Dr. Cynthia Baur became the Director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy in January 2017. Prior to coming to UMD, Dr. Baur worked for 17 years in communication leadership roles with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy in the CDC Office of the Associate Director for Communication and CDC's Senior Official for the Plain Writing Act implementation. During her federal tenure, she led multiple initiatives to define best practices and guidelines in health communication and health literacy. She was the first manager of the Healthy People health communication objectives and the editor of the U.S. National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. At CDC, she created CDC’s health literacy website, which provides tools and online training to improve health literacy and public health, and she is the co-creator of the CDC Clear Communication Index, a set of scientific criteria for creating clear public communication materials. Her approach is based in communication science and focuses on providing diverse audiences with information in ways they can understand and use.
A self-proclaimed health literacy geek and an expert in clear communication, Stacy is responsible for leading CommunicateHealth’s content and creative excellence. Since co-founding the company at the age of 30, Stacy has been recognized as an innovative business leader by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She has appeared in multiple media outlets—including the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Inc. magazine—discussing a variety of issues from entrepreneurship to health behavior change. Stacy has been a leader in the field of health literacy for the past decade. She’s played a key role in developing several tools and resources for health professionals, including Health Literacy Online and the quirky e-newsletter We Heart Health Literacy, which reaches more than 2,300 inboxes each week. Stacy specializes in designing digital health information for diverse patient populations, especially adults with limited health literacy skills.
Sandy Williams Hilfiker
Sandy joined CommunicateHealth as Principal in 2010, bringing nearly two decades of experience in interactive design for health, usability and message testing, and all types of user research. Sandy is a leading expert in engaging people with limited literacy skills in the user-centered design process. She directs CommunicateHealth’s stellar UX team, delivering value to clients like the CDC, NIH, and the Veterans Health Administration — and simplifying the user experience for millions of healthcare consumers.
Janet Ohene-Frempong (o-HEN-ee frem-PONG), president of J O Frempong & Associates, Inc. is a plain language and crosscultural communication consultant with over 25 years of experience in patient/provider communications. Her consulting business provides a range of communication services including consumer research, materials and forms development, program development, presentations, seminars and institution-based coaching in consumer health communications.
Formerly Director of the Health Literacy Project, at the Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, she has conducted workshops and provided consultation on plain language and cross-cultural communication for a wide range of health information providers, including health care systems, government agencies, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, medical publishers, health and human service agencies as well as schools of medicine, nursing and allied health.
Robert S. Gold was the Founding Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health (UMD SPH), and Director of the Public Health Informatics Research Laboratory. As Dean, he was responsible for the creation of the University of Maryland Global Public Health College Park Scholars Program, and during his tenure, the school created the post-baccalaureate Certificate Program in Global Public Health.
He currently serves as University of Maryland Professor with appointments as: Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health (Primary), and Department of Medicine (Secondary), University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Gold is Co-Director of the UMCP Center of Excellence for Health Information Technology Research, and Director of the UMCP/SPH Public Health Informatics Research Laboratory. He served as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics from 2013-2017. Dr. Gold’s own research focuses on health communications projects and numerous technology development projects in the areas of asthma, cancer prevention, diabetes, HIV prevention, injury and violence prevention.
Monica Spann is a Community Health Worker (CHW) with the Prince George’s Healthcare Alliance. She passionately began her career with the Health Department’s Health Enterprise Zone grant. Monica contributed to the county’s first CHW workflows and pathways to address the social determinants of health faced by high-risk patients with frequent hospital readmissions and Emergency Department visits. Monica’s commitment to and passion for public health motivates her to teach clients how to use health literacy tools and improve their overall health. Monica is also a facilitator for Stanford University’s Living Well Program and serves as Adjunct Professor at Prince George’s Community College teaching Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management.
Leni Preston was one of the founding members of the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform in 2006. She served as Vice Chair until 2010 when she took over as the Chair and volunteer Executive Director, and led the transformation of the Coalition and the establishment of Consumer Health First. She has created a collaborative state-wide model, informed by solid health policy, which has resulted in a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders. Thanks to her, Consumer Health First is now poised to be seen as the lead health policy and advocacy organization in Maryland. Leni has served on numerous committees, including the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange’s Standing Advisory Committee and as Chair of the Health Services Cost Review Commission’s Consumer Engagement Task Force. In 2015, Families USA recognized her achievements with its prestigious Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award.
Dr. Alice Horowitz is a former senior scientist from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Horowitz's research focus has been on dental caries prevention and early detection. She was instrumental in initiating the need to address health literacy in dentistry and was one of the authors of the first NIH Program Announcement addressing health literacy. She organized the NIDCR’s workshop on oral health literacy and co-authored the resultant findings. She served as PI of a statewide oral health literacy needs assessment study. She has also published numerous publications and led a team to conceptualize, design and conduct the study Health Literacy Environmental Scans of Community-based Dental Clinics in Maryland.
Michael Villaire, MSLM, is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a nonprofit healthcare 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to empowering people to better health, with a major mission emphasis on health literacy. Michael has written numerous articles on various aspects of health literacy, and lectures nationally on health literacy. He is co-author of the textbook, Health Literacy in Primary Care: A Clinician’s Guide, published by Springer in 2007, and the self-help health book, What To Do When Your Child Is Heavy, published by IHA in 2009. His background includes 20 years as managing editor for peer-reviewed journals in nursing and medicine, hospital publications, physician news magazines, and an online healthcare portal experiment for WebMD. He has helped redesign and launch several medical and nursing journals, and managed the development of a multimedia, interactive curriculum in critical care. Michael earned his baccalaureate degrees in English (Journalism) and in Communications from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich. He earned his Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne, La Verne, Calif.