The Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities book series is a project of Healthy NewsWorks that seeks to recognize and inspire outstanding contributions to community health and safety. We are grateful to the health leaders below for donating their time and sharing messages that are relatable and understandable to children in elementary and middle school. During the 2020–21 school year, we sought to include a broadly representative group of frontline workers, essential workers, communicators, counselors, artists, and others who could shed light on the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Titles and affiliations shown are as of year of recognition.)

2022 book interviewees

Tami D. Benton, M.D.

Psychiatrist-in-chief, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Sandra L. Bloom, M.D.

Psychiatrist, author, associate professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University

Tommy Joshua Caison

Founder and executive director, Philly Peace Park

Ruth Clements, M.Sc. Pharma

Vice president and general manager of Infectious Diseases & Immunology and leader of Quest for Health Equity at Quest Diagnostics 

Jayatri Das, Ph.D.

Chief bioscientist and director of science content at The Franklin Institute

Michael Galarraga, L.P.C.

Licensed professional counselor and board-certified registered art therapist

Alicia Harantschuk 

Certified professional dog trainer with Philly Unleashed and Dog Gone Good Dog 

George James, Psy.D.

Chief innovation officer, senior staff therapist and supervisor at the Council for Relationships

Jermel Johnson

Retired principal dancer, The Philadelphia Ballet; licensed massage therapist

Jordan Mailata 

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle 

Tim Massaquoi, L.P.C.

Licensed professional counselor and clinical director of counseling services at The Ladipo Group 

Laura Cohen Romano, M.S.W.

Director of spiritual care and mindfulness for Einstein Healthcare Network

Corrie Spellman-Lopez 

Education director, Philadelphia Orchard Project

Susan R. Weiss, Ph.D.

Professor of microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

2021 book interviewees

Answering the call

Lorraine Brown, B.S.N., R.N.
Emergency department nurse, Einstein Healthcare Network

Pierre Chanoine, M.D.
Pediatrician; volunteer with Black Doctors COVID Consortium

Bhavna Sharma, M.D.
Critical-care specialist, Einstein Healthcare Network

Serving behind the scenes

Diane Amati
Quality control/quality assurance lead technologist for infectious disease, Quest Diagnostics Horsham Laboratory

Erika Keith
Customer service representative, Brown Family ShopRite in East Norriton

Sherri McClintock
Hematology supervisor, Quest Diagnostics Horsham Laboratory

Jane Reedy
Clinical operations manager, Quest Diagnostics Horsham Laboratory

Michael Solomonov
Chef, Zahav Restaurant

Patrick Walsh
Director of programs, Martha’s Choice Marketplace

Spreading the message

Perla Lara
Editor in chief, Impacto

Paul Offit, M.D.
Director of Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Helping others cope

Kevin R. Carter, M.S.W.
Clinical director, Uplift Center for Grieving Children

Howard Stevenson, Ph.D.
Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, University of Pennsylvania

Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller
Senior pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church 

Feeding the soul

Cydney Brown
Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate 

Lesa Cline-Ransome
award-winning children’s book author

Kerri Ryan
Assistant principal violist, Philadelphia Orchestra

Staying in shape

Duriel Hardy, M.D.
Pediatric neurologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; marathoner

Dong Lien
Assistant strength and conditioning coach, Philadelphia Phillies

2020 health leaders

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Ph.D.
Mitchell J. Blutt and Margo Krody Blutt Presidential Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Dave Brindley
Founder, Not in Philly

Brandi Chawaga
Director of Community Wellness, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery

Joanne Douglas
Manager, Watershed Interpretation and Youth River Program, Bartram’s Garden

Nic Esposito
Director, Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, City of Philadelphia

Thomas Farley, M.D., M.P.H.
Commissioner of Health, City of Philadelphia

Saba Khan, M.D.
Director, Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Michael O’Bryan
Director of Learning, The Village of Arts and Humanities

Rosalind Pichardo
Founder, Operation Save Our City

Sophie Sarkar
Co-Founder/Co-Director, PGM ONE Summit, and Partner in the Avarna Group

2019 health leaders

Tommy Joshua Caison
Founder and Executive Director, North Philly Peace Park

Ryan Coffman
Manager, Tobacco Policy and Control Program, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Elizabeth Datner, M.D.
Chair of Emergency Medicine, Einstein Healthcare Network

Lori M. Hayes
Director of Urban Forestry, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Megha Kulshreshtha
Executive Director, Food Connect

Meg MacCurtin
Executive Director, Greener Partners

Waffiyyah Murray
Manager, Better Bike Share Partnership

Nancy Dung Nguyen
Co-Founder and Executive Director, VietLead

Keith Russell
Program Manager for Urban Conservation, Audubon Pennsylvania

Al Zone
Executive Director, Elmwood Park Zoo

2018 health leaders

Kevin Bethel
Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow and Senior Policy Advisor, Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab, Drexel University

Luther Clark, M.D.
Deputy Chief Patient Officer and Global Director of Scientific, Medical and Patient Perspective, Office of the Chief Patient Officer, Merck

Beth Devine
Executive Director, Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative

Taunya English
Editorial Director, “The Pulse,” WHYY-FM

Marisa Jones
Healthy Communities Senior Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Alex Ortega, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Health Management and Policy, Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University

Christopher Renjilian, M.D.
Pediatrician, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and founding physician leader of NaturePHL

Jarrett Stein
Executive Director and Cofounder, Rebel Ventures; Director of Health Partnerships and Social Enterprise, Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania

Patrick Walsh
Pantry Manager, Martha’s Choice Marketplace, Catholic Social Services

Thomas Watanabe, M.D.
Clinical Director, Drucker Brain Injury Center and Stroke Rehabilitation Program, Moss Rehab

2017 health leaders

Alfred Atanda Jr., M.D.
Director, Center for Sports Medicine, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Cheryl Bettigole, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Division of Chronic Disease Prevention, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Jesus Castro
Program Director, Wooden Boat Factory

Bettyann Creighton
Executive Director, Health, Safety and Physical Education, School District of Philadelphia

Stephen Gregg
Executive Director, SquashSmarts

Cathy Markey, R.N., M.S.N.
Trauma Prevention and Outreach Coordinator, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia

Anton Moore
President and Founder, Unity in the Community

Kim Nixon-Cave, P.T., Ph.D.
Program Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Post-Professional Education, Thomas Jefferson University

Paul Offit, M.D.
Director, Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Catherine Reddick
Board Member, Philadelphia City Rowing

Tina Sloan Green
President and Co-Founder, Black Women in Sport Foundation

Senbagam Virudachalam, M.D., M.S.H.P.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

2016 health leaders

Marc Altshuler, M.D.
Director of Jefferson Center for Refugee Health, Thomas Jefferson University

Frederic Bertley, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President of Science and Education, The Franklin Institute

James W. Buehler, M.D.
Former Philadelphia Commissioner of Health; Professor, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Alberto Esquenazi, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer of Moss Rehab, part of Einstein Healthcare Network

Carmen Febo San Miguel, M.D.
Executive Director of Taller Puertorriqueño

Judy Gelinas
Director of Community Oral Health Initiative, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children

Karen Hudson
Program Leader of Homeless Health Initiative, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Dorothy Johnson-Speight
Founder and Executive Director of Mothers in Charge

Emily Kramer-Golinkoff
Co-Founder of Emily’s Entourage

Antonio Valdés
Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Crisis Treatment Center

Steveanna Wynn*
Executive Director of SHARE Food Program

Peter Zucca
Founder of The Peter Powerhouse Foundation

2015 health leaders

Kaseir Archie
Youth advisory board member, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Steve Bandura
Recreation leader and coach, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation

Jeffrey Brown
President and CEO, Brown’s Super Stores

Edgar Chinchilla
Medical interpreter
Laura Romano
Director, Volunteer, Chaplaincy, Language and Cultural Services, Einstein Healthcare Network

Marla Davis Bellamy
Director, Philadelphia CeaseFire, and codirector, Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy, Temple University School of Medicine

Ana Diez Roux
Dean, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University

Julie Gerberding
Executive vice president, Merck Co. Inc., and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dan Gottlieb
Psychologist and host of “Voices in the Family,” WHYY–FM

Trude Haecker
Medical director, Reach Out and Read Greater Philadelphia, and medical director, International Patient Services and Quality Improvement, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Roland Lamb
Director, Philadelphia Office of Addiction Services

Cy Maramangalam
Program manager, Cadence Youth Cycling, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Lily Yeh
Cofounder, The Village of Arts and Humanities, and founder, Barefoot Artists

2014 health leaders

Patricia DeRusso
Director, Healthy Weight Program, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

James Ellis
Senior Aquatics Director, Salvation Army Kroc Center

Arthur C. Evans Jr.
Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services

Amy Goldberg and Scott Charles
Leaders, Cradle to Grave Program, Temple University Hospital

Juan Guerra
Executive Director, ACLAMO Family Centers, Norristown

Raina Merchant
Director, Social Media and Health Innovation Lab, Univ. of Pennsylvania

Michelle Angela Ortiz
Visual Artist, Muralist, and Community Arts Educator

Hernando Perez
Director, Industrial Hygiene Consulting Service, Drexel University School of Public Health

James Rief
Lieutenant, Upper Darby Police Department

Darren and Phyllis Sudman
Founders, Simon’s Fund

Carolyn Tassini
Physical Therapy Team Leader, Drucker Brain Injury Center, MossRehab

Marc Vetri
Chef and Cofounder, Vetri Foundation for Children

2013 health leaders

Marcus Allen
Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA

Joan Myers Brown

Tyra Bryant-Stephens, M.D.
Director, Community Asthma Prevention Program, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Mariana Chilton, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Hunger-Free Communities, Drexel University School of Public Health

Beatriz Garces, D.M.D.
Cofounder, Garces Family Foundation

Neil Izenberg, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief,, Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media

Mohammed Al Jumaili
Community Volunteer and Student, Abington High School

Heather McDanel
Executive Director, Students Run Philly Style

Charles Ramsey
Commissioner of Police, Philadelphia

Siobhan Reardon
President, The Free Library of Philadelphia

Shelton Watts, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Public Health, Temple University

Mike Weilbacher
Executive Director, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

2012 health leaders

Mary Seton Corboy*
Director, Greensgrow Philadelphia Project

Judge Patrick Dugan
Presiding Judge, Phila. Veterans Court

Joseph A. Frick
Vice Chairman and Managing Partner, Diversified Search

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Sarah Martinez-Helfman
Executive Director, Eagles Youth Partnership

A. Scott McNeal, D.O.
Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Delaware Valley Community Health

John A. Rich, M.D.
Chair of Health Management and Policy, Drexel University School of Public Health

Lucas Rivera
Executive Director, Artistas y Músicos Latino Americanos

Liz Scott
Co-Executive Director, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Tanya Thampi-Sen
Community Nutrition Program Manager, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger

Stanford Thompson
Executive Director, Play On Philly!

Flaura Winston, M.D.
Scientific Director, Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

* Deceased.