Key Staff

The National Center for Health Research is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research, education and advocacy organization that promotes the health and safety of adults and children. The key staff of the National Center for Health Research also manage the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.

Diana Z

Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., President

Diana Zuckerman received her Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University and was a post-doctoral fellow in epidemiology and public health at Yale Medical School. She started her career on the faculty of Vassar College and then directed a research project on children as a faculty member at Yale University.

After a post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology and public health at Yale Medical School, she went to Harvard to direct a groundbreaking research study of college students. Dr. Zuckerman left her academic career in 1983, to come to Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Science Fellow in the program run by the American Association of the Advancement of Science. After spending the year as a staff member in the House of Representatives, she spent the next ten years working as a Congressional staffer in the House and Senate, and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working to improve federal health programs and policies for adults and children. She initiated highly influential Congressional hearings on a wide range of health issues, including cancer prevention and treatment and the safety of medical products.

In 1995, Dr. Zuckerman served as a senior policy advisor in the White House, working for First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Since 1996, she has served in leadership positions at nonprofit organizations, and has been in her current position since 1999.

In addition, Dr. Zuckerman was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics until the Center recently closed. She is currently on the Board of Directors of two nonprofit organizations, the Congressionally mandated Reagan Udall Foundation and the Alliance for a Stronger FDA. She was previously the chair of the Women’s Health Promotion Council appointed by the Governor of Maryland.

Dr. Zuckerman is the author of five books, several book chapters, and dozens of articles in medical and academic journals, and in newspapers across the country. Her policy work has resulted in news coverage on all the major TV networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, public television, 60 Minutes, 20/20, National Public Radio, and in major U.S. print media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, Detroit Free Press, New York Daily News, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Family Circle, New Yorker, Glamour, Self, as well as many other newspapers, magazines, and radio programs.

She is the proud mother of two adult children. She can be reached at


PBrownPaul Brown, Government Relations Manager

Paul Brown educates federal and state lawmakers and their staffs about health and medical issues that affect adults and children. He also monitors the activities of the Food and Drug Administration and other federal health agencies whose work is designed to protect the public health. He leverages NCHR’s influence through his effective outreach to other nonprofit organizations and by helping organize the legislative efforts of the Patient and Consumer Coalition.

Prior to joining NCHR, Mr. Brown had 13 years of advocacy experience, as a consumer health care advocate with US PIRG and as the Southern Nevada Director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

In his previous work, Mr. Brown has authored or co-authored numerous reports on issues such as prescription drug prices, campaign finance reform, economic contributions of immigrants, and state taxes. He has been frequently quoted in the media and has published numerous op-eds and letters to the editor.

A graduate of the University of Iowa, Mr. Brown is married to Lori Lipman Brown, a former Nevada State Senator. Mr. Brown ran his wife’s successful grassroots State Senate campaign in 1992, spending less than $2,000 to win the primary campaign.

He can be reached at


christina silcox

Christina Silcox, Ph.D., Senior Fellow

Christina Silcox is a senior fellow, focusing on the systems used by the FDA to approve medical devices. Christina’s professional interests center on system processes in healthcare for the purpose of making healthcare both safer and more efficient. She brings an engineering perspective to biology and healthcare.

Dr. Silcox received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and her M.S in Electrical Engineering from MIT. She received her Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Spring of 2014. Her research focused on using ultrasound to activate gene expression through heat. She can be reached at


LDLaurén A. Doamekpor, Ph.D., Senior Fellow

Laurén Doamekpor is a senior fellow, focusing on social determinants and behavioral risks affecting the public’s health. Laurén’s research interests center on the social, cultural determinants of health and the underlying biological reasons behind disparities in health. Prior to joining the NCHR, Laurén worked at the University of Maryland, College Park where she taught an undergraduate course on research methods and conducted research related to race/ethnic disparities in birth outcomes, cardiovascular risk, and biomarkers of stress. In 2013, she was selected as a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Millennial Health Summit, for graduate students recognized as leaders who will have the opportunity to significantly address health disparities in the U.S.

Dr. Doamekpor received her B.A. in Biology from Brandeis University and her M.P.H in Maternal and Child health from The George Washington University. She received her Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Maryland in Spring, 2014. Her research focused on understanding the relationship between cultural identity, stress and health among Black immigrant women. She can be reached at


Nick's PhotoNicholas J. Jury, Ph.D., Senior Fellow

Nicholas Jury is a senior fellow, focusing on topics in alcohol and drug addiction, mood disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders, and efforts to improve translational science.  Prior to joining the NCHR, Dr. Jury was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, conducting research examining the impact of sex and age on chronic alcohol exposure, and the subsequent effects on behavior.  Prior to that, he conducted graduate work examining mood regulation and therapeutic interventions in postpartum women patients.  He brings a multidisciplinary expertise to investigating and understanding various health disparities.

Dr. Jury received his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Bradley University and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His research has focused on the behavioral, biochemical, and molecular components pertaining to addiction and mood regulation.  He can be reached at


margaret photoMargaret Dayhoff-Brannigan, Ph.D., Senior Fellow

Margaret Dayhoff-Brannigan is a senior fellow, focusing on antibiotic resistance and ensuring the safety of drugs that target biochemical pathways to treat a variety of human diseases including cancer, obesity, and neurodegeneration. Prior to joining the NCHR, she conducted epidemiological research on immune response to nutrients in aging populations.

Dr. Dayhoff-Brannigan received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where her work focused on understanding the miss-regulation of genes involved in nutrient sensing. She completed her B.S. at The University of Maryland, College Park in Biochemistry.  She can be reached at


Elena Gerasimov, M.A., MPH, Public Health Fellow

Elena Gerasimov is a public health fellow whose research interests include patient engagement strategies and patient advocacy methods, with a special focus on cancer. Elena supervises the Center’s interns and edits the newsletter. She holds a Master’s in Public Health degree from George Washington University, and an M.A degree in journalism from American University.

Prior to joining NCHR, Elena worked for GW medical center, where she was responsible for all organizational aspects of launching a nonprofit organization for the underserved, including strategic planning, community engagement, publishing, communications and marketing strategies, budgeting, and overseeing medical students’ rotations. She previously gained experience in program management while working for more than a decade at the Johns Hopkins University, and in editing and writing from her previous career as a business journalist. She worked as a research associate for cancer studies and volunteered at the Special Immunology (HIV) pediatric clinic at the Children’s National Medical Center, where she researched the effects of financial incentives on medication adherence. She can be reached at


Amelia1Amelia Murphy, B.A., Research and Administrative Assistant

Amelia Murphy is the Research and Administrative Assistant, responsible for gathering research, writing web/newsletter content, managing NCHR’s social media presence, and digital outreach. She also handles the online Health Helpline and provides general administrative support. In her work with NCHR, Ms. Murphy applies her research skills, experience writing for a public audience, and passion for cause-driven work. Prior to NCHR, Ms. Murphy was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Indonesia.

Ms. Murphy graduated from Smith College in May 2013 with a B.A in Psychology and Italian. While at Smith, Ms. Murphy worked at a psychology clinic in Italy, served as the health representative for her college residential house, and wrote for a magazine and her own blog. She can be reached at


BrandelBrandel France de Bravo, MPH, Director of Communications

Brandel France de Bravo is editor of our newsletter, The Voice, and is responsible for publications, media/ public relations and translating scientific findings into clear, easy-to-digest information that families, health professionals, and policy makers can use.

Ms. France de Bravo holds a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and is a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. She has two decades of experience in international and U.S. health programs, primarily in HIV/AIDS prevention, reproductive and maternal/child health, and harm reduction for drug users. As a social marketer and behavior change expert, she has designed, conducted and analyzed both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as developed health education campaigns using a variety of media.

Ms. France de Bravo is an author of three books and has given workshops and classes to families with young children in the Washington, D.C. area for over six years, and has served on the Early Childhood faculty at the Washington Waldorf School. Her writing and editing skills have earned her prizes and fellowships, including a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Prior to her current position, Ms. France de Bravo consulted for such organizations as USAID, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Open Society Institute and Population Services International. While English is her first language, she is comfortable working in Spanish and French.

Ms. France de Bravo can be reached at


internsSummer Interns

from left to right:

Evangeline DiMichele (Tulane University, Public Health)

Lea Simms (Dickinson College, Psychology and Health Studies)

Jenny Markell (University of Pennsylvania, Health and Societies)

Samantha Kahn (University of Pennsylvania, Health and Societies)




In Memoriam

Gwendolyn Lewis, a former sociology professor with important positions in the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, was a professional photographer who volunteered her time as our photographer since our founding in 1999 until she died from cancer in 2012.

As our photographer and friend, Gwen is responsible for the many memorable color photographs of the exceptional women who received our Foremother awards, as well as capturing many other important people and moments through the years.  As an artist, however, she specialized in black-and-white photography, with an emphasis on architectural subjects. Her work was exhibited in more than 100 shows in the Washington area and won many awards.