- Karen Abrams, MPH – Chair – Karen’s experience is in facilitating collaborative teams through strategic planning processes and cultivating sustainable systems change at state and community levels. Karen is the primary author of the “Evidence-Based Toolkit for Effective Substance Abuse Prevention Planning,” a technical guide for Nebraska community coalitions that provides a road map for effective strategic planning for prevention. She is co-author of a 12-module substance abuse prevention planning curriculum to assist newcomers to Nebraska’s prevention workforce to understand prevention planning fundamentals. She facilitated the Nebraska Partners in Prevention workgroup that authored a strategic planning guide designed to provide community coalitions with a set of tools to help them select the most appropriate substance abuse prevention strategies. And, she is co-creator of a series of workshops called the Community Academy, designed to assist Nebraskans to utilize an outcomes-oriented strategic planning process for prevention that builds the capacity of community coalitions as well as the agencies and organizations that make up local prevention systems. The Community Academy was recognized by the Annapolis Coalition on Behavioral Health Workforce Education, and is included in the Annapolis Coalition’s Registry of Innovative Practices in Workforce Development. Karen received her MPH in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
- A’Jamal Byndon – Vice Chair – Founder and Executive Director, Omaha Table Talk
- John Kretzschmar – Secretary – Director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies. The Institute provides education to the women and men of Nebraska’s labor movement to help them preserve and expand workplace democracy. John is married and enjoys both bicycle riding and Nebraska Cornhusker football.
- Fanying Kong, Ph.D. – Treasurer – Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Bellevue University
- Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, Ph.D. – Member – Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, with an emphasis on Foreign Policy, International Development and Security. He is the Assistant Director for Research and Outreach for the Office of Latino and Latin American Studies (OLLAS), and is a Senior Research Associate with the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade and Security. He has conducted research related to Cuba’s efforts to develop a nuclear energy capability and broader infrastructure and energy development issues and is recognized as one of the United States’ leading specialists in this issue area. He received his M.A. in International Policy Studies (1993) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Georgia (1998). Additionally, he attended UCLA and Harvard University.
Professor Benjamin-Alvarado is active in the Omaha community, having served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Latino Center of the Midlands, the City of Omaha Personnel Board, the Corporate Board of Directors of FBG Services Inc as well as the community boards of the Omaha Community Foundation, Film Streams and the Missouri River District of the United Methodist Church. His Latino Politics course at UNO includes student participation in an interdisciplinary service learning project to address issues of fair housing, immigration, voter participation and social justice issues in the greater Omaha area. He represented the State of Nebraska at the 2002 National Hispanic Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. He has published studies and articles of Latino political, social and economic conditions in Nebraska, OLLAS, the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Urban Affairs Review.
- Donna Polk, Ph.D., LMHP – Member – Chief Executive Officer, Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition