Robert E. Jackson, MD, MACP – Clinical Professor of Medicine
Robert E. Jackson, completed his internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and has been in private practice at the Texas Medical Center for over 30 years. Dr. Jackson is a professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College. He is a clinical associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and has received the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award from Baylor twice during his teaching career. Dr. Jackson continues to be involved in education, research and patient care as well as quality integration for large physician groups and hospitals. Dr. Jackson currently serves as chair of the Continuing Medical Education Committee and the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Dr. Jackson highly values education and mentoring young medical students and residents as they advance through their careers. With close collaboration with Cynthia Pickett-Stevenson, he helped spearhead the Center for Health & Nature initiatives.
Texan by Nature
Joni Carswell, MBA, MEM – President and CEO
Joni Carswell is the CEO and president of Texan by Nature where she is responsible for leading their mission to spur Texan-led conservation that produces tangible benefits for people, prosperity, and natural resources. Joni, who was previously CEO of LivingTree, pairs her business strategy, engineering and technology background with her passion for Texas and the outdoors to realize Texan by Nature’s vision of bringing both science-based and community-organized initiatives to the forefront. Joni is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and served on the advisory board for the Kellogg Women’s Business Association.
Cynthia Pickett-Stevenson, JD – Vice Chair, Texan by Nature, Co-Chair, DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center Advisory Council, Houston Methodist
Cynthia Pickett-Stevenson is a fourth-generation Houstonian and a practicing attorney with over 36 years of experience. She is a longtime board member and former chair of the Galveston Bay Foundation. She serves as a director and co-vice chair of the Lone Star Coastal Alliance Board focused on securing a federal congressional designation known as the Loan Star Coastal National Recreation Area for the upper Texas coastal counties. Cynthia is also director of the Center for Excellence in Education, established by the late Admiral Rickover and Joann DiGennaro, co-chair of the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation, is on the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center council, and is a senior cabinet member of the Houston Methodist President’s Leadership Council.
Texas A&M University
Shawn Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH – Dean, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University
Shawn Gibbs is the Dean of the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Shawn has over a hundred articles in industrial hygiene and environmental exposure assessment, focusing on disrupting transmission of highly infectious diseases. He is a Member of USEPA Board of Scientific Counselors for Homeland Security. He was a U.S. Faculty Fulbright Scholar to Egypt and has been PI of three Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Programs (Egypt and Libya). His research helped to determine national policies, procedure, and best practices for response to Ebola virus disease, COVID-19, and other highly infectious diseases. Shawn has held roles in organizations, such as National Ebola Training and Education Center, Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center, NIOSH funded Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, and Director of Research for the CDC/DHHS funded Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Shawn is heavily involved in national worker training programs in Hazardous Materials Disaster Preparedness Training and Hazardous Waste Worker Training. He is a national leader in the research, training, and policy related to national and international responses to highly infectious disease outbreaks, including developing procedures for aeromedical evacuation isolation.
Jorge Vanegas, PhD, MBA, CIH – Dean, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University
Jorge A. Vanegas, Ph.D., serves currently as Dean of the College of Architecture (COA) at Texas A&M University (TAMU); Professor in the Department of Architecture (ARCH) in the COA; Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in the College of Engineering (COE) at TAMU, with a courtesy appointment; Director of the Institute for Sustainable Communities; and Research Professor in the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) of the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), with a courtesy appointment. Since 1988, Dr. Vanegas has focused his scholarly and professional activities, among others, primarily on: implementing built environment sustainability at urban, peri-urban, and rural scales, as well as within communities, civil infrastructure systems, and residential and non-residential facilities; applying creative, innovative, design, entrepreneurial, and digital thinking, fueled by curiosity and imagination, within transdisciplinary, transinstitutional, and transnational collaborative environments; and advancing capital asset delivery and management in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) industry through integrated strategies, tools, and methods. After serving as interim dean of the COA in 2008, he was appointed dean by the Board of Regents of the TAMUS in 2009 and will finish his third term in 2022. In addition, he has served as a technical advisor and a regular contributor to different academic institutions and A/E/C organizations and companies, both in the U.S. and internationally; and member of multiple boards of directors or advisors for several research and education centers. In recognition of his research, teaching, and service scholarly accomplishments, Dr. Vanegas has received throughout his academic and professional career national and international recognition and awards, including: being inducted as a member of the National Academy of Construction (NAC), in 2018; and being inducted in the Pan American Academy of Engineering (PAAE), in 2010, and currently serving as President from Fall 2020 to Fall 2022. In addition, he also has been the recipient of the Achievement Award of the Engineering and Construction Contractors (ECC), in 2010; a STAR Award for Superior Technical Achievements from the FIATECH Consortium, in 2007; the Educator of the Year Award from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), in 2001; the first Outstanding Instructor Award from the Construction Industry Institute (CII), in 1995; and a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), in 1992. A registered architect in Colombia, Dr. Vanegas holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Construction Engineering and Management from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, California.