TFAH Announces Board Chair Transition
Distinguished Board Chair Dr. Gail C. Christopher to Step Down, Board Member Dr. Stephanie Mayfield Gibson elected Incoming Chair
(Washington, DC – December 19, 2022) — Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) announced today that the chairperson of its Board of Directors, Gail C. Christopher, DN, will be stepping down after 10 years of visionary leadership. The Board of Directors has unanimously elected Board member Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, MD, as the incoming Board Chair, effective January 1, 2023.
Dr. Christopher has a noteworthy 15 years of service on the TFAH Board, becoming a member of the Board in 2007, and serving as chair for a decade. She informed the Board of her intention to step down as chair at last year’s annual Board meeting, and the Board subsequently underwent a thoughtful succession planning process. Dr. Mayfield, who joined the TFAH Board in 2017, and is currently a member of the Board’s Finance Committee, was nominated and elected as the next chair.
“Drs. Christopher and Mayfield are nationally renowned and visionary leaders in public health and health equity,” said TFAH’s President and CEO Dr. J. Nadine Gracia. “TFAH is extremely fortunate to have benefited from Dr. Christopher’s brilliant leadership and will continue to be guided by Dr. Mayfield’s passion and vast experience in our next chapter as an organization.”
While stepping down from the TFAH Board, Dr. Christopher will continue in her roles as the Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and as a Senior Scholar at George Mason University’s Center for Well-Being. In addition, Dr. Christopher is president and founder of Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature. Prior to her Ntianu Center tenure, Dr. Christopher was senior adviser and vice president at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she was the architect of the Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Initiative, an adaptation of the globally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Commission model.
“It has been my honor to serve TFAH and to follow the leadership of former statesman, and Connecticut senator, Lowell Weicker in this vital role as President, then Chair of the TFAH board,” Dr. Christopher said. “I am particularly proud of TFAH’s legacy as a bipartisan convener and problem-solver during challenging and polarized times. I will continue to cherish the meaningful relationships with all my fellow board members and the outstanding staff, stakeholders, funders, and partners of this amazing organization. TFAH is a strong organization and I’m sure that we’ll continue to do great things lead by our incoming board chair, Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, our outstanding organizational president, Dr. Nadine Gracia, and all of the dedicated members of the TFAH Board.”
During Dr. Christopher’s tenure, TFAH experienced tremendous growth and notable achievement in addressing our nation’s most pressing public health issues, such as public health funding, emergency preparedness, obesity, substance misuse and suicide, healthy aging, healthy schools, the health impacts of climate change, and the social determinants of health. Her exemplary leadership strengthened TFAH’s focus on health equity as foundational to policymaking at all levels. And, along with her fellow Board members, Dr. Christopher provided steady and sage counsel to the organization in navigating the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
“TFAH owes Dr. Christopher a large debt of gratitude for her service to the organization. Her vision, mentorship, and expertise in racial healing and equity have been an inspiration to her fellow Board members and to the TFAH staff,” said Dr. Gracia. “We look forward to working with her in the future as she continues to be a leader in the nation’s journey toward health equity.”
VIDEO: Drs. Gracia and Christopher discuss TFAH’s work
Dr. Stephanie Mayfield is a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist and an experienced health executive in both the public and private sectors. As the incoming TFAH Board Chair, she brings critical frontline public health, healthcare system, and academic experience to the position. Furthermore, she is a longtime advocate of promoting population health and advancing health equity.
“It’s a privilege to be the incoming board chair for Trust for America’s Health, a well-established and meaningful organization,” said Dr. Mayfield. “As a former state public health commissioner and former state laboratory director, we utilized TFAH’s reports for their rich data and policy recommendations to shape an informed systems approach to advance health equity. It’s an exciting time to support the organization in this new role in furtherance of our mission – to promote optimal health for every person and community and make the prevention of illness and injury a national priority. Thank you to our funders for enabling TFAH to pursue its mission and to our outgoing board chair, Dr. Gail Christopher, for her keen stewardship and visionary leadership.”
From 2020 to 2022, Dr. Mayfield served as the Director of the U.S. COVID-19 Response Initiative and Senior Advisor for U.S. Partnerships for Resolve to Save Lives. The initiative provided COVID-19 response guidance and technical support to local and state health departments, other community partners, and to agencies of the Federal government. In her role as senior advisor, Dr. Mayfield additionally advised on a multi-sector, community-driven, best practices hypertension control initiative focused on optimizing patient empowerment and addressing social determinants of health.
In 2012, Dr. Mayfield was appointed commissioner of public health for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She was the first African American and first woman to serve in that role. Prior to her tenure as state public health commissioner, she was the state’s director of laboratory services under the Cabinet of Health and Family Services. In 2016, Dr. Mayfield joined KentuckyOne Health and KentuckyOne Health Partners, as the senior vice president and chief medical officer for population health and led the transformation of the state’s largest healthcare system by addressing basic human needs across the continuum of health. Dr. Mayfield has also held faculty positions at the Louisville School of Medicine and served as the Associate Chief of Staff and Staff Pathologist at the Louisville Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. Dr. Mayfield’s research includes early evaluation of what is now the gold-standard heart disease marker, Troponin.