The Experts

Dr. Phillip Gardiner

Dr. Phillip Gardiner

Dr. Phillip Gardiner is one of several confirmed speakers scheduled to deliver a presentation on crisis prevention tactics to up and coming community lifeguards! He will discuss the new and emerging trends of tobacco, e-cigarettes, and marijuana at this year’s Statewide Summit. Dr. Gardiner has worked on helping cities pass local prevention ordinances that restrict the sell of menthol cigarettes around schools and has had success with Chicago being the first city in the country to pass the measure. Dr. Gardiner has spent the last 15 years lecturing across the country about health disparities and menthol smoking in the Black community. Currently, Dr. Gardiner is the Policy and Regulatory Sciences Program Officer for the Tobacco Related Disease Program (TRDP), University of California Office of the President, where he oversees the scientific inquiry associated with e-cigarettes. Dr. Gardiner received his doctorate in Behavioral Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley. 

 

Representative Donna Howard

Representative Donna Howard

Representative Donna Howard is confirmed to speak at this year’s Statewide Summit to remind community lifeguards that every vote counts! She will discuss effective ways for community members to advocate for change and influence policy makers.  Howard is an elected community lifeguard who has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2006 and won her seat by the slim margin of four votes. She currently serves as the vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee and sits on the Appropriations and House Administrations committees. Even with her elected status, Howard continues to monitor her community by remaining active in her neighborhood, church communities, supporting low-income housing, and education. 

 

Mark P. Jones

Dr. Mark P. Jones

Dr. Mark P. Jones will join Texans Standing Tall at this year’s Statewide Summit by discussing the role voters play in the shifting political landscape. Some of his crisis prevention tactics include a frequent commentator in the local, state, national and international media on Houston, Texas, U.S. politics and public policy. He is a co-author of Texas Politics Today: 2015-2016 edition and frequently pens opinion pieces in Texas and national media outlets. Jones is the James A. Baker III institute for Public Policy’s Fellow in Political Science, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, and a Professor of Political Science at Rice University. Jones received his Doctorate from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor's Degree from Tulane University.

Emily LeBlanc

Emily LeBlanc

Emily LeBlanc, M.Ed., LPC-S, is confirmed to speak on the Alcohol and Sexual Health Panel. LeBlanc is a licensed professional counselor and a board-approved supervisor. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling from UT Austin in 2002 and has spent most of her career working with non-profit organizations. LeBlanc works to guard the community as the Senior Director of Community Advocacy for SafePlace, a non-profit organization that is ending sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention, and social change. She has been working with survivors of abuse for 15 years and provides training for law enforcement, military, grand juries, and community advocates on domestic violence and sexual assault in both state and federal courts. She has testified as an expert in both state and federal court and guards her community by serving on several committees and community groups in her field.

 

Michael Sparks

Michael Sparks

Michael Sparks will join community lifeguards at the 2016 Statewide Summit to speak on the Issues Panel discussing alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. Sparks has been working with states and local communities to reduce alcohol and other drug problems for most of his 35 years in prevention. He began his work addressing problems associated with marijuana in 2008 by analyzing the emerging powerful marijuana industry and the individual and community consequences of increased marijuana availability in California. With increased attention on the liberalization of marijuana laws, Sparks helped pioneer the utilization of local zoning tools to enable cities and counties to regulate if, how, when, and where medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites can operate.

 

Dr. Aaron White

Dr. Aaron White

Dr. Aaron White will join us at the 2016 Statewide Summit on August 3-4 for a dive into alcohol’s affect on brain development.

Dr. White is the Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He received his PhD in biological psychology from Miami University in Ohio in 1999. His graduate research focused on the brain mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced memory blackouts.

He completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in 2001 and then served as a Research Assistant Professor at Duke until 2008. His research at Duke focused on the effects of alcohol on adolescent brain function and brain development, alcohol blackouts among college students, adolescent substance abuse treatment and the development of high school and college alcohol prevention and education initiatives. During that time he co-wrote the online alcohol prevention course, AlcoholEdu. Dr. White joined NIAAA in 2008 and, until recently, was a Program Officer in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research. Last year he was promoted to Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director, Dr. Koob.

 

Jennifer Cofer

Jennifer Cofer

Jennifer Cofer is director of the EndTobacco® initiative within the cancer prevention and control platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Cofer will employ 15-plus years of experience working in the public health and tobacco control sectors to speak about the emerging issues for prevention community lifeguards, as well as the steps coalitions can take to address tobacco prevention funding cuts.

Cofer works to collaborate with internal and external partners to promote tobacco control initiatives and evidence-based best practices in policy, prevention and cessation. Prior to joining MD Anderson, Cofer spent more than 10 years working in a variety of management and leadership roles at the American Lung Association (ALA).

She holds a bachelor’s in health education and a master’s of public health, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. A long-time health education specialist and asthma educator, she is certified to teach Open Airways in Schools, Freedom from Smoking, Asthma 101, Teens against Tobacco Use, Not on Tobacco, Tools for Schools and many other lung health-related programs.

 

Dr. Doug Livingston

Dr. Doug Livingston

Dr. Doug Livingston is an epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. His research focuses on the application of quasi-experimental trial design to epidemiological and intervention studies. He is particularly interested in how macro level interventions, such as state level policy, can impact health outcomes. Dr. Livingston is currently the PI of the UNTHSC subcontract for a 50-state, 30-year study of effects of state-level economic and education policies on a diverse set of public health outcomes, explicitly examining differential effects across disadvantaged subgroups of the population; as well as the subcontract PI for a NIAAA- and NIDA-funded trial to prevent alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among youth living in high-risk, low-income communities within the Cherokee Nation. His prior policy work has examined the impact of increased alcohol taxes on STIs and fatal motor vehicle crashes.

 

Kristi Katz

Kristi Katz

Kristi Katz, CFRE, is the Executive Director of Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation. She has worked as a development professional for more than 15 years and joined the Children’s Medical Center foundation in 2004 as part of the team that raised $86 million to build Dell Children’s Medical Center. After the completion of the Dell project, she joined the staff of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School to help design and implement a $25 million capital campaign. In 2011, she returned to the Children’s Medial Center Foundation to lead a $34 million comprehensive campaign which included adding a third bed tower to Dell Children’s Medical Center, special equipment, and growing the Dell Children’s Endowment. In 2014, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Austin Chapter named Kristi Fundraising Professional of the Year. Kristi earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University in College Station.

 

You can help prioritize the health and safety of all Texans by joining us on Aug. 3-4 at Texas Standing Tall’s 2016 Statewide Summit and learn more about how you can prevent a crises, how to stay mindful of your surroundings and get the skills to effectively respond to a crisis in your community. Register ASAP at TexansStandingTall.org! Sign up before July 11th to get the ‘Life Saver’ special of $125 registration fee per person! The price will be $150 per person after July 11th!

Register Here