Washington, D.C. – January 12, 2021 – The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is excited to announce the appointment of four new board members: Ashley Colwell, MS, PHR, of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, DaShawn Groves, DrPH, of Cityblock, Christian Neal, MD, MPA, of Johnson Health Center, and Shelley Spires, MHCA, of Albany Area Primary Health Care.

“ACU’s Board of Directors has always mirrored its exceptional network of members, partners and advocates, representing a diverse cross section of clinical disciplines, gender, race, ethnicity, and expertise,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, ACU Executive Director. “United by a commitment to health equity, ACU’s Board represents our core mission: to improve the health of America’s underserved populations and to enhance the development and support of the clinicians who serve them. I’m thrilled to have the leadership and expertise of Drs. Neal and Grove as well as Ms. Spires and Colwell.”

“It is an absolute pleasure to welcome our new ACU board members,” said Felix L. Nuñez, MD, MPH, President of ACU’s Board. “They bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge which will undoubtedly enhance our board as we continue to guide ACU in fulfillment of our mission.”

Ashley Colwell, MS, PHR, is the Vice President of Clinical Service & Workforce at the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA). Colwell has over a decade of experience serving community health centers and assists organizations with clinical and workforce needs by overseeing IPHCA’s Clinician Recruitment Service. As a direct recruiter, Colwell has placed 654 providers at Federally Qualified Health Centers. Additionally, she holds certification as a Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute and was honored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in 2019’s “Faces of Our Future.”

Dr. Dashawn Groves, DrPH, is the Community Partnerships Director at Cityblock, where he helps Cityblock meet members’ social needs, build stakeholder relationships, and increase performance and growth across populations. Prior to serving at Cityblock, Groves was lead project manager in the Health Care Reform and Innovation Administration in the District of Columbia’s Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). For more than 15 years, he has worked closely with safety-net providers on Medicaid issues, and played an integral part in formulating DHCF’s stakeholder engagement strategies and initiatives to address social determinants of health.

Dr. Christian Neal, MD, MPA, is Director of Psychiatry at Johnson Health Center. He has extensive academic and direct service experience and is particularly interested in serving populations which do not often have access to psychiatric services, such as people experiencing homelessness. He previously provided psychiatric services with the Carilion Clinic and South Carolina Department of Mental Health and taught as an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

Shelly Spires, MHCA, is the Chief Executive Officer of Albany Area Primary Health Care (AAPHC). Prior to joining AAPHC, she was Human Resources Director at America’s Counseling Service and worked with Dooly County Medical Center. She is also the Chair of the Recruitment and Retention Committee for the Georgia Association of Primary Health Care and a member of multiple committees with other national organizations. In addition to her decades of experience working with health centers, Spires has been honored as part of the 2015 Small Town America’s 100 Most Influential People and 40 Under 40 for Dougherty County.

The 2021 ACU Board of Directors includes:

  • President: Felix L. Nuñez, MD, MPH, Inland Empire Medical Director at Molina Healthcare of California
  • Vice-President: Doug Olson, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Medicaid and CHIP, at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Secretary: Kirsten Thomsen, PA, specialist in interdisciplinary care and homeless and migrant populations
  • Treasurer: Marc Overbeck, BA, Director of the Oregon Primary Care Office at the State of Oregon Health Authority
  • Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer at Presidio County Health Services
  • Ashley Colwell, MS, PHR, Vice President of Clinical Service & Workforce at Illinois Primary Health Care Association
  • Nataly Diaz, BA, Assistant Director of Workforce Development at the California Primary Care Association
  • Ellis Frazier, MD, Staff Physician at Pike Medical & Surgical Associates
  • DaShawn Groves, DrPH, Community Partnerships Director at Cityblock
  • Juli Hishida, PhD, MS, Student Member in Los Angeles, CA
  • James A. Hotz, MD, Clinical Services Director at Albany Area Primary Health Care
  • Christian Neal, MD, MPA, Director of Psychiatry at Johnson Health Center
  • Shelly Spires, MHCA, Chief Executive Officer at Albany Area Primary Health Care

About ACU

The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is a uniquely transdisciplinary membership association uniting clinicians, advocates, and organizations in the shared mission to improve the health of America’s underserved populations and to support the clinicians serving them. ACU provides professional education, training and technical assistance, and clinical tools and programs to thousands of clinicians and organizations every year to improve health equity for the underserved. Founded in 1996 by members and alumni of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), ACU is the leading voice of advocacy for the NHSC, and its collective community includes over 10,000 organizations, individuals, and advocates. To learn more about ACU, visit www.clinicians.org, like ACU on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.