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Our Team

Lisa Cooper, MD

Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, MACP


Dr. Lisa Cooper is a Liberian-born general internist, social epidemiologist, and health services researcher. As the Director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, Dr. Cooper leads the Institute in its mission to advance health and health equity across Baltimore City. Dr. Cooper is also the James F. Fries Professor of Medicine and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor for Equity in Health and Health Care in the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. She is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, where she and her transdisciplinary team work with stakeholders from healthcare and the community to implement rigorous clinical trials, identifying interventions that alleviate racial and income disparities in social determinants and health outcomes.

 A physician trained in internal medicine and public health researcher, Dr. Cooper’s work highlights the transformative role of doctor-patient relationships in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Regarded as one of the top clinicians and scientists in health equity, Dr. Cooper has designed innovative approaches to improve physicians’ communication skills, patients' self-management skills, and the ability of healthcare organizations to address the needs of populations experiencing health disparities. She has authored more than 300 highly cited and influential, peer-reviewed publications, including the book Why Are Health Disparities Everyone's Problem, and several book chapters—one of which was featured in the Institute of Medicine's 2003 Report, Unequal Treatment.

 In 2021, President Biden appointed Dr. Cooper to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, where she advises policymakers on crucial scientific and technological developments. She has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2007, the Helen Rodríguez-Trías Social Justice Award from the American Public Health Association in 2017, the 2023 Eisenberg Award for career achievement in research from the Society for General Internal Medicine, and the 2023 William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research. She served on the Board of The Carter Center from 2020 to 2023. As a respected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Cooper is recognized globally for her research on health disparities in racially and economically marginalized communities. 


Brandin Bowden's Headshot

Brandin Bowden, MSc

Operations Director

Brandin Bowden, MSc, joins UHI as the newly appointed Operations Director. Brandin brings a wealth of experience and expertise in nonprofit leadership, program development, and community engageme­nt, making him an invaluable addition to our team. A 2019 Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Fellow and a returning member to the UHI family, Brandin has more than a decade of distinguished experience in program development and community and stakeholder engagement within the nonprofit sector. Notably, his recent role as a Senior Consultant at Health Management Associates, Inc., involved managing nationwide projects such as advocating for robust data collection practices with registered dieticians in the 'California Food is Medicine Coalition', conducting a food access needs assessment in Utah, and leading a health disparity study on Black maternal health outcomes in Frederick County, Maryland.

Brandin's professional journey has also included impactful roles at The Institute for Integrative Health, where he managed various community programs and interventions that have significantly contributed to health and wellness initiatives throughout Baltimore. His dedication to public health and nutrition education is evident through numerous publications and presentations, emphasizing a commitment to improving health outcomes for Baltimore residents. With a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health from the Maryland University of Integrative Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Michigan; Brandin's extensive experience, passion for community health, and commitment to excellence align seamlessly with the UHI mission. His leadership and expertise are poised to contribute significantly to the institute's continued success in addressing urban health challenges and improving the well-being of our communities.

Rebkha Atnafou

Rebkha Atnafou-Boyer, MPH

Associate Director for the UHI Strategic Goal #1 – Fellowship

Rebkha Atnafou-Boyer joined the UHI team in 2013 as our associate director for community engagement. As of recent, Mrs. Atnafou-Boyer now serves as the associate director of the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program, working alongside Dr. Bower to develop curriculum and provide Fellows with resources and mentorship. During her time with the UHI she has been involved in various research projects, including the Global Early Adolescent Study as the Baltimore site research coordinator, serving as co-investigator for the Colorectal Cancer Screening to Reduce Racial Disparities study, and research coordinator for the Family Cancer History project. In addition, she provides youth development training, programming, and research work for the Center for Adolescent Health. Rebkha’s focus is on youth development and sexual health training, systems and capacity building, leadership development, promoting evidence in health education and outreach, and illuminating sociocultural barriers to cancer prevention among urban African Americans. She is a certified national trainer for evidence-based youth sexual health curriculums and has worked with various cities around the country to plan city-wide afterschool systems, integrate youth violence prevention plans in state health departments, and youth sexual health plans in school districts. 

Prior to joining UHI Rebkha served for over a decade as the executive director for the After-School Institute. In this role she was charged with providing training, technical assistance, and systems building for afterschool programs throughout Baltimore and around the country. Rebkha has a BA in biology from Binghamton University and MPH from Columbia University.



Kelly Bower

Kelly Bower, PHD, MSN/MPH, RN

Associate Director for the UHI Strategic Goal #1 – Partnerships

Faculty Appointment: Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

As an associate director, Dr. Bower, alongside Dr. Purnell, will lead efforts to facilitate and recognize collaborations between communities, universities, healthcare delivery systems, government, and the private sector to build collective capacity for achieving health equity in Baltimore. Dr. Bower’s research and her public health nursing practice focus on the elimination of racial disparities in maternal and child and women’shealth. Using a social justice lens, she aims to deepen understanding of the underlying causes of racial disparities and inform interventions to promote equity and mitigate racial disparities. Her research examines the role of social determinants of health including racism and respectful maternity care. She also explores how interventions such as maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs can be leveraged to address racial disparities. Dr. Bower applies a community-engaged approach to her research that comes from her 18 years of experience practicing as a public health nurse in Baltimore, including 10 years with the Baltimore City Health Department and the B’More for Healthy Babies Initiative. She has received funding from the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Scholars (NIH KL2) program, Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, and Health Resources & Services Administration. She earned her PhD from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where her dissertation focused on the relationship between residential segregation, food store availability, and racial disparities in obesity among women.


Tomozia Graves

Tomozia H. Graves

Communications Coordinator

As a Communications Coordinator, Tomozia Graves is responsible for executing and monitoring the Urban Health Institute's (UHI) communications strategies. Further, she will be responsible for managing UHI's marketing communications in order to help advance the mission and goals of the organization. 

Prior to joining the UHI team, Tomozia worked for Harford Community College (HCC) in advising and for My College Success Network (MCSN) where she supported, empowered, and encouraged minority students. To further support students on their academic journey, Tomozia co-created the Mentoring Program at HCC. She holds an A.A. in Communications from HCC, a B.S. in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Communications from Towson University, and is now pursuing her M.S. in Communication Management from Towson University. 



Kendrick Gwynn

Kendrick Gwynn, MD, MPH

Associate Director for the UHI Strategic Goal #3 – Dialogue and Trust

Faculty Appointment: Assistant Professor in Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Kendrick Gwynn, MD, MPH is a primary care physician at the Johns Hopkins Community Physicians Remington practice and is the assistant medical director for the Care, Coding and Revenue Enhancement (C-CARE) Team within the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians. Dr. Gwynn is board certified in both internal medicine and public health and general preventive medicine. A Baltimore area native, Dr. Gwynn holds a faculty position within the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a part time Assistant Professor in Medicine, where he teaches medical students and residents. As a physician, Dr. Gwynn’s career interests involve health policy and delivery system reform as they relate to eliminating health disparities and addressing the social determinants of health. He has worked in both the state and federal governments on projects pertaining to policy development and project implementation. Dr. Gwynn earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, completed residency at Emory University School of Medicine, followed by a combined general internal medicine fellowship and preventive medicine residency at Boston University/Boston Medical Center. He received his master degree in public health with a concentration in health policy and management from Boston University School of Public Health.



Lydia Hickey

Lydia Hickey, M. Ed

Program Administrator

As Program Administrator, Lydia Hickey supports the UHI's funding opportunities and community-capacity building initiatives, including Baltimore Health Equity Impact Grants, UHI-SOURCE Student Grants, and the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program. Lydia brings over a decade of experience in education to the team, both as an early childhood special needs teacher in Washington, D.C., and a higher education coach and operations specialist supporting Simmons University MSW and DSW programs, and George Washington University MHA.  Lydia holds a master's degree in education policy and leadership from American University.  



Vanya Jones, PhD, MPH

Associate Director for the UHI Strategic Goal #2 – Strategic Consultations

Faculty Appointment: Associate Professor, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

As an associate director, Dr. Jones will lead efforts to mobilize resources in support of promising strategies to achieve substantial gains in the health and well-being of Baltimore residents. In addition to her role with UHI Dr. Jones works at the nexus of research and practice to reduce injuries by applying social and behavioral science theories and research methods to create, implement, and evaluate behavior change programs. Her program of research and practice activities addresses both unintentional and intentional injuries among vulnerable populations of children, adolescents, and older adults. She has specific expertise in older driver research, youth development and violence prevention, and child injury prevention.



Sadiya Muqueeth

Sadiya Muqueeth, DrPH, MPH


Sadiya Muqueeth, DrPH, MPH, joined the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management in April 2023 as an assistant scientist and the Chief Health Policy Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD). Dr. Muqueeth plays an essential role in developing BCHD’s health policy agenda and advances BCHD’s Public Health 3.0 initiative. She also supports the missions of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Institute for Health and Social Policy. Dr. Muqueeth is a public health practitioner with background in health equity, community engagement, and policy advocacy. Dr. Muqueeth has prior work experience in federal government, local government, non-profit sector, healthcare, and philanthropy. She completed her BA in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University, her MPH in Health Behavior from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her DrPH with a Concentration in Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Paraguay.


Mary A. Spiro

Mary A. Spiro, MS

Communications Associate

Mary A. Spiro is a Communications Associate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She provides media relations and communications support to Dr. Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH. Her responsibilities include developing the communications strategy and supervising the communications teams at the Center for Health Equity and the Urban Health Institute. Mary has a master’s degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and is studying for an Executive MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology.




Natalie Wiggins

Natalie V. Wiggins

Program Administrator

Through comprehensive program planning and implementation, Natalie Wiggins coordinates the day-to-day administration and procurement of the existing flagship programs, initiatives, and activities that further the mission and goals of the UHI; manages logistics of the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program and UHI grant programs; serves as the main point of contact and cultivates relations with professional and community partners. 

Prior to joining our team, Natalie was a program coordinator and a graphics designer at A.R.I.E.L., one of the largest Russian American centers in the DMV tristate area. She received her first B.S. in Government and Business Administration from Belgorod State University, Russia, and her second bachelor’s degree in Web Design from the University of Maryland Global Campus.