Nina M. Martin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Nina Martin has over twenty years of experience in health related research in a diverse array of fields: environmental studies, cardiology, immunology, health and environmental policy, cancer biology, HIV and other viruses, and tropical diseases. This work has been performed all over the globe: in the laboratory in the United States to rural village schools in Africa to the wetlands of Provence, France and also in the government. Martin is an expert science communicator and has given talks, courses, and has received formal training via Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. At the beginning of her PhD work in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Martin discovered the difficulties in making science accessible to the general public, especially since scientists do not receive any formal training in how to translate complex biological concepts into something that anyone could understand and find interesting. This lack of training is having dire consequences as we observe more and more citizens rejecting scientific and medical expertise and intervention. Martin began the Public Health United podcast in March, 2013 in response to this dire situation with the desire to educate, research, and train scientists and the public on science communication. She expanded Public Health United’s programs in 2015 to include outreach, video, and speaking events. For example, Martin was an invited speaker at TEDxMidAtlantic and gave her talk “50 Shades of Science” on how we must improve science communication. She also has given numerous talks on vaccine science. For example, she was an invited speaker at both the International Vaccine Access Center and Ignite Baltimore to give the talk, “Vaccine Communication Mistakes Everyone Makes.” To meet the demands of these expanding roles, Martin officially incorporated Public Health United, Inc. in December 2015 as a non-stock corporation in the state of Maryland. She completed her PhD in September 2017 at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the field of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology where she studied the how the body fights off disease, in particular in the central nervous system. At the School, she held several leadership positions including Student Assembly Vice President of Community Affairs and Public Health Promotion, American Public Health Association Campus Liaison, and Gordis Fellow. As a Gordis Fellow, Martin was allowed to design and teach a course of her choosing to Johns Hopkins Public Health undergraduate students. She has taught her course, “Communicating Science: Skills to Analyze and Communicate Science News” for three semesters.
William Miller, Jr.
Director of Community Advocacy
More info coming soon!
Kenneth Shatzkes, PhD(abd)
Director of Science Policy and Advocacy
Kenneth Shatzkes has nearly a decade of experience performing microbiology and molecular biology research, with an expertise in infectious disease biology. Over his career, he has participated in a variety of studies ranging from novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms in high threat pathogens, to the oral human microbiome. He is currently expected to finish his PhD work in May 2017 in Infectious Disease and Immunology at Rutgers University. Kenneth is also a passionate advocate for public science communication and education, with the hope of inspiring young students to take a deeper interest in science-related careers. He has mentored with various science outreach programs throughout NYC, such as the New York Academy of Sciences’ Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program, as well as judges annually at the NYC Science and Engineering Fair. Recently, he was a scientist with the NYC Board of Education’s Scientist-in-Residence program, where he designed a year-long project exploring the human microbiome for two 8th-grade NYC public school classrooms. His outreach work directly inspired Kenneth to pursue a career in science policymaking and advocacy. In the spring of 2016, he was nominated to represent Rutgers at the 3rd annual American Association for the Advancement of Science’ (AAAS) Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop to learn about the federal budget process and the importance of research funding advocacy. He is also a member of the Rutgers Chapter of the National Science Policy Group which travels to DC annually to meet with lawmakers and advocate for sustained, predictable scientific research funding. Kenneth was also awarded an Eagleton Fellowship, which provides hands-on lessons on how to apply his scientific expertise to how government forms policy in order to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
Ashley Nelson, MS/Phd(abd)
Director of Infectious Disease Communication
Ashely Nelson received her M.S. in Molecular Biology from Towson University and is currently in her final months of her PhD work at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she studies the body’s defenses or immune response to measles. Ashley is an expert in measles virus, the measles vaccine, and the public health significance of deadly viruses like measles. Nelson has served in the Johns Hopkins Student Assembly leadership as Vice President of Social & Cultural Affairs. As such, Nelson was required to organize events for several hundred people, manage budgets, and manage a team. Nelson also has significant experience in both grant and manuscript writing as part of her PhD work.
Benjamin Blumberg, PhD
Director of Harm Reduction and Drug Policy
Ben Blumberg, PhD, is an expert in drug policy, harm reduction practices, science education, and public health. Blumberg received his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the field of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. He has served on the policy and operations committees for the last two years at the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition. In this role, Blumberg was trained to be a certified trainer in naloxone (the heroin overdose antidote) administration. This allows him the ability to train others in naloxone use. He has also taught courses on the principles of harm reduction to the public on many occasions. Blumberg has also served as volunteer coordinator for Public Health United, Inc and helped organize our B’More United event last April and our Safe Sex Education Night in December 2015.
Director of Drug Policy
Kaitlyn Boecker works at the Drug Policy Alliance to advance drug policy reform in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Kaitlyn believes the drug war has been a devastating failure, that drug use is a public health issue not a criminal justice issue, and that we must work together to remedy the harms of prohibition. Before joining DPA, Kaitlyn worked in government affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Campaign to Fix the Debt, and Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc. Kaitlyn graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA with a B.A. A native of Iowa and Nebraska, Kaitlyn now lives in D.C., and loves both local and national politics.
Fernando Mena-Carrasco, MSW, BSN, RN
Fernando serves as a Nurse Case Manager at the Comprehensive Care Practice (CCP) at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and as an Intern at the Center for Global Initiatives, WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). At the CCP, Fernando works collaboratively with an interprofessional health care team to identify care continuity needs, increase adherence to plans of care, and optimize the health of patients requiring medical case management. At JHSON, Fernando is in charge of developing and implementing programmatic efforts in support of a global knowledge exchange between nurses, midwives, and other healthcare providers. Before joining Johns Hopkins, Fernando worked to advance the interest of Latin American immigrants in multiple settings, ranging from those affected by HIV/AIDS to those struggling to enter health systems at primary and specialty medicine levels. Fernando served as Ryan White case manager and as a clinic manager of a primary care center for Latin American immigrants in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Area, where he further strengthened his understanding of the barriers faced by Latinos in the United States. Through his involvement in healthcare and now through his clinical training in nursing, Fernando has learned that one of the most important interventions for improving the health of Latino communities is having a seat at the table to actively advocate for policies and procedures that very mindfully aim to improve the health and quality of life of our people. Fernando received a Master of Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Iowa School of Social Work. Fernando is currently working on a Master of Science in Nursing at JHSON to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Health, and is planning to begin doctoral work in nursing in the next five years.