Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles released its 11th annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ on March 24, 2022. This year’s report, “Progress, Regress: Women’s Health Amidst a Pandemic,” assesses the progress, or lack thereof, that California has made in advancing women’s health since we last focused on this topic in 2017.
The Report was developed by MSMU’s Center for the Advancement of Women and is the most comprehensive study focusing on the issues and trends affecting the nearly 20 million women and girls who call California home. Its findings were announced during a virtual event that gathered leaders from various industries to discuss the toll the pandemic took on women’s health, from chronic conditions and psychological health to preventive care.
Deborah Allen, PhD, is deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she heads the Bureau of Health Promotion. She served previously as director of Child, Adolescent and Family Health at the Boston Public Health Commission, as associate professor of Maternal and Child Health at the Boston University School of Public Health and as director of the Division for Special Health Needs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She currently chairs the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association and serves on the board of CityMatCH, the national organization of urban maternal and child health leaders. Throughout her career, she has served on multiple leadership and advisory committees for maternal and child health programs at local, state and national levels.
Emerald Archer, PhD, is the director of the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University. She has dedicated her career to studying questions related to gender equity and women’s representation in non-traditional domains such as the United States military. Through the Center, Archer’s primary goal is to promote and increase gender equity in California and our region, and she leads the Center's efforts related to applied research, education and policy analysis. Archer has also published articles in The European Legacy and Armed Forces & Society, and is the author of a book titled “Women, Warfare and Representation: American Servicewomen in the Twentieth Century.”
Denise Dador is the Eyewitness News Health Specialist whose “Circle of Health” reports can be seen on ABC7 Eyewitness News. Since joining ABC7 in 1998, Denise’s mission has been to help Southern Californians improve their lives with timely medical information and advice. Through her reports, L.A’s top medical experts become accessible and relatable. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, her stories played a pivotal role in helping Angelenos navigate their changing world. Besides volunteering to help groups that fund medical research and patient care, Denise also represents KABC in her work with various Asian Pacific Islander and Filipino- American community organizations.
Nzinga (Harris) Graham, MD, ’04 is a family medicine physician who specializes in virtual medicine and urgent care. Upon graduating from medical school in 2009, Dr. Graham completed her residency training in Family Medicine and her fellowship training in Community Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center between 2009-2013. She is now a staff attending physician and adjunct faculty at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. During her time at Kaiser, she has been involved in numerous committees, including the Regional Equity, Inclusion and Diversity committee and chaired the Medication and Therapeutics Action Committee for her medical center. Dr. Graham currently serves as the Champion of the Physician Wellness committee for her medical center. Outside of Kaiser Permanente, she has served as president of the Los Angeles Academy of Family Physicians and a former board member of the Association of Black Women Physicians.
Paula is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Paula developed and coordinates a mental health program for Latinx immigrants at the Consulate of México in Los Angeles, and is the clinical coordinator of the "every one" initiative, bringing mental health crisis services to the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals. She also serves as the clinical officer for Yana, an app that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to support mental health in Spanish-speaking youth. Paula's area of focus is the mental health and wellbeing of Latinx community and her research centers on serious mental illness, gender and intimate relationships.
Shaista Malik is the founding executive director of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, the founding Associate Vice Chancellor of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences and a tenured professor in the division of cardiology, department of medicine at UC Irvine. She is also the founding medical director of the preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation programs. Dr. Malik received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree and PhD in public health from UCLA. She has been at UC Irvine since medical school and stayed at UCI for her residency in internal medicine, cardiology fellowship, and was chief cardiology fellow.
Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson is the 12th president of Mount Saint Mary’s University, the only women’s university in Los Angeles, and a leading advocate for the advancement of women and innovative teaching and learning. She has spoken at international conferences and institutions, including the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. She led the creation of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California. Ann is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She is also Board Chair of the Women’s College Coalition and is on the ambassador council for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. After majoring in French literature at Holy Cross, she earned a master’s degree in French from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Linda McMurdock is committed to the education of the whole person and wants to offer student programs that promote intellectual curiosity, a healthy lifestyle, global fluency and a commitment to service and action.
A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, McMurdock comes to the Mount from Marymount University in Virginia, where she served as vice president of student affairs for five years.
Earlier in her career, as dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, McMurdock launched initiatives for LGBT students, first-generation Latino scholars and co-led the creation of a student memorial on campus.
McMurdock is now guiding the Mount’s Wellness Movement and launching Athenians Care, a health education campaign in response to COVID-19. “This primary initiative will explore holistic approaches to every aspect of health: mental, spiritual and physical,” she said. “I’ve always embraced the notion of holistic development, interdisciplinary approaches to innovative solutions.”
Jennifer Moss is an award-winning journalist, author and international public speaker. She is a nationally syndicated radio columnist and writes for Harvard Business Review. Her first book, Unlocking Happiness at Work, received the distinguished UK Business Book of the Year Award. Jennifer was named a Canadian Innovator of the Year, an International Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and recipient of the Public Service Award from the Office of President Obama. Her new book, The Burnout Epidemic, published by Harvard Business Press, launched globally in September 2021.
The 2022 event “Progress, Regress: Women’s Health Amidst a Pandemic,” assesses the progress, or lack thereof, that California has made in advancing women’s health since we last focused on this topic in 2017. Explore the event page to learn more and to download the 2022 Report.
Disclaimer: Mount Saint Mary’s University strives to be a community open to the expressions of diverse opinions and perspectives. We welcome engaging and thoughtful dialogue on timely topics. The views and opinions expressed by speakers, presenters and attendees at our events do not necessarily reflect those of the University.