Find out more about the 2022 Climate and Health Equity Fellowship:
In February of 2021, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health in cooperation with National Medical Association launched the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship (CHEF) program. This new fellowship opportunity will help generate a network of experts on climate, health, and equity in four southeastern states as part of a strategy to advance a clean energy future in a region that is vulnerable to climate crises and has experienced systemic racial and climate injustice.
Several Clinicians for Climate Action (CCA) groups are participating in a growing network of Consortium state affiliates, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Consortium is partnering with the southeastern regional affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA Region III) on this program to help build the strength and diversity of these Consortium state affiliates. Every southern state has a state NMA affiliate.
This project will build the strength of an alliance of state clinician groups and state NMA affiliates in the southeast in order to tackle climate change by strategically training and mentoring doctors to be powerful and knowledgeable voices for change. The fellowship will strengthen the knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, and contacts of the fellows so they can effectively promote equitable- and health-focused climate solutions. Networking will bring fellows together with each other and with climate action groups in their states.
This fellowship will engage the doctors over 10 months in intensive semi-monthly training and exercises. Fellows will meet virtually or in-person two days each month for 4 hours. In between monthly sessions, they will be tasked with specific practicum activities, such as conducting public outreach and education, identifying and assessing how to respond to an environmental or climate policy or regulatory issue in the region, developing their own climate and health equity presentations, developing testimony or writing letters to the editor. This Fellowship opportunity will help generate a network of physicians of color from across the country who are experts on climate, health and equity.
This program was made possible with generous support from Johnson & Johnson, the Energy Foundation, and the American College of Physicians.
The 2022 Climate and Health Equity Fellows
Dr. Gerri Cannon-Smith, MD, MPH | she/her/hers
Pediatrics | Brandon, MS | NMA Member
Gerri A. Cannon-Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP has years of experience as Clinician/Public health practitioner, administrator, PH/Disparity scholar and Public health faculty. Her Medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical School followed the completion of undergraduate studies at Howard University. Pediatric training was completed at Howard University Hospital and Loma Linda University Children’s Medical Center. She received a Master of Public Health degree at the University of California, Berkeley and is certified in Public Health. Caring for underserved populations as general pediatrician in rural, suburban, and urban communities in Mississippi, Tennessee, California, and Ohio has shaped her practice and research interests. Keenly aware of the impact of social determinants of health, access inequities and. environmental influences, her career has focused on Health equity, specifically, as it relates to pediatric health disparities, chronic pediatric conditions (asthma and obesity) and precursors of chronic conditions.
Currently she serves as Pediatric Consultant with Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) ,is involved in community participatory research, and focused on health/health literacy/health equity promotion as owner of Innovative Health Strategies Active in professional and community organizations, she is a member of the Pediatric section of the National Medical Association, serves as PROS Coordinator and Public Health Liaison for AAP-MS Chapter, is past president of Delta SOPHE and serves on (Association of maternal Child Health Programs) AMCHP MCH Innovations Committee. She is NAACP Health Committee Chair of local branch and member of regional/national Advisory Boards and civic organizations. As a pediatrician, her mantra of “Every child should reach her/his optimal potential” has been demonstrated by a commitment to preventive strategies, promotion of health equity, and striving to live out a personal mandate to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly.
Dr. Yvonne Collins, MD | she/her/hers
Gynecologic Oncology | Oak Park, IL | NMA Member
Yvonne C. Collins M.D. is a Gynecologic Oncologist and Chief Medical Officer of CountyCare within Cook County Health Hospitals System. She is board certified in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology. Dr. Collins is a graduate of Xavier University in Louisiana and the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida. She completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois and fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.
Dr. Collins has devoted her career to educating underserved women on the importance of routine health maintenance. She also has an interest in empowering women through education, eliminating barriers to care and increasing access. She works with community organizations, area churches, beauty salons, task forces on developing ways to decrease racial disparities related to cervical cancer. She has provided healthcare in the United States and has traveled abroad to Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa providing care. She lectures nationally and internationally with the goal of educating on disease prevention. Her honors include Outstanding Teacher (twice) and Humanitarian of the Year. She is currently Region IV Trustee for the National Medical Association and a member of the Cook County Physicians Association.
Dr. Riccardo Correa, MD, EdD | he/him/el
Internal Medicine | Phoenix, AZ | GLMA, ACP, & NHMA Member
Ricardo Correa, M.D., Ed. D., F.A.C.E., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.M.Q. is an Associate Professor of Medicine, the Program Director for Endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism fellowship and the director for diversity in Graduate Medical Education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Staff Clinician and Researcher at Phoenix V.A.M.C. and health equity fellowship director for the Creighton School of medicine. He completed his Medical School and master’s in education at The University of Panama. He completed a research fellowship in Epidemiology and Tropical disease at I.C.G.E.S. in Panama City and his internal medicine residency at the Jackson Memorial hospital-University of Miami (U.M.) program. In 2012, he was honored with the A.O.A. and GoldDOC Award from the U.M. Then, he pursued his clinical and research fellowship in endocrinology with a particular focus on neuroendocrinology and adrenals at the National Institute of Health.
He is board-certified in Medical Quality. He is the author of the book title “Case report: basics and publication.” and senior Co-Editor of the book “Endocrinology of Aging.” His research focuses on neuroendocrinology, mainly on pituitary and adrenal tumor and health care disparities in diabetes in Latinx populations. He is dedicated to the community and helps as the co-medical director for an underserved clinic in Phoenix, where he created the endo and diabetes clinic. He also helped screen asylum patients as part of his volunteer work with the 100 Angels group, and he gives lectures and mentors many underrepresented minorities to become part of medicine. Due to all his career, Dr. Correa has been awarded several recognitions, including Presidential Leadership scholar, 100 Hispanic Inspiring Scientist, Medscape Rising Start, N.M.Q.F. 40 under 40, Humanitarian award by Arizona Medical Association AACE Endocrinology Rising Star and many other prestigious national awards.
He enjoyed playing the saxophone, hiking in the Phoenix mountain with the family, and traveling to other countries to learn about the different cultures
Dr. Jessica Edwards, DO | she/her/hers
Family Medicine | Austin, TX | NMA Member
Dr. Jessica Edwards is a second-generation Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician in Austin, Texas. Seeing patients of all ages and stages, her practice focuses on prevention and improving access to care via telemedicine. She is a 2019-2020 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Health Policy Fellow and now serves as the co-chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. She received the 2019 Prestigious Top Healthcare Leaders Under 40 Award by the National Medical Association Post Graduate Section and she is the former National President of the Committee of Interns and Residents, America’s largest union of Resident Physicians. In addition, she is former Vice-Chair of the Obstetrics Department at Resolute Hospital and has served on the Women’s Services Quality Committee at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital in New Braunfels, Texas. Dr. Edwards has been featured in multiple editorials, several podcasts/interviews and launched the Straight Facts No Chaser podcast in 2020. In her free time, she likes to cook, travel, mentor pre-med and medical students and spend time with her husband, Domonic and their two children.
Dr. Tracey L. Henry, MD, MPH, MS | she/her/hers
Internal Medicine | Atlanta, GA | ACP Member
Dr. Tracey L. Henry is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a clinical educator and attending physician in both inpatient and outpatient medicine. She is the Assistant Health Director, for the Grady Primary Care Center and Co-Director of the Health Equity Advocacy Policy track for Emory’s GME programs. Dr. Henry’s teaching and research interests include: healthcare advocacy and policy; climate and health equity, quality improvement and patient safety; and integrating behavioral mental health care into primary care.
Dr. Henry earned her MD at Georgetown University and MPH from Johns Hopkins University. During residency, she served on American College of Physician (ACP)’s Council of Residents/Fellows and the Louisiana State Medical Society Board of Governors and was awarded the American Medical Association (AMA)’s Paul Ambrose Award for Leadership Among Resident Physicians. Dr. Henry completed a Health Policy Fellowship at Georgetown University where she studied primary care-related health policies, healthcare delivery systems, and alternative payment models.
In 2017, Dr. Henry was selected as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a national program designed for leaders from multi-sector backgrounds who share a commitment to solving society’s greatest challenges, a 2020 Society of General Internal Medicine’s Leadership in Health Policy Scholar and recently completed her year as an AMA Health Systems Science Scholar. Currently, she serves on the ACP’s Medical Practice and Quality Committee, a delegate to the AMA House of Delegates and the Chair-Elect of the ACP’s Council of Early Career Physicians
Dr. Jessica Isom, MD, MPH
Psychiatry | Dorchester, MA | NMA Member
Jessica Elizabeth Isom, MD MPH is an early career community psychiatrist, public speaker, medical educator and consultant for diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism projects. Driven by a passion for collaborative leadership, she takes pride in providing the conceptual frameworks and psychological safety necessary to expand the growing edges of her clients and peers. Dr. Isom draws on her psychiatric training and humble background to connect across differences in power, education, and perspective to foster a collaborative approach to achieving racial justice and equity in medicine and beyond. As a resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, she was selected as the Chief Resident of Medical Education and as the Chief Resident of Diversity and Inclusion. In the Yale Department of Psychiatry, her professionalism, diversity and inclusion expertise and educational skillset were honored through awards and department-wide recognition.
Her strong training background and leadership experiences inform her current role in Boston, MA at Codman Square Health Center. She currently serves as a leader within the American Psychiatric Association Assembly, where her contributions center on illuminating the need for health equity in organized psychiatry. She has also been elected to the Councilor position for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. Within the Yale Department of Psychiatry residency program, she is a faculty track leader for the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum. Currently, she is devoting considerable time to growing her consulting company, Vision for Equity LLC, which she has expanded into a nationally sought out team of antiracism coaches and organizational trainers.
Dr. Rondall Lane, MD, MPH
Anesthesiology | San Francisco, CA | NMA Member
Dr. Rondall Lane is a father of five children who continue to amaze me with their curiosity and drive. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Dr. Danielle Lane, since 1998. Currently, he is a full professor of anesthesia and critical care medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As an undergraduate student, he studied cultural & medical anthropology in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. It was there he realized the significance of the “social determinates of health”. He attended medical school at Dartmouth, where he spent time with Dr. C. Everett Koop to learn more about how policy, culture, and medicine interface with regards to human health. He studied public health at Johns Hopkins University after spending a summer with the American Heart Association advocating for nicotine to be regulated by the FDA. In public health school, he was interested in the social determinants of health, policy and outcomes research.
After graduating medical school, Lane did his residencies in internal medicine at Yale University and my training in pulmonary medicine and anesthesia at UCSF. He has been on faculty at UCSF since 2009, where he direct the diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum for anesthesia and surgery residents. He is also director of the critical care medicine sub-internship. He has been affiliated with the Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF, where he conducted outcomes research in critical care medicine. Through my work in DEI, he has become more aware of the issues creating inequities in health. Climate change, with its disproportionate impact on marginalized and low carbon footprint communities, is no exception. He will use his interest in anthropology, the environment, medicine, and climate to have a positive impact on marginalized communities by mitigating the influence climate change has on human health.
Dr. Nicole Mahealani Lum, DO
Family Medicine | Honolulu, HI | AMA & NCAPIP Member
Dr. Nicole Mahealani Lum, a family medicine & geriatric medicine physician in Honolulu, HI. Nicole “Mahealani” Lum, DO, is the primary care physician and medical director of Ke Ola Mamo Native Hawaiian Health System.
She graduated from Andrew Taylor Still School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and completed her family medicine residency and geriatric medicine fellowship at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. Mahealani serves on the Board of Directors for ‘Ahahui o Nā Kauka, the Association of Native Hawaiian Physicians. She was graciously nominated to the Climate & Health Equity Fellowship by the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians. Mahealani is passionate about uplifting the health of the Native Hawaiian people, and learning how to reconnect Hawai’i communities to ‘āina (land-based) practices. She descends from ancestral stewards of the land on which she and her family reside in ‘Aiea, HI, and in her spare time she is a student of the Hālau ‘Ohi’a Hawai’i stewardship training program. Dedicated to community-based regeneration of our natural landscapes to restore health & wellness, Mahealani’s family leads land restoration efforts at Loko I’a Pā’aiau fishpond and Ka Mahi’ai ‘Ihi o Wailea maile farm. Mahealani is looking forward to becoming more involved in advocacy and policy for environmental health and its effect on community health.
Dr. Torrence Barry Nicholson, MD | he/him/his
Family Medicine | Coy, AL | NMA Member
Torrence “Barry” Nicholson is a native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Dr. Barry’s college experience began at Virginia State University where he majored in Drafting. Following a transfer to Penn State University, Dr. Barry changed his focus to healthcare and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, in Health Policy and Administration. The Nittany Lion Alum continued his academic pursuits by attending Central Connecticut State University where he completed a master’s degree in Biological Sciences. Between undergrad and graduate school, two years of service in the United States Peace Corps Ghana, West Africa proved to be a life-changing adventure. Dr. Barry went on to graduate from Tulane University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine Degree.
When he is not providing healthcare Dr. Barry maintains a 200-acre family farm, purchased by his grandparents in Coy, Alabama. There he raises cows, goats, chickens, and produce. Two new additions to the farm that the family is excited about are yurts and a high tunnel hoop house. Dr. Barry is Board Certified in Family Medicine.
Dr. Nneoma Nwachuku Ojiaku, MD, MPH | she/her/hers
Obstetrics & Gynecology | Sacramento, CA | NMA Member
Nneoma Nwachuku Ojiaku, MD, MPH is a board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist who practices in Sacramento, California. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology and then her master’s degree in Public Health at Yale University. Her field of concentration was Chronic Disease Epidemiology with a special interest in health disparities among African American and immigrant populations. She completed her medical training at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and then went on to complete residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC. Dr. Ojiaku has completed several research projects, presented at national conferences, and has published papers in relating to women’s health. Her interests are in patient education, quality improvement, and achieving health equity. Dr. Ojiaku looks forward to participating in the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship and championing the interests of the communities and patient populations she serves.
Dr. Pragya Rai, MD | she/her/hers
Pediatric Pulmonology | Spokane, WA
Pragya Rai, MD completed her Pediatric residency from The Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, TX. She has over a decade of experience working as a pediatric pulmonologist in eastern Washington and attributes her clinical experience with patients as a gravitating force toward a better understanding the health impacts of climate change. She is actively involved in the WA Pediatricians for climate action and 350 Spokane, a volunteer-run non-profit. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Council on Environmental Health and Climate Change. With the Climate and Health equity fellowship, she hopes to focus the lens on the inequitable social determinants of health that climate change can have and learn just solutions to advocate for a healthier future for all.
Dr. Dorothy Russ, MD, JD, MPH | she/her/hers
Family Medicine | Jacksonville, FL | NMA Member
Dorothy M. Russ, M.D., Esq., is a community servant with a passion for educating and inspiring the public. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, University of Florida Levin College of Law, and Meharry Medical College. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinic Florida. She recently completed her Executive Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. With a commitment to vulnerable and underserved communities, she started her career as the Associate Director of Primary Care Services at the Sulzbacher Center, a federally qualified health center for the homeless. She currently serves as the Medical Director at Jacksonville, the location of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. She is an enthusiastic member of several civic organizations including: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., League of Women Voters, National Urban League Young Professionals, and Junior League. She currently serves on the board of the Jacksonville Urban League and Girls, Inc. of Jacksonville.
She is the proud wife of Rev. Alton McGriff and loving mother of A.Z.
Dr. Francis Samonte, MD, PhD | he/him
Pediatrics | Boston, MA | AMA Member
Francis Samonte, M.D., Ph.D., is an academic pediatric and adult neurologist/neuroscientist focusing on the intersection of cognitive-behavioral sciences and health policy & program initiatives. He received his undergraduate degree at Boston College. Following medical school, he received advanced training in basic neurosciences (human brain development) as a member of the Harvard Catalyst group, Clinical and Translational Science Center, and Johns Hopkins University (Zanvyl Krieger Advance Program). His clinical training in neurology from Harvard institutions (Children’s Hospital Boston, Beth Israel-Deaconess Hosp., Brigham & Women’s Hospital) led to his interest in advancing maternal-child health programs in Boston as a LEND fellow under the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Francis continued his research pursuits in neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, even while expanding his health policy initiatives through his work in Haiti and the Philippines. As a senior research associate in health policy development (NIH), his research into climate-related perturbations and its effect on non-communicable diseases (NCD) and mental health using advance mathematical algorithm are key to understanding future health outcomes particularly in promoting equitable solutions. He has served with distinction and recognition, including the Pediatric Chairman’s Achievement Award, Univ. of Louisville; Omicron Delta Kappa (ΌΔΚ), Johns Hopkins University; American Medical Association (AMA) Inspirational Physician Award and the Excellence in Medicine Award (The Dr. Debasish Mridha Spirit of Medicine), to name a few.
Dr. Jesus Saucedo, MD, MBA |
Family Medicine | Santa Clara, CA | AMA & NHMA Member
Jesus Saucedo, M.D., MBA, is a board-certified Family Medicine physician, clinical informaticist with over 25 years of clinical experience. He has an extensive track record of inciting rapid revenue and volume growth in various settings, such as telemedicine, primary care, urgent care and multi-specialty business development. Dr. Saucedo specializes in enterprise-wide healthcare system operations and Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) implementation and optimization strategies aimed at improving the quality of patient care.
Dr. Saucedo has been a passionate advocate for addressing social inequities in our health systems, and is committed to connecting multicultural communities with forward-thinking, data-driven healthcare solutions. He founded Resilient Medical Group, high quality virtual care for justice involved individuals. He founded Resilient Community Health, a non-profit- to supports health equity and connects underserved communities to improving community conditions, lives and outcomes.
Dr. Saucedo received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Saint Mary’s College of California. He is board-certified in Family Medicine. Fellowship trained in OB/GYN.
Dr. Rene Settle-Robinson, DPM | she/her/hers
Podiatry | Milwaukee, WI | AMA Member
Dr. Rene’ Settle-Robinson is a Podiatrist, who is working at Outreach Community Healthcare Center, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her goal is to further her understanding of climate issues and change to fuel her desire for climate action, Dr. Settle-Robinson has been active with the Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action and has served as Chair of its Antiracism Committee. She recognizes the need to grow her leadership skills in community organizing and to mature her voice to successfully articulate the need for climate action. Dr. Settle-Robinson is excited to increase her knowledge, for the sake of successful advocacy, while networking with other like-minded professionals, to achieve effective climate action.
Op-Eds by our Climate and Healthy Equity Fellows
Wildfires through the health lens
Dr. Pragya Rai | The Spokesman-Review | March 18, 2022