Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speakers

Antonio Butts

Antonio Butts

Executive Director, Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

Keynote Speaker #1: Antonio Butts

Executive Director, Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

Antonio Butts, Executive Director, Walnut Way Conservation Corp., is a catalytic leader who is passionate about transforming economically excluded communities into neighborhoods of health and prosperity.  Antonio’s career is marked by his collaborative leadership style and ability to create social enterprise for economic and social impact.

Growing up in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood fueled his drive to be a leader. After seeing many friends become trapped by disparities, Antonio found optimism in The Boys & Girls Club and mentors who helped him cultivate his leadership talents to their full potential.

With an entrepreneurial zeal, Antonio has spurred improvements in the financial, social and environmental well-being of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods through social enterprise and strategic initiatives. Throughout his career, he has used commercial strategies to catalyze start-up businesses, diversify non-profit revenue, and manage leadership transitions. Antonio is also known for his turnaround experience in both community and economic development which involved crisis management, capital restructuring, employee engagement and realigning non-profit organizations for growth.

He has worked with many small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits as a consultant and employee. After earning a BA from Minnesota State-Moorhead College, and Antonio returned to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Milwaukee, where he spurred a youth-led social enterprise and other initiatives. He was recruited by Children’s Hospital to expand the recruitment of foster families and later joined SHARE of SE Wisconsin where he launched Milwaukee’s first Mobile Market program for low-income families. This experience fanned his passion for equitable food access and led him to the Director position at the Fondy Market, the City’s largest urban market in the heart of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood.

Before becoming Executive Director of Walnut Way in 2017, Antonio served as Treasurer of the organization’s Board of Directors.  Antonio is an alum of the African American Leadership Program (AALP) and Leadership Advances Fellowship (LAF) and serves on numerous boards and advisory groups in the community.

Dr. Deema Al-Athel

Dr. Deema Al-Athel

Strategic Business Development Leader, IBM

Special Session: Dr. Deema Al-Athel

Strategic Business Development Leader, IBM

Dr. Deema Al-Athel is the strategic business development leader at IBM for Global IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software. She joined IBM Saudi Arabia in early 2019 as a strategy leader with a focus on strategic engagements in the Kingdom. Dr. Al-Athel has over 15 years of experience in developing and managing IT solutions to facilitate the decision-making process at highest levels of management, in addition to strategic and operational planning and execution of IT transformation projects. Forbes featured Dr. Al-Athel as one of the leading women in artificial intelligence globally in 2020.

Dr. Al-Athel has volunteered as a part-time consultant for multiple government and non-government agencies during her career including King Salman Humanitarian Relief and Aid Center and the National Digital Transformation Unit. She also has worked in conjunction with the Saudi delegation from the Human Rights Commission at the United Nations.

Dr. Al-Athel received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from King Saud University. In 2015, she obtained a Ph.D. in computer science from the George Washington University, specializing in artificial intelligence.

Dr. Jonathan Patz

Dr. Jonathan Patz

Co-Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute

Keynote Speaker #2: “Why Climate Actions are Amazing for our Health”, Dr. Jonathan Patz

Co-Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute

Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, is director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the Tony McMichael Professor and the John P. Holton Chair of Health and the Environment with appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences. For 15 years, Patz served as a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC)—the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. He also co-­chaired the health expert panel of the U.S. National Assessment on Climate Change, a report mandated by the U.S. Congress. He is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Patz is committed to connecting colleagues from across campus and communities around the world to improve health for all and is continually striving to integrate his research into teaching for students and communication to policy makers and the general public.

Patz has written more than 200 scientific papers with more than 100 peer-reviewed, a textbook addressing the health effects of global environmental change and co‐edited the five­‐volume Encyclopedia of Environmental Health (2011). He, most recently, co-edited “Climate Change and Public Health” (2015, Oxford University Press) and is leading a Massive Open Online Course “Climate Change Policy and Public Health.”

He has been invited to brief both houses of Congress and has served on several scientific committees of the National Academy of Sciences. Patz served as Founding President of the International Association for Ecology and Health.

In addition to directing the university-­wide Global Health Institute, Patz has faculty appointments in the Nelson Institute, Center for Sustainability & the Global Environment (SAGE) and the Department of Population Health Sciences. He also directs the NSF sponsored Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE).

Patz is double board-­certified, earning medical boards in both Occupational/Environmental Medicine and Family Medicine and received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University (1987) and his Master of Public Health degree (1992) from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Ben Weston

Dr. Ben Weston

Milwaukee County Chief Health Policy Advisor

Keynote Speaker #3: “Public Health in Practice: From Patients to Populations”, Dr. Ben Weston

Milwaukee County Chief Health Policy Advisor
Associate Professor; Associate Fellowship Director, EMS Fellowship, Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Weston is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He serves as Chief Health Policy Advisor for Milwaukee County working to enhance the health of one million citizens. In addition, Dr. Weston is the Director of Medical Services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, overseeing medical services for the 15 fire departments throughout the county. He practices clinically in the emergency department at Froedtert Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center.

Dr. Weston served as the Medical Director for the Milwaukee County/City/Municipality COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center. He has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and in Politico and The New York Times. He has provided medical direction and oversight for events including NFL, NBA, MLB, IndyCar, and USA Triathlon. He has been selected as Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40, named the Public Health Leader of the Year, and listed as “Best of Milwaukee” in Milwaukee Magazine.

Dr. Weston received his baccalaureate degree at Lawrence University, his medical degree and master of public health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center. Dr. Weston is dual board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Emergency Medical Services by the American Board of Emergency Medicine after completing his Emergency Medical Services Fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Weston’s research interests include prehospital care, resuscitation, health equity, and public health surveillance.

Chuck Zamora

Chuck Zamora

Owner, Zamora Group International - The Learning Company

Keynote Speaker #4: “Reimagining Leadership”, Chuck Zamora

Owner, Zamora Group International – The Learning Company

Following a successful educational career, teaching for more than a decade in both the United States and Australia, Chuck left the field of education to pursue a professional career in the business world. Chuck joined a large multinational company in Australia where he launched his corporate career in sales. Successful in sales, it was a natural progression to move into the role of State Sales Manager. From there it was on to a State Management responsibilities. Chuck was then asked to take up the roll of Asia Pacific Regional Training Director, responsible for corporate education in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. At this point in his career Chuck made the decision to leave the corporate employment and set up Zamora Group International.

Chuck founded the company in 1984 to share his expertise in sales, customer service and personal development with the corporate world. Since then, he has become recognized throughout Australia and overseas as one of the leading providers of on-site and public seminars, earning a reputation for obtaining the maximum performance from people and businesses.

He is a devoted corporate educator, designing tailor made, half and full day sessions from a wide variety of subjects such as leadership, goal-setting, negotiation, selling skill, communication, attitude and self image and other topics related to personal development.

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen

Professor of Exercise Science, Wayne State College

Keynote Speaker #5: “HEARTS Initiative: Empowering Adolescents – Confronting the Global Syndemic in Nepal and Ethiopia”, Dr. Barbara Engebretsen

Professor of Exercise Science, Wayne State College

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen is a professor of exercise science at Wayne State College. She is also a vice chair of the Academic Policies Committee, member and past chair of President’s Council on Diversity, and member of the Service-Learning Advisory Committee.

Dr. Engebretsen is a member of the American Physiological Society and the Nebraska chapter. She is a past president of the Nebraska Physiological Society. She is president of the Wayne Rotary Club (2017-2019) and coordinated the Rotary Humanitarian Global Grant in 2014 to fund water wells, sanitation, resource management, peace, and conflict resolution in South Sudan. Some of her work at WSC has involved facilitating student-community activities to promote bicycle culture in Wayne, WSC, and the region. She coordinated the development of a minor in public and global health.

Dr. Engebretsen was awarded the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award in 2015 and the Wayne Rotarian of the Year in 2011, 2014, and 2016. She also received the Outstanding Student Presenter at the International Hypoxia Symposium in Banff, Alberta, in 2003.

Dr. Engebretsen received the Fulbright Global Scholar Award (2018-19) for addressing hypertension in Ethiopia and Nepal.

Bethany Lerch

Bethany Lerch

Psychotherapist, Antica Counseling

Keynote Speaker #6: “Mental Health and Moving Forward: Afghanistan, Palestine, and Compassion Fatigue”, Bethany Lerch

Psychotherapist, Antica Counseling

Bethany Lerch is the psychotherapist behind Antica Counseling. Born and raised in Oshkosh, she has lived in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia while working for NGOs, universities, and the US Department of Defense. She has since returned home to become a clinical mental health counselor. Her personal and professional philosophy derives from a hard-won resilience and relentless focus on the here and now.

Bethany’s practice, Antica Counseling, considers not just the person, but the social fabric that surrounds them. She empowers clients by helping them unearth strengths then creating space to let those strengths be seen, understood, and used to make change.

Michael Barber

Michael Barber

Chief Diversity Officer, GE

Keynote Speaker #7: “The Changing World of Healthcare”, Michael Barber

Chief Diversity Officer, GE

In his role as Chief Diversity Officer for GE, Mike Barber leads GE’s inclusion and diversity strategy to drive sustainable change with an added focus on driving leadership accountability and metrics, building an inclusive culture and reinvigorating inclusion and diversity learning and mentoring. Barber joined GE in 1981 and, prior to his current role, he served as GE Officer and President and CEO of GE’s Molecular Imaging and Computed Tomography (MICT) business. Additionally, he was the first leader for GE’s strategy on global health called Healthymagination. Its charter was to improve the quality, cost and access to care by 15 percent or more on a global basis. During his career, Barber has had a variety of roles in engineering, operations and product management. As the Manager of the Digital X-ray Detector Platform, he led a team that eliminated the need for film in X-ray procedures. Barber holds patents for novel X-ray system designs and has been directly involved with many product advances in the field of diagnostic imaging. Barber was named a Black Enterprise ‘Master of Innovation’ in 2009. He also serves on the board of Talix Inc., Catalent, and the nonprofit National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). In 2014 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and was named “2018 Person of the Year” by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Barber received his BS and honorary doctorate in engineering and serves as a Regent at his alma mater, Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Adam Procell

Adam Procell

Community Outreach Specialist, Partners In Hope

Keynote Speaker #8: “Reimagining Reentry”, Adam Procell

Community Outreach Specialist, Partners In Hope

Via a life sentence handed down three days after his 15th birthday, Adam Procell found himself on the wrong side of the tracks and would spend nearly a quarter century behind bars. From behind those same bars, he would later renounce his gang affiliation, publish ‘Anatomizing the Gang Culture’, and work tirelessly to keep kids from joining gangs. Soon after his release, he became the Community Outreach specialist for Partners In Hope, a Faith-based prisoner reentry program. He is also cofounder of Paradigm Shyft, a strategic reentry consulting firm and is currently working to de-silo Milwaukee’s many reentry services via the creation of The Central DOOR, The Department Of Organized Reentry.

Dr. Joia Mukherjee

Dr. Joia Mukherjee

Chief Medical Officer, Partners In Health

Keynote Speaker #9: “What is Global Health Security?”, Dr. Joia Mukherjee

Chief Medical Officer, Partners In Health

Dr. Joia Mukherjee, MD, MPH is an internist, pediatrician, public health and infectious disease specialist, author, human rights advocate, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Since 2000, Dr. Mukherjee has been chief medical officer of Partners In Health. Alongside PIH colleagues, Dr. Mukherjee provides preventive and curative health care as well as comprehensive social programs in Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Navajo Nation. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has lead the PIH team in supporting states and cities across the United States in their efforts to combat the virus. Because of her global health expertise—in HIV, tuberculosis, and Ebola, and most recently her global and US-based work in COVID-19 — she has been interviewed in print, broadcast, and other digital media.

In addition to her work with PIH, Dr. Mukherjee runs the master’s degree program in Global Health Delivery at Harvard Medical School, where she trains clinicians and scholars from across the globe to design, evaluate, and implement systems to deliver high-quality health care. She is the author of the widely used text book, An Introduction to Global Health Delivery: Practice, Equity, Human Rights (Oxford University Press), published in 2018. The second edition, with a focus on pandemics, will be released soon. Because of her expertise in infectious diseases, health systems, and social justice, she serves on the board of directors of Village Health Works (Burundi), Project Muso (Mali), Institute for Justice & Democracy (US and Haiti), and advises a number of grassroots medical organizations in their efforts to deliver health care with a human rights approach to poor communities across the globe. Dr. Mukherjee also consults for the World Health Organization and other international agencies on health system strengthening, human resources for health, treatment for HIV, hepatitis C, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and COVID-19.

Breakout Speakers

Breakout Session #1
Monday, June 20 at 1:00 PM CDT

Pat Merryweather-Arges

Pat Merryweather-Arges

Executive Director, Project Patient Care (PPC)

“Addressing Disparities During the COVID Pandemic: Lessons Learned (and Still Being Learned)”

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Antoine Carter

Antoine Carter

Director of Philanthropy, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation

“The Art and Culture of Health and Wellness”

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Alexis Countryman

Alexis Countryman

MSOE graduate student

“Improving Health in Latin America Through Water”

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Bonnie Halvorsen

Bonnie Halvorsen

Co-Founder, Learn-Earn-Grow MKE

“Good Eats + Good Earth + Good Earnings = Good Health”

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Breakout Session #2
Wednesday, June 22 at 1:00 PM CDT

Jeffery Roman

Jeffery Roman

Executive Director of the Office of African American Affairs, Milwaukee

Dr. Ann Marie Kimball

Dr. Ann Marie Kimball

Professor Emeritus, Epidemiology, University of Washington, Senior Consulting Fellow at the Chatham House Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs and a Strategic Consultant in Global Health at the Rockefeller

“Global Health Security and Diplomacy: COVID”

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Dr. Aruna Lal

Dr. Aruna Lal

Associate Profess of Nursing at MSOE

“The Invisible Enemy: Trenching through the Epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic”

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Dominique Evans

Dominique Evans

Clinical Research Coordinator, Medical College of Wisconsin

“Equitable lens on serving the community”

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