles at the National Women’s Law Center for more than a decade and has a distinguished track record working across a broad set of issues central to women’s lives—including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access, and workplace justice. Ms. Goss Graves is currently overseeing the Center’s administration of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which connects those who experience sexual misconduct including assault, harassment, abuse and related retaliation in the workplace or in trying to advance their careers with legal and public relations assistance. Prior to becoming CEO and President, she served as the Center’s Senior Vice President for Program, where she led the organization’s broad program agenda. Prior to that, as the Center’s Vice President for Education and Employment, she led the Center’s anti-discrimination initiatives, including work to promote equal pay, and address harassment and violence at work and in school, with a particular focus on outcomes for women and girls of color.

She is widely recognized for her effectiveness in the complex public policy arena at both the state and federal levels, regularly testifies before Congress and federal agencies, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and other public education forums. Ms. Goss Graves appears often in print and on air as a legal expert on issues core to women’s lives, including in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and NPR.


Fran Hawthorne
Award-winning author and journalist

From California to New Jersey to New York, Fran Hawthorne has spent more than 30 years writing about health care and the nexus of business and social activism – in her award-winning books and at many newspapers and magazines.

Her eight books include Inside the FDA: The Business and Politics Behind the Drugs We Take and the Food We Eat (John Wiley & Sons), The Merck Druggernaut (Wiley), and Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love (Beacon Press), which was named one of the best books of 2012 by Library Journal. In addition, Hawthorne writes regularly for The New York Times, Newsday, The Scientist, and other publications, and she reviews books for The New York Journal of Books.

In her career, Hawthorne has specialized in finding the spots where business intersects with public policy. For instance, she has dug into the impact of Big Pharma ads, the rising influence of religion on health care, the dangers of obesity drugs, and the different ways men and women use their expense accounts.

Her debut novel The Heirs -- a story of second-generation Holocaust guilt – will be published in May by Stephen F. Austin State University Press.


Jane Heller
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

After nearly a decade of promoting writers for New York publishing houses, Jane Heller launched her own career as a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her fourteen breezy, witty novels of romantic comedy and suspense are now entertaining millions of readers around the world, along with her two books of nonfiction.

Nine of Jane’s romantic comedies have been optioned for film and television: Clean Sweep (formerly titled Cha Cha Cha) by Columbia/Tri-Star for a TV movie), Infernal Affairsby Disney/Touchstone for a feature film to star Ellen DeGeneres, Princess Charming by Disney for a feature film, Sis Boom Bah by Julia Roberts’ production company in conjunction with Revolution Studios for a feature film, Name Dropping by Miramax for a feature film, Female Intelligence by CBS for a TV movie, The Secret Ingredient by Atmosphere Productions for a feature film, Lucky Stars by Lakeshore Entertainment for a feature film and An Ex to Grind by 20th Century Fox for a feature film to star Cameron Diaz and Benecio Del Toro.

Jane ventured into the narrative nonfiction arena with Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees, which evolved from a humorous piece she wrote for the New York Times sports section and became the newspaper’s number-one emailed story the week it ran.

Her most recent book of nonfiction, You’d Better Not Die or I’ll Kill You: A Caregiver’s Survival Guide for Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits, featured her trademark humor as she tackled the subject of caring for loved ones with a chronic or progressive illness (her husband has Crohn’s disease; her mother had dementia) as well as those dealing with so-called “crisis illnesses” such as cancer and heart disease. She also interviewed other caregivers as well as experts in self-care (nurses, doctors, therapists, nutritionists, meditation teachers, fitness instructors). She’s written extensively about caregiving on Huffington Post and other sites, and is an in-demand speaker about caregiving. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called the book “candid, informative, upbeat…a useful book for patients and caregivers alike.”

Jane entered the field of book publishing as an assistant in the publicity department. She rose to the positions of publicity manager, publicity director and vice president/director of advertising, promotion and publicity. Authors with whom she worked included such bestselling novelists as Erica Jong, Stephen King, Judy Blume, Danielle Steel and John Jakes.

One of six children, Jane grew up in Scarsdale, New York, attended Scarsdale High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from the University of Rochester, where she received Summa Cum Laude honors and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The following year, she completed one year of a master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communications. Currently, she and her husband reside in New Preston, Connecticut and St. Petersburg, Florida.


Ellen Hershkin
National President, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, INC.

Ellen Hershkin is the 26th National President of Hadassah. She began her term January 1, 2016. Prior to her election, she was the Coordinator of the PRAZE (PRogramming, Advocacy, Zionism & Education) Division. Previously, she served as Hadassah National Secretary, National Vice President, and in numerous other positions at the local, region, and national levels.

Ellen has developed and facilitated numerous leadership workshops and training seminars for Hadassah units, for Hadassah Israel, for Hadassah International, for the Senior Nursing Staff of the Hadassah Medical Organization and the Nursing Faculty of Hadassah Hebrew University. She was called upon to facilitate a “Speakers Effectiveness Training and a Speaking to the Media Workshop” for the foreign ambassadors posted in Israel.

In addition to her work for Hadassah, Ellen has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund, the United Israel Appeal Board of Trustees and was a member of the American Jewish Congress Women’s Roundtable. She is an active Board member of Suffolk COJO (Council of Jewish Organizations) and led its Missions to Israel in 2006 and 2007. She serves on the Executive Boards of her local Civic Association and of the Friends of Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan, Israel, of which she is a founding member.

Ellen studied speech and education at Hofstra University in Long Island and Jewish studies through a program of the Melton School of Jewish Education/Hebrew University (held in conjunction with her local JCC). She was a travel consultant for over 20 years, with a specialty in Israel travel.


Dr. Jamie Holloway
Clinical Research Advocate, Science 37

Jamie Holloway is a breast cancer survivor with a background in breast cancer research. She received her PhD from the Tumor Biology Training Program at Georgetown University. Now, living with no evidence of disease after treatment for early stage triple negative breast cancer, she bridges the gap between researchers and patients, helping each group to understand and learn from the other. She is actively involved in the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates, part of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, helping investigators consider the patient’s perspective in their research. In addition to her role at Georgetown, Holloway is the Patient Advocate for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and she is a Clinical Research Advocate for Science 37. She is on the Steering Committee for the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness, has participated in grant review panels for several funding mechanisms, and as an ASCO volunteer has served on guidelines panels and two different ASCO committees. An avid writer, Holloway has blogged about her cancer since diagnosis and continues the conversation about breast cancer, sometimes through the eyes of a scientist, always through the eyes of one who has walked that path, at www.runlipstickchemo.com, and she is an active part of the #BCSM community on twitter at @jamienholloway. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two children.


Jill Lesser
President, WomenAgainstAlzheimer's

Jill Lesser currently serves President of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, a Network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. In that role she is leading a campaign to find, fund and implement a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, with a particular focus on the impact on women, as the disease affects almost three million women in the US today and another 10 million female caregivers. Jill also serves as the Chief Strategy Office of UsAgainstAlzheimers and is member of their Board of Trustees. She is also a co-founder of the Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health, and is in her 10th year as a caregiver for her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Prior to this role, Jill was the Executive Director of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), a non-profit organization established to implement the Copyright Alert System and educate the public about digital copyright. Ms Lesser currently advises CCI as a strategic policy consultant and has advised non-profit and corporate clients on media and communications policy issues, with a particular focus on consumer protection, child-safety, intellectual property rights and free expression for the last 20 years. From 2006 to 2014, Ms. Lesser worked in collaboration with The Glover Park Group, offering strategic communications and government relations advice to the firm’s many clients in her areas of expertise. She was a Managing Director at GPG from 2010-11.

Until 2002, Jill Lesser served as Senior Vice President, Domestic Public Policy for AOL Time Warner, Inc., where she lead the company's domestic public policy, regulatory and industry relations activities, and the Washington, D.C. office and managed a team of ten professionals and their support staff. From 2002 to 2005, Jill was Senior Policy Advisor for Time Warner, Inc. During her three years in this role, Ms. Lesser advised the policy and political teams at Time Warner on issues ranging from technology and intellectual property to taxation and telecommunications, as well as various other issues affecting the media industry. She joined America Online in September 1996 and managing domestic policy for AOL until its merger with Time Warner.


Monica Mallampalli
Scientific Consultant, HealthyWomen

Dr. Monica Mallampalli is an independent scientific consultant and a long-term advocate for advancement of women’s health research. She has 15 years of progressive experience in science, advocacy and management and has worked in the government and non-profit sector. Dr. Mallampalli has broad subject matter expertise in several health areas including cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal health, mental health, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, clinical trials, sleep health and urological health. She likes to combine her understanding of complex scientific issues with her strong analytic and problem-solving skills to help better advocate, communicate and educate the scientific community, policymakers and the advocacy community.

Dr. Mallampalli has been interviewed by the media on several occasions to discuss women’s health issues, including a live on the NBC Today show to provide expert opinion about women’s sleep health. Dr. Mallampalli has authored many publications in scientific journals and magazines including advocacy reports on topics related to women’s health. She has been invited on several occasions as a guest speaker at both science and policy forums.

Previously, Dr. Mallampalli served as the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR®) where she provided strategic vision and leadership role towards developing and executing scientific initiatives related to women’s health and sex-based biology research. Prior to working at SWHR, Dr. Mallampalli served as a Health Science Policy Analyst at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and as a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). She was also a Post-doctoral Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology. She earned her PhD at the University of Utah in Human Genetics and received a Master of Sciences with a concentration in Biochemistry from Osmania University in India.


Starr DeEllen Mirza
Heart Disease Patient Advocate

Starr Mirza is an advocate for women cardiovascular health. A heart disease survivor herself, from prolong QT syndrome, multi-valvular dysfunction, and heart failure, Starr has dedicated her energy to ensuring that women develop awareness of their physical and psychological health and are empowered advocates by plainly knowing oneself. In 2014, Starr joined the WomenHeart organization as a WomenHeart Champion. Since, she has offered support and education, and has partaken in heart disease awareness seminars and talks to hospitals, various community programs, and public outreach events. In 2017 and 2018, Starr was selected as one of the ‘faces’ of the combined annual campaign by WomenHeart and Burlington Stores to “knock out heart disease”. Aligned with her educational and supportive work, Starr has taken an active role in making her cardiovascular health story known. In 2017, the struggles she experienced in receiving a heart disease diagnosis as a young teenage and adolescent girl was featured in Marie Claire. Further, she interviewed on camera with regional NBC News affiliates to underscore, to viewers, that heart disease can occur at any age. More so, Starr leads as a patient advocate through contributions she has made in health conferences, panelist discussions, and reviews of patient heart health educational materials, for organizations such as the Heart Rhythm Society, American Heart Association, Food and Drug Administration, and the American College of Cardiology.


Jennifer Payne, MD
Director, Women's Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Payne received her B.S. in biology at Davidson College in Davidson, NC and her M.D. from Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, MO where she received the Spencer T. Olin Tuition Fellowship. During medical school she was the recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship and spent a year at the NIH performing basic laboratory research. She completed her residency in psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where she served as chief resident during her last year. Dr. Payne then completed a fellowship in mood disorders through the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the NIMH. Dr. Payne joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. Dr. Payne is the founder and Director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center and, in addition to providing outstanding clinical care for women with mood disorders, conducts research into the genetic, biological, and environmental factors involved in postpartum depression. She and her colleagues have recently identified epigenetic biomarkers of postpartum depression and are working hard to replicate this work with NIH funding. She has been awarded a number of honors including the Passano Physician-Scientist Award, the NARSAD Young Investigator Award and has been named a Distinguished Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Payne also serves as the Deputy Representative of the Women’s Caucasus to the American Psychiatric Association Assembly and served on the Maryland State Perinatal Mental Health Task Force resulting in state legislation improving resources available for perinatal women and their doctors.


Zikria Syed
Co-Founder and CEO of VitalTrax

Zikria Syed is the CEO and cofounder of VitalTrax, a company dedicated to enabling patients to participate in clinical trials. Its PatientWing (www.patientwing.com) solution enables patients to easily find and enroll in clinical trials. 

Zikria, in his role as CEO, provides the company’s vision and strategy and works closely with its customers and partners. He is passionate about patient engagement and frequently writes and speaks on the topic.

He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and successfully grown and exited multiple life sciences solutions companies. Prior to VitalTrax, he founded and led NextDocs to become a global leader in document management solutions to life sciences companies. He also founded and exited Broadpeak, a clinical trial collaboration technology company.

Earlier in his career, Zikria worked at Microsoft where he spent over 10 years consulting with Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers advising them on technology and solution development. He started his career at Siemens Medical Systems where he designed and developed a document imaging solution.

Zikria holds a B.Sc. in computer science from Lock Haven University and M.Sc. in computer science from Drexel University. He currently serves on Drexel University College of Engineering Advisory Board.


Janice Weinman, PhD
Executive Director/Chief Executive, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

Dr. Janice Weinman was appointed in June 2012 as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hadassah. She came directly from her post as President of K.I.D.S., an organization supporting millions of children in need in communities across the United States and overseas. Prior to her position at K.I.D.S., she served as Vice President for External Affairs of The Mount Sinai Hospital/NYU Medical Center and Health System in New York, where she was responsible for government and community relations, marketing, communications and public affairs of the five hospital consortium.

Janice also previously served as Executive Director and CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nationwide grassroots network of more than 200,000 members and 600 college and university partners and was Executive Vice President of the College Board, which works to ensure all students in the United States have adequate preparation and the opportunity to enroll in and graduate from college. She also served in both the Carter and Clinton administrations. Among the many leadership positions Janice has held in civic and community organizations, she was an inaugural board member of the Hadassah Foundation, has served as Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Chairman of the Board of the Women’s Leadership Board of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She holds doctorate and master’s degrees from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.

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