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Conference Description


Our fabulous opening “tag team” of keynote speakers sets the stage beautifully for what is to come – challenging us to reconsider what we think leadership is, and the circumstances in which we may be called to lead.

Yvonne Graham, the former Brooklyn Deputy Borough President who is now the Director of the New York State Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Equity will describe the many changes that may provide the context in which you are needed to lead.

Richard Gitlin, Director of The Gitlin Group, will reveal what it takes to make the shift into leadership mode – it’s not as easy as you think!

Todd Park, United States Chief Technical Officer (CTO) - Former CTO of the United States Department of Health and Human Services will discuss innovative ways IT can fuel public health advancements in technology.

In Todd Park's own words, "It’s a phenomenal time to be an innovator at the intersection of data and health care improvement. I’m incredibly excited by the rising tide of innovations we’re seeing – new products, services and features being invented by entrepreneurs across the country, fueled by open health data."


Meet and learn from an extraordinary panel of courageous leaders, role models, and mentors who have led through all sorts of changes! Hear the exciting leadership development stories of amazing local health leaders who dared…big time…to lead, and under very trying but exciting circumstances!

As diverse as they are, our panelists are united in their commitment to fulfilling their visions of a healthier New York City. They are extraordinarily caring people with amazing stories, and remarkable resilience and courage.

First, panelists tell brief stories about their careers and their development as leaders. Then our moderator, Vicki Ellner, facilitates a conversation among the panelists. This “multi-logue” will focus on how they have led through change – what kinds of change and what these changes demanded of each leader. Panelists will share with us the rewards and costs of leading through change – change within their organizations, among their peers and issue stakeholders, and the community-at-large. The session ends with time for questions, kudos, and comments from the audience.


Pick up your buffet lunch and head for the table of your choice for a 30-minute roundtable discussion of your reaction to the opening keynote presentations, and the kinds of changes you are facing or expect to face as a leader or leader-to-be.

The goal of this roundtable discussion is to stimulate exciting conversations about changes that might confront you, and what you hope/need to find out today, or who it would be great to meet today, to help you succeed as a leader in the midst of one or more (gulp!) of these changes.

Roundtable facilitators are remarkable local leaders and role models. They have faced many challenges themselves and led others through a variety of changes…and are eager to discuss their and your experiences. These roundtables are open informal discussion and networking opportunity. Have fun!

If you don’t feel like talking, after lunch, take a walk around campus and/or enjoy a gentle yoga or stress management session. It may be just what you need!


Select either TRACK A (for new, aspiring, or current leaders) or TRACK B (for key support staff of new, aspiring, or current leaders).


You have the opportunity to attend two 50-minute workshops. All workshops are scheduled to be given twice.

Leading through…

  1. Changes in Community Demographics
    Speaker: Marjorie Momplasir-Ellis, Program Director, Flatbush Promise Neighborhood Initiative, CAMBA
    The community you work in used to have a particular demographic “profile”, but that profile is now changing. It could be changing in terms of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, income, education, employment status…but the point is, it’s changing. How do you start or continue to lead in public health when the communities you serve are changing?
  2. Changes in Employee Expectations
    Speaker: K. Candis Best, JD, MBA, MS, PhD Associate Chair, St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn Campus
    You are or want to be a leader where you work. Your leadership challenge is that employees’ expectations of you, the organization, and of work itself seem to be changing or have changed over time. Based on their titles, age, training and other factors, personnel seem to have very different goals. How do you lead employees whose attitudes toward work are changing/have changed over time?
  3. Changes in Ethical Considerations
    Speaker: Sophia Wong, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, LIU Brooklyn
    You have noticed that the formal and/or informal codes and rules that people hold and use to govern are changing…that people’s beliefs about what is right and wrong are changed or have changed. Therefore, people’s behavior at work in the office and in the field is evolving. What impact could it have on you as a leader if your company, community or college changed the basis of what it considers to be ethical or moral?
  4. Changes in Politics/Policy Makers
    Speaker: Christina Chang, MPP, Deputy Commissioner, Policy & External Affairs, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
    You are leading a community/public health initiative during an election year. The policy makers you usually work with may be gone soon. People with whom you are “at odds” may become key political and policy-making players. How do you lead effectively when elected officials and their appointees with whom you’re used to working change?
  5. Changes in Health Care Delivery Models
    Speaker: Jeanne Dennis, MSW, Senior VP, Visiting Nurse Service of NY Hospice and Palliative Care NYC
    You are faced with a growing demand for expensive and acute care and, simultaneously, a shortage of key health care professionals to deliver that care in your hospital system, clinic, or health plan. How can you lead while making changes in how quality care is delivered?
  6. Changes in Workforce Preparation Demands
    Speaker: Sandi Vito, Director, 1199 SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund and the Greater New York Education Fund
    Call it degree or credential “creep”, requirements for public health professionals/personnel are going up, up up: professions want more years of professional preparation and training, and they want more credentials. How do you lead in an organization or develop an effective workforce when the profession keeps changing the rules?
  7. Changes in Core Values
    Speaker: Lara Emmanuel, Residence Manager, On Your Mark (Developmental Disabilities/Autism)
    In the effort to improve public health, you notice that recently more value is placed on strategies that achieve more change faster (policy and environment change) and that seems to be at odds with another time-honored public health value: that people should be treated with dignity and respect. How do you lead in public health if and when its core values seem to be changing?
  8. Changes in Funding Streams
    Speakers: Hildy J. Dillon, MPH, Senior VP, Patient Services, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Michele Disken Greco, Regional Director, Public Policy & Advocacy at Arthritis Foundation, Inc., Northeast Region
    The sources of funding for your programs have changed and this requires a shift in how you lead your organization in doing its business/achieving its mission. How do you lead during the potential turmoil of identifying new revenue sources and courting new financial supporters whose culture, values, priorities may differ from those of former funders?
  9. Challenges of Shrinking Budgets
    Speaker: Daniel O’Connell, Deputy Director, HIV, STI, HCV Prevention and Epidemiology, NYS Department of Health
    With less and less money and fewer and fewer resources, leadership becomes more challenging than ever…or does it? How do you successfully lead community and public health projects, initiatives, and campaigns on a shoe-string given the stress your followers feel doing more with less?
  10. Changes in Policies
    Speakers: Dana Czuczka, Sr. VP, Planned Parenthood, NYC; Lois Uttley, Director, MergerWatch Project/Raising Women’s Voices
    A city, state or federal policy that has made your work possible is under attack and seriously jeopardizes the future of your organization. Or, a policy that has stood in the way of you achieving your public health mission has been successfully defeated. The tables are turned. How do you successfully lead your group or organization through either of these situations?
  11. Changes in Technologies
    Speaker: Jack Powers, Chairman, Advisory Council for Career & Technical Education, NYC Dept. of Education
    Lately, it seems as if new medical, communication, marketing, educational and other technologies become available to health professionals every day! How does innovative technology enhance or inhibit how you lead and who gets to lead?
  12. Changes in Priorities
    Speaker: Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, Executive Director, VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
    For financial, political, social, health, or other reasons, your organization’s agenda has changed – previous priorities have to be put on the back burner and other issues must be given priority. How do you lead during a time when the cause that perhaps led to the formation of your group is “bumped” by a new or secondary issue or goal?


This is one workshop that covers two topics: How to support a leader, and How to take care of yourself while supporting a leader. The session is facilitated by both a skilled and experienced organizational development/effective team building trainer/specialist and a key staff member with years of experience working with people with leadership titles and people with followers.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Identifying the leader
  • Deciding about partnering with the leader
  • Building/fostering mutual trust
  • Sustaining the relationship
  • Taking care of yourself


“The U.S. government has a new head nerd. President Barack Obama on Friday named Todd Park the new U.S. chief technology officer,” the White House announced in a blog post.

Park formerly served as the CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services–a position he held for nearly three years. In his previous role, Park headed up a number of initiatives, including the creation of, “the first website to provide consumers with a comprehensive inventory of public and private health insurance plans available across the nation by zip code,” the White House said.

In his new position, he will be charged with the “important task of applying the newest technology and latest advances to make the federal government work better for the American people.”

Are you ready to lead the way in responding to this new opportunity? Do you want to be the one to carry this mission and vision into your own organization, coalition, city, or state?

Enjoy and be inspired by his presentation on how to liberate, use, and market the availability of health data. This is a presentation you don’t want to miss.