Summer Institute on Implementation Science – 2019
Advisory Group – Brief Bios
Allison Blake has more than 30 years experience serving children and families. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut. Most recently she served as a senior fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she worked with states to implement the new Family First Prevention Services Act. Previously, Dr. Blake served as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Under her leadership, the department successfully implemented an integrated, strategic approach to delivering child welfare services. This approach promoted evidence informed, community-based services to support parents and youth. Dr. Blake also led New Jersey’s efforts to significantly expand community partnerships to prevent child abuse and strengthen families. She previously served as director of the Institute for Families at Rutgers University School of Social Work and vice president of accreditation operations at the Council on Accreditation. Dr. Blake earned a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University and a doctorate from Fordham University. She is a member of the National Board of Directors of the Child Welfare League of America, and International Social Services, USA Branch.
Brandy Bynum Dawson joined Rural Forward NC as the Associate Director in September 2014. In her role, Brandy works with the Director and program staff to manage, plan, organize, and direct daily capacity building services. Specifically, she provides technical assistance, coaching, facilitation, resource management and support of community initiatives in rural central and eastern North Carolina. Brandy has been active in the nonprofit community for more than a decade as a professional, volunteer, and board member to improve outcomes for children and families. Prior to joining Rural Forward NC in 2014, Brandy served as the Director of Policy and Outreach at NC Child for over twelve years. Brandy has extensive experience conducting research and analysis of public policy issues and developing summary reports on a variety of topics; as well as providing community development services to agencies, communities, and coalitions in the areas of civic engagement, action planning, results-based facilitation, program implementation and organizational collaboration. Brandy graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Brandy also holds a master’s degree in public administration from NC State University, with a concentration in mental health policy.
Paul Elam, serves as MPHI’s Chief Strategy Officer. He is responsible for aligning the priorities of MPHI with national interests as well as diversifying the Institute’s portfolio to address cutting edge issues that affect the health and well-being of our society. His past leadership includes mentoring and training professionals from historically underrepresented groups with evaluation expertise in the areas of child welfare and juvenile justice. His deep understanding of youth violence and prevention, crime and justice, and child maltreatment is nationally recognized. Dr. Elam brings a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic disproportionality and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably. Before joining MPHI, Dr. Elam was president of Public Policy Associates, Inc., where he worked closely with government, philanthropic, university, and nonprofit clients, providing strategic consultation to advance public policy decisions in ways that would improve lives, advance social justice and produce equitable outcomes. Dr. Elam earned a PhD in Family and Child Ecology, a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Urban Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, all from Michigan State University.
Angelique Kedem joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Equity and Inclusion team as a senior associate in January 2016. This portfolio is responsible for integrating an equity and inclusion focus into all Casey programs and operations. Angelique grew up in South Africa and graduated high school in the year of the country’s first democratic elections. She received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape. She has more than a decade of experience in juvenile justice reform focused on racial, ethnic and gender disparities, as well as leading the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Initiative as director. The experience growing up in South Africa’s segregated and unequal society has deeply influenced her thinking about justice, human rights and equity. She brings to the work a focus on equal partnership between large public systems and impacted communities of color, and an emphasis on the critical role of culture in addition to race, in changing outcomes. In February 2010, Angelique was named a ‘Facing Race Ambassador’ by Minnesota’s St. Paul Foundation.
Ruben Parra-Cardona is an Associate Professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHSSW) at the University of Texas at Austin. At the SHSSW, he serves as the Coordinator for Initiatives in Mexico and Latin America, as well as Co-Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA). His primary research focus is on the cultural adaptation of prevention parenting interventions for underserved low-income immigrant Latino/a communities. His first cultural adaptation study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and focused on first-generation immigrant families living in Detroit. He is currently funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to extend this work with Latino/a immigrant families with adolescent children. Dr. Parra-Cardona has used the experience gained in these US-based studies to collaborate with Mexican institutions and state governments in the implementation of prevention programs of research.
Beadsie Woo is a Senior Associate in Evidence-Based Practice Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She specializes in developing implementation science tools for Foundation initiatives. In 2016, she worked as a senior policy advisor in the White House Offices of Social Innovation and Science and Technology Policy, working with agencies to deepen their evidence capacity and disseminate evidence of what works. Her previous work at Casey focused on increasing financial stability for families and children through strategies that encouraged savings and asset development. She is a co-author of Weathering the Recession: The Financial Crisis and Family Wealth Changes in Low-Income Neighborhoods, that examines what happened to assets, debts and home equity for families living in low-income neighborhoods during the Great Recession, using data from the longitudinal Making Connections Survey. Beadsie holds an AB in Economics from Davidson College, an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and earned her PhD in the Department of Economics from the University of North Carolina.