Advisory Board

Linda Alexander
Dr. Linda Alexander is senior associate dean for academic, student and faculty affairs at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. Dr. Alexander has over 25 years of experience working in and for underrepresented communities, which has helped shaped her expertise in culture’s influence on health behavior. Her research primarily focuses on the complex understanding of the burden of tobacco-related diseases among underrepresented and U.S. socially disadvantaged populations. Alexander served as senior volume editor for the National Cancer Institute’s Monograph 22, the first monograph devoted exclusively to a comprehensive understanding of smoking attributable diseases for racial, ethnic and social minorities.

Howard Berkes (chair)
Howard Berkes is a retired investigative reporter who worked for NPR for 38 years. He has garnered more than 40 journalism awards. His investigative work focused on workplace safety and health, environmental health and regulation, workers’ compensation, and the resurgence of black lung disease, including a previously unreported epidemic of severe black lung. Berkes has partnered with ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, PBS Frontline and local newspapers and public radio stations. He was awarded a Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University in 1997.

Rosemary Gibson
Rosemary Gibson is a national authority on health care reform, Medicare, patient safety and overtreatment in medicine. She has written four critically acclaimed books about crises in health care and is the 2014 recipient of the American Medical Writers Association’s highest honor for medical communication. Gibson was chief architect of a $200 million strategy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that established 1,600 inpatient palliative care programs nationwide. She is a senior advisor at the Hastings Center, which focuses on bioethics.

Robert Harrison
Dr. Robert Harrison founded the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic at the University of California San Francisco, where he continues as senior physician. He has degrees in medicine and public health and has diagnosed and treated thousands of patients with work-related and environmentally induced diseases or injuries. Dr. Harrison also directs the worker-tracking and investigation program for the California Department of Public Health. He is the co- author of the major textbook in his field and has written numerous articles and papers on occupational health.

Celeste Monforton
Dr. Celeste Monforton directs the Beyond OSHA Project and is a lecturer in public, environmental and occupational health at Texas State University. Dr. Monforton has served as senior adviser to the assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health and as a legislative affairs specialist in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. She also was a principal investigator for independent investigations of the Sago and Upper Big Branch coal mine disasters. Dr. Monforton has testified before congressional committees and has appeared as a public health expert and analyst in numerous media outlets, including NPR, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, the CBS Evening News and MSNBC.

Maria Perez
Maria Perez is an investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who focuses on immigrant and minority communities. As minority affairs reporter at the Naples Daily News in Florida, Perez investigated companies that profited from undocumented workers but reported them to law enforcement when they got injured on the job and refused to pay their workers’ compensation claims. The workers were prosecuted and, in some cases, deported. The story won a 2017 George Polk Award and prompted the introduction of corrective legislation. Perez was awarded an O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University in 2016. She has also reported on the deaths and injuries of dozens of patients, many Hispanic and African-American women, at cosmetic surgery clinics, and has investigated failures of regulators and food processing companies to protect workers from COVID-19.

Walter Ray Watson
Walter Ray Watson is a senior producer at NPR News. He has managed and developed successful NPR News programs. He shared a Peabody Award for “The Race Card Project,” the brainchild of NPR host/correspondent Michele Norris. As founding producer, he launched Code Switch, NPR’s race and identity podcast. Code Switch was named the 2020 Show of the Year by Apple Podcasts. Watson is widely respected at NPR for his management skills, creativity and passion for reporting about race. He has worked as a field producer on stories abroad and in the U.S., including recovery after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Susan White
Susan White is an independent investigative editor who has edited three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects. She was the first assigning editor hired by ProPublica, where she edited Sheri Fink’s Pulitzer- winning project “Five Days at Memorial,” about the collapse of health care at a New Orleans hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ProPublica she also edited Abrahm Lustgarten’s ground-breaking reporting on hydraulic fracturing, which won a George Polk Award for environmental reporting. As executive editor of InsideClimate News, she edited its Pulitzer- winning project “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard of.” At The San Diego Union-Tribune she was an editor on the project that sent former Congressman Randy Cunningham to prison for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud.