The Community Advisory Council plays a valuable role in connecting the University of Maryland School of Public Health to the broader community. The SPH benefits from the time and expertise provided by our well-rounded and diverse council.

CAC Members

Dianna Abney
Former Health Officer, Charles County Health Department

Dr. Dianna Abney is the former health officer, Charles County Department of Health. She is a practicing pediatrician with 25 years of experience working in Waldorf, Maryland.

Prior to her role as the Health Officer, Dr. Abney was the medical director of the county's Child Abuse and Neglect program. She is a commissioner on the Children's  Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council, and she chairs the Maryland Statewide Advisory Commission on Immunizations. Dr. Abney’s research interests include health disparities, prevention of childhood obesity, immunizations, and the prevention and treatment of child abuse. She received her medical degree from Tulane University in 1989.

Uma Ahluwalia
Director, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Ms. Uma S. Ahluwalia is the director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. With over 1,600 employees, the Department is one of the largest agencies in Montgomery County and includes Aging and Disability Services; Behavioral Health and Crisis Services; Children, Youth and Family Services; Public Health Services; and Special Needs Housing. MCDHHS has been pursuing a strong integration and interoperability agenda across the HHS enterprise. The Department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017 is more than $299 million. Caseloads for the Department in the past four years have risen dramatically as more families and individuals struggle through the tough economy.

Over the years, due to leadership turnover Ms. Ahluwalia performed additional roles as acting chief operating officer, acting chief of children, Youth and Families and Acting Chief of Special Needs Housing in additional to her role as Director. Currently, the Department is looking for a Local Health Officer/Chief of Public Health and Ms. Ahluwalia is functioning in this role through Designation by the State Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Her knowledge of these areas of practice and support from key staff have made these operations seamless through these many transitions.

Ms. Ahluwalia holds a masters in social work from the University of Delhi in India and a specialist post-masters in Health Services Administration from George Washington University. Over a 29-year career in human services, she has progressively moved from case-carrying social work to executive leadership at the state and local levels.

Oscar Alleyne
Senior Advisor for PH Programs, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

As senior advisor at NACCHO, Dr. Oscar Alleyne is in charge of managing programs on infectious diseases and informatics, public health preparedness, pandemic and catastrophic preparedness.

Dr. Alleyne is an expert on bio-surveillance, informatics, epidemiology, policy and public health. In the past, he has worked with the New York State Health Department, designing software that guides responses to adverse water quality events in the area.  When he worked in the Rockland County Health Department in New York, Dr. Alleyne developed an educational and surveillance program for a West Nile Virus outbreak.

Dr. Alleyne holds a doctorate in public health from the New York Medical College, School of Health Sciences and Practice

Gloria Aparicio-Blackwell
Director of Community Engagement, University of Maryland

Ms. Gloria Aparicio-Blackwell is the director of the Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland College Park. Through advocacy, storytelling, planning, service, and partnerships, she builds a figurative bridge with the university’s surrounding communities. She has worked for the university more than 20 years. Her primary role is to contribute to the University’s commitment to the land grant mission, as well as the overall efforts to make the University of Maryland a “Greater College Town.” She is known for her success in bringing together community leaders, advocates, non-profits, government agencies, businesses and campus stakeholders to address challenges impacting the neighboring communities.

Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell earned an associate’s degree in safety and fire science from Instituto Tecnológico de Seguridad Industrial in Venezuela and a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology with a concentration in safety and fire science from UMD. She earned a M.S. in management from University of Maryland, University College.

Prior to joining the university in 1997, Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell worked in safety and fire management at Potomac Electric Power Company and for American University and Montgomery College (as a student worker). Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell received the President’s Distinguished Service Award for public service at UMD, and was named UMD’s Outstanding Woman of Color. Ms. Aparicio-Blackwell is a member of the Board of Trustees from Montgomery College, is a graduate and board member of Leadership Maryland and Leadership Montgomery, and serves as a board member of the International Town/Gown Association.

Bill Borwegan
Principal, Prevention at Work, LLC

Mr. Bill Borwegen served as founding national director of the Service Employees International Union's Occupational Health and Safety Program, the largest union of healthcare workers and second largest union of public employees in the United States. During a 30-year tenure, he strived to improve workplace conditions including spearheading the successful passage of dozens of federal and state laws and regulations to address hazards ranging from asbestos in schools, blood-borne pathogens and other infectious agents, needle stick injuries, chemical exposures including chemotherapeutic drugs, manual patient handling and workplace violence.

He possesses a bachleors of science degree from Rutgers University in microbiology and environmental sciences and an MPH in environmental and industrial health from the University of Michigan. He now continues this work with like-minded organizations as principal at Prevention at Work, LLC. 

Pamela Creekmur
Health Officer, Prince George's County Health Department

Ms. Pamela B. Creekmur’s professional health care management career spans over 25 years in healthcare administration, clinical operations and public health. As the health officer for Prince George’s County, she is responsible for a local health department that serves over 870,000 residents with 600 employees.

The Prince George’s County Health Department offers a range of public health services including Health and Wellness Services, Family Health Services, Behavioral Health Services and Environmental Health/Disease Control Services. Before coming to the Prince George’s County Health Department, she served as a health plan operations director for the District of Columbia/Suburban Maryland region of Kaiser Permanente, serving over 280,000 members. Prior to this role she was the medical center administrator for the Kaiser Permanente Largo Medical Center, where she was accountable for the overall management of a large multi-specialty medical center with over 350 employees and physicians.

During her tenure with Kaiser Permanente, she gained experience with process improvement, policy setting, fiscal management, program development, and leadership development. Ms. Creekmur is known as a dynamic group motivator and performance coach with proven accomplishments in the areas of organizational management, leadership assessment, recruitment and retention, and performance improvement.

She is a graduate of Howard University with a bachelor of science degree in Nursing. She lives in Prince George’s County with her husband of 32 years and daughter.

Charlene Dukes
President, Prince George's Community College

Ms. Charlene Dukes is the first female president of Prince George's Community College (PGCC). She is the chair on the board of American Association of Community Colleges, member of the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP), the President’s Round Table and the National Council on Black American Affairs. Before becoming president of PGCC, Dukes was an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, at Prince George's Community College in Learning Foundations and at Morgan State University in the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program.

In 2014, she was awarded the Dr. Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award presented by the American Council on Education, the Living Legacy Award presented by the Association for the Study of African Life and History (ASALH), and the Golden Hammer award from the Fuller Center for Housing.

Ms. Dukes earned her master’s in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Maura Dwyer
Senior Administrator, Office of Quality Initiatives, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Maryland Department of Health

Dr. Maura Dwyer is a senior administrator in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Maryland Department of Health and previously served as the Program Director for the Maryland Health Enterprise Zones (HEZ) Initiative. Dr. Dwyer earned a doctorate of public health in environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, a master of public health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a bachelor of science at Villanova University. Dr. Dwyer has worked in various capacities, including education, research, evaluation, program design and implementation, and policy development. Her work has focused primarily on eliminating disparities in birth outcomes, environmental exposures, chronic disease, and HIV/AIDS.

Renee E. Fox
Medical Health Policy Advisor, CAHPG Division of Quality & Health Outcomes, Center for Medicare and Medical Services

Dr. Renee Fox serves as the medical health policy advisor for the Division of Quality and Health Outcomes, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She has served in multiple senior administrative and clinical roles. Prior to her role at CMS Dr. Fox was the founding executive Director at the Institute for Healthiest Maryland and in this role she facilitated connection between partners from Maryland’s higher education institutions and public health practitioners.

Dr. Fox is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she has worked for 16 years. Previously she served as Director of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics. She was also medical director at Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She earned her M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she also completed her residency.

Alana Knudson
Co-Director, NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health, NORC at the University of Chicago

Dr. Alana Knudson serves as a program area director in the Public Health Department at NORC at the University of Chicago and is the Co-Director of NORC’s Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. Dr. Knudson has over 20 years of experience implementing public health programs, leading health policy research projects, and evaluating programs. Dr. Knudson has state and national public health experience having worked at the North Dakota Department of Health and for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and also served as associate director for research at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota.

Sarah Lock
Senior Vice President for Policy and Brain Health at AARP and Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health

Ms. Sarah Lenz Lock is senior vice president for Policy in AARP’s Policy, Research and International Affairs (PRI) where she helps position AARP as a thought leader addressing the major issues facing older Americans. She leads AARP’s policy initiatives on brain health and care for people living with dementia, including serving as the Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health, an independent  collaborative of scientists, doctors and policy experts convened by AARP to provide trusted information on brain health. She is a member of the American Society on Aging, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Gerontological Society of America. She serves on the Steering Committee for the National Research Summit on Care, Services and Supports for Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers, on the HHS’ Administration on Community Living Aging and Cognitive Health Technical Expert Advisory Board, the Dementia Friendly America National Council, and is a Health and Aging Policy Fellow Program National Advisory Board Member. She formerly served as a Commissioner for the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging.

She began her career as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives to Congressman Michael D. Barnes, working with the Federal Government Service Task Force, and worked at the law firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn. She received a bachelors of arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College, and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was a member of the law review.

John McElligott
Deputy Executive Director, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service

Mr. John McElligott is health policy, health advocacy and lobbying specialist. He coordinates legislative initiatives with Congress and proposes strategies to achieve policy objectives, and he co-chairs the Guard/Research and the Military Committee, to which COA belongs as a member.

Mr. McElligott is also director-at-large of the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cote d'Ivoire and Madagascar and was a public health advisor for the Institute for Military Support to Governance.

Mr. McElligott holds an MPH from the University of Arizona.


Gerald (Simon) McNabb 
Senior Policy Advisor, Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For over 10 years, Mr. Simon McNabb has helped develop and release Surgeon General Reports, including the landmark 2014 50th anniversary report as well as those on secondhand smoke and on youth tobacco use. Simon has worked in environmental health since the late eighties, working in the Federal government since 1997. Mr. McNabb lead the EPA's Secondhand Smoke efforts from 1998-2003, helping to design their Smoke-Free Homes campaign and participating in the development of the U.S. Governments secondhand smoke position during the negotiations for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Mr. McNabb works closely with the Office of the Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services to help coordinate the Department’s tobacco control activities. He is one of the authors of the HHS Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan. Mr. McNabb is the designated federal official for the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health.

Laurie Norris
Senior Advisor, DentaQuest Foundation 

Dr. Laurie Norris is a senior policy advisor at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Laurie joined CMS in 2011, where her work focuses on children’s oral health. Prior to joining CMS, Dr. Laurie was the state campaign manager for the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, and before that she served for twenty years as an advocate for low-income children and families in both California and Maryland. In 2007, she was introduced to the world of oral health when her client, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, died from a preventable dental abscess that spread to his brain. Laurie holds a law degree from New York University School of Law and a masters in organizational development and leadership from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

John A. O'Brien
Community Representative

Irwin Royster
Director, Outreach and Program Services, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC, Inc.

Mr. Irwin Royster came to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW) with over fifteen years experience in the financial services and sales industry including corporate customer service, community development, and retail banking administration at CitiBank, First Union National Bank and Bank of America. He has extensive experience in community building, development and training and assisted three years ago in the development and implementation of PPMW's first Teen Clinic located east of the Anacostia River. He continues to oversee recruitment of youth participants in Teen Clinic sessions and group workshops; training of Youth Health Messengers; the Title X HIV Integration Program grant; street outreach activities, including after-hours HIV/AIDS and STI information distribution and testing of very high-risk young adult populations.

He currently serves as the co-chair of the D.C. Department of Health's STD Control Program's STD Community Coalition. He is also a member of the District of Columbia HIV Prevention Community Planning Group (CPG) and serves on the Community Advisory Board of Children's National Medical Center's Connect to Protect program, a nationwide HIV/AIDS prevention program aimed at adolescents.

He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Social Work at the University of Maryland and ultimately plans to earn a master's of public health.

Edward J. Sondik
Former Director, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC

Most recently, Dr. Edward Sondik served as the director of the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS, a position he held for 17 years. Before joining CDC, he directed the NIH National Cancer Institute's Surveillance and End Results Survey (SEER) program and also led the research planning and evalution activities for the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 

Prior to his federal positions, Dr. Sondik served on the Engineering-Economic Systems faculty at Stanford University. He now is a member of the HHS Secretary' Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030. Dr. Sondik explores other activities including the challenges of the Federal Statistical System, data needs at the State and local level, new sources of health data, and training and research on how to use these new sources of data and modeling to meet community health needs. 

Ching-Tzone Tien (C.T.) 
Deputy Program Manager, Maryland Department of the Environment

Dr. C. T. Tien is currently deputy program manager, Wastewater Permits Program of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Dr. C. Tien has been with MDE since July of 1975. He was the principal author of the Maryland Sewerage Facilities Guidelines (1978) and helped to develop guidelines regarding groundwater discharge in Maryland including the MDE Land Treatment Guidelines (2003) and Draft Water Reuse Regulations (2009). Dr. C. Tien was named the Young Engineer of the Year (1979) by the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers. He is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Maryland.

Dr. C. Tien has authored or coauthored 32 research papers, book chapters, conference proceedings and governmental publications. He was also an instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park for two graduate courses (2007-1014): (1) ENPM 637 Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering, and (2) ENPM 666 Groundwater Hydrology and Pollution Control. Dr. C. Tien’s specialties include, but are not limited to: (1) Water and wastewater treatment; (2) Water pollution control; (3) Waste management, and (4) Groundwater hydrology and water quality protection.

Dr. C. Tien has authored or coauthored 32 research papers, book chapters, conference proceedings and governmental publications. He was also an instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park for two graduate courses (2007-1014): (1) ENPM 637 Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering, and (2) ENPM 666 Groundwater Hydrology and Pollution Control. Dr. C. Tien’s specialties include, but are not limited to: (1) Water and wastewater treatment; (2) Water pollution control; (3) Waste management, and (4) Groundwater hydrology and water quality protection.

Joseph Wright
Senior VP and Chief Medical Oficer, University of Maryland Medical System

Dr. Joseph L. Wright is the recently appointed senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Capital Region Health system. He previously served as Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine, and as Senior Vice President within the Children's National Health System, where he provided strategic leadership for the organization’s advocacy mission, public policy positions, and community partnership initiatives. He maintains adjunct appointments as professor of emergency medicine and health policy and management at the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, as well as, research professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. He served 17 years as the state pediatric medical director within the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, in addition to 8 years as principal investigator and medical director of the federally-funded Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) National Resource Center.

Academically, Dr. Wright is among the original cohort of board-certified pediatric emergency physicians with scholarly interests that include injury prevention and the needs of underserved communities. He has contributed over 100 publications to the scientific literature, served more than 20 visiting professorships, and was principal investigator of the NIH-funded DC-Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities.  Dr. Wright is an elected member of both the Alpha Omega Alpha (medicine) and Delta Omega (public health) honor societies, the American Pediatric Society, and was recently inducted into the Academy of Medicine of Washington.

Dr. Wright is current chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine after having served as inaugural chair of the AAP Violence Prevention Subcommittee. He is also currently chairing the AAP Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination. Dr. Wright has been recognized throughout his career for his advocacy work highlighted by receipt of two lifetime achievement awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics for distinguished contributions to the disciplines of injury prevention and emergency medicine, respectively. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Shining Star Award from the Los Angeles-based Starlight Foundation for outstanding service to communities of color. 

Dr. Wright provides national leadership through advisory and governance service to several organized medicine bodies including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Hospital Association, the March of Dimes, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Highway Traffic Safety, and a recently completed term as an Obama administration appointee to the Pediatric Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration. He regularly presents invited expert testimony before Congress, state and municipal legislative bodies, has made numerous media appearances, and lectures widely to both professional and lay audiences.

Dr. Wright earned a bachelors of arts degree from Wesleyan University, his M.D. from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and a masters of public health in Administrative Medicine and Management from the George Washington University.