IPHN Advisers

IPHN Advisers serve as a resource for the IPHN conveners and Community Council, and partners, in the following three categories of expertise:  

Faith: Leaders (including formal and lay leaders) across varied religious, ethical, and humanist traditions.
Science and Policy: Researchers and practitioners in public health, population health, policy implementation, and allied disciplines.
Community Praxis: Leaders in community service, human services, community organizing, and allied fields.

Organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.


Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH

Science & Policy Adviser

Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy where he also directs the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. For the past 30 year, Freudenberg has developed, implemented and evaluation health policies and programs designed to improve the health of urban neighborhoods and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in health.  He is author of Lethal but Legal Corporations, Consumption and Protecting Public Health (Oxford University Press, 2014) and the forthcoming At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health (Oxford, 2021).  


Alyshia Gálvez, PhD

Science & Policy Adviser

Alyshia Gálvez is a cultural and medical anthropologist. She is professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at Lehman College and of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies and the Destruction of Mexico (UC Press, 2018) on changing food policies, systems and practices in Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States, including the ways they are impacted by trade and economic policy, and their public health implications. She is currently seeking agent representation for two new book projects. She is the author of two previous books on Mexican migration, Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers Mexican Women, Public Prenatal Care and the Birth Weight Paradox (Rutgers University Press, Oct. 2011, winner of the 2012 ALLA Book Award from Latin American Anthropologists) and Guadalupe in New York: Devotion and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights among Mexican Immigrants (NYU Press, Dec. 2009).


Payel Gupta, MD, FACAAI

Science & Policy Adviser

Dr. Payel Gupta completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and majored in biopsychology and religion. She earned her medical degree from Michigan State University; and then pursued a residency in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She then moved to New York City and did a fellowship in allergy and immunology at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center.

Dr. Gupta is an Associate Clinical Professor at both SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is triple board certified and holds certifications from the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the American Board of Pediatrics.

She is working in New York City as an Asthma, Allergy & Immunology specialist treating both adult and pediatric patients with asthma, environmental allergies, allergic skin conditions, immune disorders and food allergies.

She is a volunteer national spokesperson for the American Lung Association. She is also a member of a number of professional organizations including the American College of Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and is serving as the chair of the ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee. She is president for the New York Allergy & Asthma Society.

Dr. Gupta has a strong interest in global health and was on sabbatical from 2011 to 2013 where she volunteered her clinical skills in Liberia, Nepal and India. She has also volunteered in Haiti, Tanzania, Peru and Honduras.


Reverend Darriel Harris

Faith Adviser

Darriel Harris is a 6th year PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (JHSPH) within the department of Health Behavior and Society. His research interests are in faith-based health communications, neighborhood related health factors, social determinants of health, community based participatory research, and urban agriculture. Along with school, Darriel helped found the Black Church Food Security Network and Church Lands, and is the former farm director of Strength to Love II Farm.

Prior to studying at Johns Hopkins, Darriel worked for the Center for a Livable Future within JHSPH’s department of Environmental Health Sciences and Engineering as the project coordinator for the Baltimore Food and Faith Project. Within this role, Darriel organized faith-based events and projects with over 100 Baltimore area congregations. He also created a faith-based curriculum for healthy eating that has been utilized in over 30 Baltimore area churches to date.

Prior to moving to Baltimore, Darriel worked as a health missionary in South Sudan. In this role Darriel created a Bible based curriculum to address a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Darriel holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in electrical engineering from Morgan State University, a Masters of Arts degree in Organizational Management from The George Washington University, a graduate certificate in Financial Management from the University of Maryland, and a Masters of Divinity degree from Duke University.


Adrienne Hollis, PhD, JD

Science & Policy Adviser

Adrienne L. Hollis, PhD, JD is the Senior Climate Justice and Health Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She leads the work on methods for accessing and documenting the health impacts of climate change on communities of color and other traditionally disenfranchised groups and ensures scientific information from UCS is communicated in a culturally competent and helpful manner to vulnerable populations. Dr. Hollis works with environmental justice communities to identify priority health concerns related to climate change and other environmental assaults and evaluates climate and energy policy approaches for their ability to effectively address climate change and benefit underserved communities. Within the Climate & Energy program, she is examining climate and energy policies aimed at reducing exposure to negative health and environmental impacts; and recommending policy approaches to foster inclusiveness and greater benefits to underserved communities, and effectively address climate change.

Dr. Hollis has more than 20 years of experience in the environmental arena, particularly focused on environmental justice, equity and inclusion, and the adverse health effects of environmental exposures and climate change on vulnerable communities.


Christopher McKay, MA

Community Praxis Adviser

Christopher McKay serves as a Youth Minister for the Church of God of Prophecy in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. Professionally, Chris is also a Service Delivery Executive at Insight Global, the 3rd largest IT staffing company in the United States.  Chris holds a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Hofstra University and a Master's Degree in Urban Ministry from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Chris is the proud son of Bishop Earl McKay and Minister Ella McKay. He has been happily married to his wife Angie for 12 years and they have a 4 year old son named Micah.


Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, D. Min.

Faith Adviser

Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, D. Min. is a Buddhist priest, ordained in the 750-year-old Jodoshinshu tradition of Japanese Buddhism. He is a President and Founder of the Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York, Ltd [501(c)3 charity NPO] formed 2018. He is Vice President and former President of the Buddhist Council of New York. Rev Nakagaki is a Hiroshima Peace Ambassador, Nagasaki Peace Correspondent, and New York City Police Department Clergy Liaison. Since 1994, Rev. Nakagaki has organized an Interfaith Peace event to commemorate the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. He organized the annual 9-11 WTC Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony from 2002-2011. Rev. Nakagaki was ordained in 1980 at the Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. In 1985, he was sent to the U.S. as an overseas minister, serving first with at the Seattle Buddhist Church, (1985-1989), the Parlier Buddhist Church (1989-1994), and the New York Buddhist Church (1994-2010).

His first English-language book, The Buddhist Swastika and Hitler's Cross: Rescuing a Symbol of Peace from the Forces of Hate, was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2018.


Niyati Parekh, PhD, MS, RD

Science & Policy Adviser

Niyati Parekh, PhD, MS, RD, Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition, New York University and Executive Director of Doctoral Programs at the School of Global Public Health focuses on nutritional risk factors, dietary patterns and non-communicable diseases in epidemiologic studies. Particularly, she has investigated the links between diet, alcohol, physical activity, obesity and cancer, with over 75 peer-reviewed publications. She teaches Public Health Nutrition, Cancer Epidemiology, Nutritional Epidemiology and doctoral courses at NYU. Dr. Parekh has been a recipient of NIH and American Cancer Society funding and has served as a consultation at UNICEF. 


Sean A. Valles, PhD 

Science & Policy Adviser

Sean A. Valles, PhD is Director and Associate Professor in the Michigan State University Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences. He is a philosopher of health specializing in the ethical and evidentiary complexities of how social contexts—everything from one’s local food options to the presence/absence of exposure to violent policing practices—combine to create patterns of inequitable health disparities. His work includes studying the challenges of responsibly using race and ethnicity concepts in monitoring health disparities, scrutinizing the rhetoric of the COVID-19 pandemic as an ‘unprecedented’ problem that could not be prepared for, and examining how biomedicine meshes with public health and population health. He is author of the 2018 book, Philosophy of Population Health: Philosophy for a New Public Health Era. He is also co-editor (with Quill R. Kukla) of the Oxford University Press book series, "Bioethics for Social Justice.”  http://seanvalles.com/