Anchored in Health Equity - City Club of Chicago

Anchored in Health Equity

Moderated by Deborah Kasemeyer
Dr. Diana N. Derige, Ayesha Jaco, Richard Townsell and Alex Wiggins

Friday, Oct 14, 2022

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Dr. James Madara

James L. Madara, MD, serves as the CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician organization. He holds the academic title of adjunct professor of pathology at Northwestern University.

Since taking the reins of the AMA in 2011, Dr. Madara has helped sculpt the organization’s visionary long-term strategic plan. He also serves as chairman of Health2047 Inc., the wholly-owned innovation subsidiary of the AMA, created to overcome systemic dysfunction in U.S. health care and located in Silicon Valley. Working closely with the AMA, Health2047 finds, forms and scales transformative health care spinout companies in four fields: chronic care, data utility, radical productivity and health care value. Several companies have been launched to date.

Prior to the AMA, Dr. Madara spent the first 22 years of his career at Harvard Medical School, receiving both clinical and research training, serving as a tenured professor, and as director of the NIH-sponsored Harvard Digestive Diseases Center. Following five years as chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University, Dr. Madara served as dean of both biology and medicine, and then as CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, bringing together the university’s biomedical research, teaching and clinical activities. While there he oversaw the renewal of the institution’s biomedical campus and engineered significant new affiliations with community hospitals, teaching hospital systems, community clinics and national research organizations.

Dr. Thomas Shanley

Tom Shanley, MD, became President & Chief Executive Officer of Lurie Children’s on December 6, 2019. He is a pediatric intensive care physician and researcher who joined the organization in 2015 as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and President & Chief Research Officer of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children’s.

Dr. Shanley champions the provision of and accessibility to the highest quality and most advanced pediatric healthcare delivered with respect and compassion. He is dedicated to achieving optimal health outcomes for children by focusing on evidence-based excellent care and further advancing care through discovery, innovation, and community collaboration.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Dr. Shanley served as the pediatric chief resident at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He completed his clinical and research fellowship in pediatric critical care under the auspices of the Pediatric Scientist Development Program at the University of Michigan sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.

Deborah Kasemeyer

Deborah Kasemeyer is a Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development & Investments at Northern Trust where she oversees the Bank’s community development capital deployment and an investment portfolio of over $3 billion.  An early adopter of innovative community finance structures, using tools such as Pay for Success, she works to fill capital gaps in underserved communities across the US through direct investment. 

Northern Trust has received ten consecutive Outstanding CRA ratings spanning 26 years of evaluation under her management and she also leads the Bank’s Social Impact Advisors practice which consults with investments clients on impact first investments to create long term sustainable change in underserved communities.   

She graduated from DePauw University with a B.A. in Economics. Her board memberships include IFF, a large regional CDFI headquartered in Chicago and the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders (NAAHL) headquartered in Washington DC.

Dr. Diana N. Derige

Dr. Derige is the Vice President of Health Equity Strategy & Development at the American Medical Association’s Center for Health Equity. In this role she provides strategic direction for the Center for Health Equity through alliances and programming. The role of the Center for Health Equity is to embed health equity across the AMA so that health equity becomes part of the practice, process, action, innovation, and organizational performance and outcomes.Over the past twenty years, Diana has designed and managed several private philanthropic, government, and non-profit programs. She has supported local and national investments by serving as a convener, collaborator, and catalyst, responsible for nurturing opportunities for affecting positive systemic change in communities. Throughout her career, she has concentrated on promoting public health and social equity for marginalized communities.

Dr. Derige is currently adjunct faculty and the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and has held positions as co-director of the Center for Latina Maternal and Family Health Research at the University of Houston, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust and National Director of MCH Initiatives at Urban Strategies. Dr. Derige holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. She also holds a certificate in executive education from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and completed a leadership development program through the Center for Creative Leadership-Europe in Brussels, Belgium.  

Ayesha Jaco

Ayesha Jaco, MAM is the Executive Director at West Side United (WSU). She leads the organization on its quest to reduce the 14-year life expectancy gap between Chicago’s Loop and 10 West Side communities. Jaco manages a multitude of local and national civic, philanthropic, community, corporate and healthcare partnerships that seek to impact over 550,000 Chicago residents by successfully deploying and sustaining economic, educational, health related and environmental strategies. Under her leadership, WSU has evolved from an idea to a strategic operation led by the voice of the community and sustained by partners dedicated to eliminating inequitable disparities.

Jaco’s groundbreaking leadership is rooted in innovative artistic and social contributions that have impacted thousands of Chicago families. Over the past decade, her community-based work has leveraged community led interventions to structural violence (Project Orange Tree Co-Founder), substance prevention (Youth Outreach Services, Manager of Prevention), arts education (Move Me Soul Dance Company, Founder), food access, study abroad opportunities for inner-city youth and college readiness (M.U.R.A.L. Co-Founder). Over the past 5 years, Jaco has maintained community serving residences with the Museum of the Contemporary Art Chicago, The Chicago Park District, The Rebuild Foundation, Northeastern Illinois University Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies.

Ayesha is a member of the Leadership Greater Chicago Signature Fellows, Class of 2021. She is the recipient of the 2020 Health and Medicine Policy Research Group Health Award for promoting social justice and challenging inequities in health and healthcare. Ayesha is also a recent Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist and Rebuild Foundation Dance Fellow. She is a Board Member for Choose Chicago. Ayesha holds a Masters in Arts Management (Arts in Youth & Community Development) from the Columbia College Chicago.

Richard Townsell

Richard Townsell is a Chicago (North Lawndale) native and thought leader in community development. In Richard’s 20+ year career in community development, he has developed nearly 500 units of residential and commercial properties (which have totaled over $100 MM in total development cost) and helped to design comprehensive community plans for affordable housing, education and economic development initiatives.

Richard is the Executive Director at the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. Richard has taught community development courses at Northwestern University’s Asset-Based Community Development Institute as well as with the Chicago Rehab Network’s Urban Developer’s Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Mathematics Education and a Master of Science from Spertus College in Nonprofit Management. Richard has received many awards for the work including the Fellow of the Year at Leadership Greater Chicago’s 20th anniversary and a Leadership for a Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation. 

Richard has been married to his college sweetheart Stephanie for over 30 years.  They have two adult children, Lena and Gabriel. Richard is pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Alex Wiggins

Alex Wiggins is Vice President & Chief Investment Officer with Rush University Medical Center, an academic medical center located in Chicago, Illinois, consistently recognized for its outstanding patient care, education, research and community partnerships.  As a steward for the organization’s financial assets, Alex oversees its investment program that includes operating and insurance reserves, endowment fund and retirement plan assets totaling over $3.8 billion.  Alex also serves as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Health Systems Management program within the College of Health Sciences at Rush University.  Prior to joining Rush, Alex worked in a number of financial industry capacities including asset-liability management and consulting.  Alex also actively serves the Chicago community sitting on the Board of Regents and Investment Committee for the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.  

Alex graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Finance and earned his MBA, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame.  He is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.

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