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Mario Cruz, MD
Medical Leadership, Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center
Medical Director

Philadelphia FIGHT

Dr. Cruz is regarded as one of the best pediatricians in Philadelphia. A board certified pediatrician, Dr. Cruz joined Philadelphia FIGHT as the Medical Director for our Pediatric and Adolescent Health Centerin 2017. He completed his undergraduate training in Biology and Psychology from Union College, his medical school training at Albany Medical College, his residency training at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and his Chief Residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. He joined Philadelphia FIGHT Pediatrics after 9 years as an academic pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he led the medical training program as an Associate Residency Program Director. He also has experience working in private practice through Advocare.

Currently, Dr. Cruz is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine, has additional training in Child Abuse Pediatrics through the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Child Abuse Preceptorship and has completed formal training in Educational Scholarship through the Academic Pediatric Association’s Educational Scholars Program.

Dr. Cruz has published and presented in the fields of curriculum development, mentorship, quality improvement and violence prevention. He was a key member of the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children HIV Screening Work Group that increased the rate of routine adolescent HIV screening in the primary care clinic from less than 5% to greater than 95%. In addition he has educated hundreds of health care professionals, regionally and nationally, on the practical implementation of Intimate Partner Violence screening.

Dr. Cruz has received many awards for his leadership skills, humanistic traits, innovation and community service efforts. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching as well as the Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award from Drexel University College of Medicine. In 2017 Dr. Cruz received the Community Advocate Award from the Lutheran Settlement House for his efforts to prevent childhood exposure to domestic violence. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare. Most recently, Dr. Cruz was recognized by Philadelphia Magazine in 2020 as one of their Top Docs.

Dr. Cruz is a Spanish-speaking pediatrician who enjoys working with children of all ages and has special expertise in managing families exposed to emotional trauma. Currently, Mario resides in Philadelphia with his wife (Patti) and two children (Dominic and Felix).

Zulene Mayfield
Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living

Zulene Mayfield was born and reared in Chester, PA. A family oriented person who enjoys the comfort of a strong family circle. Because of the love for my family I became active with the residents and helped in the formation of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) i, pronounced "circle" in 1992. In 1993, became the Chairperson for (CRQCL). Due to CRCQL's efforts numerous polluting facilities have been shut down, had their permits denied or have withdrawn their applications all together. Because of CRCQL Pennsylvania now has an office of environmental justice. Zulene and CRCQL's efforts have been covered nationally and internationally by NPR, Good Morning America, The Associated Press, CNN and The Guardian. Zulene has been able to assist like community groups also suffering under environmental racism. CRCQL was critical in forming the Campus Coalition Concerning Chester (C-4). C-4 is comprised of local colleges concentrated on environmental and community issues and the environmental racism in Chester. In addition has serving as advisor to numerous community organizations suffering under environmental injustices. CRCQL now reformed, will continue to address concerns from the operation of the largest incinerator in the nation operating in Chester, PA.

Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCS
Clinical Professor
Associate Director for Diversity Programs
Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University

Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and is Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Associate Director for Diversity Programs and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas to realize that simple changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care. Through her work, Dr. Mitchell has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach especially to those individuals who may not have the means to seek out more conventional medical advice. Dr. Mitchell’s research in breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers and other GI malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

Dr. Mitchell served as the 116th President of the National Medical Association, is a member of the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, ECOG/ACRIN Cancer Research Group, and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Because of her experience in the cancer research community Dr. Mitchell served as a member of the NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel convened to advise the National Cancer Advisory Board on then Vice President Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. In 2019, Dr. Mitchell began service as a member of the President’s Cancer Panel and in 2020 she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General, having served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Surgeon for U.S. Transportation command and headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC) based at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Jacquelyn Hamati
MD-MPH Student

Jacquelyn "Jacqui" Hamati (JH) is an MD-MPH student who has finished three years of medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC), and is part of the JCPH Time Out Program. Jacqui plans to use her education to improve access to eye care in vulnerable populations, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Marsha Simmons, CCRP
MPH Student
Research Coordinator, Diabetes Research Center, Jefferson

Marsha Simmons, CCRP is research professional with an extensive background in academic, pharmaceutical, and medical research. She currently manages the Diabetes Research Center at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and frequently works across the Jefferson enterprise. She is an MPH student with plans to graduate in 2022.


Sarah Lomax-Reese
President & CEO
WURD Radio

Sara Lomax-Reese is the President and CEO of WURD Radio, LLC, Pennsylvania’s only African-American owned talk radio station. She is credited with transforming WURD Radio from a legacy talk radio station to a multimedia communications company providing cutting edge, original programming on air, online and through community events. In 2017, Sara led the expansion of 900AM-WURD to the FM dial, now simulcasting on both 900AM and 96.1FM. In 2018, Sara spearheaded the launch of an environmental justice journalism platform called ecoWURD.com. And in 2019 she launched a new initiative called Lively-HOOD focused on jobs, career readiness and entrepreneurship to address the persistent wealth gap in the Black community. Most recently, she co-founded a new media company called URL Media, a network of Black and Brown owned media organizations that share content, distribution and revenues to increase their long-term sustainability. Prior to her work with WURD Radio and URL, in 1992 Sara co-founded HealthQuest: Total Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit, a trailblazing African-American consumer health magazine that grew from a quarterly publication to a bi-monthly with a national circulation of over 500,000.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Sara has written for The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Essence Magazine, and Modern Maturity. In 2016, Sara contributed to a book of essays, “Our Black Sons Matter,” written by Black mothers of sons. And in 2018 Sara presented before the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, writing an article about the topic. Last June, Sara was sought out and featured on multiple BBC news programs, offering commentary about the protests throughout the country and the world. She is a coach in the Major Markets Table Stakes Program and is the Program Lead for the new BIPOC Sustainability Accelerator funded by Facebook designed to empower Black and Brown owned media organizations.

Sara has served as an adjunct professor of communications at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. She has taught a collaborative course at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. John Jackson titled “Urban Ethnography” which taught students how to create audio documentaries that aired on WURD Radio. Sara completed the Harvard Business School’s Executive Leadership program: The Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports in 2018. In 2019 Sara completed the Media Transformation Challenge (formerly the Sulzberger Program) at Harvard Kennedy School.

Sara has received numerous awards including: The Beacon of Light Award from the Congressional Black Caucus for HealthQuest Magazine’s outstanding health coverage. She received the Woman of Substance Award from the National Medical Association; was recognized as one of the "100 People to Watch" by Business Philadelphia Magazine; and selected for the “Women of Distinction” award given by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Additionally, Sara has received the PECO “Power to the Community” award given by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Pennsylvania; the Moving Mountains Award from the Leon Sullivan Charitable Trust; the RAD Award for Activist of the Year; and the 2017 Trailblazer Award from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. In 2018, Sara was also named one of the “100 Most Influential Philadelphians” by Philadelphia Magazine.

Sara sits on Arcadia University’s Board of Trustees and Drexel University’s College of Medicine Advisory Council. Additionally, Sara participated on the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadcast Diversity and Development Working Group of the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment.

An avid yoga and meditation practitioner, Sara is also co-founder of Philadelphia’s People of Color meditation group. She is the proud mother of three sons, Langston, Elijah and Julian.


As the poorest and most diverse of the nation's 10 largest cities, Philadelphia struggles to address an array of issues that affect the health and wellbeing of our community members. There are no easy answers, but there are many of ideas and efforts underway led by dedicated citizens working to make a difference. This Population Health Forum is dedicated to acandid conversation about health equity, moderated by local journalist and media executive Sara Lomax-Reese.

Presentation: 58:56