Roderick K. King, MD, MPH, is currently Chief Executive Officer for the Florida Institute for Health Innovation (formerly the Florida Public Health Institute) and is Assistant Dean for Public Health Education in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the MD/MPH Program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. King’s academic work/teaching focus on minority health policy and improving the health of under-served communities via leadership and organizational change to address health disparities, health workforce development and diversity. In particular, he has worked to improve the health of communities nationally through community organizing and collaborative leadership efforts to support leaders in creating aligned actions and measurable results. Dr. King serves as Director for the Florida Hurricane Response Hub and is responsible for developing, aligning, and guiding the center’s work plan and directives.
Chief Operating Officer
Kristin Garces, MPH holds a Master’s in Public Health from New York University with a focus in International
and Community Health. She has over a decade of experience working in community health, health equity and social
change including Peace Corps service in Thailand. Ms. Garces has led or contributed to a number of studies, both
domestic and international, with specialty areas including transportation, climate and health, oral health, evaluation
and One Health. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Florida Institute for Health Innovation
working closely with the Chief Executive Officer in strategic planning and program development and leads Florida
Hurricane Response Hub operations.
Katelyn McGuigan, MPH holds a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences with a focus in Health Services Research and Policy. Katelyn has over four years of experience in public health, with both her previous positions at the Florida Department of Health and World Health Organization, Quality Services and Resilience Unit, focusing on quality improvement in the healthcare system. Currently, Katelyn is a Project Coordinator with the Florida Institute for Health Innovation, and works to coordinate all programmatic aspects of the Florida Hurricane Response Hub alongside the hub’s program manager.
Keren Bolter, PhD is the program manager for the FL-HRH. She is also an Urban and Coastal Resiliency expert for Arcadis, US. with a growing resume in the areas of GIS modelling, funding adaptation, hazard mitigation, health impacts of sea level rise, vulnerability analysis, green infrastructure, and outreach/engagement. Dr. Bolter has a Master in Science and Ph.D. degrees from FAU in Environmental Science and Geosciences. She also has a Bachelor in Science in engineering from Tufts University. She has worked as a professor and as a planner in local government, giving her a unique range of perspectives. She has presented her models and research via a TED talk, and on TV stations including NBC, PBS, National Geographic, the History Channel, and the Weather Channel. Dr. Bolter leads climate change and resilience initiatives, with a focus on communication that translates information to action. Her current work focuses on obtaining federal funding to support planning and to protect infrastructure. She is also leading the Miami Dade Sea Level Rise Strategy.
Community Health Specialist
Jill Perri, MPH, is a Community Health Specialist with the Health Council of South Florida. Jill
received her Master of Public Health degree, focused on global health and managing disasters
and complex humanitarian situations, from Boston University. She has four years of experience
in program management, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation for community
health programs in the United States and abroad. Jill is currently working with Florida Hurricane
Response Hub partners to develop an online training module for disaster responders.
Director of Emergency Management
Member of City of Miami Fire Department from 1966 to 1999 and
retired as Deputy Fire Chief. Drafted into the Army in 1969 serving in Viet Nam – Bronze Star recipient. Upon returning from the Military in 1971 rejoined the Fire Department. Subsequently served in the positions as Director for Risk Management Department, Building
Department, General Services Administration Department, and
Manager of the city’s Hurricane Andrew Recovery Task Force. After
those appointments, served as Assistant City Manager for three years and then as Director of the City of Miami CRAs for an additional three years. Left the City of Miami in 2005 and was employed by the firm of Rodriquez & Quiroga Architects Chartered serving as Owner’s Site Representative for the Miami Central High School Construction Project and the Miami International Airport People Mover Terminal Project. From 2013 until 2018, served as City Manager for North Bay Village. In 2016, appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida to serve on the Opa Locka Financial Oversight Board of which he continues to serve. In June of 2018, appointed to current position as Director of the Office of Emergency Management for Miami-
Dade County and currently serves in that position. Graduate of Florida International University College of Engineering with a B.S. in Fire Science & Safety. And, most importantly, married 52 years
with two children and one grandchild!
Health and Medical Emergency Management Coordinator
Alicia N. Horner, MPH, is the Health and Medical Emergency Management Coordinator at the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management. In this role, Ms. Horner is responsible for the formulation, preparation, coordination, and maintenance of a variety of contingency plans for the purpose of ensuring the County’s healthcare community is prepared for incidents and disasters. She has been working with the Florida Department of Health since 2007, in a variety of roles that have included Epidemiologist (Bioterrorism Unit), Miami-Dade County Hospital Preparedness Consortium Coordinator, Biological Scientist IV Surveillance Supervisor, and the Cities Readiness Initiative Coordinator. During emergency activations, Ms. Horner serves as the Emergency Operations Center Human Services Branch Director, responsible for coordinating information-sharing and collaborating with partner agencies to ensure that human services related issues are addressed and resolved during an incident or
disaster. Ms. Horner is a graduate of Florida International University with a Master of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology.
Climate Resilience Program Manager
Mayra is the Climate Resilience Program Manager at Catalyst Miami. She manages CLEAR
(Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) and HEAL (Housing,
Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership), which provides trainings around social justice and
community organizing around the issues of climate change and affordable housing, respectively.
She also supports Catalyst’s work around disaster preparedness and advocating for equitable
resilient strategies for vulnerable communities. Mayra graduated from Columbia University with
an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences with a Certificate in Climate and Health.
Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy
Zelalem Adefris is the Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy at Catalyst Miami, as well as a Steering Committee Member of the Miami Climate Alliance. She holds an MPH in Global Environmental Health from Emory University and a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health from Brown University. Her
previous work experiences include environmental justice organizing at the Environmental Justice League
of Rhode Island and conducting emergency preparedness research at the United States Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. At Catalyst Miami, Zelalem works to lead out the organization’s policy,
advocacy, and community leadership initiatives, focused on building equitable community resilience in Miami-Dade County’s low-wealth neighborhoods.
Ann Hill is the Executive Director of the Emerald Coast Healthcare Coalition in Northwest Florida and enjoys being actively involved in healthcare coalition planning, incident command, strategies, training and exercises, along with every day processing. Ann serves on the Training and Exercise Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee among several others, as well as the Executive committee for the 10 county region of healthcare coalitions. She offers assistance, along with education and training on the coalition and emergency management topics in Healthcare operations on their behalf, especially exercises and the ASPR required surge tool.
Her coalition has established and engaged in providing Incident Command Courses specific to types of medical facilities, i.e. hospitals, nursing homes, etc. and they also provide training on any topic that our healthcare partners identify as a gap in exercise After Action Reports.
Director and Health Officer
John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, FHPS, is currently the Director and Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, a Faculty Associate at the University of West Florida College of Health, and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Dr. Lanza is a founding member of the Florida Institute for Health Innovation and has been involved in providing private pediatric and public health services in Florida for the past 34 years. He is very active locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally in all-hazards public health preparedness and response issues.
Administrator/ Health Officer
Dr. Villalta, was appointed as Administrator/ Health Officer in January 2019, providing oversight for the execution and supervision of public health programs, community wellbeing, and emergency response. In her Public Health and Nursing career, she has served as the nursing director, assistant nursing director, and as a clinical provider. Dr. Villalta has been part of the senior management team for 13 years. She continues to work with the community advancing the Department’s vision, mission, values and strategic priorities. She is a three-time graduate from the University of Miami School of Nursing.
Deputy Director of Public Health Preparedness
Jose Lopez, MPA, is the Deputy Director of Public Health Preparedness for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. He is responsible for ensuring that Miami-Dade County’s local plans are up-to-date and exercised, as well as aligning preparedness plans to those of our local partners. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Art, a Master’s in Public Administration, and is currently completing a Master’s in Cybersecurity with a focus on intelligence. In addition, he has completed many of the FEMA trainings and has become a trainer for various FEMA courses including the Operations Section Chief training. He has over 3 years of experience in Public Health Preparedness and has worked in the IT field for more than 10 years in both the public and the private sectors. Mr. Lopez serves as the main point of contact for the FL-HRH health department partners and trainings.
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Dr. Macgowan is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at Florida International University (FIU). Dr. Macgowan’s most recent research examines the effects of traumatic events on human behavior and he currently teaches FIU’s only course dedicated to disaster behavioral health. In addition to his research and teaching, Dr. Macgowan is a licensed psychotherapist in the State of Florida and an EMDR therapist, an efficacious trauma-based therapy. He has served as a Disaster Mental Health Worker with the American Red Cross and currently serves as a behavioral health specialist on a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He also serves locally in South Florida on the Medical Reserve Corps and on the FIU FAST-TEAM, a rapid response medical assistance team. He serves as FIU’s Principal Investigator on a federally funded project to establish Florida’s Hurricane Response Hub Technical Assistance Center, where he is conducting psychological first aid trainings with Florida’s public health workforce, among other activities.
Professor of Medicine, Founding Chair of Humanities, Health, and Society; and Associate Dean
Dr. Pedro “Joe” Greer is Professor of Medicine, Founding Chair of Humanities, Health, and Society; and Associate Dean for Community Engagement at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim
College of Medicine in Miami, Florida. Working with various FIU colleges, Dr. Greer spearheaded the nationally recognized Green Family Foundation Neighborhood Health Education Learning Program
(NeighborhoodHELP). This program prepares medical students and other health professions students to
address the social determinants of health through a hands-on longitudinal experience caring for underserved households in Miami-Dade County. As an advocate for health equity, Dr. Greer has engaged communities to create effective health and social policies and accessible health care systems, and has established Camillus Health Concern, Inc. and Saint John Bosco, health centers for underserved populations in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Dr. Greer serves as a member on the FL-HRH Technical Advisory Committee.
Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Vukosava Pekovic, MD, PhD, MPH is the MPH program director and clinical Associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology. She directed programs in the Institute of Public Health of Serbia (prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases; health needs and services assessment), and the Miami-Dade County Health Department (childhood lead poisoning prevention and bio-terrorism preparedness programs). In addition to teaching, she is involved in MPH practicum oversight, accreditation, and advising for the Stempel Public Health Association and epidemiology students. Her research includes adolescent health behavior in Serbia, TB prevention and patient compliance in sub-Saharan Africa, lead poisoning among immigrant children in Miami, FL, and disaster planning for older adults and the health needs of elders.
Ana María Moyano is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work from Florida International University. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University, where she had the opportunity to expand her education and cultural competence by traveling and studying overseas. She has a passion for helping and advocating for victims of oppression, marginalization, and other societal issues, as well as working with children in the school setting. Additionally, Ana places a high value in community service and is a member of Phi Alpha National Honor Society. Ana works as a graduate assistant for Dr. Mark Macgowan and Dr. Vukosava Pekovic, assisting with their assigned FL-HRH training activity and resource development.
Director of the Geriatrics Center of Excellence
Dr. Hermes Florez is Director of the Geriatrics Center of Excellence at the Miami Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and Epidemiology Division Chief and
Professor at the University of Miami. He is a public health physician trained in internal
medicine, endocrinology and geriatrics. He leads the implementation of evidence-based
programs to reduce the burden of comorbidities in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. He coordinates efforts with different NGOs and agencies to address health humanitarian crisis in the region. Building on his center experience, there is an
opportunity to train the relevant workforce and incorporate VA support for disaster emergency management throughout FL-HRH activities and resources.
Health scientist and the Director of the DEEP Center
James M. Shultz PhD, MS is a population health scientist and the Director of the Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He teaches public health courses and advises MD/MPH students in the Department of Public Health Sciences. He is publishing and conducting research on themes of population health science, disaster behavioral health, climate change impacts on population health, complex disaster risks and resilience, global mental health, and structural violence. Dr. Shultz has just authored the textbook, Public Health: An Introduction to the Science and Practice of Population Health with co-authors from Boston University, Drs. Sandro Galea and Lisa Sullivan. Dr. Shultz holds a PhD in behavioral epidemiology and a Master of Science degree in health behavior research and from the University of Minnesota Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Daniella Jaguan is an undergraduate pre-med student at the University of Miami. She is
majoring in Biology with a minor in chemistry. She is an undergraduate research assistant for the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine division of the Florida Hurricane Response Hub. She completed her first two years of college at Villanova University where she was an undergraduate research assistant. The research, lead by
Dr. Louise Russo, focused on the regulatory mechanisms of proliferative signals that modulated uterine growth. Daniella has researched published in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock titled “Subarachnoid versus nonsubarachnoid traumatic brain injuries: The impact of decision-making on patient safety.” Daniella has great interest in public health and has written a systematic review on gun violence in the United States, which is currently under review to be published. She has also attended various medical missions to Ecuador where she helped doctors provide adequate
medical care to those in need and served as a translator from Spanish to English.
Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences
Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD, MPH,CPH is an Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and Deputy Director of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program. Following graduation from medical and graduate school, he completed
a postdoctoral fellowship in workplace health and safety at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2014. His research primarily
focuses on the design, development and implementation of workplace
interventions for first responder workforce. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of the FEMA-funded national Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study Expansion that includes fire investigators, fire trainers, volunteers and wildland-
urban interface firefighters.