Understanding and Addressing Medical Mistrust:

About the Participants

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Live Conversation 1: Medical Mistrust from Past to Present

Monday November 30, 2020 from 12 to 1:30 pm PST

Format: 60-minute live online panel conversation via Zoom webinar followed by 30-minute audience Q&A

Get your tickets now - spots are limited.


Dr. Oni Blackstock | she/her/hers

Physician; Researcher; Founder and Executive Director, Health Justice

Dr. Oni Blackstock is recognized as a thought leader and influencer in the areas of HIV and health equity. She is a Physician and Researcher.

She is the founder and Executive Director of Health Justice, a consultancy that provides content expertise in the areas of HIV, sexual health, LGBTQ health and racial equity to public health and health care organizations. She is a primary care and HIV doctor and researcher who sees patients at Harlem Hospital. 

Dr. Blackstock recently served as Assistant Commissioner for the New York City Health Department’s Bureau of HIV where she led the City’s response to the HIV epidemic. She holds degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Yale School of Medicine and is passionate about achieving health equity particularly for the most marginalized and disenfranchised communities.

Cynthia A. Gómez | She/Her

Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University

Cynthia A. Gómez, PhD has demonstrated leadership and contribution to U.S. and international health policy, and 30 years of experience as a behavioral health scientist. She has been a pioneer in the integration of social determinants of health in research and in the development of community-based health interventions. 

Dr. Gómez has proven success in building strong and diverse health-focused organizations, including a community mental health center, a global HIV research center, and a broad-based health equity institute. She is dedicated to the success of mission-driven organizations, and has continuously served on non-profit organizations’ governing boards for the past 25 years where she has served in leadership roles, bringing expertise in organizational management, cultural humility, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), and board governance. 

Currently, she serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for ETR, Inc.; serves on the board of the San Francisco Community Health Center, the Guttmacher Institute, and the Adira Foundation; and recently served on the federal advisory committee of the Department of Health & Human Services’  Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 (aka Healthy People 2030).

Dr. Gómez, a native of California and of Mexican descent, subsequently grew-up in Ecuador and Puerto Rico before going to college in Boston. She earned a master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Boston University. She has over 100 scientific publications, and is an experienced public speaker. She now serves as a consultant in areas related to health equity, health policy, and community-informed science.

Shawn Demmons, MPH | He/Him/His

Capacity Building Assistance Manager, UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health

Shawn Demmons is a queer African American transman committed to social and racial justice. Shawn is engaged in community activism aimed to improve the lives of those most marginalized in our society. He has organized and participated in numerous community events in an effort to increase public education and awareness about issues such as access to health care inside California prisons, linkage to care for newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals in low-income communities, and the social, political, economic marginalization of transgender individuals.

Shawn formerly served as the Chair of the Board Directors for the Transgender Law Center and also as the Program Manager for Black Brothers Esteem, a program of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) that utilizes community engagement to improve HIV-related health outcomes among African-American gay, bisexual, same-gender-loving, and transgender/gender-variant folks. Shawn has an undergraduate degree in Black Studies and a Masters in Public Health from San Francisco State University.

Discussion co-facilitated by:

Understanding and Addressing Medical Mistrust - Shannon Weber

Shannon Weber, MSW | She/Her/Hers

Founder and Executive Director, PleasePrEPme; Social Entrepreneur; Author

Rick Kitagawa, Co-Founder of Spotlight Trust

Rick Kitagawa | He/Him/His

Co-Founder, Spotlight Trust

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Live Conversation 2: The Practical Path Forward Towards a Healthcare System that Deserves Our Trust

Monday December 7, 2020 from 12 to 1:30 pm PST

Format: 60-minute live online panel discussion via Zoom webinar followed by 30-minute audience Q&A

Get your tickets now - spots are limited.


Ace Robinson MHL, MPH | He/Él

Director of Strategic Partnerships & The Center to End the Epidemics at NMAC (National Minority AIDS Council)

Ace Robinson is a leading administrative and policy HIV advocate and population health expert. He serves communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, COVID-19 and associated illnesses through NMAC (formerly National Minority AIDS Council) as its director of strategic partnerships and head of the Center to End the Epidemics.

Robinson serves on the board for the Economic & Policy Impact Center (EPIC) focused on leadership development for BIPOC; sits on the Brown University Advisory Council to Eliminate Anti-Black Racism; and sits on the UCLA Center for HIV, Identification, Prevention & Treatment (CHIPTS) steering committee.

Prior to joining NMAC, Ace served in senior leadership roles at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York City, Lifelong (AIDS Alliance) in Seattle, and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. Robinson holds a master’s degree in healthcare leadership from Brown University, a master’s degree in public health from the University of Cape Town, a bachelor’s in chemistry from Duke University.

Cecilia (Cec) Hardacker, MSN, RN, CNL | She/Her/Hers

Director of Education, Howard Brown Health

Cec Hardacker (she/her/hers) and her team developed Howard Brown’s nationally recognized HEALE program and has traveled across the Midwest to offer cultural competency training to academic centers hospitals, nursing schools, home healthcare agencies and elder care facilities. Cec is passionate about empowering medical professionals with critical consciousness to better understand and effectively communicate with their LGBTQ patients. Cec Hardacker graduated from Rush University College of Nursing and acquired her Clinical Nurse Leadership Certification in 2015.

Gabriel Maldonado, MBA | He/Him/His

Chief Executive Officer, TruEvolution

Gabriel has served for over 10 years as the CEO of TruEvolution—an LGBT justice and community health organization serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Originally from Compton, Gabriel centers racial justice and health equity as a framework for public policy. He serves on the board of directors for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a global HIV/AIDS provider, and on the board of trustees for Borrego Community Health Foundation, the largest federally-qualified health center in the State of California.

As a former member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, Gabriel has been a leader in the fight for global AIDS control and local policy efforts addressing mental health, housing, and sexual health services.

Jim Pickett | All pronouns welcomed

Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health, AIDS Foundation Chicago

Jim Pickett is Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health at AIDS Foundation Chicago where he has worked for the last 16+ years. His portfolio focuses on global research advocacy in support of new HIV prevention technologies and national/local implementation advocacy for current forms of PrEP, including leading the development and implementation of Chicago’s PrEP4Love social marketing and community mobilization campaign. 

POZ magazine refers to him as “a soldier, instrumental in fighting for much-needed new prevention methods, undeterred by subjects many would prefer to ignore.” He was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2005, and has been living with HIV since 1995.

Discussion co-facilitated by:

Understanding and Addressing Medical Mistrust - Dr. Oni Blackstock

Dr. Oni Blackstock | She/Her/Hers

Physician; Researcher; Founder and Executive Director, Health Justice

Lisa Lambert, Spotlight Trust

Lisa Lambert | She/Her/Hers

Co-Founder, Spotlight Trust

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