PRI Convenes Inaugural Governing Board

Jan 17, 2024 | News

The Governing Board, Pictured Left to Right: Blondel A. Pinnock, Karen Jackson Pershing, Beth Maldin, Wafaa El-Sadr, Ayman El-Mohandes, Ann-Gel Palermo, Monica Malowney, Kevin Alexander.

The New York City Pandemic Response Institute (PRI) marked a significant milestone toward its mission of advancing racial equity, building resilience, and promoting public health preparedness throughout NYC and around the globe by formally convening its Governing Board for its inaugural meeting. The Board will play a pivotal role in shaping PRI’s overall priorities, strategic vision, programmatic activities as well as assist in expanding its partnerships, securing funding and disseminating information regarding PRI’s achievements.

The Governing Board’s voting members include Leads from ICAP at Columbia University and CUNY Graduate School of Health and Health Policy serving as Co-Chairs, City Agency Representatives, Borough Representatives, and soon to be selected Advisory Council Co-chairs. 

“We are thrilled to have such esteemed individuals in the PRI Governing Board.  With their diverse expertise and a commitment to racial equity and to creating a resilient, safe and thriving City, the Board will play a critical role in advancing our public health preparedness mission,” said Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, PRI Co-Lead & Governing Board Co-Chair.

The PRI Governing Board will meet four times in its first year, focusing on reviewing and approving initial goals, priorities, and policies, with a transition to semi-annual meetings thereafter. 

Meet The Board Members

Kevin Alexander, MS (Queens Borough Representative)
Kevin Alexander is the President & CEO of Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation. He is responsible for planning, partnership, and fund development initiatives. Over his 16+ years, he has helped raise over $40M in program and capital funding. Kevin’s professional background includes 10+ years’ experience as CFO of two prominent Harlem-based institutions. He earned his BA Degree in Public Administration from St. John’s University & MS in Finance & Management from New York University.

Ayman El-Mohandes, MBBCh, MD,MPH,FAAP (PRI Co-Lead) Co-Chair
Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), is a pediatrician and public health academic with a deep commitment to public service. He is an established researcher in the field of infant mortality reduction in minority populations.

Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA (PRI Co-Lead) Co-Chair
Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr is the founder and director of ICAP and an international expert in infectious diseases and public health with extensive experience in epidemiology and research on the prevention and management of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and emerging infections, among others. She is also the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR Chair of Global Health, Co-Lead of the NYC Pandemic Response Institute, Director of Columbia World Projects (CWP), Executive Vice President for Columbia Global, and a University Professor.

Beth Maldin, MPH (NYC DOHMH Representative)
Beth Maldin is Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the NYC DOHMH. In this role, Beth leads efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies that impact public health and healthcare. Beth also worked at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security where she analyzed national, state, and local biosecurity. Beth holds an MPH in Policy and Management from Columbia University and a BS in Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University.

Monica Malowney, MPH (NYC EDC Representative)
Monica Malowney is a Vice President for NYCEDC’s Life Sciences and Healthcare Initiative where she provides oversight for the PRI and leads LifeSci NYC’s workforce development strategy to create a robust and diverse talent pipeline for NYC’s growing life sciences industry. Prior to this, Monica spent over a decade working in healthcare research, redesign and reform, publishing research on behavioral health access and training of healthcare professionals.

Ann-Gel Palermo, Dr PH (Manhattan Borough Representative)
Ann-Gel Palermo, DrPH, MPH has over twenty years of experience in community-based public health research and practice in East Harlem, New York City. Currently, Ann-Gel is the Project Director and Co-Founder of the East Harlem COAD whose mission is to make East Harlem a better prepared and safer community through rapid communication, coordination, identification, and distribution of resources during a public health emergency.

Karen Jackson Pershing, M.Div. (Staten Island Borough Representative)
Rev. Karen Pershing serves as the Director of Recovery and Community Initiatives at Project Hospitality. She is the Executive Director of the Staten Island Long Term Recovery Organization, on the board of directors of NYC VOAD, and on the steering committee of the Staten Island COAD – coalitions that work hand-in-hand with government to respond to natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support recently arrived asylum seekers.

Blondel A. Pinnock, J.D (Brooklyn Borough Representative)
Blondel A. Pinnock is the President and CEO of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration  Corporation (BSRC), the nation’s first and oldest Community Development Corporation.  She is the first woman to hold that position in BSRC’s 55 year history. Prior to joining  BSRC, Ms. Pinnock served as Chief Lending Officer for Carver Federal Savings Bank,  the largest publicly traded black-managed bank in the US at that time.  Blondel has worked consistently in the area of wealth creation and economic mobility for the BIPOC community for close to 30 years.

Angelo Rosario, D.Div (Bronx Borough Representative)
Bishop Angelo M. Rosario is the CEO of the Bronx Clergy Task Force, an arm of the Bronx Borough President’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives. Since 2004, he has been successful in creating a task force of all faiths and denominations. He holds a Pastoral Theology Degree from Latin Univ of CA, Hon Dr of Divinity. He also serves on the Pres United Clergy Task Forcé, Advisory Board for Healthfirst, is an advisor for the NY Peacebuilding Commission and the 2VP Riverbay Corp.

Herman Schaffer, MSW (NYCEM Representative)
Herman Schaffer is the Deputy Commissioner, Community Preparedness at NYCEM. He oversees community-based programs and initiatives, which focus on enhancing planning, preparedness, and resiliency. Prior to joining NYCEM in 2005, Mr. Schaffer was a case manager with Safe Horizon, connecting victims of the 9/11 attacks with resources to assist with their recovery. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia where he helped communities develop clean water and hygiene education programs.

An Important Milestone

Pictured: Governing Board Members, Secondary Representatives, Ex-Officio Members, and NYC Pandemic Response Institute Staff.

At the meeting, Governing Board members received an overview of PRI, discussed their roles and responsibilities, reviewed PRI workplans for the coming year, and developed plans for the establishment of the Advisory Council, a vital component within PRI, offering guidance and accountability. 

The Advisory Council will be comprised of 30 members representing diverse sectors, such as community, business, media, arts, and culture. It will play a crucial role in assuring PRI’s accountability to NYC communities, proposing priorities consistent with PRI’s mission, offering expert advice, and supporting partnerships. 

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, PRI Co-Lead & Governing Board Co-Chair, concluded that, “This is an exciting moment for PRI and for our City.  Working together, we will take those important strides to achieving our collective aspirations,  while promoting racial equity, and building a resilient future for New York City and beyond.”