About CDU

September 2015

September CDU News 2015

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CDU News September 2015

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Alumni Profile: Ashanti Carter

Charles R. Drew University alumnae Ashanti Carter, MPH ’14 credits the University’s mission to pointing her toward her career path. Ashanti states that her love for CDU, is primarily due to the role it plays in educating students to become agents of change in marginalized and underserved communities.  Ashanti also admits her commitment as a professional is rooted in being an advocate for social justice as it relates to health and wellness, while using education as a vehicle.

Ashanti Carter chose CDU because she loves the mission of serving vulnerable populations.  Mrs. Carter stated that in her prior professional career as an educator was already aligned to public health before to coming to CDU. 

“Helping others through education and advocacy in the public health sector increases healthier choices for the community I serve”. The commitment she has given as the Medical Student Affairs Coordinator for 3rd year medical students in the Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program is one that offers her extreme gratification. Ashanti loves helping her students and seeing the transformation after their third year of medical school through Match Day is what she describes as “magical”.

Working with third year medical students which can be viewed by many as the most challenging year in medical school, Ashanti says that seeing her students match a year later is a feeling that has compelled her to go further back in the pipeline as she took on a similar role in her move to the Medical Education Resources Initiative for Teens (MERIT), a public health non-profit organization deeply rooted at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.  This new opportunity will give Mrs. Ashanti Carter a platform to continue developing healthier communities through education.


Why Race and Place Matter: LSI's Place Matters Series Recap

On Friday, August 28, 2015, numerous professionals (in the areas of Academic Research & Teaching, Health Disparities Research, Health Care; PuGroup Photo: LSI Speakers and Organizersblic Health, Community Advocacy, Policy & Planning, Social Work & Social Services, Legal Services, and Law Enforcement) gathered at CDU to initiate a two-day series entitled, “Place Matters: Integrating Academia, Government, and Community for a Health South LA.” The series was developed by the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) in collaboration with the College of Medicine, Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, College of Science and Health and MPH Program in Urban Health Disparities, and funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). “Place Matters” was designed to introduce a conceptual understanding of principles and practices in health disparities on Day 1; and offer a more narrow discussion on health disparities in South LA on Day 2.

The agenda included a cadre of distinguished speakers representing various disciplines who offered their expertise in areas related to health equity, health services, racial inequalities, nursing, child health, geography, civil rights, race and place, neighborhood demographic shifts, and community engagement. Dr. David M. Carlisle, CDU President, and Dr. Jay Vadgama, CDU Vice President of Research, began the series by welcoming attendees and reminding them of the urgency to address the current conditions that influence how “where you live determines how long you live” and to considerably reflect on the health of SPA 6, one of the regions of LA county experiencing the poorest health outcomes with a large percentage of the racial/ethnic minority population living in poverty.

Following the welcome, Dr. Camara Jones, Morehouse School of Medicine Professor and Satcher Health Leadership Institute Senior Fellow, introduced health equity and ways in which to achieve it, by naming and addressing racism that threatens the health of the nation. She armed participants with the tools and motivation to address inequity by discussing systemic barriers.

Dr. David M. Carlisle returned to offer his expertise on health care disparities and provider practices by engaging a critical discussion on racial health inequities and emergency room visits in under-resourced communities.

Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health & Culture, posed a call to action in relationship to the ways in which capture racial/ethnic data is captured. He asked critical questions related to how multiculturalism challenges the notion of race, but argued potential future conceptualizations of inequity may be related to other factors, such as socio-economic conditions, neighborhoods or gender. 

Dr. Ora Strickland, Florida International University Dean and Professor, introduced the Valence Model of Health to address health disparities in nursing and offered a critical dialogue of social experiences in the practice. 

Dr. Helen M. DuPlessis, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center Chief Medical Officer, introduced health disparities in South LA from a clinician’s perspective to ensure that participants began to think about how the work of the previous presenters related to the discussion that would follow the next day. 

Dr. Sheldon Fields, CDU Professor and Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, closed the day with an important dialogue of practices in health, the role of health professionals, and community health outcomes.  He invited participants to return to the second phase of the conference and think critically about the material presented.   

On Day 2, participants returned and were welcomed by Mark Lomeli, the District Manager for Assemblymember Mike A Gipson of the State of California’s 64 District. Mr. Lomeli discussed the importance of policy on place and how health was center to that dialogue.  He invited everyone to offer a significant policy recommendation for improving health in the 64th District before the upcoming legislative cycle. 

This invitation transitioned into a presentation by Dr. Brian Smedley, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. Dr. Smedley  highlighted various programs across the nation that engaged the concept of place in improving health.  He shared data related to multiple interventions that aimed at improving health in under-resourced communities. 

Mr. Robert Garcia, CDU Community Faculty member and Founder and Counsel of The City Project, offered a case presentation on the use of civil rights tools in ensuring access to green space in racially disproportionate neighborhoods. 

Ms. Mary Lee, PolicyLink Deputy Director, combined the discussion on race and the conceptualization of place to introduce “why race and place matter” as significant contributors to health outcomes. 

Dr. Manuel Pastor, USC Professor and Director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, delivered an innovative demographic trace of the shifts in the racial demography of South LA.  He engaged the audience in a discussion on the shared struggles and complex experiences of bi-cultural transitions in the community.

Dr. Kenneth B. Wells, UCLA Professor and RAND Senior Scientist, and Dr. Loretta Jones, CDU Community Faculty and Founder and CEO of Healthy African American Families, offered an award-winning example of Community Partners in Care, a community engagement project that followed the principles of community-partnered participatory research for the engagement and improved health of South LA residents. 

Honoring the importance of social justice in addressing health inequities and disparities, Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine and Principal of Terrence Roberts Consulting, reminded participants of the continued effort in achieving equity. Participants were invited to a poster session and networking social hour to offer a space for potential partnerships to emerge. 

The Life Sciences Institute is in the process of reviewing program evaluations and establishing working groups and professional development workshops to address potential partnerships, community dissemination methods, and academic scholarship to continue the momentum of such a successful event.  For questions, please contact the Life Sciences Institute at cdudisparities@cdrewu.edu.


CDU Welcomes New CBO

Announced by the President

October 25th, 2015:

I am very pleased to announce that Mr. Carl A. McLaney, MPA has accepted the position of Vice President of Finance and Chief Business Officer at CDU, commencing October 5, 2015.

 Appointed in 2008 as Deputy Director for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Cal Mortgage Loan Insurance Division Mr. McLaney has expertise in the areas of real estate finance, the development of housing and health facilities, bond and credit enhancement financing, and the business operations of healthcare facilities.  He has a proven track record of leadership, with strong administrative skills and financial acumen. As Deputy Director, Mr. McLaney has approved more than $1.5 billion in healthcare facility project financing and has overseen an increase of more than $30 million in the Program’s fund balance.


Prior to Cal-Mortgage, Mr. McLaney served as Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Century Freeway Housing Program in the greater Los Angeles area.  The Housing Program added more than 8,000 units of affordable housing into Los Angeles communities.  During his tenure with the Housing Program, Mr. McLaney worked on the disposition of single and multi-family housing developments, multi-family housing development financing, and the financing of special use projects.


As Vice President of Finance and Chief Business Officer, Mr. McLaney will oversee the department/units of Finance, Human Resources, Risk Management, Information Systems, and the Chief Budget and Planning Officer function.  Mr. McLaney has a Master’s of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy; and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University, Department of Communication Studies. Mr. McLaney’s community involvement and other academic accomplishments include: University of California, Davis Research & Education Advisory Board, Reducing Health Disparities; California Black Health Network, Board Member; Black Advocates In State Service, Statewide Coordinating Council President; California Civil Rights Coalition, Organizational Member; USC/Sierra Health Foundation Leadership Program, Alumnus; and USC Minority Program in Real Estate Finance & Development, Alumnus.  Mr. McLaney has also served as a member of the UC Davis Medical Center Community Advisory Board and is former Co-chair to the Sacramento Valley Organizing Community.


I am also pleased to announce that Mr. John Geraghty has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  In September 2014, Mr. Geraghty was appointed the University’s Acting CFO.  His relationship with CDU began in 2007, working as a consultant on a two month project. He returned in February 2009 as a full-time consultant in the Finance Department.  In July, 2009, he assumed the role as Interim Controller, and in January 2010, John accepted the position as a permanent employee and as the Controller of the University.  During the last six years, he has been a leader in the Finance Department and he has been involved in critical projects for the University, such as, refinancing of the University long-term bond term debt and multiple WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) reports.


As CFO, Mr. Geraghty will oversee the Payroll, Controller and Procurement functions.


Mr. Geraghty is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with the State of California, and prior employment includes Vice-President of Corporate Finance at Gemstar-TV Guide (a publicly traded company), and as the Interim CFO, at Sweater.com and Zooey Apparel.


Please join me in welcoming Mr. McLaney to the CDU family and congratulating Mr. Geraghty on his new role.


David M. Carlisle, MD, PhD

President and CEO




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