COVID-19 Advisory Committee
Meet the doctors, public health professionals, and leaders working to tackle new COVID-19 variants and end the pandemic in Boston.
The COVID-19 Advisory Committee will be chaired by Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission and advisor in Mayor Wu's cabinet. These leaders will meet regularly and advise the Mayor on steps to promote vibrant, healthy communities by meeting our City’s health, economic, and social needs.
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Meet the committee membersMeet the committee members
Sabrina A. Assoumou, MD MPH, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and an attending physician in the section of Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center. She is a clinician-investigator who cares for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients at the BUSM/BMC’s Centers for Infectious Diseases.
Her research focuses on medical complications of substance use including HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV). She is also interested in models of care and on improving the continuum of care for individuals with HIV and/or HCV. She is currently the Principal Investigator on an NIH K23 Mentored Career Development Award to improve linkage to care after testing for HIV and HCV at a drug detoxification center.
Dr. Corbett uses her viral immunology expertise to propel novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness, including mRNA-1273, a leading vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine concept incorporated in mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett's NIH team from viral sequence and rapidly deployed to industry partner, Moderna, Inc., for Phase 1 clinical trial, which unprecedently began only 66 days from viral sequence release. mRNA-1273 was shown to be 94.1% effective in Phase 3 trial and is authorized for use in multiple countries. Alongside mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett boasts a patent portfolio which also includes universal coronavirus and influenza vaccine concepts and novel therapeutic antibodies.
In all, she has over 15 years of experience studying dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses, garnering several prestigious awards, such as the Benjamin Franklin Next Gen Award and the Salzman Memorial Award in Virology. Combining her research goals with her knack for mentorship, Dr. Corbett invests much of her time in underserved communities as an advocator of STEM education and vaccine awareness.
Yvonne Garcia serves as Chief of Staff to State Street’s CEO, Ron O’Hanley, and recently as SVP and Global Head of Client Solutions for Investment Manager Services. Prior to State Street, Ms. Garcia served as Director in Marketing and Distribution Strategy for Liberty Mutual, as Vice President for Mass Affluent Marketing for Bank of America, and as Vice President for their China Construction Bank Strategic Assistance Program. Ms. Garcia is a fully certified Six Sigma Black Belt. As an active community leader, Ms. Garcia served as the Chairwoman for the largest Latino Professional Organization in the country, ALPFA.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Partnership, Inc. and is co-founding Chair of Milagros para Niños, a board at Boston’s Children’s Hospital that raises funds for Hispanic children whose families are unable to afford medical care. In addition, Ms. Garcia was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to serve on the state’s Latino Advisory Commission Board, and has run nine marathons in the past seven years in support of various charities across the Commonwealth.
Temple Gill is the Director of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at The Huntington Theatre Company. She has previously served as the director of marketing at the Huntington, and director of marketing and public relations at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and the former Market Theater in Harvard Square. Her Broadway producer credits include Hedda Gabler and Flower Drum Song, as well as producing associate credits on the Tony Award-winning revivals of The Real Thing and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and others.
She earned her AB from Princeton and her MFA in theatrical producing and management from Columbia. She currently serves on the Green Ribbon Commission Cultural Institution Working Group, Boston Arts Marketing Alliance, and the boards of StageSource and the Fenway Alliance.
Nia Grace is the owner and operator of Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, known for its soulful flavors, signature cocktails, personal connections, and live entertainment. She has worked in the restaurant hospitality industry for over 20 years, and it was this passion that brought this homegrown cook back to a place that serves what she loves most—friends, food, and music. But beyond restaurant hospitality, Nia is committed to the need in all of us to belong. Before purchasing Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, Nia embraced a decade-long career in the nonprofit sector, fundraising and marketing for community-based human service organizations. Her innate talent gave her the opportunity to work on various projects with MTV, Russell Simmons, HBO Def Poetry, The Major League Baseball Players Trust, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Over the years, Nia has remained focused and involved in the community she loves, serving on boards for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and the Boston Cultural Council, with current board commitments with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Boston Center for Youth and Families, and the Roxbury YMCA. Among her accolades, Nia was a member of the 2020 Boston Business Journal “40 Under 40” class. She is a recipient of the prestigious Pinnacle Award sponsored by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, presented for her excellent work as an Emerging Executive Leader. And Boston Magazine called out Nia as one of ”The 100 Most Influential Bostonians” for 2021.
Dr. Julia Koehler is a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, an Associate Physician within the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Koehler received her M.D. magna cum laude form the University of Heidelberg in Germany. She began her training in pediatrics at the Heidelberg Children’s Hospital and completed it at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she also completed a pediatric infectious disease fellowship.
She trained in molecular genetics in the Fink Laboratory of MIT’s Whitehead Institute and then became an independent investigator at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she also provides clinical care as Infectious Disease Attending Physician. She co-founded the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Immigrant Health Special Interest Group and chairs the Immigrant Health Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the AAP. Her online COVID information sessions, largely with immigrant organizations, have ~40,000 views since the beginning of the pandemic.
Amy Latimer is President of TD Garden, one of the most active, highly regarded and successful sports and entertainment venues in North America. Latimer also works directly with Delaware North, the owner and operator of TD Garden, by overseeing its client and contract retention support and enabling base business growth.
Latimer was part of the inaugural executive team at the TD Garden and started as the Director of Marketing in 1995. Later, she launched the arena’s first e-business department, where she led a team dedicated to harnessing database marketing and website strategy. Latimer’s growth within the arena continued as she served for six seasons as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, responsible for developing and leading all sales and marketing strategies for the Boston Bruins and TD Garden. In 2012, Latimer was named president of the arena.
Brian Moy’s life is inextricably linked with Boston’s historic Chinatown neighborhood. The son of entrepreneurial immigrants, Brian grew up surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of his father’s iconic Chinatown restaurants. As a young child, Brian would pick up empty soda cans from guests’ tables in exchange for a few dollars, which he would inevitably spend on candy and comic books. He relished the opportunity to work surrounded by his uncles, aunts, and grandparents, and knew from an early age that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Brian attended Boston University, graduating in 2003 with a degree in Business Management. During and after college, Brian worked at China Pearl, one of his father’s many business ventures and Chinatown’s oldest continually operating restaurant. Also in the family was Ho Yuen Ting, which was renamed BLR (Best Little Restaurant) under Brian’s ownership. Currently, Brian is working on expanding Shōjō's locations throughout Massachusetts and opening new restaurants blending new American cuisines with Asian flavors.
Dinanyili Paulino is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at La Colaborativa. Dinanyili joined the La Colaborativa team in 2016. As the COO, she oversees the development team, finance team, program directors, and is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day functions and evaluations. Dinanyili is passionate about working for youth and families starting from an early age and has been involved in youth advocacy. After migrating to the United States from Dominican Republic at the age of 14 Dinanyili became homeless. She credits organizations similar to La Colaborativa for helping her and instilling a sense of advocacy for the Latinx community. Soon enough, she got involved as a youth leader which sparked her passion for youth workforce development. Dinanyili has been passionate about the empowerment of youth and Latinx communities and has been involved in social justice for over 26 years. It is because of her background that she is passionate about helping the immigrant Latinx community. With Dinanyili joining La Colaborativa, her strategic planning has placed the organization further ahead. Dinanyili has taken the lead in successful financial planning that would bring in more revenue and donors into the organization
With the increase in revenue, Dinanyili has mobilized an addition of staff and programs into the organization. Dinanyili has promoted an intergenerational employment pipeline that is responsible for employing and training youth and adults. She is accredited with the expansion of La Colaborativa’s direct services that connects members toward leadership opportunities and toward systemic change. Her strategic planning resulted in La Colaborativa being one of the pioneers for the Good Jobs Coalition, which promotes city-wide action toward fair labor practices and workforce development opportunities. Dinanyili sits on the advisory boards for Mass General Brigham and the Chelsea Virtual Learning Academy. She attended the University of Massachusetts School of Community Planning and Boston University for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She currently lives with her partner and children in Hyde Park.
Dr. Cassandra Pierre is an Assistant Professor at the Boston university School of Medicine, the Medical Director of Public Health Programs and the Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center and the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council. Supported by state and local public health agencies, the Public Health Programs provide resources for HIV, HCV and STI prevention, linkage to care and management throughout the hospital.
Her research is focused on infection prevention in vulnerable population (including the implementation of low-cost infection control interventions to reduce bacteremia among neonates in low-income settings) Her clinical interests include HIV management in special subpopulations (immigrants of color, pregnant women, transactional sex workers and people with substance use).
As Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, Sullivan oversees Boston University’s relations with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, the town of Brookline, as well as elected officials, regulators, residents, and community groups. In that capacity, he also serves as the University's primary liaison to city and state agencies and higher education associations charged with coordinating Covid-19 public health policy and response. Before joining BU, Sullivan served in the City of Boston’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) for nearly 15 years in the Menino and Walsh Administrations. He had a number of roles in City Hall, including director of IGR, chief of staff for the Advocacy and Strategic Investment Cabinet, and director of federal relations.
Sullivan helped lead the City’s economic recovery team as it responded to President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and played a central role in the Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a group dedicated to fighting for common-sense gun laws. Before that he worked on Beacon Hill as a senior research analyst for the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Energy and as a staffer for former Massachusetts Congressman John Olver. A graduate of UMass Amherst, Sullivan lives with his family in Dorchester.
Anthony "Tony" Tjan is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cue Ball, a private investment firm focused on long-term and transformative opportunities across technology, media and consumer brand platforms. Since its inception, over half of Cue Ball’s investment dollars have been allocated to women-focused and other inclusionary-led ventures. He is also the Co-founder and Chairman of Cue Ball’s founding investment, MiniLuxe, which is a clean beauty and personal care brand that is elevating the nail care industry with its hygiene standards and workforce empowerment. Tony was the founder of ZEFER, a pioneering Internet strategy and web application firm that grew to over $100 million before its merger with NEC. Previously, he played senior leadership roles at Thomson and the Parthenon Group (Senior Partner and Vice Chairman). At Thomson, Tony was the Senior Advisor to the CEO and helped co-lead its transformation from a newspaper holding conglomerate into the world’s largest information services firm – Thomson Reuters.
Tony has written over 100 articles for Harvard Business Review and is a New York Times best-selling author of Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck and author of Good People. He serves on the MIT Media Lab Advisory Council, the Board of the Tory Burch Foundation, and is on the advisory boards for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the McCance Center for Brain Health at MGH. He holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard College, an MBA from Harvard Business School and was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s senior pastor, Reverend Liz Walker, joined us in December 2011. Rev. Liz, an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal tradition, is a 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School and a veteran television journalist, the first African-American weeknight news anchor in Boston.
Dr. Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, and author, is dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He previously held academic and leadership positions at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature, and is a regular contributor to a range of public media, about the social causes of health, mental health, and the consequences of trauma. He has been listed as one of the most widely cited scholars in the social sciences.
He is past chair of the board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Galea has received several lifetime achievement awards. Galea holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto, graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.
Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, is the Senior Vice President, Equity and Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, the founder, senior advisor and faculty of the Disparities Solutions Center (DSC) at Mass General, Faculty at the Mongan Institute, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing Internal Medicine physician. He has also served on the leadership team of the Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Betancourt is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in health policy, health care disparities, diversity, and cross-cultural medicine, and has served on several Institute of Medicine Committees, including those that produced the landmark reports, Unequal Treatment and Increasing Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce.
Dr. Betancourt has secured grants and contracts that have led to over 60 peer-reviewed publications, and advises private industry, government, and not-for-profit health systems on approaches to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care. He sits at on the Board of Trinity Health, a large national health system, and sat on the Boston Board of Health and the Board of Neighborhood Health Plan in Boston. He is a 2015 Aspen Institute Health Innovator Fellow.
Dr. Betancourt received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland, his medical degree from Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Following residency, he completed The Commonwealth Fund-Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, and received his Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Louis Elisa is President of the Garrison-Trotter Neighborhood Association and member of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition.
Paola García is Community Relations Manager at Tufts Health Plan.