The Herschel S. Horowitz Center Advisory Board


Horowitz Center Advisory Board, Oct 2019

The Horowitz Center for Health Literacy Advisory Board pictured at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health, October 2019. From left to right: Mark Luckner, Ernest Carter, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Alice Horowitz, Cynthia Baur, Chad Perman, Leni Preson, Travis Gayles. Not pictured: Dianna Abney, Dushanka Kleinman.


Dr. Cynthia Baur |  Director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy

A full biography can be found online at


Dr. Dianna Abney |  Medical Director for the Pediatric Health Network, Children's National Hospital

Dr. Dianna E. Abney is a Medical Director for Network Management for the Pediatric Health Network, a pediatric clinically integrated network. Prior to joining Children’s National, Dr. Abney was the Health Officer for the Charles County Department of Health. Dr. Abney represented the Health Officers on the Statewide Advisory Commission on Immunizations, which she chaired. Her research interests include prevention of treatment and prevention of child abuse, decreasing healthcare disparities, and immunizations. Dr. Abney received her undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. She is a board certified pediatrician who has practiced in Charles County for over 25 years. Dr. Abney is a Professor of the Practice at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in College Park, where she is a member of the Community Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy.


Dr. Ernest Carter   |    Acting Health Officer for Prince George’s County Health Department

Dr. Ernest Carter is the Deputy Health Officer for Prince George’s County Health Department (PGCHD) with more than 30 years of experience managing and delivering pediatric patient care, as well as more than 20 years of experience in the field of community based health information systems. He has been a strong advocate for efficient health system design and the use of health information technology to improve the quality of health in underserved communities. At the PGCHD, he provides direct oversight for the divisions of Family Services and Health & Wellness as well as oversight of all clinical providers. He is responsible for securing grant funds that created the PGC Health Enterprise Zone, the PGC Public Health Information Network, Consent2Share – (consent management technology for behavioral health), and the System of Care for children with behavioral health problems and their families. He serves on the Maryland Care Coordination Workgroup, Health Information Exchange Policy Board Workgroup, and Maryland Telemedicine Workgroup. He is currently on the boards of CRISP, the Maryland State Health Information Exchange and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.


Dr. Travis Gayles   |    Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services for Montgomery County, Maryland

Dr. Travis Gayles is the Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services for Montgomery County, Maryland. He is the former Chief  Medical Officer of the DC Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis Administration (HAHSTA) and Chief for the Division of STD-TB Control. After completing his residency in pediatrics at Northwestern University, he served as Director of the HIV Treatment and Prevention Program in Adolescent Medicine and faculty member at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Institute of Public Health and Medicine, and DePaul University College of Health Sciences. In addition to his academic work, he is a former board member of the National Coalition of STD Directors, the Illinois State Medical Society, AMA Minority Affairs Consortium, GLMA, and the Chicago House Social Services Agency.


Dr. Alice Horowitz    |     Research Associate Professor     |      University of Maryland School of Public Health, Behavioral and Community Health

Dr. Horowitz has extensive work in dental caries prevention and early detection. She also has developed numerous surveys on the subject. Dr. Horowitz was instrumental in initiating the need to address health literacy in dentistry and was one of the authors of the first NIH Program Announcement addressing health literacy. A health educator, Dr. Horowitz formerly was a senior scientist, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health (NIDCR), National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She also organized the NIDCR’s workshop on oral health literacy and co-authored the findings. She served as the NIH lead for the Healthy People 2010 Oral Health Chapter and worked on Healthy People and Healthy People 2020. Dr. Horowitz was a primary architect of the Maryland State Oral Cancer Prevention and Early Detection coalition. She served on the recent Institute of Medicine’s panel, Advancing Oral Health in America. She has published over 125 scientific papers and book chapters.


Dr. Dushanka Kleinman    |     Associate Dean for Research and Principal Associate Dean     |      University of Maryland School of Public Health

A full biography can be found online at


Mark Luckner    |     Executive Director of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission

Mark Luckner is the Executive Director of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC), a position he has held since 2009. Prior to joining the CHRC, Mr. Luckner served as senior policy adviser on health care, human services, and public safety issues for Governor Martin O’Malley’s StateStat program, and s a legislative aide in the Maryland House of Delegates for eight years, including six years as Assistant-to- the-Chairman for the Health and Government Operations Committee.


Hon. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk    |     Maryland House of Delegates, District 21, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk represents Maryland Legislative District 21, which includes parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. Delegate Peña-Melnyk is an effective and experienced legislator and has been the lead sponsor of over 50 bills enacted into law. Currently, she is a member of the House Health and Government Operations Committee and chairs the Public Health and Minority Health Disparities Subcommittee. The Delegate co-chairs the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission. She also serves on other subcommittees and advisory committees, many of them focused on health equity issues. The Delegate serves as the Secretary of the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus. She is an active member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland; the Women Legislators of Maryland; and the Maryland Military Installation Caucus. A detailed biography is available on the Maryland Manual online web page.


Chad Perman    |    Program Manager for Maryland Program Management Office

As Project Manager for the Program Management Office, Mr. Perman manages Maryland’s efforts to develop an advanced primary care demonstration with the federal government. Mr. Perman is a key advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services on health transformation and population health initiatives. Mr. Perman previous served as the Director of Health Systems Transformation with the Department’s Office of Population Health Improvement, where he provided strategic direction and guidance on key health policy initiatives in the area of health system transformation and population health. Mr. Perman leverages additional expertise in the areas of public policy analysis, consumer engagement, econometrics and performance measurement through a variety of engagements with federal agencies—including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—universities and policy institutes.


Leni Preston     |     Former President of Consumer Health First

Leni Preston served in multiple capacities with Consumer Health First from its founding in 2006 as the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform until its dissolution in 2019. The organization was recognized as Maryland’s lead policy and advocacy organization with a focus on health equity through access to high-quality, affordable and comprehensive health care. During that time she served on numerous committees, including at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and the Health Services and Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). Leni continues to promote a consumer-centric health care system and currently serves on the HSCRC's Total Cost of Care Work Group and Consumer-Standing Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Justice Center.