2021 Speak Up for Better Health Award Judges

Denny Chan

Denny Chan serves as Justice in Aging’s inaugural Directing Attorney for Equity Advocacy. In this role, he is responsible for developing and leading Justice in Aging’s Strategic Initiative on Advancing Equity, with a primary focus on race equity for older adults of color, and he also coordinates the organization’s equity team. He joined Justice in Aging as an attorney on the health team in 2014 and is based in Los Angeles, CA. The son of working-class Chinese immigrant parents, Denny has worked significantly on non-discrimination, language access, and healthcare delivery reform issues for low-income older adults and brings all of these experiences to his advocacy. He previously served as a rotating law clerk for the US District Court in Los Angeles and participated in the Fulbright English Teaching Program as a fellow in Macau, China. Denny is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He received his BA from the University of Michigan.

Joia A. Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG

Joia A. Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG is a physician, policy expert, thought leader and advocate for transformational justice. As the founder and president of the NBEC, she identifies and challenges racism as a root cause of health inequities. 

She is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker who has been featured in national and international publications including Essence and Ms. Magazine. In 2020, Dr. Crear-Perry was honored by USA Today in its "Women of the Century" series and featured on ABC Nightline’s Hear Her Voice.

She has twice addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to elevate the cause of gender diversity and human rights.

She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children.

Jaime Dircksen

Jaime Dircksen serves as the Vice President, Community Health & Well-Being at Trinity Health working across the 22-state system to address social needs, connect social and clinical care, dismantle systemic racism and reduce health inequities. She oversees all CHWB operations, including: advancing community policies and programs that promote health equity, community benefit compliance, collaborating with care teams to expand access to healthcare and address social needs, and community investing.

Jaime joined Trinity Health in July 2016, leading the Transforming Communities Initiative, an innovative funding model that partners hospitals and community-based organizations to decrease tobacco use and childhood obesity through policy, systems and environmental change. Jaime has over 15 years of public health experience, leading large-scale planning, program and policy design efforts through public and private partnerships. She previously served as the Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health for five years. In that role, she worked with hundreds of organizations to launch Healthy Chicago 2.0, the city's first health equity plan. She also led the Department to be one of the first and largest local health departments in the nation to achieve Public Health Accreditation.  She earned her Master's Degree from the University of Chicago at the School of Social Service Administration.

Marcus Escobedo, MPA

Marcus R. Escobedo, MPA, is Vice President, Communications and Senior Program Officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation where he develops and implements the Foundation's communications strategy. Joining the Foundation in 2006 as a member of the program team, he maintains a grants portfolio of initiatives to improve hospital care of older adults, including in the emergency department and surgical settings.

Mr. Escobedo's career has focused on bringing about social change for vulnerable populations. He previously worked at the Women’s Foundation of California, a statewide community-based foundation that invests in women’s and girls’ organizations in the areas of health, economic development, safety, and leadership. Prior to that, he was Resource Development and Communications Coordinator for Communities in Schools of Georgia, part of a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations connecting community resources to local k-12 schools. Mr. Escobedo taught elementary school in Oakland, California through the Teach for America program.

He served for six years as a board member of Hispanics in Philanthropy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing philanthropic resources to Latino communities. He served as a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Geriatric Emergency Department Innovations through Workforce, Informatics and Structural Enhancements (GEDI-WISE) project at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He has previously served on the board of One Stop Senior Services in the upper west side of Manhattan, as well as the Regional Health Equity Council as part of the Office of Minority Health’s National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (Region II).

Mr. Escobedo received bachelor’s degrees in sociology and communications from the University of Texas at Austin and he earned his master’s of public administration in public and nonprofit management and policy at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Colin Killick

Colin Killick is the Executive Director of Disability Policy Consortium, a civil rights advocacy and research organization run by and for people with disabilities. He is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the JOIN for Justice Community Organizing fellowship, and a passionate advocate for a just health care system that enables genuine independence and well-being for all people with disabilities.

Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH

Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, joined the Kresge Foundation as the Managing Director for Health in September 2020. With more than 20 years of experience in public health, Monica leads the Foundation’s efforts to build equity-focused systems of health that create opportunities for all people to achieve well-being. She collaborates with other Kresge teams on efforts to lead with equity and partner with communities in their efforts to ensure access to safe, affordable housing, fresh food, clean air, and economic opportunities.  

Monica has also worked as a Senior Fellow with the de Beaumont Foundation where she advised on efforts to amplify and accelerate policy initiatives aimed at developing and advancing a health agenda on critical public health issues, such as tobacco control, racial justice, and health equity. She also served as a Senior Advisor to the CDC Foundation (CDCF) in its COVID-19 efforts. In this role, she helped guide activities aimed at quickly identifying and supporting gaps and needs among state and local health departments in their response and recovery activities.  

Previously, Monica was the Executive Director f Boston Public Health Commission, the local health department for the City of Boston which is a leading large city department. Her portfolio included Boston Emergency Medical Services, the largest homeless services program in New England, school-based health centers, and other critical public health services. Prior to the Commission, Monica also served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she led the day-to-day operations for an agency that included public health hospitals, several regulatory bodies, and numerous public health programs. She also has experience working at the national level as the first Chief Program Officer for Health Systems Transformation at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Monica led ASTHO’s work on health equity, Medicaid and Public Health Partnerships, government relations, state health policy, and public health informatics.

She received her JD from the Dickinson School of Law, MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health and BA from Bryn Mawr College.   

Alan Weil

Alan Weil is the Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading health policy journal. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and recently completed a term as an appointed member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). He is a trustee of the Consumer Health Foundation in Washington, DC and directs the Aspen Institute’s Health Strategy Group. He was the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP); directed the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism project; held a cabinet position as executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the state’s Medicaid agency; and was assistant general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Medical Security. Weil earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.