Day 1:

Keynote Speaker: 

Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Elevance Health Inc.

Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH, FACG, is an outspoken health equity advocate, a clinical and policy expert, and a passionate voice for a better healthcare system. As the inaugural chief health equity officer for Elevance Health, he leads the execution of comprehensive strategy to advance health equity through a whole-health approach (addressing physical, behavioral, social, and pharmacy needs) among Elevance Health’s more than 45 million members and their respective communities.

Prior to joining Elevance Health, Gray was an associate professor of medicine at The Ohio State University, where he served as a practicing gastroenterologist and medical director of healthy communities for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, as well as deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Gray serves in multiple national and local organizations aiming to advance health 

equity through innovation in community engagement, care delivery, research, and patient and provider education. He is co-founder of the Association of Black Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists and a past chair of the American College of Gastroenterology Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Gray is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and graduate of Morehouse College and Howard University College of Medicine. He completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center and gastroenterology fellowship at Washington University, subsequently earning a master’s degree in public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow.

Session: Research Strategic Dialogue Panel: Meaningful Patient Engagement: Gender Equity and the Crossroads of Infectious Disease

Irene O. Aninye, PhD, Chief Science Officer, Society for Womoen’s Health Research

Irene O. Aninye, PhD, is the Chief Science Officer at the Society for Women’s Health Research, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving women’s health through science, policy, and education. She steers SWHR’s portfolio of science programs to increase awareness and investment in research on biological sex differences and health conditions and diseases that differently, disproportionately, or exclusively affect women. Prior to SWHR, Aninye led strategy teams for the American Association for the Advancement of Science to develop and evaluate STEM research and training programs for universities. Dr. Aninye’s research background is in endocrinology and metabolism – investigating sex steroid hormones and their receptor-mediated actions in development, reproduction, and disease.

Beyond the bench, she has dedicated her career to academic service and community engagement, facilitating scientific and leadership development opportunities for researchers, professionals, and students of all ages and career stages. With a passion to diversify the face of STEM and increase the equity and involvement of underrepresented groups in the sciences, Aninye mentors early career scholars, and has provided leadership on committees and advisory boards for organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, Endocrine Society, Johns Hopkins, and University of Maryland Baltimore County. A Washington, DC, native, Irene earned her BS in Biochemistry as a Meyerhoff Scholar at UMBC and a PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Day 2:

Session: Global Health Equity and Patient Engagement

Nicholas Brooke, Executive Director, The Synergist

Nicholas Brooke is the Founder and Executive Director of The Synergist, an incubator and managing organization of multistakeholder platforms that brings key players together with the express aim of solving significant societal problems, including Patient Engagement, through collective action. The Synergist also helps individual organizations to build capacity and capability to better engage with key stakeholders in partnerships across the public-private spectrum. Under Nicholas’ leadership, The Synergist acts as a backbone, providing vision, strategy, stakeholder alignment and execution on multiple international, multi-stakeholder programs.

Bringing his Synergist and caregiver hats together, he is the Executive Director of PFMD.org, a pre-competitive multistakeholder global collaborative platform dedicated to stimulating innovation in medicine and device lifecycles, digital health, and health system through systematic patient engagement, WITH patients.

Nicholas Brooke is and economist by training and was previously CEO of an award-winning digital agency, providing cutting-edge digital strategy to global corporations across multiple sectors. His deep understanding of how digital health can facilitate and accelerate collective action and generate evidence for informed decisions drove him to see the potential for an independent organization that can enable partnerships and drive them to jointly solve societal challenges.

Session: Lessons learned from the 2020 Clinical Trials Treatment Act: Increasing access to clinical trials in Medicaid and diverse patients

Ricki Fairley, Chief Executive Officer, TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance

As a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor/Thriver, Ricki’s personal purpose, passion, mission, ministry, and blessing is to bring focus, attention, research, science, and action to eradicating Black Breast Cancer, and supporting and coaching what she calls her “Breasties” through their breast cancer experience.

Ricki is an award-winning seasoned marketing veteran that has transformed her strategic acumen into breast cancer advocacy. Ricki co-founded and serves as CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance to address Black Breast Cancer as a unique and special disease state, with the overall goal of reducing the mortality rate for Black women. Ricki founded and serves as co-host for “The Doctor Is In,” a weekly live breast cancer advocacy web series on the BlackDoctor.org Facebook page that reaches over 3 million viewers. She is a founding member of #BlackDataMatters, in partnership with

 Ciitizen, The Center for Health Care Innovation and Morehouse School of Medicine to encourage and elevate the importance of Black Women participating in clinical trial research. In January 2022, she started the When We Tri(al) Movement to change the game on Black women participating in clinical trials to improve outcomes for Black women with breast cancer. Ricki serves on the Board of Trustees for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation where she chairs the marketing committee. She is a board member for the Center for Healthcare Innovation and serves on the National Minority Quality Forum Scientific Advisory Board.

Session: Mental Health and Patient Science: How COVID-19 reframed our research, outreach, and clinical-community linkages

Regina James, MD, Chief, Division of Diversity and Health Equity, American Psychiatric Association (APA)

Regina James, MD, serves as the APA’s Deputy Medical Director and Chief of the Division of Diversity and Health Equity where she is responsible for ensuring that diversity and mental health equity objectives are valued and operationalized as vital components of the APA’s mission. She is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience, providing leadership and direction in the planning, policy development and implementation of national and international health disparity programs and initiatives for children and families.

Dr. James served in numerous leadership positions including Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at 2M Clinical, a clinical research organization and consultancy; Director of Clinical and Health Services Research at the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities, where she led promotion and development of scientific programs that address gaps in minority health and

healthcare disparities; and the Director of the Office of Health Equity at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health & Human Development, where she led domestic and international programs addressing maternal and child health disparities.

Dr. James completed an NIH research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Child Psychiatry Branch, where she conducted clinical trials in children and adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behavioral disorders. She also served as a Special Expert at the NIMH providing child psychiatric and clinical research consultation.

Dr. James received both her Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Biology and her MD from the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed a residency in general psychiatry and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and completed leadership training at the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program. She has lectured and published in the areas of health and healthcare disparities and has appeared on national media outlets addressing stigma surrounding mental illness in communities of color, improving access to care and the importance of demonstrating cultural humility when providing mental health care to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Session: Lessons learned from the 2020 Clinical Trials Treatment Act. Increasing access to clinical trials in Medicaid and diverse patients  

Ruben A. Mesa, MD, FACP, Executive Director, Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson

Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, is an international expert who has dedicated his life’s work to research and drug development for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of chronic leukemias that can cause difficult symptoms, bone marrow problems, acute leukemia and premature death. He has been involved in MPN research for more than 20 years, focusing on MPN biology, novel therapeutics and phase I-III clinical trials, symptom assessment tools and non-pharmacological interventions to alleviate MPN symptoms. Over the past 11 years, Dr. Mesa has led or co-led the development of six drugs that have been FDA approved for these chronic leukemias.

Dr. Mesa was the inaugural panel chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) guideline panel for the first USA guidelines for MPNS (myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia). Dr. Mesa is a funded investigator of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on several projects in myeloproliferative neoplasms and has been appointed to the NCI Clinical Trial Advisory Committee. He plays a range of leadership roles with the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), and is currently elected to the Board of the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI) and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

In addition to Dr. Mesa’s extensive MPN research and clinical practice, he is passionate about advancing cancer health equity and increasing minority patients’ participation in cancer clinical trials. He helped implement a mandate that each new trial at the Mays Cancer Center has a Minority Accrual Plan that includes enrollment projections and a demographic-specific toolbox with strategies for clinical investigators to promote enrollment. He is involved in numerous national initiatives to increase clinical trial diversity, including being a member of the Genentech Health Disparities Task Force, Bristol Myers Squibb Health Disparities Task Force and the Janssen Health Disparities Task Force. In March 2022, he testified on the importance of clinical trial diversity before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Dr. Mesa also co-led the Mays Cancer Center’s biennial Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos Conference held in San Antonio.

Session: Lessons learned from the 2020 Clinical Trials Treatment Act. Increasing access to clinical trials in Medicaid and diverse patients 

Alycia Shilton-Lloyd, PhD, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Imago BioSciences, Inc.

Dr. Alycia Shilton-Lloyd is Vice President of Medical Affairs at Imago BioSciences, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing new medicines for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other bone marrow diseases. Imago strongly believes in a Patient Focused Drug Development (PFDD) approach, and Alycia’s prior experience and involvement in PFDD strategy has provided crucial input into Imago’s recent Phase 2 and 3 planning activities. Alycia and her team have developed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) approach for clinical study access that leverages Imago’s core patient engagement strategy, as well as the six overreaching recommendations with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) joint DEI Statement.

Prior to joining Imago, Alycia served as Executive Director, Medical Education and Strategic Planning at Gilead Sciences, where she led the global Strategic Planning, Patient Engagement, Learning & Development and Medical Education and Programs teams. Alycia received a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, an M.S. in Biology, and a Masters in Philosophy from Yale University. Her research experience included identification of a novel interaction between hormone response and cell-adhesion pathways, and the coordination of three labs at Yale and Miami University (Ohio).  Alycia has also served as the Chief Scientific Officer of GeneEd, Inc, an early-stage company developing scientific e-Learning applications for pharmaceuticals and life sciences corporations. She has lectured at the university undergraduate level and served as an advisor and adjunct faculty member for the San Francisco State University Clinical Research Associate program.

Session: Patient Science and the Social Determinants of Health Policy

Carrie D. Wolinetz, PhD, Deputy Director for Health and Life Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Carrie D. Wolinetz, PhD, is the Deputy Director for Health & Life Sciences for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where she advances priority presidential efforts including pandemic preparedness, health systems & health equity, and accelerating innovation to patients. Prior to joining OSTP, she served as Acting Chief of Staff to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the NIH Associate Director for Science Policy, and Director of NIH’s Office of Science Policy.

During her time at NIH, Carrie led development of significant agency policies, including data management and sharing, clinical trials stewardship reform, and addressing sexual harassment, and stood up the Novel and Exceptional Technology & Research Advisory Council  (NExTRAC). Before entering government service, Dr. Wolinetz worked for the Association of American Universities (AAU) as Deputy 

Vice President for Federal Relations. She also has served as President of United for Medical Research, and at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) as Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Relations.