Octavia L. Miles - Advisory Board President
Octavia Miles retired from UCLA in the fall of 2013, after 19 years as a Project Director at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. During this time, Miss Miles worked for Dr. Yancey, on health disparities intervention research, promoting work site wellness at county and community-based organizations by educating employees about health and encouraging the incorporation of small bouts of physical activity (Instant Recess®) and healthy eating in the workplace. In addition, Miss Miles spent 20 years in corporate America, with Mattel Toys, Gallo Winery, Heinz Foods, as Vice President of product development. In 1988 she founded, Creative Marketing Services, a marketing consulting practice working with major corporations in the United States and Canada. She has also consulted with community-based organizations in Los Angeles, Riverside and Oakland.
Miss Miles completed her undergraduate degree in English and History from Michigan State University, a Masters Degree in History from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Business Administration and Marketing and Management from the Anderson School of Business at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Brenda is an emeritus retiree of the University of California, and former manager of the Common Ground Garden Program, part of the University’s Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension urban programs. She has consulted on and played a major role in the establishment of women’s funds and foundations and other social justice organizations. Currently a resident of Santa Fe, NM, Brenda is a member of the New Mexico Women’s Chorus and serves on its Board of Directors.
Chandra L. Ford, PhD, MPH, MLIS
Dr. Chandra Ford is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The overarching aims of Dr. Ford’s research are to: (1) explain specific ways that societal inequalities (e.g., discrimination) limit access to public health resources (e.g., public health clinics) or contribute to high rates of disease (e.g., disparities) among socially marginalized populations; and, (2) to enhance the conceptual and methodological tools used to produce knowledge about societal inequalities and health disparities. Her areas of expertise include the social determinants of HIV/AIDS disparities and other health disparities, the Public Health Critical Race Praxis/Critical Race Theory, access to care, and health disparities affecting three key populations: racial/ethnic minorities; sexual minorities, a population that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons; and, older adults. Dr. Ford’s work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, the Annals of Epidemiology, Ethnicity & Disease, The Gerontologist, Social Science & Medicine, and other refereed journals.
Dr. Ford earned her doctorate from the Department of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining UCLA, she completed postdoctoral fellowships in Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina and Epidemiology at Columbia University, where she was a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg Health Scholar.
James F. Sallis, PhD, MA
Dr. James F. Sallis is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California, San Diego. He also is Director of Active Living Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His health improvement programs have been studied and used in health care settings, schools, universities, and companies. He is the author of over 600 scientific publications, on the editorial boards of several journals, and one of the world’s most cited authors in the social sciences. His current focus is using research to inform policy and environmental changes that will increase physical activity and reduce childhood obesity. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition and the Bloomberg-Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. Time Magazine identified him as an “obesity warrior”.
Dr. Sallis completed his B.A. in Business Administration at Belhaven College, received both an M.A. in Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Memphis State University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology at Stanford University, School of Medicine.
James (Jim) Whitehead
Jim Whitehead is Executive Vice President/CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Indianapolis, Indiana, a position he has held since 1990. Prior to his appointment at ACSM, Whitehead served in executive roles at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in Washington, DC and also was a principal with an association management firm that specialized in health and science organizational clients and political candidates at the U.S. federal level. Whitehead’s area of research and practice focuses on innovation within planning processes in addition to health policy and administration. Whitehead has extensive involvement in physical activity and health, for instance, co-founding the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, for which he also served as President and adjunct Executive Director. Whitehead is currently playing leadership roles with the U.S. National Physical Plan, the Physical Activity Network of the Americas, the Global Alliance for Health and Performance, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkability, and many other initiatives to promote active and healthy lifestyles and the resulting benefits for individuals and society overall.
Whitehead attended the University of Alabama and has degrees in political science and history.
Jammie Hopkins, DrPH, MS
Dr. Jammie Hopkins is committed to operating at the intersections of policy, research, and practice to promote healthy lifestyles and eliminate health disparities among vulnerable populations. He completed a Health Policy Leadership postdoctoral fellowship at Morehouse School of Medicine, where he currently serves as Project Director for the NIH-funded Transdisclipinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research and holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. Additionally, over the past 9 years, Dr. Hopkins has played a crucial role in the development of the nationally recognized Instant Recess® physical activity campaign as a choreographer, master trainer, content producer, and quality/safety assurance advisor.
Dr. Hopkins earned a B.S. in Exercise Science from University of California, Davis, a M.S. in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H) degree from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Rev. Joanne Leslie, ScD, MSc
The Rev. Dr. Joanne Leslie is a retired Professor of Nutrition from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is also the first woman archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Dr. Leslie has over twenty-five year's of experience in public health nutrition research with an emphasis on cultural factors determining nutrition related behaviors. She has worked for many years on maternal, adolescent, and child nutrition and health issues in various countries in West Africa and other parts of the world. A major focus of Dr. Leslie's work in the past decade has been the application of lessons learned internationally to local public health and nutrition programs in Los Angeles, particularly nutrition and fitness for under-resourced and marginalized communities. Working with a consortium of urban churches, Dr. Leslie has established innovative nutrition and fitness programs to promote improved health for congregations and surrounding communities. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Community Health Councils, Inc.
Dr. Leslie has a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University and a Certificate in Theological Studies from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
Mary A. Pittman, DrPH
Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, is president and chief executive officer of the Public Health Institute (PHI). Dr. Pittman worked closely with Dr. Yancey on the PHI Board of Directors to expand the focus on physical activity and equity in approaches to address nutrition and obesity prevention. A nationally recognized leader in improving community health, addressing health inequities among vulnerable populations and promoting quality of care, her primary focus has been to achieve greater impact on public policy and practice in public health. Dr. Pittman headed the Health Research and Educational Trust, a Chicago-based affiliate of the American Hospital Association, from 1993 to 2007. She has served as president and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals and a director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Pittman has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals as well as two books on AIDS and Death, Dying, and Bereavement. Dr. Pittman also serves on numerous boards and committees.
Melicia Whitt-Glover, PhD, FACSM
Dr. Whitt-Glover, is the President & CEO of Gramercy Research Group in Winston Salem, NC. Her passion is in identifying effective strategies to increase weight loss and weight gain prevention among African Americans and to promote adherence to national recommendations for diet and physical activity programs, through programs such as Instant Recess®. Previously, Dr. Whitt-Glover was on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Dr. Whitt-Glover received her Bachelor of Art degree in Exercise Physiology and Master of Arts degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Whitt-Glover also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Portia Jackson, DrPH, MPH
Dr. Portia Jackson is a speaker and coach, focusing on burnout prevention and employee engagement for millenials. As a public health consultant, she currently spearheads mammography outreach efforts for African-American women in Orange County, on behalf of Susan G. Komen. She has previously worked for Deloitte Consulting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Procter & Gamble.
Dr. Jackson received her Doctorate of Public Health from UCLA, her Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, and her Bachelors degree from Stanford University.
Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH
Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika is emeritus professor of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine. During her tenure on the Penn Medicine faculty, Dr. Kumanyika served as the Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, held a secondary appointment as Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Gastroenterology, Nutrition Section), and was affiliated with numerous Penn institutes and centers. Dr. Kumanyika's research focuses on identifying effective strategies to reduce nutrition-related chronic disease risks, with a particular focus on achieving health equity for African-Americans. Dr. Kumanyika founded and continues to chair the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality, and effective translation of research on weight issues in African American communities. She has extensive experience in advisory roles related to public health and nutrition policy in the US and abroad. Dr. Kumanyika is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is President of the American Public Health Association for 2015.
Dr. Kumanyika has an interdisciplinary background and holds advanced degrees in social work, nutrition, and public health.