Program Advisory Committee

The Program Advisory Committee (PAC) is an independent committee that meets with CSDS Project and Core Leaders annually to review progress toward milestones and to make recommendations on which to base the next year's activities. Committee members are established investigators with expertise in stroke prevention, health disparities, biostatistics and hypertension clinical trials. The Scientific Program Director from the NIH/NINDS is an ex-officio member of the PAC.

PAC Chairman

Dr. Philip Gorelick is the John S. Garvin Professor and Head, Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. He is an internationally known expert in stroke and stroke prevention. He served as a Stroke Fellow under Louis R. Caplan, MD, at Michael Reese Hospital as part of the University of Chicago Neurology Program and as the Director of the University of Illinois Stroke Service in the Department of Neurology where he received the Golden Apple and Alpha Omega Alpha awards for excellence in teaching. He was later the Director of the Stroke Service at Michael Reese Hospital where he received the Langendorf Teaching Award from the Department of Medicine and was the Director of the Stroke and Neurological Critical Care Service at Rush Medical Center where he was awarded an endowed chair in Neurology — the Jannotta Presidential Chair. Dr. Gorelick is board-certified in Neurology and Vascular Neurology. Since 1987, Dr. Gorelick has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for such studies as the African American Antiplatelet Stroke Prevention Study, Risk Markers for Dementia After Stroke, and Neuroepidemiology of Multi-Infarct Dementia. His research focus has been identification of risk factors for stroke, first and recurrent stroke prevention, stroke prevention in high-risk populations, and elucidating risk factors for vascular forms of cognitive impairment (VCI) and understanding mechanisms of VCI. Dr. Gorelick received the Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke 2004 from the American Heart Association and the National Stroke Association Visionary in Stroke Award. He has also held the Daniel Gainey Lectureship 2005 at Mayo Clinic and the Henry Barnett 2005 Lectureship from the Canadian Stroke Network.

PAC Members

Virginia Howard, PhD, FAHA, FSCT, is a stroke epidemiologist with over 20 years' experience in multicenter, multidisciplinary clinical trials and longitudinal cohort studies with a focus on stroke, cognitive functioning, stroke risk factors and health disparities. She is Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Howard received her PhD in epidemiology from the Medical University of South Carolina and an MSPH in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently PI of an NIA-funded study that has the general aim to identify childhood and family socioeconomic factors that shape disparities in later-life vascular and cognitive health. In that project, the focus is on expanding measures of childhood, family and community socioeconomic characteristics in a US national cohort of 30,239 black and white adults (the NINDS-funded REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke – REGARDS). Dr. Howard is co-PI of the REGARDS study and was co-leader of the focus groups that were conducted for black and white community members in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Chicago, Illinois prior to start-up of REGARDS. She is PI of the Statistical and Data Management Center of the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST) and has been involved in developing, implementing, and monitoring recruitment strategies of minorities in stroke prevention clinical trials, including the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention as well as CREST. Other relevant experience includes being chairperson of the subcommittee on "Bridges to Community: Assuring Ethical Conduct of Studies and Data Integrity" for the 2002 NIH-NINDS Advisory Panel on Stroke Disparities, and current member of American Heart/Stroke Association committees such as CVD and Stroke in Older Populations and the Minority Affairs Committee (Stroke Council).

Dr. Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, is the James F. Fries Professor of Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities, a partnership of the Johns Hopkins schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health. Among her many honors and achievements, Dr. Cooper was chosen to receive a MacArthur Fellowship Award, is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She is nationally and internationally recognized physician and leading expert in health disparities research whose scholarship on clinical communication is improving medical outcomes for minorities in the United States. The programmatic focus on her research is the development and evaluation of patient-centered strategies for improving outcomes and overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. She has conducted several observational studies to explore and better define barriers (e.g., patient attitudes, beliefs, and preferences) to equitable care across racial and ethnic groups and mechanisms for disparities in health status and healthcare (e.g., patient-physician communication, race discordance between patients and physicians). Dr. Cooper was the principal investigator of two randomized trials [funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of interventions to improve quality of care and outcomes for patients with hypertension and depression in primary care settings. She also has a Mid-Career Investigator Award for Patient-Oriented Research in Cardiovascular Health Disparities from the NHLBI. Dr. Cooper's research links patient and clinician attitudes and behaviors with health outcomes; her work continues to inform the training of physicians and the institutions in which they practice to deliver high quality, equitable care to increasingly diverse patient populations. She has received numerous awards for her work including the prestigious McArthur Fellow award.

David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, Professor of African and African American Studies and an Affiliate of the Sociology Department at Harvard University.
 He is internationally recognized as a leading social scientist focused on social influences on health. His research has enhanced understanding of the complex ways in which race, racial discrimination, socioeconomic status and religious involvement can affect physical and mental health. Dr. Williams currently directs the Lung Cancer Disparities Center at HSPH, one of 10 Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is the author of more than 230 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections and his research has appeared in leading journals in sociology, psychology, medicine, public health and epidemiology. He has served on the editorial board of 12 scientific journals and as a reviewer for over 60 journals. According to ISI Essential Science Indicators, he was one of the Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in the Social Sciences during the decade 1995 to 2005. In 2001, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2004, he received one of the inaugural Decade of Behavior Research Awards, and in 2007, he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams has been involved in the development of health policy at the national level in the U.S. He has served on the Department of Health and Human Services' National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on seven committees for the Institute of Medicine including the Committee that prepared the Unequal Treatment report. He has held elected and appointed positions in professional organizations, such as the American Sociological Association, the American Public Health Association, and Academy Health. He also served as a member of the of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health.

Jackson T Wright, Jr., MD, PhD, FACP, is Professor of Medicine and Program Director of the General Clinical Research Center at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He is also Director of the Clinical Hypertension Program at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. An experienced clinical investigator, Dr. Wright has published extensively (over 240 articles, book chapters, and abstracts) and served on many national and international advisory panels. Among these he served on the National High Blood Education Program Coordinating Committee and co-chaired the treatment section of Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7). He is also a member of the JNC 8 Committee. He recently co-chaired the NHLBI working group to determine the next large-scale hypertension outcomes trial. His research experience includes having had a major or leadership role in nearly all of the major clinical outcome trial conducted in Black populations over the past two decades. He served as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee for the NIH-sponsored African American Study of Kidney Disease in Hypertensives Trial and first authored its primary results paper. In addition, he served as Chair of the Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the Steering Committee for the largest study of hypertension treatment ever completed, the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), where he was the lead author on the primary results paper and the paper presenting the results by race (including > 15K Blacks). Currently, he is Co-PI (initially PI) of one of seven clinical centers to participate in the NIDDK sponsored Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study (40% Black). He has also served on the data safety and monitoring boards for the DASH and DASH Sodium trials which documented the benefit of diet intervention in preventing hypertension, especially in Black populations, and for the recently completed African American Heart Failure Trial the first study of heart failure treatment in Blacks.