Udaya Thomas is a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner working in a Safety-Net Hospital System for the Underserved in Southeast Florida at Memorial Primary Care. She has conducted both individual and group visits (in English and Spanish) as part of her panel management. She integrates meditation, yoga, integrative nutrition and supplements into her practice with her patients. Udaya is also a SAMHSA Fellow working on her PhD in Nursing, Interdisciplinary Health track at Walden University. She is currently ABD and working on her dissertation project.
Udaya has been active in IM4US since 2015 and has been co-chair of the Policy committee since 2018, until transitioning into her role as President for IM4US January 2020. She has been working in Nursing for the past 20 years. Prior to Nursing, she worked in community development and was a licensed Social Worker. Her nursing career has been split between domestic clinical care and international public health programs. She has provided leadership and clinical technical assistance to international public health programs in Afghanistan, Belize, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sudan. Udaya is a Master Trainer and has created learning resource packages, curriculum and conducted strategic meetings, in-service and pre-service trainings for the aforementioned countries.
Udaya holds certifications in Yoga, Integrative Health Nurse Coaching and is Board Certified in Primary Care with experience in community and public health, hospice care, women’s health, nutrition and exercise counseling, yoga, meditation, geriatric health, HIV/AIDS and other STIs, prison health, emergency nursing, research, and quality assurance standards.
Udaya is excited about leading the Board of Directors and co-piloting IM4US with the ED and all of IM4US’s members into a future of greater access and care for the Underserved.
Dr. Deborah Gracia is the Chief Medical Officer at Borinquen Health Care Center, Inc.;a federally qualified health center facility that has 9 sites and 31 schools and serves the underserved communities all throughout Miami Dade County. Dr. Deborah Gracia has been a provider and educator of Internal Medicine for over 20 years, she earned her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine. As a CMO, she is responsible for the Clinical Deliveries of Services, Physicians as well as all Clinical Operations of all Borinquen’s sites. She briefly served as the Interim CEO for her organization. She is also the former Program Director for the Larkin Community Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Program and worked as an associate professor for universities like FIU and NOVA.
Dr. Gracia is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a current fellow at The University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center of Integrative Medicine. The Borinquen Health Care Center (BHCC) clinics comprise one of South Florida’s FQHC’s serving patients who have disparities in access to healthcare. Being fluent in English and Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole has allowed Dr. Gracia to better assess the needs of the patients and the community and mount appropriate responses to their needs. In the last few years, she has also participated in disseminating and implementing several new programs, which have resulted in significant improvements in Borinquen patient outcomes. Her dedication to Community Health began as a Board Member in this same clinic during her Internal Medicine residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Upon graduation, she also served as a clinician at another local community health center, Jessie Trice Community Health Center (JTCHC.) Dr. Gracia was named by Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida’s 25 Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business for 2011. She also recently got appointed to the Florida Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board.
Dr. Gracia seeks to gain knowledge and experience through various collaborations, fellowship opportunities, and conferences to implement innovative programs both for patients and staff at her clinic, putting the patient at the center of the equation and empowering providers, staff, and patients to optimize their emotional, spiritual and physical health.
Kimberly is a certified public accountant, a compassionate leader with more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial business development and operations, consulting, Big Four external audit, accounting and advisory, and Fortune 100 senior management experience. Kimberly’s broad range of capabilities includes cross-cultural relationship management; strategic business and operations design, change management and organizational transformation; large-scale, multi-disciplinary project management development and execution; corporate governance, risk, and compliance; accounting, and financial reporting; vendor sourcing and outsourcing; and IT implementation management.
Driven by a series of healthcare challenges in her family that began more than a decade ago, Kimberly embarked on a journey to search for solutions. She immersed herself in deep research, utilized a multitude of natural, integrative health and medicine, functional medicine, and personal lifestyle wellness approaches and therapies, in collaboration with caring practitioners. Blessed with tremendous healing success, Kimberly founded KnoWEwell, as a Public Benefit Corporation to make it easier for others facing their own health crises, and to pay it back to the professional organizations and providers that helped her family heal. KnoWEwell is B Certified Pending, a 1% for the Planet Member and was honored with a ‘Top 50 Healthcare Companies Award’ in 2019 by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare.
Kimberly’s ikigai is being in service to others, helping people and our planet heal and achieve WELLthier Living – happy, healthy, abundant, purpose-filled. She purposefully designed KnoWEwell and its 5 Pillars of Giving to take responsibility and make a positive impact on Underserved people, Underserved Regenerative Whole Health nonprofits, all people, and our planet. Kimberly was honored as a ‘10 Best CEO of 2020’ by Industry Era Magazine.
Kimberly is a loving mom to five sons, joyfully makes bone broth and hands out health books to those in need, volunteers her time in her local community, and with national nonprofit organizations. She is excited and honored to combine her professional background with the community she loves so much, as the Treasurer of the IM4US, collaborating with committee members and being in service to the Underserved.
Ariana Thompson-Lastad is an integrative health care researcher based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, her research focuses on group medical visits and integrative approaches to advancing health equity in safety-net settings. Ariana spent five years as a health educator and group medical visit facilitator at a community health center and received her PhD in medical sociology from UC San Francisco. In addition, Ariana is a member of the Bay Area Structural Competency Working Group, where she co-facilitates training for health care practitioners and trainees.
Jude Bornstein-Chau is a wife, mother, advocate, and Board-Certified Internist who became a member of IM4US while attending the 8th annual conference in Washington, DC. She is incredibly honored to be on the Board during this exciting period in the organization’s development. Jude believes in Integrative Medicine as a powerful force for social change, and sees IM4US as the organization that can faithfully represent a multiplicity of voices, spurring the fight for social justice and healthier communities.
Jude enjoyed an eclectic undergraduate career that focused on geology and narrative non-fiction but included such diverse subjects as Medieval French and Welsh, and movement analysis. It was during her undergraduate years that she first became interested in the principles of mind-body medicine. Jude earned her Doctor of Medicine from the Penn State, Milton S. Hershey School of Medicine in 2005, and completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Temple University Hospital in 2008, serving some of Philadelphia’s poorest residents. One of her greatest honors so far has been receiving the Melody S. Duffalo Award for Humanism in Medicine, which was awarded to her by her fellow residents. After working in Hospital Medicine for nearly a decade, Jude decided to pursue Integrative Medicine in order to return to her interest in mind-body healing and the root causes of disease. She completed her fellowship through the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in February 2019.
During her fellowship, Jude began to feel a deep call toward social justice work and left hospital medicine in order to pursue this mission. When she joined IM4US in 2018, she joined the Policy and Advocacy committee where she has been an active member, and for which she will be stepping into the co-chair role. In addition to her efforts with IM4US, Jude is active locally with Health Justice Philly, the social justice body associated with the chronic disease arm of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health. For the past two years, she has collaborated with the DPH members to organize the nascent Health Justice Summit in Philadelphia. Jude currently works as a primary care physician at Oak Street Health, which leverages data science and population health to drive primary care once more toward common-sense prevention in underserved populations. Of particular interest to her both personally and professionally are mind-body techniques for mental health and pain control, culinary medicine, Ayurveda, and palliative care.
Jude is deeply thankful to share her life with her husband Vinh and their son Kien, both of whom are daily reminders of presence and compassion. In addition to cooking, eating, reading, and Yoga, she enjoys driving a race car as fast as possible.
Steven Chen, MD, as the Chief Medical Officer of ALL IN Alameda County, brings an integrative health equity lens to ALL IN’s work on poverty. He is leading the scale and spread of a Food as Medicine model across Alameda County health clinics, health systems, and food systems. His areas of expertise include integrative medicine, health equity, and innovative models of care that address social determinants of health (SDOH) and improve health outcomes. He is interested in somatic approaches to healing social and historical traumas.
As the former Medical Director at Hayward Wellness, an FQHC clinic in the Alameda Health System, he and his team developed an innovative “Food as Medicine” model that is clinically integrated and bundles together a variety of interventions to improve health: a “food farmacy” and food prescriptions through a partnership with a local farm, a “social needs pharmacy” to connect patients to community resources, and a group medical visit “behavioral pharmacy” that combines movement, nutrition, stress reduction, and social support.
Dr. Chen’s commitments to a more just and inclusive world is informed by his experiences as a son of immigrants and a 2nd generation Taiwanese American. Dr. Chen recognizes the importance of language access, and he continues to develop more fluency in Taiwanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish to better serve our communities. He grew up watching his immigrant parents and extended family struggle to navigate life in this new setting.
A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Chen is a board-certified family medicine physician who completed his residency training at UCSF-San Francisco General Hospital. He received additional fellowship training in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, the California Health Care Foundation’s Leadership Program, acupuncture training through the UCLA-HMI Physicians’ Medical Acupuncture program, and advanced training in a form of osteopathic manipulative medicine called Strain-Counterstrain.
Nadine Ijaz, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University, and a Visiting Research Fellow with the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney. Her policy research in the field of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM) draws on postcolonial theories and Indigenous research methods and addresses the cultural dimensions of traditional healing systems in the context of professional governance. The protection of Indigenous knowledge and the redress of cultural misappropriation in health care is a particular focus of her work. She also conducts research into ‘whole systems’ clinical research methods that accurately represent the paradigmatic features of TCIM interventions. As a long-standing herbalist, nutritionist, and shiatsu therapist, Dr. Ijaz previously worked in the field of integrative oncology, co-founded and led free and low-cost community clinics, and operated herbal apprenticeships. She is also an award-winning educator with two decades of post-secondary teaching experience in the fields of integrative health, nutrition, and food justice.
Denise Cusack (she/her) is a clinical herbalist, certified aromatherapist, medicinal herb grower & conservationist, published writer, and artist. Denise serves as Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders, where she has grown membership and fundraising by over 500% in 3 years. Denise works to support free holistic clinics supporting the underserved and unhomed throughout the US and the world, operates a US Seed Grant Program to get fresh food and medicinal plants to communities, and operates a US donation distribution network under HWB. Denise also serves as Clinical Herbalist with the Veterans Resiliency Holistic Clinic, a free clinic with 10 modalities serving veterans in the Richmond, VA area. She also serves as an officer on the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, and as a Co-Facilitator on the AHG Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
Denise has many years of holistic wellness practitioner experience, and a background in marketing and advertising, including Fortune 100 marketing campaigns. She contributes regularly to online and print magazines, writing about organic gardening, sustainable living, herbalism, aromatherapy, permaculture, homesteading, holistic nutrition and more. Denise is a medicinal plant grower and conservationist, and her family farm, Lunar Hollow, is a Botanical Sanctuary in the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network. Denise works to use her privilege to support and empower health justice, food justice, and social justice programs and community actions around the world.
When she is not volunteering for health justice and herbal health access, Denise can be found spending time with her two homeschooled teenagers and her husband, baking, fermenting, canning, drawing, making music, playing with paint and clay, walking her dog, growing mushrooms, and making big plans for her farm.
Zamir M. Brown is an African American, Muslim, and advocate revered as a rising leader in the public health and health policy arenas for his commitment to health equity. Zamir's primary mission is to alleviate barriers that hinder historically marginalized groups from actualizing their full health potential and depriving them of privileges afforded to others. Zamir "officially" embarked on his mission in 2016 as an Environment & Health Intern for the Integrative Health Policy Consortium and as a Health Policy Intern for Bastyr University's Center for Health Policy Leadership. Since 2016, Zamir has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to promoting and protecting the health of disenfranchised communities as highlighted by his roles as a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians' Diversity + Inclusion committee; Policy Coordinator for Community Health Planning and Development at the American Public Health Association; Health Policy Fellow for the Office of the North Carolina Governor and the Department of Health and Human Services; and Americorps service member for a rural community action agency.
As a graduate of the George Washington University - Milken Institute School of Public Health, Zamir is a Health Policy Fellow for the National Health Law Program, a public interest non-profit, where he is leading the organization's work on the role Medicaid could play in resolving health-related social needs to promote health equity. Zamir also holds an Associate's degree in Pre-Medical Studies from Durham Technical Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Zamir views his position as a Board Director as another opportunity to honor the commitment he made to himself, to "do all I can, while I can to move the needle as close to health equity as possible."