2022 Speaker Information

Keynote Presentation

Centering Equity in PublicHealth Data Systems; Dr. Ninez Ponce, MPP, PhD

Description: Join Dr. Ninez Ponce for our keynote session on building more resilient public health data systems that are authentic, accessible, and action-oriented. Drawing upon her experience in community-engaged research and in designing data systems that monitor structural racism, Dr. Ponce will lay out a vision for a stronger data system grounded in health equity and will provide recommendations for next steps. 

Bio: Ninez Ponce MPP, PhD is a professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and principal investigator for the California Health Interview Survey. Her research contributes to the elimination of racial/ethnic/social disparities in health. Ponce recently served on the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Health Statistics. She has served on committees for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Quality Forum, where her expertise has focused on setting guidance for health systems in the measurement and use of social determinants of health as tools to monitor health equity. In 2019, Ponce and her team received the AcademyHealth Impact award for their contributions to population health measurement to inform public policies. In 2021, she served as a Commissioner on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Commission to Transform Public.

Plenary Presentation

Community Health and the Pandemic Response in Colorado; Dr. Djuana Harvell, Ph.D.

Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities from healthcare access to education and economic uncertainty; with communities of color experiencing the worst housing, employment, education, and childcare impacts. In this uncertain and distressing environment, the need for community engagement and communication increased greatly to ensure impacted individuals are involved in the design and decisions about the response. However, the pandemic also presented additional challenges in collecting this important data, especially qualitative data. Dr. Djuana Harvell, Director of Special & Innovative Projects of be well Health & Wellness Initiative in Denver, will talk about approaches to community engagement during the pandemic and lessons learned, and how communities can lead efforts and drive change to advance health equity.

Bio: Dr. Djuana Harvell is the Director of Special and Innovative Projects at The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities within the be well Health and Wellness Initiative (be well).  Within be well, Djuana leads health advocacy programs in collaboration with diverse stakeholders. She leverages her background as a research scientist to think creatively, deliver project management, strategic planning, and implementation of key be well projects and programs which include a focus on education and advocacy. 

A recognized leader in her community, Djuana serves as President of the Partnership of Academicians and Communities for Translation Council, on the Board of Directors of Girls, Inc. of Metro Denver, an organization that devotes all of its energy to being champions for girls and the Board of Directors of the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, an organization dedicated to developing and connecting leaders who work in the public health and environmental health sectors.

Her efforts on behalf of others have earned here the “Torch of Excellence” Service Award, “Irma Kelly Hudson Image” Community Award, the Denver Urban Spectrum’s “African American’s Who are Making a Difference” Award, and the “Women of Distinction” Award by the Girl Scouts of Colorado. Djuana lives to inspire others to break through limiting beliefs, creatively solve problems, and achieve beyond expectations.

Djuana is a graduate of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado and the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, Healthy Community Design Program and Coaching Academy. 

Djuana Harvell holds a Ph.D. in Pathology and Microbiology from University of Nebraska and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry from Clark Atlanta University. She is a proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a public service organization Her favorite quote is, “You are only limited by the limits of your creativity”.