Key Staff

The National Center for Health Research (NCHR) is a nonprofit think tank that conducts, analyzes, and scrutinizes research on a range of health issues.  We focus on the safety of medical products and consumer products, as well as the prevention strategies and treatments that are most effective for which types of patients and consumers. We do not accept funding from companies that make products that are the subject of our work.  The key staff of the National Center for Health Research also work with NCHR’s largest program, which is the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.

Diana Zuckerman, PhD, President


Diana Zuckerman received her Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University and was a post-doctoral fellow in epidemiology and public health at Yale Medical School. She started her career on the faculty of Vassar College and then directed a research project on children as a faculty member at Yale University.

After a post-doctoral training at Yale Medical School, she took a position at Harvard directing a groundbreaking research study of college students. Dr. Zuckerman left her academic career to come to Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Science Fellow in a program run by the American Association of the Advancement of Science. After spending the year as a staff member in the House of Representatives, she spent the next ten years working as a Congressional staffer in the House and Senate and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working to improve federal health programs and policies for adults and children. She initiated highly influential Congressional hearings on a wide range of health issues, including cancer prevention and treatment and the safety of medical products.

Dr. Zuckerman served as a senior policy advisor in the Clinton White House, working for First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She subsequently served in leadership positions at numerous nonprofit organizations and has been in her current position at NCHR since 1999.

While in her current position, Dr. Zuckerman was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics for several years. She is currently on the Board of Directors of two nonprofit organizations – the Congressionally mandated Reagan Udall Foundation and the Alliance for a Stronger FDA. She was previously the chair of the Women’s Health Promotion Council, appointed by the Governor of Maryland.

Dr. Zuckerman is the author of five books, several book chapters, dozens of articles in medical and academic journals, and in newspapers across the country. Her policy work has resulted in news coverage on all the major TV networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, public television, “60 Minutes,” “20/20,” “Voice of America,” National Public Radio, and in major U.S. print media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, Detroit Free Press, New York Daily News, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Family Circle, New Yorker, Glamour, Self, as well as many other newspapers, magazines, and radio programs.

She is the proud mother of two adult children.

Thomas Eagen, PhD, Health Policy Director


Thomas Eagen is NCHR’s Health Policy Director, focusing on the impact of federal health policy to improve quality of care for all patient populations. He is responsible for tracking active legislation and engaging with Members of Congress and Congressional staff to serve as a resource and ensure policies are supported by research.

Prior to joining the NCHR, he served as a Congressional Fellow on the Senate Special Committee on Aging through the American Political Science Association, where he focused on disability policy. Following his post-doctoral fellowship, he worked as the health legislative assistant for Senator Cantwell (D-WA), senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and Chair of the Commerce Committee, with a portfolio covering a broad range of issues including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, mental and behavioral health, drug pricing and tribal health. He was actively engaged in the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, monitoring in-state trends and ensuring equitable distribution of testing, treatments and vaccines to underserved communities.

Dr. Eagen received his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science and Master’s in Public Health, with a concentration in health systems and policy, from the University of Washington. His research focused on the reach and effectiveness of evidence-based programs designed for community-dwelling older adults supported by federal funding. Specifically, he explored the participation of people with disabilities in evidence-based falls prevention programs. He earned his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Central Florida. He can be reached at te@center4research.org.

Sophia Phillips, MS, Health Policy Fellow


Sophia Phillips is our Health Policy Fellow. She is focused on supporting our health policy work by serving as a resource to Members of Congress and Congressional staff on a range of policy issues. Sophia is responsible for monitoring, tracking, and analyzing active legislation and regulatory changes within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including public health agencies such as the FDA, NIH, and CMS.

Sophia previously interned at Public Citizen in their Access to Medicines Program, where she was actively engaged in policy work on drug pricing and COVID-19 vaccine recipe sharing. She was also a research assistant with PharmedOut, a Georgetown University Medical Center project that works to educate healthcare professionals and the public on pharmaceutical marketing practices and their impact on public health. She received her Master’s of Science in Health and the Public Interest from Georgetown University, where she was trained in health advocacy. Sophia earned her B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She can be contacted at sp@center4research.org.

Nina Zeldes, PhD, Project Manager and Senior Fellow


Nina Zeldes is the Project Manager for the PCORI-funded Medical Research Communications project, which trains journalists to understand the implications of comparative clinical effectiveness studies and trains researchers to communicate their research findings to journalists. She is also a Senior Fellow who focuses on health policy as well as physician-patient communications.

Prior to joining the NCHR, Zeldes was a visiting researcher at the Pellegrino Institute for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University researching health care utilization and needs analysis among transnational patients. She has worked as a health communication specialist, particularly in advocacy for cancer patients, their caregivers and medical providers.

She holds a B.S. from University College Dublin, an M.S. from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin, focusing on structural, functional and economic discrepancies within health care and health insurance policy. She can be contacted at nz@center4research.org.

Tehan Dukaye, MPH, Women’s Health Insurance Fellow


Tehan Dukaye is our Health Insurance Fellow at NCHR. She is responsible for helping patients facing health complications from their implants better navigate the current health insurance system so that they can get the medical care that they need. Prior to joining NCHR, Tehan had more than four years of experience in the public health field, serving as a college peer health educator, and  reaching out to and forming working relationships with local and state health departments as well as state cancer coalitions regarding their work with cancer survivorship.  In her work with National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, she coordinated more than 100 meetings for cancer patients to share their experiences with Members of Congress and their staff and advocate for legislation to help cancer survivors. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Master’s in Public Health from George Washington University with a focus on Health Policy.

Ashley Hystad, Assistant to the President


Ashley Hystad is the Assistant to the President at the National Center for Health Research. Ashley is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, where she received her B.S. in Community Health. At NCHR, Ashley assists in communicating crucial health research and policy information to the public and the media. She is especially interested in epidemiology and mental health. Prior to joining NCHR, Ashley previously interned at the National Cancer Institute, completing research on a study that examined health communication on social media, as well as health literacy.

Shahmir Ali, Janice Bilden Cancer Prevention Intern


Shahmir Ali is our 2022 Janice Bilden Cancer Prevention Intern.  His work focuses on supporting efforts related to cancer prevention and treatment through reviewing research studies, editing and developing articles for our website, commenting on proposed policies, and supporting our other ongoing efforts.

Shahmir holds a BA in public health and political science from Johns Hopkins University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the NYU School of Global Public Health. His research focus on interpersonal and community level factors involved in health habits, including eating behaviors, and how these factors can be integrated into innovative interventions to reduce disease disparities. He can be contacted at sa@center4research.org.

James S. Castro Argueta, Jack Mitchell Policy Intern


James S. Castro Argueta is the Jack Mitchell Health Policy Intern during the summer of 2022. His work focuses on a range of health policy issues that pertain to the safety and effectiveness of medical and consumer products. He assists with drafting public comments, updating web articles to include the latest research-based information and policy issues, and helping the rest of the team wherever they need him!

James graduated in 2017 from the College of William & Mary and is currently a rising second-year medical student at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where he is pursuing a scholarly concentration in Health Policy. He is part of a lab at GW that focuses on the epigenetic regulation of immune signaling in ovarian cancer and he is exploring a career in oncology. He can be contacted at jca@center4research.org.

Spring 2022 Intern

  • Avni Patel (Cornell University, MPH, Omega Logan Silva Intern)

Fall 2021 Interns

  • Anna Adler (The George Washington University, Class of ’23, Majoring in Public Health)
  • Annika Schmid (The George Washington University, Class of ’22, Majoring in Biophysics)

Summer 2021 Interns

  • Edyth Dwyer (Brown University, MPA/MPH student concentrating in Global Health)
  • Sophia Lee (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ’24, MD Candidate)
  • Alea Sabry (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of ’22, Majoring in Molecular & Cell Biology and Political Science)

Spring 2021 Interns

  • Mariah Baker (The George Washington University, MPH student with a focus on Health Policy)
  • Reagan Beyer (University of Wisconsin- Madison, Class of ’21, Majoring in Biochemistry and Political Science, with a certificate in Global Health)
  • Katerina Kerska (University of Michigan, MPH student with a focus on Health Behavior and Health Education)
  • Sasha Milbeck (University of Miami, Class of ’22, Majoring in Global Health, minors in Chemistry and Psychology)

Fall 2020 Interns

  • Amanda Chu (Georgetown University, Class of ‘22, Majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs, minors in Spanish and Creative Writing)
  • Carly West (The George Washington University, MPH student with a focus on Epidemiology and Disease Control)
  • Cindy Min (University of Florida, MPH student with a focus on Epidemiology)
  • Sasha Milbeck (University of Miami, Class of ’22, Majoring in Global Health, minors in Chemistry and Psychology)

Summer 2020 Interns

  • Amanda Bisnath (University of Virginia ’21, Public Policy and Leadership, minor in Bioethics)
  • Megan Peterson (Cornell University ‘21, Biology and Society, minoring in Health Policy and Law & Society)
  • Elizabeth Sack (Duke University ’21, Global Health and International Comparative Studies, minor in Chemistry)

Spring 2020 Interns

  • Nana Addo (George Washington University ’19, International Affairs, concentration in Global Public Health)
  • Shaina Desai (University of California, Berkeley ’20, Public Health, concentration in Epidemiology)
  • Seungyeon Lee (Konyang University ’19, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology)
  • Ellen Pil (University of Notre Dame, ’21, Political Science, Pre-Health track)

Summer 2019 Interns

  • Mackenzie Flynn (George Washington University ’21, Political Science, minors in Public Health and Sustainability)
  • Emily Hong (University of California Irvine ’20, Public Health Policy, minor in Medical Anthropology)

Fall 2019 Interns

  • Anupama Dinesh (Brown University ’20, Health & Human Biology and Anthropology)
  • Reena Jasani (UT Southwestern Medical School ’22, MD/MPH)
  • Claire Viscione (George Washington University ’20, Public Health, minor in Business Administration)

Spring 2019 Interns

  • Silvana Barbosa  (Providence College ’19, Health Policy & Managements)
  • Kaitlyn Freels (University of Maryland College Park ’19, Neurobiology & Physiology)

IN MEMORIAM

Gwendolyn Lewis, a former sociology professor with important positions in the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, was a professional photographer who volunteered her time as our photographer since our founding in 1999 until she died from cancer in 2012.

As our photographer and friend, Gwen is responsible for the many memorable color photographs of the exceptional women who received our Foremother awards, as well as capturing many other important people and moments through the years.  As an artist, however, she specialized in black-and-white photography, with an emphasis on architectural subjects. Her work was exhibited in more than 100 shows in the Washington area and won many awards.