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 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.  She has testified before Congress, the Canadian Parliament, and numerous U.S. federal agencies, and been an invited speaker at national medical, public health, and legal conferences.

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 the Alliance for a Stronger FDA. She was previously on the Board of the Congressionally mandated Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA, and the chair of the Maryland Women’s Health Promotion Council, appointed by the Governor of Maryland.  She was the first non-physician to be elected to the Women in Medicine International Hall of Fame.

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, Forbes, Family Circle, New Yorker, Glamour, Self, as well as many other newspapers, magazines, and radio programs.  She has also been interviewed on numerous documentaries in the U.S. and abroad, and two U.S. movies were based on her investigations.

Thomas Eagen, PhD, Health Policy Director

As Health Policy Director, Thomas leads the government relations efforts at NCHR,  responsible for educating Members of Congress, Administration officials, and staff regarding the impact and outcomes of health policies, with a focus on FDA and CMS. He is responsible for tracking Federal legislative and regulatory changes for the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition, drafting public comments, letters to Members of Congress and Administration officials, and preparing briefing materials for coalition members.

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

Ealena Callender, MD, Senior Fellow

Ealena Callender, MD is a Senior Fellow working on a wide range of health issues, with a focus on women’s health.  A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, she completed her Master’s in Public Health at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in 2022.

Dr. Callender previously worked as a Reproductive and Maternal Health Consultant for Community Catalyst, helping to investigate the impact of hospital religious limitations on reproductive health for its Women’s Health Program’s National Strategic Working Group on Religious Restrictions. She also provided medical expertise to the organization on the connections between pregnancy and oral health. In addition, she completed a practicum with Child Family Health International in which she developed a project and funding proposal for gender-based violence interventions for women and children in Accra, Ghana.

She received her M.D. from The University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her residency at Wright State University. Her undergraduate degree from Howard University is in Print Journalism, and prior to her medical degree she worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Tehan Dukaye, MPH, Health Insurance Program Manager

Tehan Dukaye is our Health Insurance Program Manager 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.

Sophia Phillips, MS, Health Policy Associate

Sophia Phillips is our Health Policy Associate. 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

Avery Nork, Janice Bilden Cancer Prevention Intern

Avery Nork is our 2023 Janice Bilden Cancer Prevention Intern. He is focused on supporting NCHR’s efforts in cancer prevention and treatment by reviewing the latest research to write and update articles for our website. He will also help to make informed comments on proposed policies from various public health sources and groups.

Avery graduated from University of Southern California in 2020 with a degree in Neuroscience and a minor is Statistics. He is furthering his statistics education at Georgetown University where he is currently getting his Masters in Biostatistics. His current research is focused on mapping cancer tumor growth through differential equations and simulated annealing. Avery can be contacted at

Andrea Sun, Omega Logan Silva Intern

Andrea Sun is the Summer 2023 Omega Logan Silva Intern. Her work focuses on health policies related to older adults and drug pricing. Andrea assists in updating web articles to include the latest research-based findings and policy issues. She researches and creates content on NCHR’s interests of topics and offers assistance in preparatory work for drafting public comments.

Andrea expects to finish her master’s program in Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania shortly, and she holds a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Economics from UC San Diego. Before joining NCHR, Andrea worked for think tanks and nonprofits that focus on international relations, charities, and cybersecurity. She can be contacted at

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

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

Angelica Estrada, Marcy Gross Intern

Angelica Estrada is the Summer 2022 Marcy Gross Intern. She focuses on a variety of health policy issues related to COVID and issues focused on women and children. She updates and writes articles for the NCHR website, assists with drafting public comments, and contributes to the organization’s social media presence.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Kenyon College, Angelica is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, focusing on Global Health and Social Services. Her work is dedicated to addressing health disparities among children and other vulnerable populations through policy work. She can be contacted at

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)