Meet the Team
Here are the people responsible for organizing this incredible festival
DR. THOMAS LAVEIST, PhD, MA
Dean Thomas LaVeist is a leading researcher on the topic of health disparities and the social determinants of health, including areas such as U.S. health and social policy, the role of race in health research, social factors contributing to mortality, longevity, and life expectancy, and the utilization of health services in the U.S.
Dr. LaVeist came to Tulane from the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University, where he was the chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. He also spent 25 years at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he was the William C. and Nancy F. Richards Professor in Health Policy and the director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. In addition to being dean at Tulane SPHTM, he is also the Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity.
He holds a doctorate in medical sociology from the University of Michigan and is an elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine. In addition to more than 130 scientific articles, Dr. LaVeist has written for Newsweek, Black Enterprise Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun. He has also published several books and is a documentary filmmaker for the series The Skin You're In.
After spending the majority of his career in the northeast, he's excited about the opportunity to be at Tulane SPHTM where he hopes the school - one of the foundational schools of public health in the country - can make a difference by helping to make both New Orleans and Louisiana healthier places to live.
DR. MARKALAIN DERY, DO, MPH, FACOI
Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Dery completed his master's degree in public health, focusing on poverty in resource poor countries. Following his completion of medical school, he went completed his residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University where his research and medical focus was on the influence of poverty on health.
After completing his training in infectious diseases at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dery joined the Tulane faculty where he focused on researching and addressing the social determinants of health, particularly as they relate to HIV/AIDS.
He now serves as medical director of the Ryan White funded Access Health Louisiana (AHL) Pythian Clinic, as director of the AHL AETC, and also fills the role of chief innovation officer with AHL. He is proud of the fact that he was one of the first in the South to prescribe PrEP and to begin immediately starting people diagnosed with HIV on antiretroviral medications.
Recognizing that 20% of people living with HIV are unaware of their HIV diagnosis, Dery has also worked to develop new HIV testing strategies, including hosting music concerts where band members are tested live on stage. He is also the founder and executive director of the radio station, 102.3 WHIV-FM, whose programming is dedicated to human rights and social justice.
DAVID ROSTON, MPH, CHES
David Roston earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from the University of Michigan in screen arts & cultures and a master’s of public health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He hosts a weekly public health talk show on 102.3 FM WHIV in New Orleans every Friday. With a background in international documentary filmmaking, David is interested in fusing the arts and media with public health education and prevention efforts. He is the communications and dissemination manager at the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), and is responsible for all the center’s communications campaigns, educational materials, electronic newsletters, social media, website, and traditional publications. He continues to direct and edit short films, and is developing his own public health media group. David loves to garden, play basketball, travel, and dance.
GRAHAM PATTERSON, MPP
Following his graduation from UCLA with a degree in development, Graham Patterson spent six years focused on building new programs and partnerships in the social sector. In 2013 he returned to school in order to pursue a master's degree in public policy, which he completed with honors in 2015. Graham has an enthusiastic and inquisitive personality and a love for data-informed solutions. These interests serve him well in his role as a program manager. In his free time you'll find him reading the news, cooking, or planning for his next trip - ideally to a spot with scuba diving.
Dee hails from the Boston area, but has lived in New Orleans for over 25 years. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been at Tulane since 2005, first with the Tulane Prevention Research Center and now as director of communications for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Prior to that she spent a dozen years with Pete Fountain Productions, a major local event planning agency. When she’s not thinking about school news articles and brand guidelines, you can find her working on the Great American Novel, playing with her dog Cassie and friends at the Boling Hotel for Dogs, or just spending quality time with her husband and 17-year-old son.
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, Raven is a student at Louisiana State University, studying graphic design and art history. This is her first semester interning within a public health industry and she has enjoyed it every step of the way. She wants to use her passion for design to communicate ideas and creative expression.
Tara is originally from Birmingham, Alabama but grew up in New Orleans and is a proud Ben Franklin alumna. She holds both a BA and MA in English literature from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tara brings four years of film fest experience to the table from her work with the Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival in Birmingham. She started working at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2011, and she manages the school’s website and juggles various other communications and media tasks. Outside of work, she’s pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in digital design and keeps busy with her cats, husband, friends, and a never-ending list of TV shows and films to watch.
Claire is a student at Tulane University studying public health and communications. She is originally from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and developed a passion for public health after researching disparities between developed and developing countries with a particular interest in food insecurity. This is her first professional internship in the public health field, and she is excited to be working with such an accredited group of mentors in a city as exciting as New Orleans. When she’s not studying or exploring the city, she enjoys running and is currently training for her next half marathon.
ARACHU CASTRO, PhD, MPH
Dr. Castro, is Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America and Director of the Collaborative Group for Health Equity in Latin America at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her major interests are how social inequalities are embodied as differential risk for pathologies common among the poor and how health policies may alter the course of epidemic disease and other pathologies afflicting populations living in poverty.
Julie is an award winning, Emmy nominated producer/director/writer, nurse/wellness educator,and Yoga Instructor. She served as Co-Executive Director of IFP Phoenix and has worked on hundreds of film/TV projects, crafted PR campaigns, PSA’s, and trailers. Julie also developed/hosted TV shows such as “Living it up in Arizona.” Julie's intent is to shed light on Indigenous Peoples around the globe, amplifying the voices of grassroots movements and bringing awareness to human rights, social injustice and environmental violations through the art of story-telling. Spearheading a variety of arts and cultural awareness campaigns, she serves as a cultural ambassador promoting New Orleans and Louisiana culture. Julie serves on several film and art related boards including WIFT Louisiana, (Woman in Film TV) and is honored to be part of F-NO's dynamic and visionary team. Julie creates balance by playing with family and friends, traveling, dancing in the moonlight,and doing headstands in City Park.