Byron J. Crouse, M.D., FAAFP, Chair
Dr. Byron Crouse began his medical career by practicing in a town of 1600 in northwest Wisconsin, and then decided to move to an educational setting. For the last twenty years he has served as an Assistant Residency Director, Medical School Department Chairman and Associate Dean promoting rural health care. As an educator, Dr. Crouse has been involved with supporting and developing a number of programs designed to nurture rural interests and prepare future physicians, pharmacists and nurses for rural practice. In addition to his roles in medical education at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, he is responsible for the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health and the Wisconsin AHEC Program. Dr. Crouse received his medical degree at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Duluth Practice Residency Program in Duluth, MN.
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.
Adrian N. Billings, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Adrian Billings is a full spectrum family medicine physician with Cactus Health Services practicing in rural Alpine, Sanderson, and Ft. Stockton, 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. 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 Alpine. 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 setting. He is currently Chief Medical Officer for Cactus Health Services, Medical Director of Student Health Services for Sul Ross State University, Assistant Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University School of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch, and holds active privileges at Big Bend Regional Medical Center.
Theresa V. Horvath, PA-C, M.P.H.
Ms. Horvath currently is the Director of the Hofstra University Program in Physician Assistant Studies. Ms. Horvath is on the Board of Directors of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), where she advocates for legislative and workforce shortage issues. She represented PAEA as liaison to the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine from 2001-2006. She has a strong interest in community medicine, and has integrated the principles of Community Oriented Primary Care into the curriculum of the PA program at Hofstra, as well as at Mercy College where she founded the PA program. Furthermore, Ms. Horvath frequently presents at national conferences on topics such as the importance of physician assistant participation in the debate on health care in the United States. Ms. Horvath is a 1983 graduate of the CUNY- Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education – PA Program at Harlem Hospital Center and received her master of public health degree in Community Health Education at CUNY-Hunter College in New York, NY in 1995.
Tito L. Izard, M.D.
Dr. Tito Izard is the interim president/chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., in Milwaukee, WI. Dr. Izard has over 10 years of experience as an educator, instructor, and director of medical practices which primarily focus on urban health issues. 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. His areas of publication and research has focused on creating successful medical practices that serve underserved populations and applying evidence-based medicine while constrained by financial resources.
He 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 studies were carried out at St. Luke's Family Practice Residency, Central City Site, in Milwaukee from 1996 to 1999.
Mary C. Looker
Mary Looker is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers. She has held leadership positions in the Washington Primary Care Office (PCO) and Primary Care Association (PCA), lead efforts to recruit and retain clinicians and practice sites, and developed collaborative partnerships at community-based, state, and national levels.
Ms. Looker has more than 27 years experience in state health care planning and delivery systems. She has served as the CEO of the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers, which represents 26 community health centers in rural and urban areas. In addition, she serves on the National Association of Community Health Center (NACHC) PCA Workforce Workgroup. Ms. Looker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA in 1975.
Michael McCunniff, D.D.S., M.S.
Michael McCunniff is Department Chair Dental Public Health and Behavioral Science and Director of Outreach programs at University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry. In an effort to promote service to the underserved, Dr. McCunniff is an active member of the following organizations: Missouri Rural Health Association, the National Disaster Medical System, the Missouri Primary Care Association, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, and the American Dental Association. He is also the faculty representative for the American Student Dental Association. In this capacity, he encourages students to choose a career in dentistry that is public health oriented specifically geared toward practicing in underserved areas. He is a member of the Kansas Dental Association and the Fifth District Dental Society.
In 2009, Dr. McCunniff was honored with the UMKC President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (School of Dentistry Partnership for Smiles Program) for his tireless work in the community. As part of his commitment to community health, Dr. McCunniff currently serves on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service Oral Health Planning Committee: “Creating a Healthier Missouri: A Statewide Oral Health Plan.” Dr. McCunniff earned his DDS degree from UMKC in 1983, a master’s in Dental Public Health from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 1995 and Board Certified in Dental Public Health in 2003.
Norma Martinez Rogers, Ph.D, R.N.
Dr. Norma Martinez Rogers has spent her life in service to the community, first as a teacher in the Edgewood Independent School District and a Caseworker for San Antonio’s Catholic Family and Children services, before embarking on a career in nursing education. She has served the needs of the San Antonio population as a nurse, a nurse educator, and an advocate for the underserved population. Upon graduation she entered what was then known as Incarnate Word College where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, and a Masters’ Degree in Counseling from St. Mary’s University. She earned a second Masters’ Degree in Nursing from the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at San Antonio. For 17 years, she specialized in Psychiatric Nursing at a number of area hospitals before being assigned to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort. Bliss, Texas. In 1995, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in “Cultural Foundations” and subsequently earned two postdoctoral fellowships at the Indiana University School of Nursing.
In 1996, she joined the graduate faculty of the UT Health Science Center’s School of Nursing, where she currently serves as a Professor. In November, 2006 she was selected to be a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) which is the highest honor one can achieve in nursing. She is the Past President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and the founder and Chair of the Hispanic Nurses Fund.
Darryl S. Salvador, Psy.D
Dr. Darryl Salvador is the staff psychologist at the Schofield Barracks Health Center’s Family Practice Clinic located in Wahiawa, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. He was formerly the Director of Behavioral Health Services at the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC), a federally qualified health center (FQHC) located on the rural, medically underserved island of Molokai, in the state of Hawaii. Dr. Salvador is a former loan repayment clinician and currently an alumni member and community ambassador with the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
Dr. Salvador graduated from Argosy University/Honolulu in 2004 and went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship with Tripler Army Medical Center in clinical psychology with an emphasis on health psychology and the provision of behavioral medicine services to rural, medically underserved areas across the state. He served as the Public Interest Representative for the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Committee on Early Career Psychologists from 2007 – 2009, was a member of the 2010 APA Presidential Task Force on Advancing Practice, and is now serving as a current member of APA’s Committee on Rural Health (2011-2013). Dr. Salvador’s primary areas of interest include the integration of behavioral health models and their application to primary care and community settings.
Susette M. Schwartz, J.D.
Susette Schwartz has been Chief Executive Officer of the Hunter Health Clinic in Wichita, Kansas since 1994. As Chief Executive Officer of a private, non-profit corporation and federally funded Community Health Center, Healthcare for the Homeless Center and Urban Indian Health Program, Ms. Schwartz ensures the provision of quality medical, dental, alcohol/substance abuse and mental health services to all cultures of all walks of life. The clinic has five sites located in Wichita’s medically underserved areas and is supported by over 120 employees and nearly 80 volunteers, interns and residents. Under her leadership, Hunter’s revenues and patient volume have increased fivefold, now serving 35,000 active patients, ¾ of whom are below poverty and uninsured.
Ms. Schwartz is a graduate of Washburn University of Topeka (BA, Sociology/Cultural Anthropology) and Washburn University of Topeka School of Law (JD, 1985). She is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court. She received certificates in management from Wichita State University (W. Frank Barton School of Business, 1990) and University of California, Los Angeles (The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA: Johnson & Johnson/UCLA Health Care Executive program, 2004). She has held leadership roles serving the National Association of Community Health Centers (State Legislative Coordinator, Policy, Legislative, Homeless committees and the Health Center Finance Subcommittee) National Council of Urban Indian Health (Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) and Urban Indian Health Institute (Advisory Council). Ms. Schwartz is the 2007 individual recipient of the Superior Management Award from The Indian Health Service Oklahoma City Area, and the 2008 CHIP (Community Health Improvement Project) individual award from Johnson & Johnson/UCLA/HRSA.
Cindy J. Stergar, M.A.
Cindy Stergar has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Butte Community Health in southwestern Montana since 1999. The Center provides access to primary and preventive healthcare services to underserved rural and frontier communities serving 40% 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 (NHSC), 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 frontier and rural areas.
Rueben C. Warren, D.D.S., DrPH, M.P.H., M.Div
Dr. Rueben C. Warren is Professor & Director of the National Center for Bioethics In Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University, as well as the Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Medicine and Ethics & Director of the Institute for Faith-Health Leadership at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the Director of Infrastructure Development for the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities within the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD from 2005 to 2007. From 1988 to 1997, Dr. Warren served as Associate Director for Minority Health at the CDC. Prior to joining CDC, Dr. Warren served as Dean and Associate Professor of the School of Dentistry, Department of Preventive Dentistry and Community Health, at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, he is Clinical Professor, Department of Community Health/Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, both in Atlanta, Georgia and Adjunct Professor in the School of Dentistry and School of Graduate Studies at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Warren earned his DDS degree from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee in 1972, his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts in 1973, and his DrPH degree from Harvard School of Public Health in 1975.
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.
Ron Yee, M.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Yee is the Chief Medical Officer of United Health Centers in Parlier, California, a seven-site Community-Migrant Health Center, and enjoys the challenging balance of front-line patient care (including obstetrics) and administrative leadership. He received his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in 1990 and completed his Family Practice residency through UC San Francisco, Fresno, California in 1993. To better serve his health center he obtained his M.B.A. from Golden Gate University in 1997.
United Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center and provides care to over 47,000 patients in rural Fresno County, CA, accounting for over 160,000 visits per year. He has served as faculty and team coach for two Patient Visit Redesign and two IHI Redesign-Finance and has presented at many state, regional and national meetings. Because of his strong sense of mission in the Health Center Movement, he serves on numerous NACHC (National Association of Community Health Centers) committees, is active in strategic planning, and is a graduate of their EXCELL Leadership Program. As a well-respected member and clinician of NACHC, Dr. Yee was elected to the Executive Committee, as the Treasurer, in September of 2008.