Current Leadership


 Nicole Exe

Nicole Exe is the Chair of the Genomics Forum , Past-Secretary of the Genomics Forum and Past-Chair of the Membership Communications Committee. She is currently a research associate at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on how patients understand, react, and make decisions about their health care including genetic testing. She has a Master's in Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education with a concentration in Public Health Genetics and a Bachelor's in Biology both from the University of Michigan. She has previously been an intern at Genetic Alliance and worked for the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics on the Midwest Genomics Forum.



 Heather Honoré Goltz

Heather Honoré is the Co-Chair of the Genomics Forum and Leader of the Workforce Development Work Group. She joined the Genomics Forum in its inaugural year. She is also Past-Chair of the Policy Committee and a member of the Program, Committee. She currently serves as a Health Services Research & Development Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. She has worked in the fields of social work and public health research for over five years and has additional training in molecular biology. Her research and practice interests focus on cancer control and prevention, genomic health education (workforce and general public), and policy.



 Nelson Atehortua

Nelson A. Atehortua is the Program Committee Chair. He has been a member of the Forum since 2006 and has been an active participant including serving as Program Committee co-chair and Reviewer. Dr. Atehortua has a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Western Kentucky University and a PhD degree from Texas A&M University.

 He is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Scientist with the Program in Personalized Medicine & Targeted Therapeutics (P2MT2TM) in the Department of Health Policy and Public Health, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia.

 His research interests are in the areas of personalized medicine, genomics, cancer and chronic non-communicable diseases, and how public health and health education are related to genomics and personalized medicine. Nelson Atehortua was awarded with the Genomics Forum’s “Best New Investigator Award” in 2012.



 Kathleen Helms

Kathleen Helms is the Chair of the Membership and Communications Committee. She is a recent graduate of Georgia State University, where she majored in Psychology ad minored in Chemistry. She is working at Skyland Trail where she aids in re-socialization of mentally ill adults and does research for the Learning and Development Lab at GSU.  She is currently assisting the Membership and Communications Chair by creating a template for the upcoming GF Newsletter,  maintaining the google calendar and Facebook page, as well as completing various tasks. Kathleen plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Genetic Counseling in the next year and hopes to study the interaction between genetics and psychology to unravel the cause of numerous mental illnesses.


Chikezie Maduka

Chikezie Maduka, MA, PhD, is the Chair of the Policy Committee. He is also the current Chair of the National Community Committee of the CDC-Prevention Research Centers. He holds two Masters Degrees in International Journalism and Russian Language from St. Petersburg State University, Russia and completed his research work and Dissertation for PhD in Information and Economics at St. Petersburg State University for Professional Unions, Russia. Dr. Maduka is the University of Maryland representative at the CDC-PRC- National Community Committee (NCC) and also the Co-Chair of the Seat Pleasant Community Campus Partnership for Health. He is the Co-Chair of the CBPH Caucus Policy Work Group of the APHA and a member of the National Community-Based Organization Network (NCBON), and has contributed to the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (PRC) as a member of the Community Advisory Board since its creation. He was recognized by the Genetic Alliance Organization as an Innovator in 2011. He says, "Community-Based engagement efforts in collaboration with agencies, academics, public health practitioners and organizations are necessary to bridge communication gaps and further implement health policies at all levels of life in order to adequately provide quality care to the underserved populations in addressing health disparities." Chikezie faithfully served as the Policy Committee Co-Chair during the 2012-2013 seasons, participating in meetings, preparing meeting minutes, and helping with sections of the oncogenomics policy statement.

 Monica McClain

Dr. Monica McClain is the Co-Chair of the Program Committee. She is a Research Associate Professor in the Health Management and Policy Department and the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. She has a strong background in applied research, screening, and public health. The focus of her career as an epidemiologist has been on the evaluation and implementation of evidence-based practice in medicine, and more specifically genetic testing and medical screening.  Dr. McClain works closely with each of the six New England states’ Title V and Newborn Screening Public Health Programs to assess needs, implement change, and evaluate newborn screening program results.  From 2002-2008, Dr. McClain worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on both the ACCE Model Process, which takes its name from the four components of evaluation—analytic validity, clinical validity, clinical utility and associated ethical, legal and social implications, and the EGAPP (Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention) initiative for evaluating data on emerging genetic tests. These processes include collecting, evaluating, interpreting, and reporting data about DNA (and related) testing for disorders with a genetic component in a format that allows policy makers to have access to up-to-date and reliable information for decision making. Dr. McClain also has extensive experience in health services research using administrative claims data, vital records, and other large data sets.

 Maia Fraiser

Maia Frieser is the Co-Chair of the Membership and Communications Committee. She has a Masters of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan, where she also completed a certificate in Public Health Genetics. She first got involved with the Genomics Forum at the University of Michigan, working under Dr. Toby Citrin on an independent study to provide support to the Genomics Forum Program Committee. Her final project for this independent study was to survey accredited Schools of Public Health to see how many genetics and genomics courses are currently offered in the US. She has research experience in examining the impacts of genetic and epigenetic information on health behaviors and self-identity, and plans to continue working in this field at the doctoral level. She has a background in medical anthropology, biomedical ethics, and is currently writing a manuscript based on analysis of data from the Impact of Personal Genomics Study from the University of Michigan.

 Esha Matthew

Esha Mathew is the Co-Chair of the Policy Committee. She is a doctoral candidate in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan, currently performing her dissertation research (broadly) on the pancreatic cancer microenvironment. She co-currently works at the University of Michigan Cancer Center. Prior to arriving at the University of Michigan, she completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biological Engineering at Cornell University, after which she took time off and worked at Children's Hospital in Boston working on scaffolds for tissue engineered bladders.




 Toby Citrin

Toby Citrin leads the Tier-1 Applications Work Group. He is an Adjunct Professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Citrin is Founding Director of the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics (www.sph.umich.edu/genomics) whose mission is to integrate genomics in public health practice with emphasis on the reduction of health disparities and the engagement of communities. From 1990-2007 Citrin was Director of the Office of Community-Based Public Health at the U-M School of Public Health, facilitating efforts to develop and maintain partnerships between the School, Community-Based Organizations and Public Health Practice organizations to address community health challenges and further Community-Based Participatory Research.



Tricia Page

Tricia Page is the leader of the Carrier Screening Work Group and Past-Chair of the Genomics Forum and Past-Chair of the Program Committee.  She is a faculty member in the Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics. She serves as Senior Director for the JScreen program, a public health initiative dedicated to prevention of Jewish genetic diseases through carrier screening.   Prior to this position, she worked as Director for Genetic Counseling Services, the Assistant Director of the Genomics and Public Health Program, and as manager of the Newborn Screening Program.  She is a Board-certified genetic counselor who earned her Masters degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 1996.  Her current interests include:  religion and public health genomics, personalized medicine, carrier and newborn screening, and provision of genetic services, especially in non-traditional ways.


Past Chairs of Genomics Forum (2008-2013)


James O'Leary

James O'Leary is the Past-Chair of the Genomics Forum. He brings his experience as the Chief Innovation Officer of Genetic Alliance, where he works to transform health through genetics by creating an environment of openness centered on the health of individuals, families, and communities. He focuses on community involvement, grassroots action, and accessible technologies to advance the goal of better health and aims to build the communications and membership infrastructure of the Forum and help integrate genetics into the public health community.



Jody Platt

Jody Platt is the Past-Chair of the Genomics Forum. She serves as the Assistant Director of the Life Sciences and Society Program at the University of Michigan, whose mission is to promote education, research, and community engagement on issues that arise from the ethical and social ramifications of the life sciences, including genomics. She has worked in the field of public health for over ten years on issues of genetics policy and education, public health workforce development, health disparities, communicable disease prevention, and access to health care. Jody chaired the Genomics Forum in its inaugural year and is committed to the Forum’s growth and sustainability.


 H. Dean Hosgood

H. Dean Hosgood, III, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Past-Chair of the Genomics Forum and Past Chair of the Program Committee.  When he was chair of the program committee, he worked to increase the Forum’s visibility and notoriety within the American Public Health Association by coordinating presentations of high-scientific merit at the annual meeting.  Dr. Hosgood is a faculty member in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Division of Epidemiology. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Hosgood was an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.  His research is focused on inter-individual variation of cancer susceptibility associated with environmental exposures, specifically in Asia. Dr. Hosgood’s research has expanded on experimental and epidemiological evidence that suggests genetic variation and other intermediate end-point biomarkers influence lung cancer susceptibility in populations with indoor air pollution exposures from coal and wood combustion. Additional work has focused on genetic susceptibility to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as genetic variation and intermediate end-point biomarkers among individuals exposed to benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Dr. Hosgood received his Ph.D. in Cancer Epidemiology and M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences from Yale University.  He is originally from Pennsylvania, where he earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.



Past Co-Chairs of the Genomics Forum (2008-2013)


Eduardo Velasco

Dr. Eduardo Velasco is the past Co-Chair of the Genomics Forum and past-Chair of the Special Projects Committee.  He has been a public health scholar and practitioner for the past 16 years. At his former job with Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health/School of Public Health of Mexico, he has held leadership positions as Chair of two Departments (Department of Health Policy Analyses and International Health and Department of Public Health Genomics) as well as Deputy Director for Academic Development. At Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, he is a Professor and Associate Dean and served for two years as Interim Chair for the Department of Public Health Analyses. He has conducted research as a PI on migrant health (epidemiologic surveillance), screening programs (HPV and cervical cancer) and genetic epidemiology (candidate genes for type 2 diabetes mellitus). He has served as a panel member for CDC research review section and published in peer reviewed journals. He has participated in faculty development and mentoring programs, as well as in research agenda development and priority setting. Dr. Velasco has taught several courses on research methods, statistics and epidemiology and conducted research seminars for doctoral and master of sciences programs.



Past Secretaries (2008-2013)

Ashley Braun

Ashley Braun is the Past- Secretary of the Genomics Forum and the Past-Chair of the Membership and Communications Committee. She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology and is currently attending law school. Her interests in Public Health and work with the Life Sciences and Society Program lead her to the Forum where she is a member of the Special Projects, Policy, and Program Committees. Her involvement on these committees sparked her interest in Health Law.

 Nora Isack

Nora Isack is the Past-Secretary of the Genomics Forum and Past-Co-Chair of the Membership and Communications Committee. Nora  received a masters at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Department of Health Management and Policy. She   also completed a certificate in Public Health Genetics. Nora's interest in Public Health Genetics began with her undergraduate degree in Genetics from Rutgers University where she realized the disconnect between researchers, policy makers, and the public. For this, Nora decided to pursue a career in Public Health Genetics. Nora has been involved with GAPPNet, SEPA, and GenoCommunity Think Tank projects at the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics at University of Michigan School of Public Health. Nora was first introduced to the Genomics Forum during her internship at Genetic Alliance in the summer of 2010. Nora is looking forward to continued involvement in the Genomics Forum!


Apryl Brown

Apryl Brown is the Past-Secretary of the Genomics Forum.  As a biology professor at Wayne County Community College District, Apryl prepares students to pursue careers of various disciplines in health care and public health.  Previously, she worked as a community education associate for the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. As an advocate partner with Genetic Alliance, Apryl has participated in the Genetics Day on Capitol Hill in order to educate legistures about the desire need to protect the public against genetic discrimination.  In addition, she participated in the advocacy program sponsored by the Genetic Alliance and American Society of Human Genetics.  Apryl serves as an APHA Governing Councilor, is a member of the APHA Education Board, and has delivered oral presentations at the annual APHA meetings. Within her home state, she is a Board of Director for the Michigan Public Health Association.  Apryl has a BS in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University, MD from Ross University School of Medicine, and a MPH in Health Systems Management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. As a result of successfully engaging in various public health endeavors, Apryl was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Kimberly Lewis

Kimberly Lewis is Past-Secretary of the Genomics Forum. She is the Genetic Services Coordinator for Georgia CORE – the Center for Oncology Research and Education, a non-profit organization working to improve the quality of cancer care in Georgia. She focuses her efforts on a Center for Disease Control funded cooperative agreement to the Georgia Department of Public Health entitled, "Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Health Education, Surveillance, and Policy.” The Department has partnered with Georgia CORE to implement the program in concert with Emory University, the Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia State University. The overarching goal of Ms. Lewis’ work is to promote the use of evidence-based guidelines to improve the identification of young women at genetic risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Ms. Lewis earned her Master’s degree in Medical Genetics from the University of Cincinnati’s Genetic Counseling Program. Her interest in public health stemmed from the lack of high-risk individuals who were being referred for cancer genetic counseling and the amount of patients being referred that had difficulty paying for genetic testing.  While interning for the Ohio Department of Public Health, Ms. Lewis worked on identifying whether or not major third party payers were following appropriate guidelines for referral, testing, and risk-reducing procedures in cancer treatment. Previously, Ms. Lewis worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.



Past Chairs of Committees (2008-2013)

Aaron Goldenberg

Aaron Goldenberg, PhD MPH is the Past-Chair of the Special Projects Committee. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioethics at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He is also Assistant Director of the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law at CWRU. His work focuses on the ethical and social issues surrounding advances in public health genomics, biobanking, genetics and health disparities, and the intersection between bioethics and public health ethics.

Dr. Goldenberg received his PhD in Bioethics from Case Western. His dissertation focused on the ethical issues surrounding the use of Michigan's residual newborn screening bloodspots for research purposes. His project also included a review of state newborn screening policies and educational materials. Dr. Goldenberg has a MA in bioethics from Case Western and an MPH in Health Education and Public Health Genetics from the University of Michigan . Before beginning his PhD program, he was the Center Manager for the University of Michigan’s Center for Genomics and Public Health.

 Tiphané Turpin

Tiphané Turpin is Past-Chair of the Membership and Communications Committee. She is also the communications manager of Genetic Alliance, a nonprofit health advocacy organization. At Genetic Alliance, she identifies and implements public relations initiatives, writes and edits web content, oversees organizational written communications, develops strategic communications plans, promotes events and tools, develops cohesive messaging and branding platforms, conducts external, media and stakeholder relations, and creates digital and print collateral. Tiphané is new to genetics and is enjoying learning a new area of health communication.

Erin Payne

Erin Payne is the Past-Chair of the Policy Committee, helps to facilitate the Health Disparities Working Group, and is a member of the Gene-Environment Working Group.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where she will begin doctoral studies in the fall of 2009.  Her research interests revolve specifically around chronic disease genetics with additional interests in health disparities, policy development, and pharmacogenomics.  As a research assistant for the Life Sciences and Society Program at the University of Michigan she is also involved in community education and engagement on issues related to genetics and genomics.


Kimberly Kaphingst

Kimberly Kaphingst is the Past-Chair of the Program Committee. She is currently the Head of the Communication Research Section in the intramural Social and Behavioral Research Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Kim has been a member of APHA for 12 years; during this time, her research has focused on health literacy, cancer communication, and genomic communication. Her current research at the National Human Genome Research Institute is focused on developing and evaluating effective strategies for communicating genomic information to lay audiences with varying levels of health literacy.


Kristi Zonno

Kristi Zonno is the Past-Chair of the Policy Committee. Kristi has worked in the clinical, industry, public health and currently the non-profit setting.  Through her experience she has developed a strong interest policy from the organizational to the federal level, and appreciates its broad impact, which ranges from individuals to public health.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Providence College, a Certificate in Clinical Research from Boston University, and a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University with Board Certification in Genetic Counseling from the American Board of Genetic Counselors.

 Kristi currently works at Genetic Alliance as Director of Genetics and Health Policy, and views policy as one of many tools to improve health and create effective systems.  Prior to joining Genetic Alliance she worked in public health as Program Manager for the RI Newborn Screening Programs, in clinical genetics as a pediatric and adult genetic counselor, as well as in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as a clinical researcher where she spent seven years working on clinical trials primarily in oncology.  In her time as a researcher she contributed to the clinical development of four compounds, one of which was subsequently approved for treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Kate Reed

Kate Reed is Past-Chair of the Program Committee.  She is a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG) and also a genetic counselor at Johns Hopkins University in the neurology department.  Currently at NCHPEG, Kate directs educational projects including developing a 10-month CME course on genomics for physicians at a community hospital, a web-based educational program on hereditary colorectal cancer, and point-of-care tools focusing on the management of genetic conditions.  She is a Board-certified genetic counselor who earned her ScM from Johns Hopkins University/National Institutes of Health and her MPH in public health genomics from the University of Washington.

 Steve Modell

Stephen M. Modell is the Past-Chair of the Policy Committee. Stephen has served as the evaluator in assisting and principal roles for several community-based genome policy projects, including the NHGRI-funded “Communities of Color and Genetics Policy” project and the Midwest Community Genomics Forum, and the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics-funded GenoCommunity Think Tank. He was a primary member and Proceedings editor for the National Science Foundation-funded “Genetics and Racial-Ethnic Identity” Project. He earned an A.B. degree in Philosophy from Stanford University and his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Ohio. Stephen received an M.S. in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis, and a certification in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Stephen is the Dissemination Activities Director (D.A.D.), Center for Public Health and Community Genomics, and an instructor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at U of M’s Public Health. He co-teaches “Issues in Public Health Genetics.” This course looks at genetics from multiple perspectives and motivates students to seek policy solutions for the issues they are examining.

Stephen’s policy interests in genetics are both scientifically and humanistically-oriented. He has investigated the translation of genomic knowledge in the cardiac area, and published evidence-based reviews of long QT syndrome and related heritable heart arrhythmias. Currently he is co-writing an article with a GAPPNet team on the knowledge synthesis and dissemination cycle in genomics. Stephen also has an avid interest in the philosophical and values-oriented aspects of the field. He has been a longstanding participant in professional and community dialogues on genetics in connection with several faith-based projects ongoing in the Detroit and Ann Arbor, MI areas, and presented on these developments at APHA annual meetings.

Peter Tonellato

Peter J. Tonellato is the Past-Chair of the Program Committe and past-leader of the Health Policy Workgroup. He earned his BS in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound, an MS in applied mathematics from the University of Arizona, and following study at both the University of Oxford and Hiroshima University, a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona (1985).

Past positions include Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, Marquette University (1985-1994) and (founding) Director, Bioinformatics Research Center (www.brc.mcw.edu), Medical College of Wisconsin (1995-2004).  His work at MCW included the creation of the Rat Genome Database, the first disease-centric repository of phenotype and genetic data and the Program in Genomic Applications (pga.mcw.edu) data mining system for a heterogeneous collection of phenotypes, microarray expression and genotypes.

In 2001, Dr. Tonellato founded and was Chairman of POINTONE Systems, LLC, the first personalized medicine software company that provided genetic enabled ‘best practice’ decision support system to hospitals and health care facilities.  He headed the company fulltime for three years before returning to academia in 2007.

Professor Tonellato has a joint appointment with Harvard Medical School as senior research scientist and director of the Laboratory for Personalized Medicine (LPM) at the Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School (lpm.hms.harvard.edu) and Visiting Professor, Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Dr. Tonellato is also Professor, School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee where he directs the Laboratory for Public Health and Prevention.  He is also, Professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.  The LPM develops strategies, methods, bioinformatic tools, and analyses to study and test the accuracy and clinical efficacy of genetic discoveries and accelerate their translation to practical clinical use.  The LPM designs and executes insilico experiments to explore and solve barriers to translation from discovery to clinical use.  Dr. Tonellato’s most recent work includes the creation of ‘clinical avatars’ used to simulate realistic patient populations and provide a collection of electronic medical records used to test the efficacy of genetic data, accuracy of predictive algorithms, and to conduct clinical trial simulations.  The LPM is the first biomedical research lab to establish all computational systems and services ‘on the cloud’ implemented on Amazon’s AWS environment.



Past Working Group Leaders (2008-2013)

Ethan Narimatsu

Ethan is Past-Leader of the Gene-Environment Interaction Work Group, and he has been a member for the last couple years. He works within industry at an international CRO where he focuses on study conduct of non-clinical studies in drug safety assessment and toxicology. He has a keen interest in seeing drug development modernize to address the accelerating usage of genomics in research and drug discovery. Before this, he was studying and researching public health epidemiology at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; he had a particular interest in neurodegenerative diseases affecting the old and very-old. He hopes to see better application of GxE and genomics knowledge in promoting and protecting public health.