LGBTQA Health Conference

June 12-13, 2018

Presenter Bios:


Adrian Shanker (He, Him, His) is Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and is a leader in LGBT health advocacy. Prior to founding Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Adrian served as President of Equality Pennsylvania during a time of unprecedented organizational growth. Adrian is an accomplished organizer, having led numerous successful campaigns to advance LGBT rights in municipalities across Pennsylvania, including non-discrimination protections, relationship recognition ordinances, and laws to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy. A specialist in LGBT health policy, Adrian has developed leading-edge campaigns to advance health equity for LGBT Pennsylvanians, through policy, behavioral, and clinical changes. Adrian's work for LGBT health has mostly focused on tobacco, anal health, and conversion therapy. Examples include his work to transition more than ten pride celebrations in Pennsylvania to be smoke-free events, his work to ban conversion therapy in the cities of Allentown and Reading, and his development of model health promotion campaigns for the LGBT community.


In addition to his leadership at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Adrian serves on the Advisory Board for Pennsylvania Department of Health's Office of Health Equity, as co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee for LGBT Healthlink - a CDC-funded national tobacco and cancer disparity network, and as a member of ACLU of Pennsylvania's Board of Directors. He holds a Graduate Certificate in LGBT Health Policy & Practice from The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences at The George Washington University and he earned his B.A., cum laude, in Political Science and Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College.



Amy Shanahan, MS, CADC, currently serves as the Clinical Administrator for Addiction Medicine Services at the University of Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinics (WPIC). In this role, she manages facilities under the Addiction Medicine Services (AMS) including prevention & intervention programs, outpatient rehabilitation clinics that specialize in co-occurring disorders and medication assisted treatments.  Amy also serves as the Director of Staff Development for all of the Ambulatory programs of WPIC.  In this role, she manages staff development and training initiatives. She has served on several system-wide workgroups including LGBTQI, Quality Improvement, and a Suicide committee. Prior to her work at WPIC, Amy was a Performance Improvement Director for Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. and served as the Training Director for the Northeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center (NeATTC) at the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions in Pittsburgh, PA. Amy has worked in the addiction treatment field for over 20 years, first as a clinician, and later supervisor and manager in various levels of care. In addition to certification as an Addiction Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania, she earned an undergraduate degree in Human Services – Substance Abuse Counseling from the Empire State College, University of New York, and a Masters of Creative Studies and Change Leadership degree from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College.


Ms. Shanahan engages in the training of providers in the treatment field throughout the United States and overseas.  She has participated and facilitated several workshops including training-of-trainers.  She is a Master Trainer for the Addiction Technology Transfer Center’s The Training Point: An Uncommon Learning Exchange for Addictions Trainers and the Clinical Supervision 30 hour training.




Andrew Spiers, MSW. Information coming soon.




Antoine Douaihy, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine and Director, Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship, Senior Academic Director of Addiction Medicine Services and Associate Director of Residency Training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He is also the Co-Director of the Tobacco Treatments Services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  He has a well-established record of leadership and expertise in conducting multisite clinical trials having served and serve as a PI, Co-PI and Co-I on many NIAAA; NIMH; NIDA and industry sponsored grants.    He is currently the Principal Investigator for the SAMHSA funded, “Addiction Medicine Services (AMS) SBIRT-Student Training” grant.  He is also the Site Principal Investigator of an industry sponsored trial, “A Phase 3 Study to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Naltrexone for use in Conjunction with Buprenorphine in Adults with Opioid Use Disorder Prior to First Dose of VIVITROL®.”  He is also the Protocol Principal Investigator for the CTN 0064 protocol, “Assessing Long-term CTN-0049 Outcomes, HCV Prevalence, and Progression along the HCV Care Continuum among HIV/HCV Co-Infected Substance Users in the U.S.” 


His areas of research and clinical expertise and interest are substance use disorders (SUDs) and SUDs co-occurring with psychiatric disorders in adult and adolescent populations and psychosocial approaches, particularly motivational interviewing, and pharmacological trials for opioid use disorders, cocaine use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and stimulant use disorders. He is an experienced member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).  He has substantial experience in practicing, supervising and training individuals in the adherent delivery of MI and its adaptations.  His publications focus on substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders/patient recovery guides, MI, psychosocial treatments and pharmacological treatments of substance use disorders, nicotine use disorders and HIV.




Chuck Albrecht, MBA. Chuck recently relocated to Pittsburgh as the new the Executive Director of  PERSAD Center in Pittsburgh PA. He was the Chief Operating Officer at the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, for 17 years, where, among other accomplishments, he implemented a planned giving council and increased annual grant funding significantly.


Chuck has extensive nonprofit experience, including stints as Executive Director of the Tampa AIDS Network and Executive Director of the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati. He is committed to strengthening PERSAD Center’s goal to serve the LGBTQ community in all its diversity. He has a bachelor’s degree in zoology and an MBA in finance, both from Miami University of Ohio, and is a proven leader and fundraiser with strong skills in strategic planning, finance, program oversight, and advocacy.




Dan LaVallee. Director, Government and Business Relations, Government Programs at UPMC Health Plan. Dan has a combination of health policy technical expertise and strong relational and interpersonal skills coupled with the unique experience of being one of the youngest nominees to run for Congress in the United States during the 2014 election cycle.


Dan had significant opportunities to utilize a variety of skills such as communication, public speaking, fundraising and development, issue advocacy, media relations, and operations and staff management. Dan showed leadership in recruiting and building a cohesive and effective team to accomplish specific and targeted goals.




David K. Kelley, MD, MPA. Chief Medical Officer, Office of Medical Assistance Programs. Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Dr. Kelley is the Chief Medical Officer for Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Medical Assistance Programs. He oversees the clinical and quality aspects of the Medical Assistance Program that provides health benefits to over 1.9 million recipients. The Office includes oversight of seven managed care organizations as well as the FFS program. While under Dr. Kelley’s oversight the Office has implemented a new Expanded Primary Care Case Management program, implemented a pharmacy preferred drug list and prior authorization operations unit, and initiated three pay for performance programs.


Prior to joining the Department, Dr Kelley worked for Aetna Health Inc as the medical director responsible for utilization and quality management in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. He chaired Aetna’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Quality Advisory Committee. Prior to Aetna, he served as Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Quality Improvement at Penn State University’s College of Medicine. As the Director for Clinical Quality Improvement, he oversaw the quality and utilization management at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center. He also spent 4 years in private practice. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and recertification eligible in Geriatrics.




Erica Smith, MEd, is a support group coordinator in the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic and the Adolescent Initiative Juvenile Justice Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her areas of expertise include: HIV prevention, Juvenile justice, LGBTQ youth, Transgender and gender variant children and youth.


Erica coordinates the social and support groups for the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, as well as co-facilitates the group for transgender and gender nonconforming teens and young adults. Erica works primarily with the Adolescent Initiative Juvenile Justice Program, providing comprehensive sexuality education, HIV prevention services, and advocacy for delinquent and dependent LGBTQ youth and young women at the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center. She also provides LGBTQ youth competency training for second year residents in Adolescent Medicine. Her areas of interest and expertise include sexual and gender minority youth and adolescent sexual health in the juvenile justice system.




Frank Vitale, MA. Frank Vitale received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St.Vincent College in 1974 and a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Duquesne University in 1988. He has worked in the field of smoking cessation research since 1987, first as a Health Educator, then as Clinic Coordinator for the Lung Health Study, researching the differential effects of smoking cessation and an inhaled medication (Atrovent) on the prevention of COPD in identified high risk individuals. He has run numerous groups for the I Quit Project of the Smoking Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh as well as designed the intervention for some of these programs. He counseled over one thousand individuals by phone for the Smoke Free Challenge, a smoking cessation program run by the Health Education Center of Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania and contributed to the information packets sent to program participants. He has designed smoking cessation programs for the Comprehensive Lung Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and assisted in the creation of a program to train pharmacist to do smoking cessation counseling by phone for National Rx (Medco) in Columbus OH. He contributed content material for the smoking cessation manuals that accompany the Nicoderm CQ patches in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and China. In all, he has counseled well over eight thousand people attempting to quit smoking.


While at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Frank was Project Director of Lung Health Study II, a muticenter research program examining the efficacy of Azmacort in helping individuals with mild to severe COPD regain lung capacity lost to smoking. In his position as director of the International Smoking Cessation Specialist program at the University’s Pharmacy School, Frank created a six-hour CE program designed to teach pharmacists how to do smoking cessation counseling, writing the patient support booklets that accompany this training as well as all auxiliary materials. This program has been presented throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Spain and the United Kingdom to well over 14,000 pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Frank has also been involved in the creation of a CE program for Pennsylvania physicians and dentists as well as projects incorporating smoking cessation training into the curricula of pharmacy, dental, medical and auxiliary health profession schools. From 2009-2012 he continued to train healthcare professionals throughout the US with the CS2Day project.


Frank is currently a clinical assistant professor at Purdue College of Pharmacy and the National Director of the Pharmacy Partnership for Tobacco Cessation, a project developed under the auspices of The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and ASHP. The partnership is dedicated to creating and disseminating tools and trainings to help pharmacists become involved in cessation counseling with all patients who use tobacco.




John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH, is a research health scientist with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.  He is also an affiliated researcher for the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans.  Dr. Blosnich earned his PhD in Public Health Sciences from West Virginia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in suicide prevention at the University of Rochester, where he began his VA research in collaboration with the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention.


Dr. Blosnich's research areas of expertise include interpersonal and self-directed violence among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. His program of health equity research at the VA focuses on LGBT veterans, with specific attention to suicide prevention and examining ways that patients’ social determinants of health data can be integrated into adaptive health care systems. His five-year VA Health Services Research & Development Career Development Award is the first to study transgender health nationally across the VA.  Dr. Blosnich’s areas of expertise include the fields of epidemiologic and population-based studies. He has published extensively and garnered attention from major media outlets on his work examining inequities in health and healthcare among minority sexuality adults.  




Dr. Kristen Eckstrand MD, PhD is a co-Founder and past co-Director of the Program for LGBTI Health at Vanderbilt. As a recent medical school graduate, Kristen is now pursuing her residency program in Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Medical Education.


Kristen L. Eckstrand holds her  MD and a PhD in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University. Throughout her career, Dr. Eckstrand has advocated for the needs of LGBT individuals. Dr. Eckstrand has been working on LGBT medical education since 2008 when she initiated curriculum reform at Vanderbilt, which culminated in the foundation of the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTI Health in 2012--the second program in the country housed within an academic medical center.


Dr. Eckstrand is nationally recognized for her work as the founding chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Sex Development, co-editing and authoring the ground-breaking text Implementing Curricular and Institutional Climate Changes to Improve Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSD: A Resource for Medical Educators. She also serves as the Vice President of Education for the board of directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality and as a member of the American Medical Association’s LGBT Advisory Committee.  She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications and presentations related to LGBT health and education, and has been recognized for her commitment to diversity through numerous awards including the 2011 Vanderbilt Levi Watkins Jr. Award, the 2013 American Medical Association’s Foundation in Excellence Leadership Award, the 2013 AMSA/GLMA Health Achievement Award for leadership in LGBT health.




Dr. Rachel Levine. Secretary of Health and Physician General. Dr. Levine is currently the Secretary of Health and Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine.


As physician general, Dr. Levine has made significant strides combating the opioid epidemic and advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ population. She spearheaded the efforts to establish opioid prescribing guidelines and establish opioid prescribing education for medical students. She has also led an LGBTQ workgroup for the governor’s office which has worked to create programs and processes that are fair and inclusive in healthcare, insurance, and many other areas. Recently, Dr. Levine was recognized as one of NBC’s Pride 30, a national list of 30 people who are both members of and making a difference in the lives of the LGBTQ community.


Her previous posts included: vice chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.


Dr. Levine graduated from Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed her training in pediatrics at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City and then did a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Mt. Sinai. She then practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine in New York City and was on the faculty of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She came to Central Pennsylvania in 1993 as the director of Ambulatory Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Polyclinic Medical Center. She joined the staff at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in 1996 as the director of Pediatric Ambulatory Services and Adolescent Medicine.


Her accomplishments at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center include the initiation of a Division of Adolescent Medicine for the care of complex teens with medical and psychological problems. In addition, she started the Penn State Hershey Eating Disorders Program which offers multidisciplinary treatment for children, adolescents and adults with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. She was the Liaison for the LGBT community for the Office of Diversity at the Penn State College of Medicine. In that role, she established a LGBT faculty and staff affinity group and was the facilitator for the LGBT student group.


Dr. Levine teaches at the Penn State College of Medicine on topics in adolescent medicine, eating disorders and transgender medicine. In addition, she has lectured nationally and internationally and has published articles and chapters on these topics.




Thomas Ylioja holds degrees in social work from the University of Calgary (BSW, 2004), and the University of Toronto (MSW, 2011), University of Pittsburgh (Ph.D, 2018) He is the Associate Clinical Director for the quitline at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. Previously, he worked for several years as a medical social worker in hospitals and chronic disease clinics in Canada, and site coordinator for a clinical trial of smoking cessation for hospitalized smokers in Pittsburgh. His research interests include developing and evaluating interventions for tobacco treatment with a focus on minority and disparate populations.




Vernon I Nathaniel, MD. Information coming soon.


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