TAMEST 2022 Annual Conference speakers will share how Texas can build the vibrant, healthy communities of tomorrow and address topics like health care, housing, infrastructure and infectious disease. Learn more about the annual conference >
Sandro Galea, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor
Boston University School of Public Health
Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, and author, is dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He previously held academic and leadership positions at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature, and is a regular contributor to a range of public media, about the social causes of health, mental health, and the consequences of trauma. He has been listed as one of the most widely cited scholars in the social sciences. He is past chair of the board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Galea has received several lifetime achievement awards. Galea holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto, graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is also University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.
Dr. Hotez is an internationally recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. As head of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads a team and product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and SARS/MERS/SARS-2 coronavirus, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide, while championing access to vaccines globally and in the United States. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative, he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people.
He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (phi beta kappa), followed by a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Rockefeller University in 1986, and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987. Dr. Hotez has authored more than 500 original papers and is the author of four single-author books, including Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press); Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth (Johns Hopkins University Press); Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism (Johns Hopkins University Press); and a forthcoming 2020 book on vaccine diplomacy in an age of war, political collapse, climate change and anti-science (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Dr. Hotez served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and he is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (Public Health Section) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Public Policy Section). In 2011, he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the WHO. In 2014-16, he served in the Obama Administration as US Envoy, focusing on vaccine diplomacy initiatives between the US Government and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, he was appointed by the US State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the US Israel Binational Science Foundation and is frequently called upon frequently to testify before US Congress. He has served on infectious disease task forces for two consecutive Texas Governors. For these efforts in 2017 he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research!America. In 2019, he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities Award for Medical Excellence.
Most recently as both a vaccine scientist and autism parent, he has led national efforts to defend vaccines and to serve as an ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat. In 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews (including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal).
Divisional Senior Vice President
Texas Health Care Delivery
Texas Health Care Delivery
Shara McClure knows Texas health care. A native Texan and proud Texas A&M University graduate, she leads health care delivery operations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), which offers the broadest provider network in the state covering all 254 counties. Having represented multiple health plans, physician organizations, and hospitals prior to her tenure at BCBSTX, Shara’s unwavering commitment to both improve and protect the physical and financial health of Texas has bolstered her reputation as an executive thought leader.
Thanks to her wide range of experience in the industry, Shara brings invaluable leadership and expertise to some of BCBSTX’s most important business functions, such as Provider Network Management, Performance & Programs for commercial, government and individual product lines. This includes hospital, physician and ancillary provider contracting, communications, compliance, analytical decision support and value-based care.
Shara is passionate about using her platform to inspire women and young professionals to become leaders in their organizations. She is the chairperson of the company’s business resource group Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise (WISE) and oversees WISE’s initiatives to promote career, community, commerce, and culture across Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Montana. She also represents the company as vice chair on the Board of Directors for TMA PracticeEdge, LLC in addition to serving on the board for the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce and IT’S TIME TEXAS.
Outside of the office, Shara is an active leader in the community. She serves on the board of directors for The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University, graduated from the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas program in 2017, and is a senior fellow of Houston’s American Leadership Forum. Shara recently received her Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University.
Shara and her husband Craig are proud parents to Melinda and Michael, both of whom followed in their mother’s footsteps at Texas A&M. She also models the way for a healthy lifestyle by exercising five days a week and enjoys spending time with her family, golfing, and traveling.
Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D.
National Science Board Chair
Director (retired), Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Ellen Ochoa was the Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX from 2013 until her retirement in May 2018. She became the first Latina to go to space when she flew on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours. She currently serves on several boards including as Chair of the National Science Board. She previously served as chair of the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and on the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board. Prior to her astronaut career, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and holds three patents for optical systems. She received a B.S. in Physics from San Diego State University, and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and the Optical Society of America (OSA). She is honored to have six schools named for her and has been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Sethuraman Panchanathan, Ph.D.
National Science Foundation
The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Panchanathan was nominated to this position by the President of the United States in 2019 and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 18, 2020. NSF is an $8.5B independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education.
Panchanathan is a leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades of experience. He has a distinguished career in both higher education and government, where he has designed and built knowledge enterprises, which advance research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth.
Panchanathan previously served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. He was also the founder and director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU. Under his leadership, ASU increased research performance fivefold, earning recognition as the fastest growing and most innovative research university in the U.S.
Prior to joining NSF, Panchanathan served on the National Science Board as chair of the Committee on Strategy and as a member of the External Engagement and National Science and Engineering Policy committees. Additionally, he served on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was chair of the Council on Research of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and co-chair of the Extreme Innovation Taskforce of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. Arizona’s Governor appointed Panchanathan as senior advisor for science and technology in 2018. He was the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Multimedia Magazine and editor/associate editor of several international journals.
Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered tools and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with different abilities; machine learning for multimedia applications; medical image processing; and media processor designs. He has published close to 500 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and has mentored more than 150 graduate students, postdocs, research engineers and research scientists, many now occupy leading positions in academia and industry.
For his scientific contributions, Panchanathan has received numerous awards, such as Distinguished Alumnus Awards and the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia Award for his development of information technology centric assistive and rehabilitative environments to assist individuals with visual impairments.
Panchanathan is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, where he also served as vice president for strategic initiatives. He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Society of Optical Engineering.
Panchanathan is married to Sarada “Soumya” Panchanathan, an academic pediatrician and informatician, who has taught medical students, pediatric residents and informatics fellows. They have two adult children, Amritha and Roshan.
Robert Phillips, M.D.
Founding Executive Director, The Center for Professionalism & Value in Health Care
American Board of Family Medicine Foundation
Robert Phillips is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Florida College of Medicine where he graduated with honors for special distinction. He trained in family medicine at the University of Missouri, followed by a fellowship in health services research and public health. Dr. Phillips was the Director of the Robert Graham Center in Washington DC from 2004-2012. In 2012, he moved to the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) as Vice President for Research and Policy and in 2018, Dr. Phillips was named the founding Executive Director of the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care.
Dr. Phillips currently practices part-time in a community-based residency program and is a Professor of Family Medicine at Georgetown University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He also has faculty appointment at George Washington University and Harvard Medical School. He previously served on the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education, as president of the National Residency Matching Program, vice chair of the US Council on Graduate Medical Education, and co-chair of Population Health on the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics. He served as a Fulbright Specialist to the Netherlands in 2012 and New Zealand in 2016. A nationally recognized leader on primary care policy and health care reform, Dr. Phillips was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2010 and currently chairs the NAM Membership Committee.
President and CEO
Margaret Spellings is the President and CEO of Texas 2036, a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. She served in the George W. Bush Administration both as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in the White House and as US Secretary of Education. She has also been the President of the Bush Presidential Center in Dallas and the CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce in addition to running her own successful public policy consulting firm in Washington, DC. She most recently served as the President of the University of North Carolina System. She is a graduate and distinguished alumna of the University of Houston.