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January 07, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Appoints Four New Directors to His Administration 

Health, Health Care Finance, Small and Local Business Development and Communications Directors Named

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Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced additional appointments to his administration. Dr. Mohammad N. Akhter was named Director of the Department of Health; Wayne Turnage, Director of the Department of Health Care Finance; Antonio Hunter, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development; and Dr. Linda Wharton Boyd, Director of Communications.

“As I have emphasized in announcing other talented professionals to my administration, these individuals are team players with extensive backgrounds and expertise in their fields, and are committed to bringing new and innovative ideas for service delivery and policy implementation for the benefit of residents in the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray.

Dr. Mohammad N. Akhter is currently a Professor in the College of Medicine and Health Management Programs at Howard University. Dr. Akhter served as Commissioner of Public Health for the District of Columbia from 1980 to 1984. He is a renowned national and international speaker in Public Health.

Prior to his appointment at Howard University, Dr. Akhter was the Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world. He served in that position for six years.

He also held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and at the Missouri State Department of Health in the 90’s.

Wayne M. Turnage will head the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), which is the District’s state Medicaid agency. Most recently, Wayne Turnage served as the Chief of Staff to the President of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and as Chief of Staff to former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. He advised both Governor Kaine and Governor Mark Warner on health care, Medicaid, and insurance reform issues.

Mr. Turnage has a Master of Public Administration from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from North Carolina A&T University.

Antonio D. Hunter was appointed the Director of Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), which is charged with fostering economic growth and the development of District-based businesses. Hunter is currently the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Manager for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project for the Bechtel Corporation. He is responsible for implementing strategies to increase the participation of disadvantaged businesses in the $1.7 billion phase one portion of the Dulles toll road extension. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Hunter was the Division Director of the DC’s DSLBD.

A resident of Ward 4, Mr. Hunter holds a Master of Business Administration from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Linda Wharton Boyd was named Director of the Office of Communications. Currently, she is the Chief of Staff and Chief Communications Officer for DC Councilmember At-Large Michael A. Brown.

Previously, she served as Chief Communications Officer for DC Public School, Director of Communications in the Executive Office of the Mayor, and Interim Director of the DC Office of Cable Television. Dr. Wharton Boyd has served as Assistant Professor of Communications at Marymount, Howard, and Bowie State Universities and also as a media and crises communications consultant for national leaders and other luminaries.

Dr. Wharton Boyd, a Ward 4 resident, played a key role in the communications strategy and press outreach of the Gray campaign and most recently, managed the media operations for Gray's inaugural events.

Dr. Wharton Boyd holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently serves as National President of the 22,000 member African American Alumni Council. She also holds a professional degree in Municipal Management from the College of Professional Studies at George Washington University.