MEET OUR TEAM

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JITENDRA 'JAY' MEHTA

Interim Executive Director

Jay is a former Chief Scientist at Johnson and Johnson in Athens, Georgia. He worked for healthcare pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson for 35 years.

 

Jay has a Master's degree in organic chemistry from Bombay University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He helped the charity organizations United Way and March of Dimes during his work at Johnson and Johnson.

 

Jay lives with his wife Gita and enjoys spending time with his sons and grandchildren.

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TERESA MCLEAN, Ph.D.

Project Leader, Georgia Colon Cancer Prevention Project

Teresa is a former Behavioral Scientist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. She conducted behavioral interventions to increase screening for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers with a focus on underserved populations.

Additionally, she conducted analyses of large epidemiological health surveys including the National Health Interview Survey and Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System. Teresa has a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in Social Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Psychology. She completed a 2 year post-doctoral fellowship in Gerontology and Health Psychology at the University of Georgia.

Teresa lives with her husband, John, and their three children, Hanna, John Wolfe and Ian. Teresa is a wildlife photography enthusiast and enjoys traveling with her family.

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KOOSH DESAI, M.D.

Georgia Colon Cancer Prevention Project Co-Founder

Koosh has completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the Medical College of Georgia. He is Southwest Georgia Regional Campus Curriculum Director at the Medical College of Georgia and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine. 

 

He develops curriculum for and teaches 3rd and 4th year medical students. He brings a wealth of knowledge in marketing and health policy and has led numerous political marketing campaigns across the state of Georgia.

 

His ultimate career goal is to become a practicing gastroenterologist and his passion lies in taking care of the underserved.  

 

Koosh is tasked with creating and deploying UHRU's Georgia Colon Cancer Prevention Project.

OUR BOARD

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JITENDRA 'JAY' MEHTA

Founder & President of the Board

Jay is a former Chief Scientist at Johnson and Johnson in Athens, Georgia. He worked for healthcare pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson for 35 years.

 

Jay has a Master's degree in organic chemistry from Bombay University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He helped the charity organizations United Way and March of Dimes during his work at Johnson and Johnson.

 

Jay lives with his wife Gita and enjoys spending time with his sons and grandchildren.

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EVERETT LONG, Ph.D.

Chairman of the Board

Everett Long, Ph.D., M.A. has over 10 years experience in public health at the local, state and federal level. His work uses health communication research and evaluation to create and deliver prevention messages, develop digital health tools, and strengthen public health partnerships.

 

Currently, Everett is the Director of Health Strategy and Evaluation at DLH Corporation, where he consults with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, and Tuberculosis Prevention. Formerly, Everett served as Director of Development at the Athens Nurses Clinic, where he wrote grants and developed regional health programs.

 

Everett is passionate about training the next generation of public health practitioners and serves as adjunct faculty in Colorado State Global University’s Healthcare Administration Program.

 

Everett lives in Atlanta and enjoys art, museums and travel.

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MINESH MEHTA, M.D.

Board Member and Georgia Colon Cancer Prevention Project Co-Founder/Project Leader

Minesh recently joined Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates. He manages patients with complex gastrointestinal diseases. He completed his Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania (2018-2019) and his General Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Fellowship at the University of Louisville in Kentucky (2015-2018). 

 

He completed Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Cincinnati (2012-2015). He completed medical school at American University of Antigua/Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India.

 

Minesh lives in Atlanta with his wife Palav, a board-certified psychiatrist, and their 2-year-old daughter Sona. He enjoys playing and coaching baseball; his favorite team is the Atlanta Braves. He enjoys going to concerts and doing outdoor activities with his daughter and wife.

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TODD EMILY

Board Member 

Todd Emily works in the Athens, Georgia branch of Morgan Stanley and currently serves as the branch manager, a position he began in January 2013.

 

He entered the financial services industry in June 1993 working with the firm Edward Jones Investments. In 2011, he joined Morgan Stanley and formed The Webster Shore Group. Todd and his team focus on wealth management for clients.

 

Todd is involved in the community and has served on the board of directors for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Museum of Art and Nuci’s Space (a nonprofit providing services to musicians).

 

He is from Fulton, Kentucky and received his degree in business from Rhodes College in Memphis. His hobbies include vintage cars, vintage travel trailers and travel.

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Cambra Overend

Board Member 

Cambra Overend is a producer and founding member of SRO Productions, a production company operating across film, television, and theatre. She was an Executive Producer on the film of Oslo for HBO, which was nominated for two 2021 Emmy Awards, and is a Producer on the upcoming HBO Max series Tokyo Vice. As a stage manager, Cambra worked on over twenty Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including numerous Tony Award-winning productions. 

 

Cambra graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University. She has always had a passion for healthcare in general and cancer care and prevention specifically. She is a native of Georgia. 

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Ryan Derni, MPH

Board Member 

Ryan Derni has over 15 years of global health and international development experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He is adept at strategy development, program design, and scaling social impact innovations. As a 'tri sector' professional he leverages his sectoral experiences to navigate complexity and find uncommon solutions to global health problems.

 

He's currently a Manager with Guidehouse, providing consulting services to federal health clients. Formerly, Ryan served as the Director of Program Strategy and as a Health Equity and Rights Senior Technical Advisor for CARE USA. Ryan has an MPH in Global Health from Emory University. 

 

Ryan lives in Atlanta and enjoys international travel, CrossFit and offsetting those gains with food and wine.   

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Maria Jolley, M.S.

Board Member 

Maria Jolly is a Peraton Consultant at CDC working with the Division of Global HIV & TB. She has over seven years of program management and research experience domestically and globally. Maria’s previous professional experience has been with the CDC Foundation, United Nations (UN) Foundation, CDC, Emory University, and others. She has managed multi-million-dollar projects and represented her organization at high-level UN meetings. She is an excellent public speaker who holds an MS in Public Health from Emory University and a BS in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Illinois. 

 

Maria was raised in Chicago but now calls Atlanta home. She enjoys spending time in nature and eating new foods with her friends and family, especially her husband Blake and bonus child, Jade. 

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HATTIE WHITEHEAD

Community Advisory Board

Hattie became an activist as a child after being involved with the desegregation of her hometown, Athens, Georgia. As a first descendant of Linnentown, she is President and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Linnentown Project. She assisted in writing the resolution for recognition and redress that was unanimously adopted by legislation in 2021. She also co-chairs the Justice and Memory Project Committee that has the formal decision-making power to enact legislative demands. 

 

Hattie worked for 27 years in operations management and an additional 15 years as a property manager for senior living facilities. With the help of her family, she developed the Athens StepUp Scholarship Program for Athens-Clarke County. The program awards scholarships to students who have overcome obstacles to graduate high school and have been accepted to college or technical school. 

 

Hattie’s recently published book, Giving Voice to Linnentown, chronicles life in Linnentown and her role in seeking justice on behalf of first descendant residents.

 

Hattie is a mother, grandmother and tireless community activist residing in Athens. 

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SARAH NEALE, MPH

Community Advisory Board

Sarah is a health communication consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. She has supported work in several disease areas including HIV/STDs, TB, hepatitis, and chronic diseases. She is currently supporting CDC’s COVID-19 prevention work in schools. She also works part-time for a non-profit development consultant.

Sarah earned her Master of Public Health from Emory University and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Virginia. Sarah is passionate about community engagement and working towards equity in healthcare.

Sarah and her fiancé are planning a wedding for March 2022. They currently live in Atlanta with their dog, Benji.

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KENISHA CANTRELL, DrPH

Community Advisory Board

Kenisha has supported public health efforts at the local, state, and federal level during her career. Her work has spanned public health areas, such as minority health disparities research, health deprivation modeling, health care discrimination, and federal public health policy. She led the 2011 Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Minority Health Report and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. 

 

Currently, Kenisha is serving as a Senior Analyst for the Government Accountability Office. In her role, she develops, implements, and monitors the progress of messaged driven recommendations to Health Care programs ran by various Federal agencies, such as Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Kenisha earned her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health where her dissertation focused on discrimination and barriers to HIV testing and care in minority populations. She believes addressing structural factors are the key to making progress on important public health issues, particularly among disproportionately affected populations.

 

Although Kenisha has lived in many different states, she is originally from Atlanta and excited to be home with family and friends. She is dedicated to indoor spin cycling and loves spending time with her beautiful 11-year-old fur baby, Rocky.

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KENNY R. CANTRELL, JD

Community Advisory Board

Kenny is an experienced litigator representing businesses and individuals in a wide array of commercial, tort and insurance litigation matters. Kenny’s diverse client base includes entrepreneurs, franchisees, closely held and family-owned businesses, healthcare companies and professionals, trucking companies, property management companies, hotels, restaurants, real estate developers, construction companies, technology companies, and insurers in all phases of dispute resolution. This includes active litigation in transportation litigation, professional malpractice defense, first party property defense, complex insurance coverage matters and disputes and commercial litigation. Kenny also serves on Galloway Johnson’s diversity committee.

Kenny received his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law where he was a member of the Bench and Bar Honor Society and a member of the Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. While in law school, he served as a Legal Extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama in the Civil Litigation Division. Kenny also earned an L.L.M from Emory University in Commercial Law and Litigation and served as a Legal Intern for Judge Andrea Simonton in the Southern District of Florida.

 

Kenny is a former board member for the National LGBT Bar Association and a former board member for the University of Alabama LGBT Alumni Association.

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ROBERT MARIBE (ROB) BRANCH, Ed.D.

Community Advisory Board

Rob is a Professor of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Georgia (UGA). Rob earned his B.S. from Elizabeth City State University and after completing his Master’s from Ball State, he taught high school in Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Rob joined the faculty at Syracuse University after completing his Ed.D. at Virginia Tech. Later, while working as a Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, he advanced his research using flow diagrams to deconstruct complex conceptual student-centered spaces related to STEM education.

 

Since joining UGA in 1996, Rob has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, supervised Ph.D. students and published several books and journal articles. Rob is a certified Mediator and registered Neutral for the State of Georgia Commission of Dispute Resolution and a trained facilitator of Reflective Structured Dialogue.

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NITIN DESAI, M.D.

Community Advisory Board

Bio coming soon.

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CHANDRAKANT 'C.K.' PATEL

Community Advisory Board

Chandrakant is well known in the community as 'C.K.' He is a successful entrepreneur and community leader. C.K. serves as president of BVM Holdings, which owns and operates hotels as well as commercial real estate investments. 

 

C.K. served as the chairman of the board of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) in 2010-2011. AAHOA is an influential industry group that has 10,000 members who together own 21,000 hotels with a combined property value of $130 billion. C.K. also served in an elected office at the AAHOA for 14 years – from 1998 to 2011. 

 

Under C.K.’s leadership AAHOA launched innovative programs such as a universal fair franchising bill of rights, an online travel agency and a purchasing cooperative. “Salute To Soldiers” program was initiated by AAHOA, which provided more than 55,000 free hotel room nights to on-duty military personnel and which continues to be an important way for AAHOA members to say “thank you and welcome home” in a meaningful way.   

 

In January 2011, he was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to the 30-member Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which advises about industry programs and policies.

 

In addition to being a successful hotel owner since 1982, C.K. is the founder of two community banks -- Quantum National Bank, the first Indian American owned bank in the southeast, and Hometown Community Bank.