Join us for our 2021 Virtual Luncheon: Empowered Women Make it Happen
Thursday, June 10, 2021 | Noon-1 pm
Empowered Women Make it Happen. At this year’s luncheon, we are excited to gather virtually to honor four phenomenal women, who educated, fed, guided and advocated for communities as we all navigated a global pandemic. Each of them stood in service and in solidarity with our mission and we are proud to recognize their achievements.
You can look forward to hearing from these women, hearing the stories of girls and young women who are changing our city and the world, and supporting the ongoing work of the YWCA National Capital Area in adult education and workforce development, youth mentorship and STEM education, and promoting race and gender equity.
- Radha Muthiah, CEO, Capital Area Food Bank
- Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director, District of Columbia Department of Health
Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, Maryland District 21
- Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Ph.D , Vice President of CommunityHealth and Social Impact, Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield
Be sure to check back for additional details!
Radha Muthiah, CEO, Capital Area Food Bank
Radha Muthiah currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Area Food Bank, the leading food provider in the Greater Washington region. As CEO, she heads a team that sources and distributes good, healthy food directly and through a network of 400+ partners. In a typical year, the CAFB reaches more than 400,000 food insecure individuals in the region, but that number has risen to almost 600,000 since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the CAFB has evolved its operating models to respond innovatively and effectively to this increased need and developed a long-term strategy to support equitable economic recovery and rebuilding in the nation’s capital with the help of public, private, and non-profit partnerships.
Prior to her role at the food bank, Muthiah has led and grown both start-up and established organizations spanning multiple sectors in the US and internationally. She serves on the boards of Connected DMV, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Public Health Institute, and is a Trustee of the Federal City Council. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics from Tufts University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University.
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director, District of Columbia Department of Health
Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt is a board-certified family physician with over a decade of experience leading population health initiatives in governmental public health agencies. Dr. Nesbitt currently serves as the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Health in Washington, DC, a position she has held since January 2015 when appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. As a physician leader, Dr. Nesbitt mobilizes organizations and communities to implement innovative solutions that promote health and wellness, and achieve health equity. Throughout her career she has led multi-sector collaborations to address innovation in healthcare delivery and its impact on high cost, high need and other special populations; the integration of public health and health care; and the impact of medical marijuana and decriminalization of marijuana possession on the public’s health. Prior to her role in DC, Dr. Nesbitt served as the Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness where she led initiatives focused on Affordable Care Act implementation and violence prevention.
Dr. Nesbitt received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health in Health Care Management and Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed an internship in family medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University and completed the remainder of her family medicine residency in the University of Maryland’s Department of Family Medicine where she served as chief resident. Dr. Nesbitt completed her fellowship training with the Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.
Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, Maryland Legislative District 21
A U.S. citizen since 1983, Joseline was born in the Dominican Republic, raised by a single mother, and became first in her family to graduate from college. After receiving her law degree, Delegate Peña-Melnyk pursued a successful career as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., as a defense attorney, and as an advocate for neglected and abused children.
Delegate Peña-Melnyk served two-terms on the College Park City Council before being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2006, where she continues to represent parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. She serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee, chairs the Public Health and Minority Health Disparities Subcommittee, and is a member of the Government Operations and Health Facilities Subcommittee. In 2017, the Delegate was appointed to co-chair the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, a multi-year effort to preserve affordable access to health care for Maryland residents. She is an appointed member of the Joint COVID-19 Response Legislative Workgroup.
Regionally, she serves on the Health Committee of the Council of State Governments, Eastern Regional Conference and on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of Hispanic State Legislators. She also serves on the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus, the Women Legislators of Maryland Caucus and the Veterans’ Caucus.
Joseline is a married mother of three. A more detailed biographical sketch is available on the Maryland General Assembly web site, where legislative bills she has sponsored may also be viewed.
Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Ph.D Vice President of CommunityHealth and Social Impact, Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield
Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Ph.D. is proud to serve as Vice President of Community Health & Social Impact with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health care insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region. In this role, Dr. Ramjohn leads philanthropic giving and authentic community engagement strategies where people live, learn, work, play, and seek care to drive measurable improvements on health. This intentional alignment of business impact, social impact, and health impact- with an eye toward equity- enables CareFirst to enhance the lives of members and the communities it serves.
Prior to joining CareFirst, Dr. Ramjohn spent five years with Kaiser Permanente as Director of Community Health developing measurement, evaluation, and high-impact strategies for the financial, material, and human resource investments across the Mid-Atlantic region that directly address the social determinants of health and promote health equity. A signature accomplishment was Future Baltimore, a flagship partnership for West Baltimore designed to address inequities that relate to economic opportunity, access to quality care, mental health and community safety in ZIP code 21223.
Creating conditions that promote health equity are at the core of Dr. Ramjohn’s personal and professional mission. Her work examines the role of anchor institutions, like universities and health systems, in generating economic and health impacts that minimize inequities, especially jobs, added years of life from better health, reduced use of emergency departments for primary care, and more. Dr. Ramjohn is a strategic disruptor and innovative change agent, enthusiastically implementing new ideas to ensure that large health systems’ policies, programs, and practices are aligned with an equity agenda.
Dr. Ramjohn’s work has been recognized through numerous honors and awards. In 2020, she was named one of the Maryland Daily Record’s “Very Important Professionals” an honor given to leaders 40 years old and under for their “professional experience, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change.” She was also recognized with the Maryland Daily Record’s “Healthcare Heroes” award in 2019 for advancements in healthcare innovation. In 2018, she won the Council on Foundations and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Public-Private Partnerships. Dr. Ramjohn was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) which expands access to health care for low-income Marylanders. Since its inception, the CHRC has awarded 266 grants totaling $77.7 million, supporting programs in every jurisdiction of the state. She is a Board Member of the Maryland Philanthropy Network, a statewide membership association representing more than 130 organizations that together steward more than $9 billion in charitable assets.
Her research and work are guided by a strong desire to advance health equity using authentically inclusive, empowering, and evidence-based techniques to bring our nation’s most vulnerable from the margins of our society to the center of dialogue, advocacy, and power. She earned her doctorate in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Destiny-Simone lives in Baltimore City and actively gives her personal time, talent, and treasure to a range of organizations including the Harbor City Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated, Fayette Street Outreach, Roberta’s House, Generation Hope, and Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle.