Disrupting Inequitable Outcomes: The Roles of Policy, Research, & Data in Advancing Health Equity
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Accountability for health equity at the federal, state, and local policy levels is no longer an option but an imperative. In developing new healthcare policies and systems, equity must be prioritized and incorporated from the start.



Brian Smedley, PhD
Equity Scholar
Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute

Dr. Brian D. Smedley is among the inaugural class of Equity Scholars at the Urban Institute, where he will conduct research and policy analysis to address structural and institutional forms of racism that impact the health and well-being of people of color. Formerly, Dr. Smedley was Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest at the American Psychological Association (APA), where he lead APA’s efforts to apply the science and practice of psychology to the fundamental problems of human welfare and social justice. Anational thought leader in the field of health equity, Dr. Smedley got his start in Washington, D.C. as an APA Congressional Science Fellow, and subsequently served at APA as Director of Public Interest Policy.

Most recently, he was co-founder and Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (www.nationalcollaborative.org), a project that connects research, policy analysis, and communications with on-the-ground activism to advance health equity. He was also co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leadership National Program Center. From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Smedley was Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC, a research and policy organization focused on addressing the needs of communities of color.


Gary A. Puckrein, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Minority Quality Forum

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) — formerly the National Minority Health Month Foundation—a not-for-profit organization that he founded in 1998. NMQF addresses the critical need for strengthening preventable illness in minority populations through prevention, early detection, and control of disease complications. In April 2001, the National Minority Health Month Foundation launched National Minority Health Month in response to Healthy People 2010, the national health promotion and disease-prevention initiative.

NMQF has received support from a wide variety of organizations, including federal agencies, pharmaceutical companies, payers, and trade associations. With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NMQF undertook the Zip Code Analysis Project, developing a comprehensive database that links vital statistics and other elements.

Melissa Bishop-Murphy, J.D.
Senior Director of National Government Relations and Multicultural Affairs
Pfizer, Inc.

Melissa Bishop-Murphy is Senior Director of National Government Relations and Multicultural Affairs at Pfizer, Inc., where she supports the company’s overall federal and state government relations and public affairs strategy and advises leadership on current multicultural congressional and legislative issues and activities. In addition, Ms. Bishop-Murphy leads Pfizer’s government relations activities in GA, SC, NC and Puerto Rico as well as co-leads Pfizer’s Multicultural Health Equity Collective.

Prior to joining Pfizer, Ms. Bishop-Murphy was General Counsel for the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance, concentrating in the areas of Medicare and Medicaid, and served as an Attorney with the Department of Health and Human Services. Named one of Georgia’s most powerful & influential women in Women Looking Ahead Magazine, Ms. Bishop-Murphy is currently on the board of the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs at Morehouse College and the Georgia Charter Schools Association.

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