Bridgette Stasher – Booker, Ph.D., RHIA, CHTS-IM

Bridgette Stasher -Booker is a native of Mississippi and currently serves as Past Chair of the Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi (DCM). During the coalition’s infancy stage, Booker worked with the Mississippi State Department of Health Diabetes Primary Prevention Program identifying health strategies and stakeholders to assist in strategically combating this disease. She served as Vice Chair during its launch in 2012 under the first Chair Ms. Lee Ann Griffin, PharmD.   Our objective is to form a strong partnership that promotes standard diabetes education and improve self-management for borderline consumers as well as those living with the disease. In addition, we will continue strengthening coalition’s membership and identifying factors (economic, environmental, political and social) that will assist in decreasing the presence of diabetes in Mississippi.

She is a graduate of Mississippi College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. She received her Master’s degree from Jackson State University in Archival History and has a Doctoral degree in Public Policy and Administration with an emphasis in Policy Analysis also from Jackson State University. In 2010, Booker was selected and honored as 1 of 50 Business Women of Mississippi.

Isley A. Carter, DrPH, MPH, AIT

Dr. Isley A. Carter is currently training to become a Licensed Administrator of a skilled nursing facility at Sunshine Health Care, Inc., a medium-sized nursing home facility in Pontotoc, Mississippi.

Prior to training for licensure, Dr. Carter has more than Ten (10) years of experience in community development combined with public health services. She has a Bachelor Degree in Biology from Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas; Master Degree in Public Health/Epidemiology & Biostats; and a DrPH degree in Public Health Policy and Management from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi.   Dr. Carter has experience in: Supervising Community Health Educator and Preventative Health Nurses with programmatic guidance and direction provided by the Office of Preventive Health and Office of Tobacco Control; have identified, engaged, and conveyed community leaders and stakeholders from diverse disciplines to address policy, environmental, and behavioral risk factors related to chronic illnesses; Established community health initiatives (Access to Physical activity through joint use agreements, complete street policies, and smoke free policies), promoted policy and best practices based on evidence; Manage specific community health programs for planning, implementation, and evaluation; Developed and collaborated with mayoral health councils (Vicksburg, Mendenhall, Edwards, Bolton, Magee, Pearl, Utica) to identify hospitals, primary clinics, civic organizations, transportation providers, schools, public safety organizations to increase health outcomes and community improvements; Supervised and managed efforts by the United States Department of Labor Youthbuild initiative to recruit, enroll, & graduate Out-of-School Youth participants; During her educational and professional career, she has received many awards and certificates including: Jackson State University Graduate School Certificate of Achievement; Hinds County Board of Supervisors- District V- Kenneth I. Stokes; PRAXIS Trainings; Health Transformation Trainings; Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities; David & Lucille Packard Graduate Scholarship; Emory University Minority Graduate Fellowship; and Ford Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

Deborah Colby, RD, CDE

Deborah Colby is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. Deborah serves as the Director of Education for the National Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute at Tradition. Previously, Deborah was the co-founder, and served as the Executive Director for Gulf Coast Health Educators. Deborah has a certificate in Adult Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a Life Coach for the CDC’s Diabetes Primary Prevention Program. Deborah has a Master’s of Education in Health Promotion from the University of New Orleans. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Santee Ezell-Johnson, MS, PCED, JCPS, CHES, CSP, CNP, CPT, CNC

Santee Ezell-Johnson is from Calhoun City, MS but currently a resident of Starkville, MS as the DMH (Department of Mental Health) Consultation & Education Project Coordinator at MS State University. In her role, she manages programs that focus on Mental Health, Suicide, Alcohol & Drug Prevention, and Collegiate Recovery. Her position also coordinates the MS Coalition of Partners in Prevention that consists of community colleges and universities across the state.

She is a graduate of University of Southern Mississippi where she obtained a BA in Sociology with two minors in Nonprofit Management and Community Health Sciences. She is also a graduate of Delta State University where she obtained a MS in Community Development.

Since 2010, she has gained extensive experience while working on federally funded positions. With over eight years of experience, her areas are policy development, evaluation, grant writing management, professional development, public speaking, youth development, community development, health disparities, health promotion and prevention, sustainability, and environmental justice. Through her work, Santee has worked to developed health equity strategies and sustainable community development projects for communities in Mississippi.

She is a visionary with a passion to help address health equalities, health disparities, and health literacy among the rural areas.

Sonja R. Fuqua, PhD, RN

Dr. Sonja R. Fuqua is the Director of Clinical Quality for the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association.  With over 30 years in nursing, her experiences range from Obstetric nursing (clinical) to Manager of Research and Recruitment with the Jackson Heart Study (10yrs), to four years with G. A. Carmichael Family Health Center (GACFHC), one of the MPHCA member Community Health Centers. While with GACFHC, she served as the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Director and was responsible for overseeing the organization’s readiness for PCMH recognition and completing the application process for which Level 2 recognition was achieved.

Dr. Fuqua received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing. However, working with the minority based cohort of the Jackson Heart Study inspired her to pursue her doctorate in African American Studies. She is active in numerous nursing organizations, and is a lifetime member of both Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi, one the oldest African American nurses’ organizations and The National Black Nurses Association. Dr. Fuqua has completed a term on the Mississippi Board of Nursing and is a leader in Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Julie Grogan, MS, RD 

Julie Grogan is a Regional Account manager with Novo Nordisk and responsible for diabetes and obesity market access in MS and LA. She works to connect needs and resources for health plans, integrated delivery networks, employers, and advocacy with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes and preventing complications resulting from uncontrolled diabetes. Novo Nordisk has a 90+ years committed to changing diabetes and is founded on a philosophy of patient-centered care. Julie is a registered dietitian and has a Master of Science from Texas Women’s University and a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech University. She began her career working as a clinical dietitian in the hospital setting teaching patients to manage their diabetes. Julie is a native of Irving, TX and resides in Canton, MS with her husband of 17 years, Nolen, and two children Berkley (15) and Will (13). Julie is driven and inspired to create collaboration across health plans, providers, and health care advocates to improve outcomes and prevent complications for patients with diabetes.

Linda Gwaltney, MS, RD, CDE

Linda Gwaltney  is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator serving as Diabetes Education Program Director for Hattiesburg Clinic. Linda has a certificate in Adult Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a Lifestyle Coach for the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program. She has a Master of Science in Dietetics-Institutional Management from the University of Southern Mississippi with post-graduate work in Medical Communication toward a PhD. Linda began her career with Valley Management Services in Jackson, MS, managing nutrition services in eight southern states for seventeen years later moving to national involvement in consulting services based out of Atlanta, GA. She returned to Mississippi in 2016 to launch programs in diabetes self-management and diabetes prevention for Hattiesburg Clinic impacting the Mississippi southern region.

Beverly Hearn, RN, CDE

Beverly Hearn is a native of Meridian MS and has been employed with Greater Meridian Health Clinic, Inc. ( GMHC), a Federally Qualified Health Center—FQHC—since 1992. Ms. Hearn has served in numerous capacities with GMHC and currently holds the position of Director of Education and Outreach.

Ms. Hearn has a great passion for working with people who have chronic illness (es), and is an advocate for the pre-diabetes and diabetes population. She partakes in various activities throughout central Mississippi, including churches, schools, and the community.

Ms. Hearn is a professional member of the American Diabetes Association, member of the Meridian Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council, has held several positions, served and currently serves on various boards. She is married to Gary Hearn and between them they have 9 children and 15 grandchildren.

Kimberly Johnson

A former Research Assistant for Mississippi State Department of Health and Research Assistant for Mississippi Children Home Services, Kimberly Johnson currently serves as a Training Officer for Mississippi Department of Corrections. Although she works for Corrections, Kimberly is very compassionate for Public Health, especially in the state of Mississippi, where she currently resides.  A University of Southern Mississippi graduate, Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. From serving with Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), a non-profit organization that was founded to address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity nationwide to volunteering with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Kimberly is very active in promoting health throughout the state from infants to adults.

Ryan Kelly, MS

Ryan Kelly is the CEO of Horizon Professional Services, a company that provides leadership and management of healthcare associations both in and outside of Mississippi.  In this role, Ryan serves as the executive director of several health-related associations.

Prior to his position with Horizon, Ryan served as the chief advancement officer at William Carey University. In this role, he led fundraising and alumni relations efforts at the university in addition to marketing and legislative activity. Ryan has also served the University of Southern Mississippi as Director of External Relations in the College of Health, and Manager of Constituent Relations in the Alumni Association. He also served as Administrative Pastor of Mt. Salus Presbyterian Church in Clinton prior to his arrival at Southern Miss.

Ryan is a 2005 honors graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, and a 2007 graduate of Mississippi College.

Angela Kestenbaum

Angela Kestenbaum has 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and has been employed with Eli Lilly and Company for the last 15 years, currently as an Executive Sales Representative in the Diabetes Division.  As a diabetes representative, she is passionate about working with health care professionals and the community as they manage and educate their patients and families on how to better manage their diabetes.  She has been married to Pete Kestenbaum for 29 years, and they have one daughter, Camryn (19), who is a sophomore at Mississippi State University.

Catherine W. Moring, Ph.D.

Dr. Catherine W. Moring received her Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University of Mississippi as well as her doctorate with an emphasis in health behavior and promotion. Dr. Moring is the founder and executive director of the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. With a passion for teaching people how to heal from the inside out, she focuses on the whole person and all dimensions of wellness, and recently developed an innovative chronic care program, the MASTER Plan – Managing All Symptoms Together. She has worked on numerous research projects, written and received several grants and has over eight years of teaching experience in both college and community settings.

Her interests include community health, worksite wellness, physical activity promotion and adherence, the built environment and the influence of policy, and the prevention of obesity and diabetes. She specializes in helping individuals and families overcome health concerns, heal from chronic conditions, and reach optimal states of health and wellness. She serves as a board member for the Mississippi Public Health Association and is an affiliated research associate for the University of Mississippi’s Center for Population Studies. Dr. Moring is also a member of the Charleston Mayor’s Health Council and serves as the health and wellness committee chairman for the county’s Excel by 5 Coalition. She is passionate about working with people and communities to improve individual and population health and quality of life. She is a certified health education specialist, yoga teacher, and a Certified Whole30 Coach.

Matthew Strum, PharmD, BCACP, CDE

Matt is a Diabetes Medical Liaison with Novo Nordisk covering North Mississippi and Arkansas. He provides scientific and educational support for various products for the management of diabetes care. Prior to joining Novo, he was on faculty at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and practiced at Oxford Endocrinology Consultants in Oxford, MS. He has been actively participating in the care of patients with diabetes for over 15 years. Matt has been active with the Mississippi Diabetes Coalition for several years and currently is Chair of the Northern Chapter of the Coalition. Matt currently resides in Oxford, MS with his wife and three children.

Laura Tucker, MSN

Laura Tucker is the chief nurse for the Delta/Hills Public Health District III. Tucker received an Associate’s Degree from Holmes Community College in 1988, a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2005 and a Master’s Degree from UMMC in 2007. Tucker has 25 years’ experience at MSDH, including work as a clinical nurse, county coordinating nurse and maternal/child health family planning coordinator. Tucker also volunteers with the Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi, Place Matters, and the Mississippi Nurses Association, District 32.

Dawn Vosbein, MS,RD

Dawn is currently the Family & Consumer Science Agent in Pearl River County for Mississippi State University Extension Service. She has been there for 12 years. Her responsibilities include education in nutrition, food safety, financial management, parenting, health, and early childhood development for the residents of Pearl River County. She has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Physical Education, Athletic Training and Biology. Her Masters degrees are from The United States Sports Academy in Fitness Management and Public Health from Tulane School of Public Health.

She became a registered Dietitian in 1993 and has worked in several hospitals in the area, coordinated a cardiac rehab program and been the traveling dietitian for South Mississippi Regional Center. At West Jefferson Medical Center she worked exclusively as the Diabetic Dietitian and has been interested in helping people stay healthy since high school.

Darlene Willis

Darlene Willis is a Diabetes Prevention Coordinator. Her Job is to serve as the administrative personnel for the Diabetes Care Clinic. Her duties include reporting and updating the Choctaw Health Center Administration, Tribal Administration, Tribal Leaders, United South and Eastern Tribes at The Nashville Area Indian Health Service, and the Department of Grants Management. She also ensures that the Diabetes Care Clinic maintains their ADA Certification.   The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Choctaw Health Center Diabetes Program consists of a clinical unit and a prevention program. The Diabetes clinic provides comprehensive care to the diabetes patients and has been ADA Certified Recognition program since 2008.


Julia Woods, Pharm.D.

Dr. Julia Woods recently joined The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy as a Clinical Pharmacist with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science in the Community Based Research Program.  Currently, her work focuses on the partnership with the UMMC Center for Telehealth and expanding pharmacy services through telehealth. Julia currently is part of the remote patient monitoring program clinical team providing comprehensive medication reviews and disease self-management education to patients at the Center for Telehealth.

Julia graduated from The University of Mississippi in 2005, with a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. After graduation she worked for two years in community pharmacy before accepting a position at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). While at MSDH, she was the Pharmacist Consultant for the Department of Pharmacy, Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response and the Diabetes Control Program.  Dr. Woods  has also worked with the School of Pharmacy as a Clinical Instructor/Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice.  She is a member of the Mississippi Pharmacists Association, Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Pharmacists Association and The Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi.