Tito L. Izard, M.D. - Chair
Dr. Tito Izard is the president/chief executive officer and former chief medical officer for Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center in Milwaukee, WI. His comprehensive healthcare facilities, which includes medical, dental, behavioral health, HIV, podiatry and pharmacy services are utilized by over 30,000 users annually. Milwaukee, previously, has been designated as the 4th poorest city in the United States. Dr. Izard is a former recipient of the Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service (BCRS), Faculty Loan Repayment Program award. He has 15 years of experience as an educator, instructor, and director of medical practices with emphasis on urban health issues, clinical practice redesign and reducing health disparities. His model for recruitment and retention of providers dedicated to working with disparate populations has received recognition for his employment of more under-represented minority and NHSC physicians than any other medical practice in the state of Wisconsin. In addition to his community health center activities, Dr. Izard has continued his commitment to teaching through his appointment with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health as a Clinical Associate Professor. He has been credited with designing an urban underserved residency training program curriculum. His areas of publication and research has focused on creating successful medical practices that serve underserved populations, incorporating “Virtual Physicians” into your practice management system, managing chronic no-show patients and applying evidence-based medicine while constrained by financial resources.
Dr. Izard received his B.A. in Social Work from Marquette University in 1992 and his M.D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 1996. His postgraduate residency was carried out at St. Luke's Family Practice Residency, Central City Site, in Milwaukee from 1996 to 1999.
Kristen Crawford Ellis, D.D.S.
Kristen Crawford Ellis, D.D.S. is a general dentist and a National Health Service Corps scholar. Dr. Ellis is a distinguished scholar and dental clinician.She has worked with a diverse population of patients and communities. Dr. Ellis is currently practicing dentistry in Louisiana for David Raines Community Health Centers. Through her services with David Raines Community Health Center, Dr. Ellis is able to serve not only the general population of Northwest Louisiana, but also to the inmates of the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Facility. She is an alumna of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. Dr. Ellis has been a participant of the SEARCH (Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health) program, working through Tennessee Primary Care Association to provide dental health care to the patients of Matthew Walker Community Health Center in Nashville, Tennessee. She has also worked with the Indian Health Service to provide dental health care to the Poarch Creek Indians community located in Atmore, Alabama. Dr. Ellis is also a graduate of The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. While attending college, she was able to conduct and present research through The University of Arkansas for Medical Science and Arkansas Cancer Research Center. Dr. Ellis has experience with developing policies, revising procedures, initiating programs, and being a liaison through serving as an executive member of the governing bodies of both Meharry Medical College and The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She is a volunteer mentor through the National Health Service Corps, providing guidance for current scholars that are enrolled in dental school. Dr. Ellis is proud to be a dental clinician serving the underserved populations of The United States of America.
Stephanie C. Pagliuca
Stephanie Pagliuca is the Director of the Recruitment Center which is a service of Bi-State Primary Care Association. Bi-State’s mission is to promote effective and affordable primary and preventive services for all with emphasis on underserved populations in New Hampshire and Vermont. The Recruitment Center supports Bi-State’s mission by assisting communities with the recruitment and retention of primary care clinicians to practice in rural and underserved areas of the two states.
As Director of the Recruitment Center Ms. Pagliuca works with a variety of stakeholders and partners to strengthen and expand the pipeline of clinicians who are interested in practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the Recruitment Center and has managed many federal, state, and private foundation grants. Ms. Pagliuca participates in the development and implementation of public policy related to primary care workforce development and recruitment by serving on a number of statewide and regional commissions and work groups targeting these issues. Since joining Bi-State in 1994 Ms. Pagliuca has served a critical role in sustaining and expanding the Recruitment Center.
In recent years Ms. Pagliuca has directed the expansion of the Recruitment Center to include recruitment and retention of dentists. In 2004 she worked closely with the NH Dental Society and NH Dental Hygienists’ Association to conduct the first workforce survey of licensed dentists and hygienists. In 2005, she implemented “Building Relationships to Recruit Dentists to New Hampshire,” a competitively awarded grant project focused on establishing relationships with dental schools and residency programs in New England.
In 2007 Ms. Pagliuca worked with the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Area Health Education Center, the Vermont State Dental Society and the State of Vermont’s Rural Health and Primary Care Office to develop and implement Vermont’s Dental Workforce Development Plan. In 2010 Ms. Pagliuca oversaw the development of the NH Oral Health Workforce Strategic Plan in collaboration with the State of New Hampshire’s Oral Health Program and other key stakeholders.
Ms. Pagliuca earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Notre Dame College in 1994. She is a native of New Hampshire and a graduate of the Leadership New Hampshire class of 2010.
Felix L. Nunez, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Felix Nunez is the Chief Medical Officer and past interim Chief Executive Officer of the Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Southeast Los Angeles. Formerly the Vice President of Clinical Services for the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, his is a board certified Family Physician with extensive clinical and administrative experience in both the private and public sector. Prior to his work with the Community Clinic Association, Dr. Nunez was the Medical Director of the South Central Family Health Center; an Assistant Medical Director Los Angeles Coty Department of Health Services; and an Assistant Clinical Instructor in the Harbor-UCLA Family Medicine Residence Program. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Harvard Medical School, and Master of Public Health degree from the UCLA School of Public Health. In 1998 he completed a residency in Family Medicine at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and in 2005 was a fellow in the Primary Health Care Policy Fellowship of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has a faculty appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine with the Keck/USC School of Medicine. He is a member of Los Angeles County Medical Association, the California Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, the Massachusetts Medical Society and Physicians for Social Responsibility. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Western Clinicians Network and the Loyola Marymount Latino Alumni Association. He is also Chairman of the Advocacy Committee of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved. Dr. Nunez is a native of Los Angeles who was raised in El Sereno, a Latino community in Northeast Los Angeles.
Jay Bhatt, D.O., M.P.H.
Dr. Jay Bhatt is a National Health Service Corps Scholar and currently a Geriatrics Fellow at the University of Michigan Health System. Most recently he completed an internal medicine residency at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School where he was a clinical fellow. In 2012 Dr. Bhatt was a Senior Fellow with NEHI, a health policy Institute in Cambridge, MA focusing on innovation and strengthening primary care. During 2005-2006, he was a Legislative Fellow for Congresswoman Donna Christensen. In 2006-07 he served as the National President of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) where he led advocacy efforts around the National Health Service Corps. Dr. Bhatt led the development of the AMSA PharmFree Scorecard in 2007 helping change the culture of conflict of interest in academic medical centers. He has served on the Governing Council of APHA, the leadership team of Doctors for America and as a Senior Advisor for Primary Care Progress. He currently is Chair of the American College of Physicians Council of Associates representing 23,000 residents and fellows focusing on educational innovation value cost conscious care. He has been appointed by Governor Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts Primary Care Office Retention and Evaluation Advisory Group. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1999 with a degree in Economics. In 2008, Dr. Bhatt received both his medical degree from the PCOM, and his Master in Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. In 2012 he received his Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
CAPT Tracy L. Wolfe, R.N., N.P.
Capt Tracy L Wolfe has been on active duty with the U.S. Public Health Service since July 1986. She graduated from Western Carolina University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Her first assignment was the Navajo Tribe in Chinle, Arizona as an obstetrical nurse. She then transferred to Phoenix Indian Medical Center to work labor and delivery for 3 years then became an evening nurse supervisor in the same facility. Her third change in duty station took her to Lawrence, Kansas to work in a small clinic associated with the Haskell Indian Nation University. While working there, she enrolled in the Masters program of Nursing at the University of Kansas. She received the Indian Health Service scholarship in 1995 which allowed her to complete her studies in December 1997. She took her new nurse practitioner skills to Cherokee, North Carolina, which is her home. She has worked in the outpatient setting as nurse practitioner and as a nurse manager for the outpatient department. She was part of a team of medical and nursing staff who implemented changes to improve wait times and primary care provider enrollment for patients. She currently maintains a patient enrollment of approximately 900 patients in her practice.
Adrian N. Billings, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Adrian Billings is a full spectrum family medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer with Presidio County Health Services practicing in rural Marfa and Presidio, Texas. Dr. Billings was born on the Texas-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1993, Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Pathology in 1998 and Doctor of Medicine in 2003 from the University of Texas Medical Branch. In 1999, prior to his matriculation into medical school, Dr. Billings completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia where he worked in the Special Pathogens Branch investigating rodent-borne hantavirus infection. Dr. Billings attended family medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, serving his final year as chief resident. He then completed an obstetrics fellowship also at John Peter Smith Hospital in 2007. He was awarded a National Health Service Corps Scholarship from the federal government in 1999 and completed his service obligation in 2011 in rural Alpine, Texas. Dr. Billings has spoken nationally for the National Health Service Corps at Scholar and Loan Repayment conferences and speaks passionately of his experience working with underserved populations in a rural, frontier setting. Dr. Billings serves as a physician advisor to the Texas Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Healthy Kids program which provides free bicycle helmets to children to promote brain safety in an effort to prevent closed head injuries. He serves as Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Cindy J. Stergar, M.A.
Cindy Stergar has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Butte Community Health in southwestern Montana from 1999-2013. Her new work as Consultant and Master Trainer with Lean Healthcare West involves creating partnerships that improve quality and bring value to the patient. Her experience in health centers contributes greatly to this work which spans the county with clients which include health centers, hospitals and community groups. The Center's work provided access to primary and preventive healthcare services to underserved rural and frontier communities serving 40 percent of the population. During her tenure, she has increased service throughout the region to include dental, mental health, pharmacy and expanded medical service. Ms. Stergar has leveraged programs, particularly the National Health Service Corps, to recruit over 15 medical professionals which include NHSC scholars and loan repayors to staff in Southwest Montana clinics. She has served on several boards and advisory committees including the St. James Healthcare Hospital Board and the Foundation Board, the Montana WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Advisory Committee, the Montana Multipayer PCMH initiative Advisory Board and the Montana Primary Care Association. Ms. Stergar has demonstrated effective leadership in working with rural, medically underserved populations in the recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals and is committed to collaborating in every way to bring primary care closer to the patient in all areas especially frontier and rural areas.
Gwen L.R. Witzel, MSN, FNP-BC
Gwen Witzel is an experienced Family Nurse Practitioner who provides primary care in rural North Dakota. She is on the medical staff in a rural health clinic and Critical Access hospital. Ms. Witzel has received awards for Excellence in Diabetes Care and was honored as the 2009 North Dakota Rural Health Provider of the Year, an award sponsored by the Center for Rural Health and University of North Dakota Medical School. Ms. Witzel has been active in health policy working to eliminate barriers to nurse practitioner (NP) practice and improve access to care. As a co-founder of the North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association and with the coordination of NP efforts, she has made important legislative changes for North Dakota. Ms. Witzel was one of the NPs who were instrumental in passing legislation to grant plenary authority to NPs in North Dakota, recognize NP as primary care providers for Medicaid recipients, and pass NP universal signature language with Department of Transportation.
She is devoted to the education of NPs and serves as a clinical preceptor for students in Family NP and Geriatric NP programs. Gwen Witzel currently holds a seat on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Board as the Region 8 Director representing six states; North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Utah. She was inducted as a fellow of AANP in 2012.