Resources for Alumni Volunteers

Speakers: Health

To request a speaker, please complete the Speaker Request Form.

*Please note, making a request does not guarantee your speaker will be available. Please wait for confirmation from the Alumni Association before advertising your event.

View full speaker list for additional speech topics.


AmayaMegan Amaya, Asst. Professor of Clinical Practice and Director of Health Promotion and Wellness 

Bio and Topics

Megan Amaya, PhD, CHES is Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing and Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at the Ohio State University College of Nursing. She leads a team that implements wellness strategy, programs and services for university students, faculty, staff and the state of Ohio community. Megan is co-director of the Health and Wellness Innovation in Healthcare undergraduate health promotion degree. She teaches courses in the program, including evidence-based practice and self-care approaches. Megan is principle investigator on multiple health and wellness research projects. Previous to her current role at Ohio State, she worked as the wellness coordinator for the city of Dublin, and was an adjunct instructor at several Columbus area universities for several years, teaching students tools and skills for healthy behavior change.

Megan currently serves as Past-President for the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, Co-Chair for the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s Engagement Committee, and member of several university and College of Nursing committees. She is a certified health education specialist.

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Topics: Health & Wellness; Exercise; Nutrition; Stress Management; Weight; Energy

*Available for virtual presentations

beckwithDr. Samira Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope H

Bio and Topics

Dr. Samira K. Beckwith has beena pioneer in the hospice field for the past 40 years and has served as President and CEO of Hope Healthcare for more than 30 years.

She was appointed to The White House Conference on Agingand an invited presenter on a panel for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. She has testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the need for legislation to enable better care and comfort for those at the end of life.Within the state of Florida, she was given special recognition by Governors DeSantis, Scott, and Bush, having been appointed to their respective committees including the Transition Advisory Committee on Health and Wellness, the Boardof Directors for the Florida Center for Nursing, and the Long-Term Care Advisory Committee.

As a dedicated champion for palliative care, quality of life,and end of life issues, Samira has served as Chairpersonfor both the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation.

Dr. Beckwith’s leadership, career accomplishments, and commitment to diversity have also been honored.She was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, bestowed upon distinguished Americans who exemplify outstanding qualities in their personal and professional lives.She was also awarded The Ohio State Alumni Association’s highest recognition, The Medalist Award, presented to alumni who have gained national or international distinction in a chosen field.She received a Bachelor of Sociology Degree and a Masters in Social Work from The Ohio State University, where she recently served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

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Topics: Serious Illness Etiquette—How to help; The Opportunity in Change; Navigating Loss and Grief; Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

*Available for virtual presentations

BermanDouglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Director, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Bio and Topics

Professor Douglas A. Berman attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school in 1993, Professor Berman served as a law clerk for Judges Jon O. Newman and Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After clerking, Professor Berman was a litigation associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison in New York City.

Professor Berman came to Ohio State in 1997 and his principal teaching and research focus is in the areas of criminal law, criminal sentencing and drug policy. Professor Berman has co-authored two casebooks, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, and Marijuana Law and Policy: Cases and Materials and serves as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Professor Berman received The Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is given to only 10 people each year from an eligible pool of nearly 3,000 faculty members. Professor Berman was one of the youngest faculty members ever to receive this award, and he was subsequently asked to chair the university committee that selected recipients in the 2002-03 school year.

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Topics: Marijuana reform; Mass incarceration/criminal justice reform; Drug policy; Federal criminal justice politics and sentencing

*Available for virtual presentations

*Available for golf outings

CaseyHelka Casey, LPCC-S, Employee Assistance Program, Psychiatric Counselor 

Bio and Topics

Helka Casey is Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the State of Ohio and has over 13 years of clinical experience. Helka has worked in several settings, public mental health, partial hospitalization program, private practice, and currently is employed with the Ohio State University’s Employee Assistance Program. Helka is proud to call OSU her alma mater and enjoys supporting her fellow Buckeyes to be their healthier selves with trainings, workshops, and counseling with the EAP. Helka is also a member of the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Club. She is excited to be part of such a robust wellness community at OSU and have the opportunity to present wellness topics to fellow Alumni. Go Bucks!

Topics: Health & Work-life balance, coping skills, embracing change, self care

*Available for virtual presentations

CohnDr. David Cohn, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute; Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology  

Bio and Topics

David E. Cohn, MD, MBA is the Chief Medical Officer at the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University, where he oversees the medical practice across the hospital and clinics. Dr. Cohn is a gynecologic oncologist who practices at the James, where he has been since 2001. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Michigan, he earned his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine, did his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington in Seattle and completed his fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a member of the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, where his research focuses on early detection of ovarian cancer and the genetics of endometrial cancer. He has authored over 250 scientific papers and holds two patents for his discoveries.

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Topics: Leadership; Cancer care; Business

*Available for virtual presentations

Dr. Ian Davis, BSVSc, PhD, ATSF, Professor College of Veterinary Medicine

Bio and Topics

I received both my Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences degrees (the latter the British equivalent to the D.V.M.) from the University of Bristol, England, in 1989 and 1992, respectively. I went on to receive my Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in July of 2000. In 2006 I moved to The Ohio State University (OSU), where I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences.  My studies since joining OSU have been oriented towards improving our understanding of the impact of viral infections (primarily influenza A) on lung function. The goal of these studies is to identify novel host determinants of influenza, which can be targeted therapeutically, and I have recently filed a patent for a novel influenza treatment, which is in the process of being licensed for further clinical development.

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Topics: How far have we come since the great influenza pandemic of 1918? When Vaccines and Drugs don’t work, what’s next for Influenza? Your tax dollars at work, how science gets done in the 21st century.

*Available for virtual presentations

Matt Finkes, Director of Development at Wexner Medical Center, Former Football Player

Bio and Topic

Matt was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for Ohio State from 1993-1996, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from 1994-96 and first-team All-American honors in 1996.He was drafted in the fifthround by the Carolina Panthers and played four seasons in the NFL. Following his playing career, he founded and sold multiple businesses. After serving on local and national philanthropic boards, he started a new career as the Director of Development for the Wexner Medical Center. For the past 6 years he has worked with the department of Ophthalmology in furthering the programs goals of education, clinical care, research and community and global outreach to prevent and cure blindness.He also works in media as a freelance contributor for college and NFL football as well as owning a chocolate, coffee and wine store called Winan’s in Grandview Yard in Columbus.

Topic: The Culture and Excellence at The Ohio State University

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

Blake Haxton, Para-rower, Paralympian 

Bio and Topics

After contracting necrotizing fasciitis more commonly known as “flesh-eating disease” and losing both of his legs, Blake Haxton had to make new plans for his future. He found his starting point at Ohio State.  It’s amazing how much time I’ve spent on this campus the last six years between getting sick and recovering here and going to school.   He states, “The university is incredibly friendly to disabled students. No question. And that’s been great. But on a personal level, it’s the people at Ohio State who have made this experience tremendous.

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Topics: Men’s Rowing; Ohio State; Overcoming Adversity

*Available for virtual presentations

Casey Hoy, PhD, Faculty Director, InFACT, the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation; Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management

Bio and Topics

Casey Hoy, has held the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management and provided leadership to the Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center since 2006.  He is the Faculty Director of the Ohio State University Discovery Themes Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, InFACT, an investment of more than $100 million over the next 10 years in resilient and sustainable food security, including 30 new faculty hires across the University.   The program seeks balance between prosperous farms, sustainable communities and healthy environments and to build local and regional economies across the rural to urban continuum, starting with food systems. This Center brings together needed expertise across the food system value chain. It brings current science and technology to bear on relocalization of food systems to support healthy communities and healthy ecosystems.

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Topics: Food Security; Sustainable Agriculture; Healthy Agroecosystems

*Available for virtual presentations

KaedingChris Kaeding, M.D., Executive Director Sports Medicine, Ohio State Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute 

Bio and Topic

Dr. Kaeding did his undergraduate, medical school and orthopedic training at Northwestern University and a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic.  He currently serves as the Judson Wilson Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Executive Director of the Sports Medicine Center.  He has authored over 120 peer publications, 24 book chapters and over 200 national and international presentations.

Topic: Ohio State Sports Medicine: What is it and What It Means to You!

*Available for virtual presentations

Karl Koon, Development Officer for The James Cancer Hospital, Director of Rider Recruitment, Team Buckeye and Pelotonia

Bio and Topics

Karl Koon is a Development OfficerforThe James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and the Director of Rider Recruitment for Team Buckeye, the super-peloton representing The Ohio State University in Pelotonia each year.Team Buckeye members include students, faculty, staff and alumni of Ohio State who wish to represent Buckeye nation in this annual cycling tour which since its inception in 2009 has raised over $209Mforcancer research at Ohio State. Prior to joining The James, Karl was the Personal Assistant to Abigail S. Wexner for 18 years where he was responsible for organizing major philanthropic events hosted by the Wexners which benefited local, regional and national organizations. Karl is an Ohio native and an Ohio State alumnus.

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Topics: Team Buckeye and Pelotonia; Community Involvement through Philanthropy

*Available for virtual presentations

Bill Marras, Honda Chair Professor of Integrated Systems Engineering and Director, Spine Research Institute, Executive Director for the Institute of Ergonomics

Bio and Topic

Back pain and your brain.  His research is centered on understanding pathways for spine disorders.  He was recently featured on NPR’s All Things Considered as well has writing a book entitled, ‘The Working Back:  A Systems View.’  Professor Marras has been active in the National Research Council and served on over a dozen boards and committees.  International awards include two Volvo Awards for Low Back Pain Research.

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Topic: Assessment of Low Back Disorders:  Risk Factors and Improving Treatment Effectiveness

*Available for virtual presentations

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, Vice President for Health Promotion; University Chief Wellness Officer; 

Bio and Topics

Dean and Professor, College of Nursing; Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry, College of Medicine; Executive Director, the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for EBP; Founder & President, the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities (BHAC); Editor, World views on Evidence-based Nursing

Dean Melnyk is a nationally/internationally expert and researcher in intervention research, child & adolescent mental health and health and wellness.  She is a frequent keynote speaker on these topics. She is co-editor of five books and over 300 publications, including two American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award winner.  Dr. Melnyk is founder and Executive Director of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare.  It is housed at The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

Topics: Personal Health and Wellbeing; Strategies for Reducing Stress

Don MuttiDonald Mutti, PEF Wildermuth Foundation Professor of Optometry 

Bio and Topic

Dr. Mutti’s research career began in the contact lens industry with CooperVision Ophthalmic Products where he evaluated lens design and product performance during in-house clinical trials. He co-holds a patent in soft contact lens design.  Dr. Mutti’s current research interest are in the emmetropization of infants and the development of myopia in children. His current research project is the Bifocal Lenses In Nearsighted Kids (BLINK) study, an NEI-funded clinical trial evaluating myopia progression with reduced peripheral defocus using multifocal soft contact lenses. Dr. Mutti has taught visual optics to optometry students for over 15 years. Dr. Mutti received in 1996 the Glenn A. Fry Award from the American Optometric Foundation in 2006 in recognition of his contributions to research.

Topic: Myopia (nearsigthedness) in Children

*Available for virtual presentations

J. Nwando (Onyejekwe) Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP,  Chair & Professor, Department of Family Medicine Founder, Center for Primary Care Innovation & Transformation, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Bio and Topics

Dr. Olayiwola previously served as the inaugural Chief Clinical Transformation Officer for RubiconMD, a leading eConsult platform that improves primary care access to specialty care for underserved patients. Dr. Olayiwola is one of a very small number of physicians and women of color bridging academic, healthcare and health technology leadership. She also provided clinical care to underserved patients at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for many years, including the Newcomer’s Program for refugees and asylees in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Since 2007, Dr. Olayiwola has been named one of America’s Top Family Doctors by the Consumers Research Council of America annually. She received the Excellence in Medicine Leadership Award from the American Medical Association in March 2005 and was honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians in October 2007. In October 2008, she was one of three physicians in the nation to receive the Emerging Leaders Award from the Family Medicine Education Consortium and in September 2009, she received the William Oxley Thompson Award for Early Career Achievement from the Ohio State University Alumni Association. In 2011, Dr. Olayiwola was named one of the Top 40 Physicians under 40 by the National Medical Association and was also named as one of the Top 100 Buckeyes You Should Know by the Ohio State University Alumni Association.

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion; Charting your own career; Leadership with Grace; Healthcare Redesign; Minority Women’s Empowerment

*Available for virtual presentations

RodisDr. Jennifer Rodis, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Associate Dean for Outreach and Engagement

Bio and Topics

Jennifer L. Rodis is Professor and Associate Dean for Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy (OSUCOP). She completed her Doctor of Pharmacy training at Ohio Northern University and residency training at OSUCOP. Jen is dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities through pharmacist-provided care and community engagement. She fosters change through positive interactions and helping people to find their version of success. She also serves as Mom to eleven-year old Ali and eight-year old Charlie, enjoys travel, eating good food, and sharing time with friends and family.

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Topics: Pharmacists –what they do and how they do it?; Mentoring students to make change through community partnerships

*Available for virtual presentations

ScharreDouglas W. Scharre, M.D., Director, Division of Cognitive Neurology

Bio and Topics

Dr. Scharre serves as the Director of the Division of Cognitive Neurology and the Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders. He leads the Memory Disorders Clinic which has over 2500 patient-visits a year and the Memory Disorders Research Center which has conducted over 200 clinical trials in the last 27 years, contributing to over 1000 research publications. He designed and developed both paper and digital versions of the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) for identifying individuals with mild cognitive impairment or earlydementia and sensitive to changes over time. His peers have selected him as one of the Best Doctor’s in America continuously from 2005 through 2020.

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Topics: Memory and thinking problems in seniors; Mild cognitive impairment and dementia: diagnosis, treatments and research updates; Alzheimer’s disease; Lewy body dementia; Frontotemporal dementia; Management of common behavioral disturbances in dementia

*Available for virtual presentations

SchmuhlKelsey Schmuhl, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Bio and Topics

Kelsey Schmuhl is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. She enjoys teaching Introduction to Pharmacy to undergraduate students and teaching substance use disorder therapeutics to Doctor of Pharmacy students. She also provides pharmacy services to patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in the Adolescent Medicine Clinic. In addition to teaching and clinical practice, Kelsey is a part of the Generation Rx team at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and serves as a clinical content expert for the team.

Topics: The opioid epidemic; Naloxone; Harm Reduction; Generation Rx and medication safety

*Available for virtual presentations

SpakowiczDr. Daniel Spakowicz, PhD, Research Assistant Professor

Bio and Topics

My lab studies how the microbiome –the organisms that live on you and in you –affect many aspects of your health including cancer. In particular, we’re learning how the microbiome is important for whether your cancer treatment will work. Thankfully, the microbiome can be changed by methods such as diet and physical activity. I lead clinical trials to better understand which microbes are important and how best to make every patient respond to treatment, using methods that empower patients with the knowledge to help themselves.

We think this research program will also inform how to prevent cancer (rather than just treating it), as well as a host of other diseases that have been associated with the microbiome, such as Alzheimer’s and depression.

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Topics: Microbiome and Cancer; How diet and physical activity affect cancer; Microbiome and Metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes)

*Available for virtual presentations

WeaverDr. Tristan Weaver, Director, Comprehensive Spine Center; Director, Anesthesiology Clinical Research Lab; Director, Pain Medicine Fellowship

Bio and Topics

As a board-certified anesthesiologist and fellowship-trained interventional pain management specialist, I see patients with complex pain complaints. Spinal cord stimulation specifically, is a treatment that has been successful with some of my toughest cases who weren’t able to find relief through other interventions. Whether a patient’s pain is a result of trauma, injury, cancer or degenerative changes, it can significantly interfere with his or her quality of life. My passion is to improve spine care through outcomes based on research.

I love working here at Ohio State because I’m able to collaborate with other specialists from different fields to help find solutions, solve problems and deliver the best possible care.

When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my wife and two-year old daughter. I’m also an avid European soccer and Ohio State Buckeye fan.

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Topics: Pain Medicine; Advanced strategies for spine care; Low back pain

*Available for virtual presentations

*Available for golf outings

WickSarah Wick, RD CSSD LD, Director of Performance Nutrition for Athletics at Ohio State

Bio and Topics

Sarah Wick, RD CSSD LD has over 30 years of experience working as a clinical dietician in the sports nutrition and fitness industry. Currently Board Certified in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Dietetics from The Ohio State University and was later certified as an Exercise Specialist by the American College of Sports Medicine. Sarah is also a member of the American Dietetic Association and its Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition Practice group with a certification from the American Dietetic Association as a Weight Management Trainer. She is a Veteran Professional member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietetic Association. Sarah’s passion and focusis performance nutrition, weight management and eating disorders. She has worked with athletes ranging from PGA, NHL, and NBA professional athletes to amateur athletes on the collegiate and high school level.

Sarah is Director of Performance Nutrition for Athletics at The Ohio state University where she provides individual and team counseling and education for Olympic and varsity sports while serving as a leader and mentor to students in the performance nutrition field. In addition, Sarah specializes in working with athletes with eating disorders.

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Topics: Performance Nutrition –fueling the athletes; Weight Management; Specialized Diets; Eating Disorders

*Available for virtual presentations

*Available for golf outings

Full speaker list