The Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM) Board of Directors is the authority that handles all of the business affairs of UAEM, as well as providing long-term guidance to the student-led organization. The Board has the power, inter alia, to appoint and remove officers of UAEM, to manage the affairs of UAEM and make new rules for the organization, to determine its principal location, and to manage the non-profit’s financial resources.
Justin Mendoza, MPH, is currently the State Partnerships Manager at Families USA where he works to support state consumer advocates by build cross-state collaborations through Families USA’s State Innovation and Learning Collaborative, advising on campaign strategy development and coalition building, and provides technical assistance on state legislation. Justin works on drug pricing projects and co-coordinates a monthly organizing table to connect organizations working on mobilization for lower drug prices. Before joining Families USA, Justin worked as the organizer for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, where he built the drug prices organizing table, managed a social media presence, and created digital and field campaign strategies. Prior to Public Citizen, Justin was a Community Organizer and Policy Analyst for Partners In Health, where he worked to implement strategic advocacy and fundraising campaigns with a network of more than 600 volunteers from 33 states.
Justin earned an MPH from Yale University, with a focus on health policy and regulatory affairs. While in graduate school, Justin served on the Coordinating Committee of UAEM. Prior to this, Justin had organized the UAEM chapter at Central Michigan University while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science and neuroscience. Justin has a passion for civic engagement, access to medicines, and the right to health.
Taylor Gilliland, Ph.D. is a Biomedical Innovation Policy Expert based in Washington, D.C. He is working on policy issues surrounding biomedical innovation to enhance the development, testing and implementation of medical interventions across a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Taylor received his graduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California San Diego where his research focused on understanding the structure and function of a family of proteins involved in immune cell migration. He is a recipient of the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, NSF Graduate STEM Fellowship in K-12 Education, and NIH Training Grant in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Taylor previously served as a UAEM Coordinating Committee Member for five years where he helped lead chapter outreach and empowerment efforts and played a key role in the University of California campaign. He received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of Florida where he conducted research on HIV drug resistance and was an active member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign.
Reshma is Program Manager for the Strategic Policy Program and North America node of ReAct-Action on Antibiotic Resistance, a global network founded in 2004 that spans across 5 continents working to combat this growing public health threat. The Strategic Policy Program also serves as the informal secretariat for the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition, a coalition of over 20 civil society organizations (including UAEM) across human and animal health. The Strategic Policy Program is housed at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where in her role as research faculty she works on projects in national and global pharmaceutical policy related to innovation and access.
Prior to this, she served as the first American Medical Student Association PharmFree Fellow, working on projects in pharmaceutical policy, the intersection between trade policy and health, and industry conflict of interest with academic medical centers. She currently serves as the co-Chair of the National Physicians Alliance Food and Drug Administration Task Force and the High Drug Prices Exploratory Committee. She is also a member of The Lancet Youth Commission on Essential Medicines Policies. Reshma received her medical degree at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University and a Master’s in Public Policy degree at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Aly currently works in the philanthropy sector in New York City. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned bachelor’s degrees from Miami University. During graduate school, Aly analyzed qualitative data at the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research at Duke University. Previously, she worked at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, where she coordinated special events and raised money for the organization’s education, advocacy, and clinical care programs. She also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Medicare Rights Center.
Aly first became involved with UAEM at UNC Chapel Hill, where she led the student chapter. She is particularly interested in access to treatment for non-communicable diseases. She has volunteered with diabetes education organizations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.
Natalie Spicyn is a physician and activist in Baltimore, Maryland. She trained in Internal Medicine & Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins’ Urban Health program, and since completing residency has been practicing full spectrum primary care within local federally qualified community health center networks; she currently serves as Chief of Internal Medicine at Park West Health Systems. Natalie is credentialed as an HIV Specialist through the American Academy of HIV Medicine and has a special interest in Addiction Medicine as well. Natalie is currently active in the Maryland American College of Physicians’ Health & Public Policy Committee, and also serves on the board of Clinicians for Progressive Care. She earned her BS, MD, and MHS from Yale, where she was an active UAEM member from 2006-2008.
Sara Aviel was one of the original founders of UAEM—as an undergraduate at Yale, she helped lead the groundbreaking campaign that resulted in Yale’s patent concession on d4t, a key AIDS drug, in South Africa. Currently Sara serves as a senior advisor on international economic policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Brookings Institution. Previously, Sara served for all eight years in senior positions in the Obama Administration including as the United States representative on the Board of the World Bank, the chief operating officer of the Office of Management and Budget, and a senior advisor to Secretary Geithner. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Sara worked for international development organizations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and throughout Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Ms. Aviel received an M.B.A, as well as M.A. and B.A. degrees in political science, from Yale University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bretton Woods Committee, and the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and is a fellow in the Aspen Institute’s inaugural Finance Leaders Fellowship.
Annie Liang currently works in the international development sector, for health operations in East and Southern Africa. With specific interests in neglected tropical diseases and innovative R&D financing models for diseases of poverty, she holds at Bachelors of Science in Pharmacology and International Development Studies at McGill University, and a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology (Global Health Emphasis) at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Annie has worked in a variety of different sectors – in the research sector screening drug candidates for Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, in the policy sector studying US antimicrobial resistance legislation, in the development sector conducting fieldwork on the psychological wellbeing of orphaned and vulnerable youth in Kenya, in the advocacy sector tracking Canadian-developed Ebola therapies for the MSF Access Campaign, and with international organizations like the World Health Organization and World Bank Group. She has represented Canadian youth on various high-level meetings (World Health Summit, 67th World Health Assembly, World Bank/ IMF Spring Meetings), and is particularly passionate about youth empowerment and representation in global health.
Annie has been involved with UAEM since 2012 – first as research intern for first iteration of the University Report Card Project, then as a chapter leader for McGill University UAEM chapter, and later serving on the North American Coordinating Committee of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines with a focus on neglected tropical disease, chapter building, and trans-Canada communication networks. She is really excited to join the Board of Directors this year!
Jeniffer Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa MD, MPH is an Emergency Medicine physician in Miami, FL. As an undergraduate student, Jeniffer was interested in public health and social justice issues as she was involved with efforts to reduce the health disparities in HIV and STIs amongst African Americans in Genesee and Saginaw Counties through the Prevention Research Center of Michigan. As a medical student, she dedicated herself to service through meeting the needs of the community of Flint during the Flint Water Crisis. She conducted research and advocated for interventions to meet the safe water needs for women of childbearing age in Flint, MI. She also joined UAEM as the first SNMA/UAEM liaison where she worked to shed light on intersectionality and access to medicines. Jeniffer obtained her BS at the University of Michigan-Flint, MPH at the University of Michigan and MD at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
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