Advisory Council

The Dean’s Advisory Council represents organizations aligned with the school’s mission and goals, as well as individuals with commitment to these shared goals. The members of the council will assist the Dean in his role as the principal liaison with the New York community at large, and, in addition, will help identify and develop opportunities to support the school in fulfilling both its academic and service commitments. Council members will work with students, faculty and staff engaged in areas of public health about which they feel passionate and will have the opportunity to engage in “hands on” activities and impact in their community. Members will also leverage their community connections to raise CUNY SPH awareness and philanthropic support.

Council Chair

Freida Foster

Freida D. Foster
Vice Chair, NYS Workers’ Compensation Board

Ms. Foster served as a CUNY trustee for ten years (2006-2016), helping oversee campus management as vice chair for the Student Affairs Committee and chair for the University’s Standing Committee on Facilities. However, she began her CUNY experience as the NYC Human Resources Administration Liaison and Recruiter for CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment Program (COPE) where she recruited for the program and advocated for student needs and resources.

Born and raised in Harlem and fiercely dedicated to giving back to the community, Freida serves (and has served) in many capacities including: Board of Director for the Harlem Community Development Board, WNET/Thirteen Community Advisory Board, Life Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and the Brooklyn Branch of the NAACP. In the past she has served as a Board Member for the CORO Leadership Program, Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) and NYC Education Retirement System (NYCERS), Board Member for the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), Founding member of Hofstra’s Women in Leadership Group and others.

Ms. Foster has decades of professional experience in the areas of government/civic service, public relations and education.  Prior to joining the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board, Freida entered state service as a community representative for the Executive Chamber, ultimately serving as the director of the Community Affairs Unit. In her current role with the Workers’ Compensation Board, she is responsible for assisting the Chair with the Administration and Management of the agency as well as upholding the overall mission to protect the rights of employees and employers by ensuring the proper delivery of benefits to those who are injured or ill, and by promoting compliance with the law.

Council Members

Curtis Archer

Curtis Archer
President, Harlem Community Development Corporation

Curtis Archer has been the President of the Harlem Community Development Corporation since 2006.  He sees his role as essential in enhancing the economic climate for both businesses and residents in the Greater Harlem community. Curtis began his career in community development in the NYC Office of Business Development under Mayor David Dinkins as a Development Manager in the Neighborhood Development and Commercial Revitalization Program. Curtis has also worked with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as Senior Project Manager where he was responsible for moving several retail projects ahead in the South Bronx, as well as Co-op City, and he also was appointed by Borough President Claire Shulman’s office as their Director of Economic Development and Liaison to the African American community. His previous positions include Director of Small Business Development for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and Executive Director of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), where he was successful in promoting the revitalization of the peninsula’s economic base and neighborhoods.

Barbara Askins

Barbara Askins
President and CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District

Barbara Askins serves as President and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Upper Manhattan (Harlem) in New York City.  She has over 20 plus years of experience in the field of improving cities as a public involvement specialist on transportation, environmental and facility planning projects, working on major projects in several cities that included reconstruction of highways and city streets, upgrading rail and bus systems, improving sewage-treatment facilities, creative public spaces, and sport and convention centers.

She successfully created the first and only Business Improvement District in the Harlem community. She has served as the Chair of the International Downtown Association, Vice Chair and Treasurer of New York City’s BID Manager’s Association, Chair of Manhattan Community Board #10 in Central Harlem, and as an adjunct professor at New York University teaching urban tourism development.  She has participated in a TEDTalk series, serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Place Management and Development (United Kingdom) and Global Urban Development.  She is highly respected in the downtown management industry and her advice and sharing of best practices has been sought after in the establishment and operation of BIDs globally.  Recently this has taken her to the House of Parliament in Sweden to prove the value of Business Improvement Districts.

She has guided the BID’s vison to become a multi-dimensional regional center through organization, public improvement infrastructure and design, marketing, retail, and real estate development activities. Under her leadership, Harlem has been the recipient of many pioneering projects  – the first cultural bonus incentive in NYC to be used to shape the future of 125th Street as a cultural destination; the first LED streetlight to be used in a commercial district; the second pedestrian footfall counter in the country bringing real time pedestrian count data; the first community based app in the United States to connect those who live, work, visit, and invest, and a banner project designed to showcase the artistic talents of the community.    The BID has continued its efforts to create conditions that allow for more events such as a community Harlem Holiday Lighting and other programs in which some or all components of the programs can be run and/or managed by others in the community.  Her efforts were realized worldwide when the American Planning Association named 125th Street one of the 10 best streets in the country in 2007.

Ms. Askins has received numerous proclamations, citations, and awards.

Joseph Awadjie

Joseph Awadjie
University Student Life Manager, CUNY
Chief Liaison to the University Student Senate, CUNY
Associate Director for External Relations & Compliance, CUNY Athletic Conference

Joseph Awadjie earned his Master of Science Degree at Brooklyn College, specializing in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, in June of 2016. Prior to his graduate studies, Mr. Awadjie earned his B.S in Exercise Science from Brooklyn College. In 2014, Awadjie was elected as the 30th chairperson of the University Student Senate (USS) and just completed his second term as the USS Chairperson and CUNY Trustee.

Born and raised in Ghana, Awadjie is fluent in the languages of Twi, Fanti and Ga. Emigrating from Ghana, Awadjie was drawn to CUNY because of its rich diversity and broad service to New Yorkers of all backgrounds. Awadjie is dedicated to ensuring that students have an active role in university governance, and is committed to improving the quality of public higher education through advocacy efforts at the university, city, and state levels.

Awadjie has a long record of service at CUNY. While at Brooklyn College, he served as Senator of Student Government, President of the Forensics Debate Team and the Academic Club Association and captain of the Bulldogs’ men’s soccer team. Shortly upon returning to Brooklyn for his master’s degree, Awadjie was elected President of the Graduate Student Organization.

During his tenure with USS, Awadjie was an integral part of the grassroots campaign that restored a merit-based scholarship within the New York City Council Budget. With strong support from the City Council Committee on Higher Education, Awadjie helped secure $11.1 million in the FY2015 Budget and $17 million in the FY2016 budget for a merit-based scholarship for CUNY students. In 2016, Awadjie led a successful student campaign to halt tuition increases at CUNY, while helping acquire increased funding for essential university programming.

In addition, Awadjie currently serves as Second Vice President of the Brooklyn College Alumni Association. He serves as a mentor to a number of student leaders and student organizations.

Susan Beane

Susan J. Beane, MD
Vice President and Executive Medical Director, Healthfirst

Dr. Susan Beane joined Healthfirst in 2009, bringing with her extensive professional experience in managed care. As Vice President and Executive Medical Director at Healthfirst, Dr. Beane focuses on care management and clinical provider partnerships, programs especially designed to improve the delivery of vital, evidence-based health care to our members. Dr. Beane, is a strong proponent of collaborating with and engaging providers to improve health outcomes.

Dr. Beane leads Healthfirst in collaborating with major healthcare delivery systems, local, and national policy experts on the design, implementation, and dissemination of innovative, outcomes focused models of care. Her research contributions span health of caregivers, obesity, and maternal health.

Prior to joining Healthfirst, she served as Chief Medical Officer for Affinity Health Plan for five years—during which time she helped Affinity’s plan become a top performer in quality and member satisfaction. Before that, she worked at AmeriChoice and HIP USA, as Medical Director.

Dr. Beane is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Deneane Brown-Blackmon

Deneane Brown-Blackmon
Director, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, Upper Manhattan Borough Office

Deneane Brown-Blackmon is the Director of the Upper Manhattan Office of Rent Administration, the BRO office for New York State Homes Community Renewal formally known as DHCR, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. She has held this position for 11 years.  Prior to this, Deneane was employed by the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation as a Labor Relations Mediator where she counseled supervisors and employees regarding trainings, and handled time and attendances issues as well as disputes. She also prepared statements for arbitrations and collective bargaining negotiations. Deneane also serves on Community Board No. 10, where she is Chair of the Personnel Committee. Raised in Harlem, Deneane is a community activist, leader, advisor, liaison, consultant, policy maker and friend. Deneane enjoys working and helping her beloved community thrive and grow. She has sat on nearly every board possible from the boards of community organizations and Harlem churches to those of the Harlem Justice Center and National Action Network. She is also an active member at the Harlem YMCA and a Board member.

Wellington Chen

Wellington Chen
Executive Director, Chinatown Partnership

As Executive Director of Chinatown Partnership, Wellington Chen is responsible for guiding the overall direction of the Chinatown Partnership, including strategic planning, setting policy, and serving as the public representative of the organization.

Wellington is a highly respected public servant and long-time community advocate, urban planner and urban affairs specialist. As senior consultant/advisor of the Planning Advocacy Group for over a decade, Mr. Chen–a long-time Flushing resident–was deeply involved in numerous community projects, including the downtown Flushing revitalization plans. Wellington was also the first Asian American to serve as a Commissioner on the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals. Mr. Chen co-founded Tri Plus Construction Corporation in 1989, a company dedicated to creating affordable housing in New York City.

An architect by training, Wellington worked for renowned architect I.M. Pei from 1980 to 1985. He was a member of Community Board 7Q for over 13 years and a vice chair of Queens County Traffic Safety Board, and currently sits on a number of boards, including the Bowne House Historical Society, the City University of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Healthcare Chaplaincy, NYC Economic Development Council etc. Wellington was born in Taiwan and grew up in Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Andrea Cohen

Andrea G. Cohen, JD
Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, NYC Health + Hospitals

Andrea (Andy) Cohen is Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel at NYC Health + hospitals. Prior to joining NYC Health + Hospitals, she served as Senior Vice President for Program at the non-profit United Hospital Fund.

An attorney with extensive legal and policy experience in the health care world, Ms. Cohen was Director of Health Services in the Office of the New York City Mayor from 2009 to 2014, serving as lead health policy advisor to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and liaison to the city’s public hospital system and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

From 2005 to 2009 Ms. Cohen served as counsel at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, advising health care clients on legal and policy issues related to public health insurance programs. Previous experience included positions with the Medicare Rights Center, the United States Senate’s Committee on Finance, and the United States Department of Justice.

Ms. Cohen is a member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress and reviews and makes recommendations on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program policies and programs. She was appointed to that position, when the Commission was formed, by the Comptroller General.

A graduate of Harvard College, Ms. Cohen earned her law degree at Columbia University.

Lyndon Haviland

Lyndon Haviland
President, Lyndon Haviland & Co LLC

Lyndon Haviland, MPH, DrPH, is an international health consultant with more than 30 years public health experience. Dr. Haviland began her career in the US Refugee Service, working in multiple camps with South East Asia refugees. In 1991, she co-authored the first humanitarian needs assessment of Cambodia for the US Agency for International Development. Since that time, Dr. Haviland has led various public health campaigns, initiatives and organizations. Her consulting clients include UN agencies, international NGOs, and former Heads of State. She has served as a Board member for numerous international and domestic NGOs including the American Public Health Association where she is the recipient of two of its highest honors, Friend of the Student Assembly and the Director’s Citation.

As a consultant, Dr. Haviland has advised global leaders, presidents and agency heads on maternal and child health, access to vaccines, vaccine hesitancy, sexual and reproductive health, tobacco control and health promotion / disease prevention. Her work spans strategy, communications, leadership and partnership development. She was the Senior Project Leader for the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health Every Woman, Every Child) , an initiative helped to align all member states of the United Nations around a common strategy for saving more than 16 million lives and raised more than $40 billion in new resources for women and children’s health globally. Every Woman, Every Child is widely acknowledged as a turning point for multi-sectoral partnerships at the United Nations.

Dr. Haviland has worked in a broad range of professional environments spanning domestic, academic, multinational and multilateral organizations including the Earth Echo International, GAVI, UN Women, Policy Wisdom, Rabin Martin, the Aspen Institute, UNAIDS, the United Nations Department of Public Information, the UN Foundation, HRSA/SPNS projects, UNDP, WHO, the International Medical Corps, the American Legacy Foundation, The International Catholic Migration Commission and the International Organization for Migration. She holds a masters and doctorate degrees in public health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and has completed Advanced Management & Leadership training at the Harvard Business School.

Kharry Lazerre-White

Khary Lazarre-White, Esq
Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

Khary is a social entrepreneur, writer, organizer and attorney. In 1995 he co-founded The Brotherhood/Sister Sol –  a nationally renowned, comprehensive youth development and educational organization that provides rites of passage programming, arts and enrichment based after school care, counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation and scholarship, employment opportunities, community organizing training, legal representation, and month long international study programs to Africa and Latin America. The organization provides direct service, trains educators across the nation on its model and organizes to advance policy and social change. Khary has extensive experience as a public speaker across the country, writes regular opinion pieces and essays for publications that include Huffington Post, NYU Press, Nation Books, and He has appeared as a regular guest contributor on MSNBC, on CNN, and widely on other media sites as well. Khary has been recognized with an array of awards including from Oprah Winfrey, Ford Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Black Girls Rock, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Union Square Awards, Brown University, the National Recreation Foundation’s Robert W. Crawford Achievement Prize and with a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship.  Khary received his Bachelors in Arts, with honors, in Africana Studies, from Brown University, and his Juris Doctorate from the Yale Law School where his focus was international human rights law and constitutional law. Khary is the author of Passage, a novel, published in September 2017 by Seven Stories Press and distributed by Penguin Random House.

Pat Wang

Pat Wang, JD
Chief Executive Officer, Health First NY

Pat Wang is the CEO of Healthfirst, a one million member, not-for-profit health insurance plan serving the New York City metropolitan area. Healthfirst is a 4-Star Medicare Advantage plan and the top ranked Medicaid managed care plan for quality in New York State. The company also coordinates the long term care of frail elderly and disabled individuals through a variety of programs, including Senior Health Partners and CompleteCare, and offers its Leaf plans on the New York State of Health (Health Exchange). Healthfirst specializes in the needs of the region’s multi-cultural populations. As a provider-sponsored health plan, it relies on a partnership model with its healthcare system sponsors, primary care providers, and community-based organizations to support and help build population health management capability at the delivery system level.

Prior to joining Healthfirst in 2008, Ms. Wang clerked for the Honorable Whitman Knapp in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and practiced health law at Kalkines, Arky, Zall and Bernstein. She worked at the Greater New York Hospital Association for 17 years where she served as Senior Vice President, Health Finance and Managed Care and where her first major project was to create Healthfirst. She is a graduate of Princeton University and New York University School of Law, where she received her J.D. degree, cum laude. She has lived in China and Yugoslavia and is a longtime resident of New York City.

Jennifer Walden-Weprin

Jennifer Walden Weprin

Jennifer Walden Weprin is the former Executive Director of the Queens County Farm Museum, the longest continually farmed site in New York State dating back to 1697 and the second largest cultural institution in Queens.  Prior to joining Queens Farm, Jennifer served as the Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.  In that role, she served as policy advisor on cultural affairs and tourism initiatives representing 2.3 million New Yorkers.  Jennifer was appointed to serve on the Mayor’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee for NYC’s first Cultural Plan, CreateNYC. She also has served as Ex Officio Director for the Borough President on twenty cultural boards of directors including NYC & Co. MoMA PS1, Museum of the City of New York, New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and Flushing Town Hall. Jennifer was recruited by Borough President Katz in August 2016 from her role as Director, Marketing & External Affairs at the Louis Armstrong House Museum where she developed new programming to enrich visitor experiences and positioned the museum as a key player in NYC’s competitive cultural landscape.

Council Ex-Officio Members

Duffie Cohen

Duffie Cohen
University Executive Director of Academic Planning

Duffie Cohen is University Executive Director of Academic Planning.  After serving for 12 years as Executive Director of the Invest in CUNY Office and one year as Interim University Dean for Institutional Advancement, Duffie joined the Office of Academic Affairs in September, 2018.  Reporting to Associate University Provost for Planning, Duffie works on a variety of projects including planning and implementing the EAB Student Success Collaborative at the 12 senior colleges and was part of the leadership team for the first University-wide Healthy CUNY Summit.