Keynote Speaker

Elena Bastida, PhD

Elena Bastida, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Florida International University

Dr. Elena Bastida’s research focuses on aging, the life course, health disparities, religion, population and community health. She led the 12-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported Border Epidemiologic Study on Aging (BESA) and, with continuous NIH support, conducted research on religion and aging, and community based participatory research on obesity and diabetes. Though, substantively, her research topics have varied, she has maintained her focus on Latino populations and health disparities.

Both her teaching and her mentoring have received statewide and national recognition with two national role model awards and most recently, the University Graduate School Mentorship Award and the Florida McKnight Foundation Mentor Award. In 2009, she received the Public Health Hero Award from Research America. Dr. Bastida is the past president of the Population Research Committee of the International Sociological Association.
Her research has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, The Gerontologist, The Journal of Gerontology, Health Economics, Journal of Scientific Study of Religion, Diabetes Care among others.


  • National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral
  • The University of Kansas, Ph.D.
  • Kansas State University, BS

Invited Plenary Speakers

Jeffrey Ring, PhD

Jeffrey Ring, PhD
Principal, Los Angeles, CA, Health Management Associates

Dr. Jeffrey Ring is a clinical health psychologist and author who knows culturally responsive integrated healthcare from the inside out. He is an executive leadership coach, and assists leaders and teams in productive functioning toward effectiveness and competitive advantage. Jeffrey is a champion for healthcare practitioner vitality, and is skilled in supporting teams in mindful reflection on creative approaches to self-care and wellness enhancement.

For 19 years he served as the director of behavioral sciences and cultural medicine at the family medicine residency program at White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles. There he worked in a multi-disciplinary team providing woven behavioral and primary care health services to a predominately Spanish-speaking underserved population. He is a clinical professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and has clinical experience with patients along the lifespan including geriatrics.

At HMA, Jeffrey is poised to help clients with an array of initiatives, including integrated behavioral care in hospital and primary care, healthcare practitioner leadership and wellbeing, the delivery of quality culturally responsive care within Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and the enhancement of medical education to prepare health practitioners for successful practice in a changing healthcare environment. He has a keen interest in how physician education in advanced care planning can help achieve the Triple Aim.

In his previous role at White Memorial Medical Center, Jeffrey was responsible for providing bilingual (Spanish) mental health services in an integrated setting, and taught family medicine residents the skills of evaluation of and intervention with psychosocial issues in the context of primary care delivery. This included compassionate doctor-patient communication, substance use screening and intervention, mind-body medicine and stress management.

During his career, Jeffrey has focused on the elimination of health disparities, with an emphasis on the role of medical education and the provision of outstanding care in underserved communities. He is the first author of Curriculum for Culturally Responsive Health Care: The Step-by-Step Guide for Cultural Competence Training, a book published by Radcliffe Oxford in 2008.

Jeffrey has served in leadership positions in the Group on Minority Health and Multicultural Education within the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race within the American Psychological Association. He has lectured and published widely on culturally responsive healthcare, medical education and physician wellbeing.

Jeffrey lives with his family physician wife, Beth, and their twin sons attend college back east.

Sudha Seshadri, M.D., DM

Sudha Seshadri, M.D., DM
Robert R. Barker Distinguished University Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Cellular and Integrative Physiology / Senior Investigator, The Framingham Heart Study / Founding Director, Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dr. Sudha Seshadri completed her M.B.B.S. from the Christian Medical College, Madras University, and her M.D. in internal medicine and D.M. in neurology from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. Additionally, she has completed a residency in neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine and a fellowship in the neurobiology of Aging and Alzheimer Disease at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She has previously worked as assistant professor of neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and professor of neurology and attending neurologist at the Boston University School of Medicine.

As founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dr. Seshadri will oversee, integrate, and coordinate all activities of the Biggs Institute, which will share the space of UT Health’s Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.

Dr. Seshadri enjoys a superb reputation in both science and clinical care and is a recognized thought leader in Alzheimer’s disease having recently co-authored position papers disseminated by the National Academy of Sciences on Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward,  and by the American Heart Association with a paper titled Defining Optimal Brain Health in Adults. She has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and the genetics of stroke and vascular brain injury.

She is a senior investigator for the seminal Framingham Heart Study, has had peer reviewed research continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 10 years, and currently serves as the principal investigator on eight NIH U01 or R01 grants.

Emily Spence-Almaguer, PhD, MSW

Emily Spence-Almaguer, PhD, MSW
Associate Dean for Community Engagement & Health Equity and Associate Professor, UNT Health Science Center

Education & Experience:
I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from Florida State University and my PhD in Social Welfare from Florida International University. My direct practice experience includes victim advocacy and counseling services provided to individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence and/or stalking. I am also experienced in the development, administration and evaluation of social service programs. I have extensive experience in the assessment of community needs and assets, as well as in conducting program and community-wide evaluations.

Prior to joining UNT Health Science Center, I served as Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Research and Community Outreach at the University of Texas Arlington School of Social Work. I also served as an adjunct professor at Florida International University.

Teaching Areas & Public Health Interests:
I have taught undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses in research design, evaluation, community and macro practice, basic statistics, qualitative and quantitative methods, intimate partner violence and grant proposal development. I have served as a PhD mentor and have chaired doctoral dissertations. I also provide training to professionals in interdisciplinary and practice-based settings.

Professional Activities & Awards:
I have served on the board of directors for local non-profit organizations, and I am currently the Community Outreach Core Director for the Texas Center for Health Disparities, an NIH (National Institutes of Health) Center of Excellence. I have served as a coach and mentor for the National Research Mentors Network (NRMN) and the Steps Toward Academic Research (STAR) Fellowship program. I have received several awards and honors, including the Charles Perry Visionary Award from the Florida International University Alumni Association.

Scholarly Interests:
I am a community-engaged scholar in the areas of program evaluation, interpersonal violence, poverty, homelessness, women’s health, lifestyle interventions and community assessment. I collaborate with groups and organizations on the design of new programs, as well as the collection and analysis of data that can be used to improve or develop solutions for a healthier community. As a program evaluator, I have assessed numerous public health concerns, including breast cancer, asthma, cradle to career development, violence, trauma, economic well-being, post-incarceration re-entry, and women’s wellness. I am particularly interested in interventions that are strengths-based and support human resiliency, such as Solution-Focused therapies, Motivational Interviewing, and asset-based community development.