Board of Directors
The work of Mazzoni Center is guided by a diverse board of professionals, community members, and health care practitioners who all share a commitment to the health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities in Philadelphia.
Mazzoni's Board of Directors
Jimmy J. Ruiz, MD - President
Jimmy Ruiz, MD is an OB/GYN whose practice is affiliated with Abington Memorial Hospital in the northern Philadelphia suburbs. He has served on Mazzoni’s board since 2008, and was Vice President from 2011-2014. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his M.D. from Hahnemann University Medical School (now Drexel University School of Medicine).
Jason K. Cohen, Esq. - Vice President
Jason K. Cohen, Esq. is a clinical professor and director of lawyering programs at Rutgers Camden-Law, where he has taught since 2005. He is a former litigator with the law firm of Stradley Ronon in Philadelphia, where from 1998 to 2005, his practice focused on a range of complex commercial and employment matters, including cases involving discrimination, enforcement of restrictive covenants, retaliation and wrongful discharge claims at the administrative, state and federal levels. He regularly teaches legal analysis, writing and research, advanced writing and research hybrid clinic for the legal department of the Mazzoni Center, as well as a rhetoric theory-based public speaking class for lawyers.
Christopher Pope - Treasurer
Christopher Pope is a branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank, where he has been employed since 2005 and where he has served as a “Diversity Champion” for several quarters, and as President of the Wells Fargo PRIDE (LGBT) Team Member Network Group. He joined Mazzoni Center’s Board in 2013.
Michael Weiss - Secretary
Michael Weiss is a Philadelphia native, and has owned and operated several restaurants and nightclubs in the area since 1993. He is currently the owner of Woody’s Bar and Rosewood Bar and Lounge, both located in Center City Philadelphia. He is an elected committeeman for the City of Philadelphia, special advisor to Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams, and a board member of the 2nd Chance Foundation, which provides education and support for young people with ADD/ADHD. Weiss joined the board in 2013.
Mark H. Blecher, MD
Mark H. Blecher, MD is medical director of the Kremer/TLC laser center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and co-director of the cataract department at the Wills Eye Hospital. Born and raised in suburban New York, he attended Brandeis University followed by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he obtained his M.D. He currently serves as chief medical editor for Review of Ophthalmology ® Dr. Blecher joined the board in 2009.
Marla J. Gold, MD
Marla J. Gold, MD is a professor of health management and policy and dean emeritus of the Drexel University School of Public Health. She previously served as assistant health commissioner for infectious disease control in the Philadelphia Public Health Department, where she was responsible for all reportable and communicable diseases and conditions. Among her responsibilities, Dr. Gold designed and established the largest comprehensive HIV/AIDS care program in the Greater Philadelphia Region, known as the Partnership. She joined the board in 2014.
Russell H. Harris, MD
Russell H. Harris, MD is CEO of the North Division of EmCare, an organization that supports clinicians, hospitals, health systems and other healthcare clients in providing high-quality, efficient and affordable patient care. He is also vice chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, NJ, a position he has held for more than 20 years. He serves on the emergency medicine faculty of Thomas Jefferson University and is a frequent lecturer to residency programs. A retired captain of the US Navy, Dr. Harris also serves on the Governor of Pennsylvania’s Advisory Health Board. He joined the board in 2005.
Dorothy Mann is the president of Pine Street Partners, a consulting firm specializing in health care and mentoring of new leaders in the non-profit sector. Prior to this role, she spent 33 years as executive director of the Philadelphia non-profit Family Planning Council. Under Mann's leadership, the organization worked to prevent teen pregnancy, HIV infection and other STDs; to provide care to HIV positive women, children and families; to provide breast and cervical cancer screening programs for uninsured women, and more. She served as a board member of AIDS Alliance for 13 years, and joined Mazzoni’s board in 2014.
Kathleen R. Padilla
Kathleen R. Padilla has been advocating on LGBT issues with an emphasis on transgender issues since 1984, when she volunteered at the Outreach Institute of Gender Studies and Transgender Week, the longest running LGBT community event in Provincetown. She has been a leader in helping to pass local LGBT civil rights legislation, including Philadelphia's 2002 Trans Rights Bill and the 2013 LGBT Equality Bill, which introduced sweeping, first-of-its-kind protections and established Philadelphia as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the nation. Padilla was a founding board member of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, and has served on a number of nonprofit boards. She currently works on business diversity issues in government, and joined the board in 2014.
Sheila E. Peopples, MBA
Sheila E. Peopples, MBA has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 25+years. She has an extensive background in pharmaceutical marketing, sales, and training & development. She has experience in a broad range of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, anti-infective, and antiretroviral. She grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from Friends Select School, earned her undergraduate degree from Arcadia University, and her Master's in Business Administration with an emphasis in pharmaceutical marketing from St. Joseph's University. Prior to joining the board in 2006, she was a long-term board member of the AIDS Information Network, which was the first HIV/AIDS library in Philadelphia.
Anthony R. Rodriguez, MD
Anthony R. Rodriguez, MD is a full-time physician and partner in a group Family Practice based in Willow Grove, PA and affiliated with Abington Memorial Hospital. He also serves as associate dean for student affairs and diversity at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Rodriguez received his medical degree from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science/UCLA School of Medicine. He has served on Mazzoni Center’s board on and off since 2002.
Anthony F. Verdi, Ph.D.
Anthony F. Verdi, Ph.D. is a psychologist, coach, author, consultant, and trainer to national corporations, non-profits, and small businesses. Verdi has over 25 years of experience working in hospitals and corporate settings as a clinician and a manager. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.) and Temple University (M.Ed., Ph.D.), and is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, where he maintains a private practice in psychology and coaching. He joined the board in 2013.
Eileen Y. Wang, MD
Eileen Y. Wang, MD is the director of Penn OB/GYN Simulation and Team Training in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the university’s Perelman School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, and did her residency at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship at Northwestern University. Dr. Wang joined the board in 2011.
Michael J. Wolf, MD
Michael J. Wolf, MD is a neuroradiologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology. He received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Wolf has served on Mazzoni Center’s board since 2005 and was president from 2009 to 2011.
Kelly A. Harris - Immediate Past President
Kelly A. Harris is CEO of Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia (formerly known as Gilda’s Club), where she has been been employed since 2002. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Harris graduated from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Research. Prior to her role with Cancer Support Community she worked in child welfare and international adoption, and served as director of Welcome House Social Services at the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. She joined the board in 2005, and served as president from 2011-2014.
Click here for information on our Legal Advisory Board