Community Advisory Council Members

  • Wafaa El-Sadr is University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, Director of ICAP at Columbia University, Director of Columbia World Projects and the Mathilde Krim-amfAR Professor of Global Health at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. El-Sadr received her medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt, a masters degree in public health (Epidemiology) from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and a masters degree in public administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She was named a McArthur fellow in 2008, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2009, a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences in 2018 and a member of the Council for Foreign Relations in 2021.

  • Samuel Sia, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was appointed Vice Provost for the Fourth Purpose and Strategic Impact in January 2022. This position, created at the recommendation of the Fourth Purpose Task Force, is intended to support Columbia’s efforts to bring knowledge to directed action for public good, which President Lee C. Bollinger has identified as Columbia’s Fourth Purpose. As both a scholar and a biotech entrepreneur, Professor Sia focuses on microfluidics and miniaturized wearable and implantable medical devices. He has collaborated extensively with colleagues across engineering and in public health, medicine, and business. He completed his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta in Canada, a PhD in Biophysics as a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.

  • Renotta Young is Deputy Controller of Financial Compliance and External Audits reporting to the Vice President, Finance and Controller. Her oversight includes managing federal agency audits and reviews. She periodically serves on National Science Foundation (NSF) Peer Review Panels, and she is a member of the Council of Government Relations (COGR), where she serves on the COGR Costing Committee. Prior to joining Columbia, Renotta was the Director of Corporate Tax for the Mayo Clinic headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota where her responsibilities included a team with oversight of tax policy and filings for Mayo Clinic parent company and over 40 subsidiaries. While working at the Mayo Clinic, she co-directed the Mayo Clinic Economic Impact Project which provided the groundwork for Mayo Rochester’s Destination Medical Center (DMC) , an innovative economic development initiative. Prior to the Mayo Clinic, she served as Director of Tax Compliance at the University of Illinois where she developed tax policy and procedures for the Champaign-Urbana, Chicago and Springfield campuses. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and a Bachelor of Arts from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

  • Rafael Lantigua, M.D. is the Associate Dean for Community Service, Director of the Office of Community Service Programs, and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Since coming to Columbia in 1980, he has a distinguished record of working to improve the health of aging minorities and working to advance community partnerships and community based participatory research. He was the driving force behind CALME, the Columbia Center for the Active Life of Minority Elders, which supported research to reduce health disparities affecting minority elders and established an important bridge between Columbia researchers and the neighboring community. Dr. Lantigua also helped start the Columbia Center for the Health of Urban Minorities to shift community based-research from studies for the community to studies with the community

  • Columbia University’s Campbell Family Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education Peter Pilling enters his seventh full academic year at the helm of a Columbia Intercollegiate Athletics Department which features 31 varsity sports, serves more than 750 student-athletes, and boasts nearly 150 years of athletics tradition. During Pilling’s first six years at Columbia, the Lions have claimed six team national championships, seven individual national championships, 18 Ivy League team championships, 62 individual conference or Ivy League titles, along with the 2016 CollegeInsider.com postseason basketball tournament championship. Columbia’s football program has undergone a transformation as the Lions have registered three winning years in the last four seasons.

  • Orin Herskowitz is the Senior VP of Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer for Columbia University, as well as Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV). He also is an Adjunct Professor, teaching an Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs course. He has served on boards or in leadership roles for a number of innovation and entrepreneurship-focused initiatives, including CyberNYC Inventors-to-Founders program, NYC Media Lab, PowerBridgeNY clean energy proof-of-concept center, and the Columbia BioMedX accelerator; and has been a peer reviewer for innovation and entrepreneurship awards for the National Science Foundation and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Orin received his BA from Yale and his MBA from the Wharton School of Business. Prior to joining Columbia, Orin spent 7 years at the Boston Consulting Group's New York office as a strategy consultant, and was previously an entrepreneur and a consultant to start-ups.

  • Olger C. Twyner, III, is Executive Director of Community Impact (CI) at Columbia, a non-profit with a mission to advance the public good in Upper Manhattan through volunteer and service initiatives in the areas of youth achievement, adult education, emergency services, and health. Olger earned a B.A. in History from Jackson State University, a J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law, and an M.B.A. in Public and Non-Profit Management from Columbia Business School. He has worked with a variety of legal and non-profit organizations, including Southeast Mississippi Legal Services, the Ford Foundation, Mississippi Center for Justice, and Row New York. In higher education, Olger has also been engaged in community outreach and public service initiatives at Columbia Business School, NYU Law School, Double Discovery Center, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Olger is an avid Jackson State football and New York Yankees baseball fan, who enjoys cooking and international travel.

  • Dr. Olajide Williams obtained his medical degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York. He is currently a tenured Professor of Neurology, Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology, and Associate Dean of Community Research and Engagement at Columbia University. He is a global leader in stroke disparities intervention research, Principal Investigator of multiple NIH awards, a co-Chair of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) Anti-Racism Task Force, and co-Director of the Columbia Wellness Center. Author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, Dr Williams has received many prestigious awards including the European Stroke Research Foundation Investigator of the Year award, Columbia University Outstanding Teacher of the Year award, a National Humanism in Medicine award from the AAMC, American Heart Association Trailblazer award, Fast Company Most Creative 100 list, and has been a regular feature of the annual New York Magazine Best Doctors lists. He is Founder and President of Hip Hop Public Health, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that leverages music, art, and science for health promotion in communities of color.

  • Melissa Begg is Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work. She is a population health scientist deeply committed to developing the strongest possible evidence base for human health and well-being. She previously served as Vice Provost for Academic Programs at Columbia University and vice dean of public health; she was also co-director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Her early research focused on methods for evaluating associations from sibling studies, especially as applied to early life determinants of adult health. She has directed a number of NIH-funded training programs, including two career development programs to promote diversity in the health sciences. Dr. Begg was given the University-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2006. As an academic administrator, she has focused on convening interdisciplinary scientific teams, developing innovative curricula, creating academic mentorship programs, and advancing diversity in the research workforce.

  • Mabel O. Wilson is the Nancy and George E Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a Professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, where she also serves as the director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS). With her practice Studio&, she was a member of the design team that recently completed the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. Wilson has authored of Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016), Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012), and co-edited the volume Race and Modern Architecture: From the Enlightenment to Today (2020). She is a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA?)—an advocacy project to educate the architectural profession about the problems of globalization and labor. She is the co-host of the podcast Black Lives in the Era of COVID 19, a close look at the impact of the virus on New York City communities. For the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, she was co-curator of the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America (2021).

  • Kendall Thomas is the Nash Professor of Law and the Director of the Studio for Law and Culture at Columbia University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1984. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of U.S. and comparative constitutional law, human rights, law and culture, sexuality and law, and critical race theory. He was a co-editor of Critical Race Theory: Key Writings that Founded the Movement (New Press, 1995). Thomas has taught or lectured at universities around the world. A scholar-activist, Thomas was a founding member of the Majority Action Caucus of ACT UP, Vice-Chair and board member of Gay Men's Health Crisis, and an inaugural board member of the New York City AIDS Memorial.

  • Dr. Kellie Jones is Chair of the Department African American and African Diaspora Studies and Hans Hofmann Professor of Modern Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Jones was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2016. Her writings have appeared in a multitude of exhibition catalogues and journals. She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017), which received the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the American Book Award in 2018 and was named a Best Book of the Decade in 2019 by ArtNews, Best Art Book of 2017 in The New York Times and a Best Book of 2017 in Artforum.

  • Dr. Bryant is the Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs and Simulation and Associate Professor at Columbia school of nursing’s accredited Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center. Dr. Bryant has over 20 years of teaching experience and 10 years of experience as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. In her current role she oversees the day-to-day operations and implementation of simulation-based education for all the graduate nursing and advance practice nursing students. Additional responsibilities include implementing initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for students and the surround community. At Columbia University, she was appointed co-chair of the campus-wide antiracism taskforce for community service working. Dr. Bryant is currently on the executive board for the Greater NYC Black Nurses Association including serving as the liaison for the NYC Black and Latinx Providers committee. Dr. Bryant received her Associates degree in nursing from Hudson Valley Community College. She continued her education at Stony Brook University where she received her Bachelor’s in Nursing and a Master’s Degree as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Lastly, she received her Doctorate in Nursing Education from Case Western Reserve University.

  • Julie Kornfeld, Phd, MPH serves as the Vice Provost of Academic Programs at Columbia University. In that capacity, she oversees and monitors the academic programs and educational initiatives of the undergraduate and graduate and professional schools at Columbia. Dr. Kornfeld is also an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH) at Columbia University. Prior to her role in the Provost’s office, she served as the Vice Dean of Education for the Mailman School providing the academic and administrative leadership of the public health school’s educational programs. An expert in pedagogic innovations and professional training for public health leaders, Dr. Kornfeld has extensive experience in designing interdisciplinary approaches to graduate, professional and medical education and in engaging community-based organizations in mutually beneficial opportunities that advance both the training of students and the mission-based work of organizations. Dr. Kornfeld earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Miami.

  • Julie Franks, PhD is a social scientist and technical specialist at ICAP. She has 20 years’ experience in research and programmatic support to improve outcomes along the continuum of HIV prevention and treatment, especially for populations highly vulnerable to HIV. She works with at-risk communities in New York City as well as with ICAP teams in sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Based at ICAP's Harlem Prevention Center, she collaborates in HIV Prevention Trials Network research, including studies of innovations in biomedical HIV prevention, the HIV prevention-related needs and preferences of men who have sex with men and improving access to gender-affirming care for transgender women at risk for HIV, as well as research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to address other infectious disease threats in vulnerable populations such as young sex workers in Kenya. Most recently, her research includes collaboration in the COVID-19 Prevention Network studies, including vaccine trials and community-based COVID-19 surveillance in New York City.

  • Goleen Samari is an assistant professor and population health demographer in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health and Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her research considers how racism, xenophobia, gender inequities, and migration-based inequities shape reproductive and population health with a particular focus on populations in or from the Middle East and North Africa. She takes a structural determinants of health approach to understand and alleviate health burdens amongst immigrant communities in New York City and the United States. Dr. Samari co-founded Mentoring of Students and Igniting Community (MOSAIC) at the Mailman School of Public Health to provide additional mentorship to students of color and first-generation students at Columbia. Dr. Samari earned a Ph.D. in public health, an MPH in community health sciences, and an MA in Islamic studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • Gina Wingood is the Sidney and Helaine Lerner Professor of Public Health Promotion in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH), Columbia University. She also currently serves as the Director of the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion. The Lerner Center conducts research on designing and disseminating evidence-based interventions, practices, and policies for predominantly ethnic minority populations. In addition, Gina serves as the Director, of the Health Communications Certificate at MSPH. This certificate is designed to enhance MSPH students knowledge in health literacy, health communication, risk communication, equity communication and their skills in data visualization and data storytelling. Prior to arriving at Columbia University, Gina was a Professor at Emory University for 17 years in the Rollins School of Public Health and held the Agnes Moore Faculty Endowment for HIV Research.

  • Professor Geraldine Downey is the Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology and Director of the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Her work on the causes and consequences of social exclusion and rejection is internationally recognized. She is currently studying how identities of hope (e.g., the student identity) can transform the narrative about people deemed rejectable (e.g., people with a criminal conviction) and can inform interventions that alter the trajectory of justice-impacted youth. Dr. Downey has worked on and taught about issues related to incarceration since the 1970s. She is presently co-teaching a new course on Frontiers of Justice. For her talk on education in prison see: Geraldine Downey's Talk for Why Education Matters: [email protected]

  • Flores Forbes has been with the Columbia University community for 15 years. He is an Associate Vice President for Community Affairs in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation and at Columbia Law School where he teaches Critical Race Theory. In 2020 he was appointed to President Bollinger’s Anti-Racist Taskforce and led the planning effort to Combat Anti Black Racism in the communities surrounding Columbia University. Flores has published two books about race, Black radical politics, urban planning and criminal justice change. His most recent book Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017) won the American Book Award for nonfiction in 2017. Prior to his time at Columbia, Flores was the Chief Strategic Officer at Abyssinian Development Corporation in Harlem and a city/urban planner as the Deputy Director of Land Use and Development in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. He has a BA from San Francisco State University and a Masters of Urban Planning from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service NYU.

  • Felice Rosan, Deputy General Counsel, has long worked in support of the University’s community mission. She represented Columbia in the negotiation of the Community Benefits Agreement for the University’s Manhattanville campus expansion and worked with Government and Community Affairs to develop and implement the pandemic loan fund. In addition to this work, Felice provides advice on University governance and policy, tax-exempt issues, charitable giving, employee and student issues, major litigation and other issues. Before joining Columbia, Felice was Vice President and General Counsel for MovieFone, Inc. and an associate at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft working on mergers, acquisitions, financings and other transactions. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. cum laude from Temple University School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review.

  • Dr. Patton is the founding director of SAFElab, a member of the Data Science Institute, and a faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group (SIG). He holds a courtesy appointment in the department of Sociology. He is the recipient of the 2018 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) and was named a 2017-2018 fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Before coming to Columbia, Dr. Patton was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and School of Information. He holds a BA in Anthropology and Political Science with honors from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, an MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and a PhD in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

  • Costis Maglaras is the 16th Dean of Columbia Business School, and the David and Lyn Silfen Professor of Business at Columbia University. Costis received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, London, in 1990, and his MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1991 and 1998, respectively. He joined Columbia Business School in 1998, when he joined the Decision, Risk and Operations Division. Prior to becoming dean he served as chair of the Decision, Risk & Operations division at the Business School, Director of the School's doctoral program, and was a member of the executive committee of the University's Data Science Institute. Costis teaches courses in the MBA and PhD programs, and he has also received the Dean's award at Columbia Business School for teaching excellence for the core course Managerial Statistics, and the Dean's award for Teaching Innovation for his work on the Technology and Analytics curriculum in Columbia's MBA and EMBA programs.

  • Carrie Walker, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, has worked at Columbia University for 17 years and is an alum. During her time at the University, Carrie has played a variety of roles, working across Columbia and the neighboring community to develop programming at The Forum, World Leaders Forum discussions and produce events such as University Commencement.

  • Dr. Herbert received her DDS from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and a certificate in pediatric dentistry from Howard University. Throughout her career, Dr. Herbert has maintained a focus on improving access and health system experiences of people in underserved communities. She is also active in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and community and global programs.

  • Dr. Alwyn Cohall is a Professor of Public Health and Pediatrics at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Cohall is board-certified in both pediatrics and adolescent medicine and has a private practice in adolescent and young adult health. He is also the director of Project Stay (Services to Assist Youth), which is a New York State Department of Health funded program that provides confidential health services to young people affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS. A core component of this initiative involves working with community partners providing education, workforce development , and supportive services for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults involved in the carceral system. In recognition of his work with young people, he has been honored by various professional and governmental organizations including: the AMA, AAP, SAHM, the NYS Department of Health, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and was recently inducted into the CUIMC Academy of Community and Public Service.