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A lupus awareness and educational program from the American College of Rheumatology

The Lupus Initiative® (TLI) is a program of the American College of Rheumatology’s Collaborative Initiatives (COIN) Department. COIN staff members include the following:

Sheryl McCalla, JD
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

Sheryl brings two decades of expertise in creating and managing programs that increase diversity and raise awareness of disparities. Prior to beginning her work in the nonprofit sector, Sheryl was a practicing attorney representing a primary-care-focused medical school, individual physicians and a hospital. Most recently, she has earned a significant and measurably successful track record leading results-driven projects related to health disparities in lupus. Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law where she was a Robert Woodruff Fellow.

Stacey Boyd, MS
Senior Communications Manager, Collaborative Initiatives

Before joining our team, Stacey worked in the education department at the American College of Rheumatology where she served as Senior Specialist, Annual Meeting Abstracts and Marketing. Prior to beginning her work in the nonprofit sector, Stacey established a long record of accomplishment in creating and leading integrated marketing campaigns in the corporate space. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.

Markay Russell, MPH
Specialist, Collaborative Initiatives

Markay became a valuable asset to the Collaborative Initiatives Department in 2019 through her work on the department’s Promotores project as well as supporting the development of the Volunteers to Expand Rheumatology Access (VERA) project. She accepted a permanent position as the Specialist, Collaborative Initiatives in early 2020. Markay received her Master of Public Health Degree at Morehouse School of Medicine, and she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia.

Starla Hairston Blanks, MBA, MPH, CPHP
Director, Collaborative Initiatives

Starla Blanks serves as the Director of Collaborative Initiatives for the American College of Rheumatology. Starla brings experience from working in academic, association and community settings on chronic disease management, help-seeking behavior, community health workers, public health practice and health policy to her current position. She is a nationally recognized trainer with certifications in public health practice, adult learning, community organizing, smoking cessation and chronic disease who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in non-profit leadership and a graduate degree in public health.

Kate Chiseri, MPH, CHES
Senior Specialist, Project Manager

Kate joined the COIN team in early 2020. She brings a wealth of program planning, education and community coalition development experience. Prior to starting at the ACR, Kate served as Assistant Director in the Office of Health Promotion at Emory University, where she specialized in prevention programming for students in the areas of sexual health and mental well-being. Prior to working at Emory, Kate was a Program Coordinator for Safe Kids Georgia, an injury prevention non-profit organization housed within Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). She has her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and an honors Bachelor’s Degree with Distinction from the University of Delaware.

Ella Carroll
Coordinator, Collaborative Initiatives
Ella Carroll joined the COIN team on a permanent basis in Fall 2020 after supporting COIN in a supplemental staffing role for several months. Ella’s diverse skill set and experience includes work involving operations, customer service implementation and business process improvement projects in the corporate space. Her can-do and work-smart attitude has earned her recognition and excellence awards over the years.

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