Mrs. Marlene Cooper Vasilic

Marlene Cooper Vasilic is the Vice President for Outreach and Special Events at American Progress, where she oversees public policy events and conferences that tackle issues including economic advancement, national security, global progress, education, healthcare, energy, criminal justice, among others.

Prior to American Progress, she was the assistant director for distance learning initiatives and audience enrichment at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, responsible for managing the Center’s adult education program and leading in the development, design, and production of more than 80 ballet, symphonic music, modern dance, jazz, theater, and festival multicultural arts programs for the general public every year. She coordinated special projects at the Kennedy Center including the annual Children’s Multicultural Book Festival, the National College Dance Festival, and the international Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell Summer Program.

Additionally, Ms. Vasilic worked as the director of education and associate curator of Off Center for CenterStage, the state theater of Maryland, where she developed and managed educational programs, performances, and multiple educational publications. She also established the Community Action Board of civic leaders of Baltimore, Baltimore County, and surrounding areas.

Ms. Vasilic has served as a cultural specialist in Argentina and program evaluator in Cyprus for the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Ambassadors program, and as an arts educator and writer for Arena Stage, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Dance Institute of Washington, and DanceUSA Journal. She has also served as a panelist and grant evaluator for the Maryland State Arts Council; as a theater instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Odyssey program and Baltimore’s ARTSCAPE Festival; and as a project director for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s play-reading series.
She is a former member of the D.C. Playback Theater Company, the Baltimore Mayor’s Advisory Council of Arts and Culture, the First Night Annapolis Advisory Board, and the Fine Arts Advisory Committee for Baltimore City Public Schools.

Originally from Monrovia, Liberia, Cooper Vasilic is a graduate of Purdue University, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and a board member of Blamadon Theater Company. She is dedicated to finding ways to increase artistic opportunities for young people in Liberia.

Dr. Dougbeh-Chris Nyan

Dr. Dougbeh-Chris Nyan holds a Doctor of Medicine from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Medizinische Fakultät – Charité in Germany. He completed his postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Trained in infections disease research, Dr. Nyan has over a decade of experience working in the public health systems in pathogen diagnostics and the development of affordable diagnostic tests for underprivileged communities.

He has invented a rapid multiplex quantitative test that can simultaneously detect and identify up to seven different viruses, including HIV, Zika, Ebola, Malaria, and West Nile Virus in human blood products. Additionally, Dr. Nyan has a track record of quality scientific publications in high impact factor journals such as “Nature (Scientific Reports),” the “International Journal of Infectious Diseases,” and “Clinical Infectious Diseases.”

Dr. Nyan served on the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) of the WHO-USA-West African Ebola vaccine clinical trials, coordinated by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He was an Oakridge Institute for Science and Education research fellow with the US Food and Drugs Administration’s Laboratory of Emerging Pathogen-Division of Emerging and Transfusion-Transmitted Disease. He also worked as a scientist for the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Department of the Naval Medical Research Center.

He is the Director of the Secretariat of the Diaspora Task Force on the Ebola Crisis, where he volunteers his expertise for the benefit of Liberians and other West African nations. In this role, he has testified before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health on the Ebola Crisis in West Africa, advocated for a sustained and coordinated international support for Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, conducted infection-control awareness campaign in Ebola-affected region, coordinated Diaspora medical relief supplies and distribution to Ebola-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and recruited and deployed Diaspora medical personnel in Ebola-affected West African Sub-region to deliver medical services.

Dr. Nyan is a recipient of the German Academic Exchange Service Scholar Award (1993), and the Fogarty International Exchange Scientist Award (1999) and the Intramural Research Training Fellowship Award (2001) from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Marlon Brewer

Dr. Marlon Brewer is a Liberian born immigrant and a product of the New York Public School System. He received his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was accepted into the European American Medical Exchange Program, and attended Medical School at the Universidad de Extremadura in Spain.

He trained as a resident in Primary Care- Internal Medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine Elmhurst Hospital, where he currently serves as the Chief Physician of the Medical Primary Care Clinic and Associate Director of the Department of Ambulatory Care at Elmhurst Hospital. Additionally, Dr. Brewer holds the faculty title of Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he was a pioneer contributor of the Art and Science of Medicine Program.

With over 25 years of experience in his field, Dr. Brewer has been a team leader and physician champion in chronic disease collaboratives involving both the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) and the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). He is a trainer for other health care professionals in smoking cessation and has led performance improvement initiatives in the care of patients with asthma, diabetes and hypertension.

In 2006, Dr. Brewer was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a member of the Board of Health of the City of New York where he served for nine years. During his tenure, the board passed health care legislation on the prohibition of trans fats in prepared foods, the inclusion of calorie counts on menu boards, and the letter grading for food service establishments based on sanitary conditions. He has received recognition for the exceptional delivery of quality health care in the Queens Health Network, and is a past-president of the Elmhurst Hospital Faculty Practice Group. In 2013 he received The Physician Recognition Award from the cancer support organization “Shareing & Careing.” Dr. Brewer is listed in the Castle Connolly Guide as a Best Doctor in the New York Metropolitan Area and is cited in the U.S. News and World Report as a top internist in the City of New York.