Steering Committee
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Amy Matthis

American Diabetes Association

I am a Project Manager at the American Diabetes Association.  I completed my undergraduate work at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and have a Masters in Health Administration and M.B.A. from UAB. In previous positions working in clinical quality improvement in hospitals, I have seen how emotional wellbeing and economic burden can affect patients’ outcomes and life expectancy.  I live with a chronic condition, so I can personally relate to its impact on emotions and the cost burden of maintaining my health.  I look forward to the research and solutions this network will provide to improve wellbeing and reduce the economic burden for those living with disease. For my wellbeing I like to exercise, play with my kids, walk my dogs, garden, travel, and rest as much as I can. 

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Carol Ryff

University of Wisconsin-Madison

I am the Director of the Institute on Aging and Hilldale Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I study psychological well-being – how it varies by age, educational status, work and family life experiences, cultural context, and how it matters for health, including diverse disease outcomes, length of life, physiological regulation and neural circuitry. My model of well-being is widely used around the world – the assessment scales have been translated to more than 40 languages. I am the Principal Investigator of the MIDUS (Midlife in the U.S. longitudinal study ( and its sister study in Japan, MIDJA (Midlife in Japan), for which I received an NIH Merit Award. MIDUS and MIDJA have become major forums for multidisciplinary health research with over 1,500 publications generated to date and more than 200 graduate studies (dissertations, theses) completed.

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Erin Bradshaw

Patient Advocate Foundation

I am the Chief of Mission Delivery for the Patient Advocate Foundation. I provide leadership in the design, delivery, and oversight of the case management division to ensure the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission and goals and objectives. My 23 years’ experience with PAF has been spent improving patients’ lives around the nation.

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Kenneth Carpenter

Carpenter Primary Healthcare, PLLC

I am the COO/Business Manager for Carpenter Primary Healthcare, PLLC. I have experience with Medical Billing and Coding in the Division of Careers Technology and Adult Education, as well as an Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Southwest TN Community College. My awards include Outstanding Faculty of the year, President’s Award for Community Service, and the Outstanding Service to Southwest Award. I am the founder of the Sickle Cell 5-K Run to raise money for research and a cure for sickle cell, along with creating awareness for the debilitating effects of this deadly disease. I along with Dr. Terri Carpenter donated the “Carpenter House” to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee which provides quality and affordable housing for adult males living with Sickle Cell Disease. I have served as co-chairman for “Project Alpha”, an annual collaborative-youth empowerment conference that focus on sexual activity and relationships among teenagers. I am also a former mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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Laurel Pracht

NRG Oncology

I am currently a research patient advocate affiliated with NRG Oncology and an active member of the Cancer Prevention and Control, and Cancer Care Delivery Research/NCORP committees. I participate in discussions of developing concepts, and existing protocols, reflecting the patient perspective, as well as committee agendas.  I believe my contributions result in more robust research concepts which are patient-centered and that patients will find attractive. I have a particular interest in community oncology, and underserved, minority, rural populations as well as their caregivers when contributing toward developing concepts. I have been an active research patient advocate since 2009 as well as a 21-year overall survivor of late-stage ovarian cancer with 1 recurrence.  As a patient I accrued to 2 active clinical research trials centered on long-term survival. Recently, I concluded my second appointment as an advocate member of the NCI Symptom Management and Health-Related Quality of Life Steering Committee.  I was appointed to a 3-year term with the NCI Cancer Care Delivery Research Steering Committee.

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Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (ORCA)
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)

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Minal Patel, PhD, MPH

University of Michigan

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education. I completed my MPH and PhD in Health Behavior & Health Education at the University of Michigan. My research program focuses on the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions that focus on improving self-efficacy and navigation skills for individuals to access and uptake complex health care delivery systems, affordable healthcare, and management of chronic disease. My research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Lung Association, and private foundations. I have led studies focused on improving health insurance literacy in economically disadvantaged communities, screening and addressing unmet social needs and financial burden in clinical settings, and health care provider training in implementing guideline-based care. My work is primarily situated in a broad range of health care and health care delivery settings.

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Mustafa Hussein, PhD

The City University of New York

I am a health economist and social epidemiologist whose research seeks to understand the effects of healthcare and economic policies, as well as contextual and psychosocial factors, on the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. My current research in the area of emotional wellbeing and economic burden focuses on prospective measurement of household financial risk due to medical out-of-pocket spending, and evaluating the extent to which health insurance policy reforms protect against the risk of poverty and further downward social stratification.

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Sarah Pressman, PhD

University of California, Irvine

I am a Professor of Psychological Science and the Associate Dean of Student Success at the University of California, Irvine.  I seek to understand how emotional and social well-being influence objective physical health and the possible mechanisms by which these feelings can “get under the skin” to influence biology. I’m especially interested in untangling how these factors can be used to protect people against the negative effects of stress. I’ve received numerous grants and awards for my research and my work has been cited over 8000 times.

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Terrell (Terri) Carpenter, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Carpenter Primary Healthcare, PLLC

I am a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with 23 years of family practice. I received a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and my Doctor of Nursing Practice from Union University. I was employed at the Regional Medical Center Memphis for 10 years as a staff registered nurse in various units such as medical-surgical, medicine ICU, surgical ICU, trauma ICU, and ER. My accolades include being named one of the “Top 100 Nurses” in Shelby County and Fayette County and receiving a certificate by the Tennessee Nurses Association for “Outstanding Nursing Achievement.” My published scholarly project was featured in the NP and the PA Peer Review Journal website focused on lifestyle modification of diet and exercise in Type-2 diabetes mellitus patients. Carpenter Primary Healthcare is the recipient of the 2017 National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Memphis “Outstanding Service in the Field of Healthcare”

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