Policy Options to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Rhea Boyd, M.D., is a pediatrician, public health advocate, and scholar. She writes and teaches on the relationship between structural racism, inequity, and health. Dr. Boyd works clinically and has a scholarly focus on the child and public health impacts of harmful policing practices and policies. She partnered with San Diego 211, working with navigators to address the social needs of San Diegans impacted by chronic illness and poverty. Dr. Boyd is also the Director of Equity and Justice for The California Children’s Trust, an initiative to advance mental health access for children and youth across California. In partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black Coalition Against COVID, and Unidos US Dr. Boyd co-developed THE CONVERSATION: Between Us, About Us, a national campaign to bring credible information about the COVID vaccines directly to Black, Latinx, and Spanish-speaking communities. She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Africana studies and health from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Boyd earned a M.D. at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed my pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco. In 2017, she graduated from the Commonwealth Fund Mongan Minority Health Policy Fellowship at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, earning an M.P.H.

Contact: rhea@cachildrenstrust.org

Henry Fernandez, J.D., is CEO of the African American Research Collaborative. He is also the CEO of Fernandez Advisors, a consulting firm that counsels clients in management, planning, project development and political strategy. Mr. Fernandez serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on state and municipal policy. He has worked broadly in local government, including as Economic Development Administrator (deputy Mayor) for New Haven, Conn. He was the founding executive director of LEAP (Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership), a nationally recognized child development program in Connecticut serving low-income youth, primarily public housing residents. Mr. Fernandez is a graduate of Harvard College and received his law degree from Yale Law School.

Contact: henry@africanamericanresearch.us

Rachel Nuzum, MPH, is vice president for the Federal and State Health Policy initiative at The Commonwealth Fund, working closely with policymakers at the state and federal level. Ms. Nuzum is responsible for developing and implementing the Fund’s national policy strategy for improving health system performance, ensuring that the work of the Fund and its grantees informs the policy process in both the legislative and executive branches of state and federal government. Ms. Nuzum’s work also includes fostering public–private collaboration on health system performance improvement with state and federal stakeholders and organizations. Ms. Nuzum has over 15 years of experience working in health policy at the federal, state, and local levels of government, as well as in the private sector. Before joining the Fund in January 2007, Ms. Nuzum was a legislative advisor for Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.) on health, retirement and tax issues. Prior to joining Senator Cantwell’s office, she served as a David Winston Health Policy Fellow in Senator Jeff Bingaman’s (N.M.) office. In this role, Ms. Nuzum staffed the Senator on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Before arriving in Washington, D.C., she served former Governor Roy Romer of Colorado in the office of Boards and Commissions and worked as a health planner in west central Florida. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Colorado and an M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management from the University of South Florida. She is on the faculty of Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions and is on the board of the Winston Health Policy Fellowship.

Contact: rn@cmwf.org

Lauren Rauh, MPH, is the senior program manager of the CONVINCE USA initiative (COVID-19 New Vaccine Information, Communication and Engagement) at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH). Lauren designs, coordinates, and conducts research and programmatic activities to identify and mitigate concerns about vaccination. Her team is engaged in projects that explore strategies for rebuilding trust in institutions, systems, and information. Most recently, they completed a qualitative study with support from the Commonwealth Fund to provide communication and policy insights supportive of individuals who remain distrustful of COVID-19 vaccines. In New York, Lauren facilitates the Vaccine Literacy Campaign, which bolsters community-based efforts to increase vaccine uptake through education and communication strategies. Lauren holds an MPH from CUNY SPH and a BA in Anthropology from Smith College.

Contact: lauren.rauh@sph.cuny.edu

Reginald D. Williams II (Reggie) joined the Commonwealth Fund in 2020 as the Vice President of the International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program. In this role, he is responsible for fostering international dialogue, exchange, and education that enables U.S. policy makers and healthcare leaders to learn from cross-national experiences. He is responsible for the organization’s international benchmarking activities, its international research and policy analysis, and the educational exchanges it conducts with key international partners. Critical to all activities is the cultivation of a robust international network of senior policy makers and healthcare leaders, including The Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice. Prior to joining the Fund, Mr. Williams was at Avalere Health, a consulting firm dedicated to improving healthcare, where he served as Managing Director focusing on health care delivery innovation and digital health. During his 15 years at Avalere, Reggie led the firm’s Evidence-Based Medicine Policy practice and several other practice groups, including managing the firm’s Tel Aviv operations, and helping to build a network of consulting firms from around the world with whom Avalere could collaborate. Prior to joining Avalere, Reggie was a member of the health policy team at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). He serves on the board of directors of Mental Health America, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people live mentally healthier lives. Reggie earned an AB in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University.

Contact: rw@cmwf.org