Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced six new appointees to his administration to move the city forward in the areas of public health and human services, rehabilitation of ex-offenders, youth, African affairs and financial services and insurance regulations.
Beatriz “B.B.” Otero will serve as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Gregory Pappas will direct the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease and Tuberculosis Administration (HAHSTA), Charles Thornton will direct the Office of Ex-Offender Affairs, Cedric Jennings will direct the Youth Advisory Council, Ngozi Nmezi will direct the Office of African Affairs and William White will direct the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.
“Today I am announcing the appointment of six knowledgeable and dedicated experts to lead some of our city’s most essential efforts,” said Mayor Gray. “Their qualifications, skills and passion will help the District of Columbia continue to move toward being ‘One City’ that provides world-class services to all who live, work and play here.”
B.B. Otero is the founder, president and CEO of CentroNía, an award-winning educational organization that has been serving children and families in the District of Columbia since its founding in 1986. The organization has expanded its services to meet the needs of the surrounding community, establishing the DC Bilingual Public Charter School in 2004. Annually, the organization serves over 1,500 children. A native of Bolivia, Otero is a long-time resident of the District of Columbia and a long-time advocate for the well-being of children and families. She holds a degree in education from the University of Maryland and has done advanced graduate work in education at George Washington University. She serves on numerous boards, including the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative, the Equal Rights Center and the Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness. She is a founding member of the DC Public Charter School Board.
Gregory Pappas is a public-health consultant with more than 25 years of experience fighting HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world. He has consulted recently on mental health and HIV programs with the United States Agency for International Development and has helped to develop a National Medical Association program to improve African-American physicians’ ability to consult with patients who are men who have sex with other men. He also played an important role in the highly successful President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program begun during the Bush administration. Prior to his health-consulting work, Dr. Pappas had a lengthy career in the US Department of Health and Human Services, including serving as a senior policy adviser to Surgeon General David Satcher. A District resident, he holds both his MD and a PhD in anthropology from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Pappas has published numerous studies on epidemiology and ethics related to HIV/AIDS. He is the author of a soon-to-be-published book on urban public health, Megacities and Health.
Charles Thornton has served as workforce development manager with Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc., since 2008, where he helps improve the lives of runaway, abused, neglected, homeless and at-risk youths by enabling them to learn valuable skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrical and HVAC work. A real-estate professional with years of experience in building operations, management, construction and maintenance, Thornton is a member of the DC Housing Authority’s Landlord Advisory Committee, the DC Recovery Community Alliance, the Faith-Based Reentry Collaborative and other community organizations. He is a Ward 6 resident.
Cedric Jennings has served since 2008 as the director of the DC Council’s Office of Youth Programs. There he has been tasked with developing and managing quality programming that educates and empowers youth to become agents of change in their communities through civic engagement. He previously served as a social worker with the DC Child and Family Services Agency and with the Progressive Life Center, which serves children who have been neglected and abused in foster care. A native of Southeast Washington, Jennings is a graduate of Ballou High School, Brown University (BA in educational studies), Harvard University (master of education in human development and psychology) and the University of Michigan (masters in clinical social work). In 1998, he became the main subject of the national best-selling book, A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey From the Inner City to the Ivy League, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind. The book chronicles Cedric’s life growing up in DC, through his experiences as a student at Brown University. Currently, the book is required reading at numerous educational institutions across the country.
Ngozi Nmezi has served since last year as a risk-management specialist for the DC Department of Real Estate Services. Previously, she was a proposal coordinator and partner liaison for the international-development wing of the global support-services firm AECOM and a contract coordinator with Health Services for Children With Special Needs/HSC Pediatric Center in the District. A native of Nigeria, Nmezi received her bachelor’s degree (in biology) and master’s degree (in public health) from Howard University. She lives in Southwest Washington.
Bill White is a seasoned insurance and risk-finance professional with broad experience in both industry-leading firms and high-level positions with government regulatory agencies. Since 2003 he has been a consultant with Prism Strategies, which included a regulatory appointment in 2003-2004 with the Captive Insurance Division of the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. He specializes in developing alternative risk transfer (ART) transactions and captive insurance entities for businesses, and domicile development including market coordination and regulatory strategies for government agencies. White is a graduate of Dartmouth College (BA) and New York University (MBA.). He will be moving to the District from his current home in New Jersey.