Speakers & Honorees
Oprah Winfrey is a global media leader, producer and actress. She has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today.
Winfrey is also a dedicated philanthropist, launching The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) in 1993 to serve those in need. OWCF has contributed over $400 million in grants and donations to organizations that support children, families, and communities, with a specific focus on youth education, throughout the United States and the world.
During a December 2002 visit with Nelson Mandela, she pledged to build a school in South Africa and has contributed more than $200 million towards providing education for academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Graduates of the school have continued to higher education both in South Africa and at colleges and universities around the world.
In 2019, Ms. Winfrey made an additional donation to Morehouse College in support of her Morehouse Scholars Program to bring her total donation to men’s education in the United States to $25 million.
In March 2020, she committed $15 million to COVID-19 relief efforts in underserved communities in her “home cities” of Chicago, Milwaukee, Kosciusko, Mississippi, Baltimore, and Los Angeles.
In 2021, The Oprah Winfrey Leaders Scholarship was announced, with the inaugural class exemplifying leadership in their communities earning four-year scholarships to attend prestigious Universities, including multiple HBCU’s, around the country.
Additionally, Winfrey is a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In June of 2018, the museum opened “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” an exhibit exploring Winfrey’s life and her talk show’s impact featuring artifacts from the set, costumes from her movies and interactive interviews.
In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Andrea & Peter Roth
Born and raised in the suburbs of New York, Andrea and Peter met while attending Tufts University, where they both graduated with honors. They moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where Peter began his 47-year career working in television and Andrea continued her work in medical advertising.
Andrea worked as an account executive in both Manhattan and Beverly Hills. She took time out from her professional career to raise their two wonderful children, Erica and Brian, during which time she was an active volunteer in support of their schools. Andrea served on school boards and committees, dedicating much of her time and energy in the area of fundraising. She worked as Director of Admissions for an independent private school on the Westside of Los Angeles for 17 years.
Andrea’s interest in neuroscience and brain research began with their daughter’s diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, which prompted her attendance at countless conferences, lectures and symposia on the subject. She is inspired and honored to serve as a founding member of the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Advisory Board.
During his storied television career, Peter worked on such iconic series as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Dynasty, 21 Jump Street, The X-Files, Picket Fences, Ally McBeal, Family Guy, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, The Ellen Show, The Bachelor, You, The Kominsky Method, Queen Sugar, Ted Lasso, and, most recently, Abbott Elementary. During his 22-year tenure as President and then Chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group, 32 television series produced under his aegis reached the coveted 100-episode milestone. In recognition of his career accomplishments, Peter was honored with the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, the Television Showman of the Year Award and, in 2021, was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Andrea and Peter are thoroughly enjoying this phase of their lives, their two amazing grandsons, James and Tyler, and focusing their energies on giving back.
Emmy Award-winning actress Lisa Kudrow is best known for her role as Phoebe Buffay on Friends. While on Friends, Kudrow was nominated for five Emmy awards and won once. Kudrow also created, produced, and starred in the critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated series The Comeback for HBO as well as Web Therapy, a web series that transitioned into a half-hour program on Showtime.
Through her and Dan Bucatinsky’s production company, Is or Isn’t, Kudrow produces the U.S. version of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? Is or Isn’t also produced The Comeback and Web Therapy, among other programs.
Kudrow has also been featured in multiple films, including Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Opposite of Sex, Analyze This, P.S. I Love You, Easy A, The Boss Baby, and Booksmart. More recently, Lisa appeared in Netflix’s Death to 2020 and the series Feel Good.
Jon Batiste is one of history’s most brilliant, prolific, and accomplished musicians. Batiste studied and received both a B.A. and M.F.A. at the world-renowned Juilliard School in New York City. From 2015 until 2022, Batiste served as the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. In 2018, he received a Grammy nomination for Best American Roots, and in 2020, he received two Grammy nods for the albums: CHRONOLOGY OF A DREAM: LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD and MEDITATIONS (with Cory Wong). In 2020, he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for the Disney/Pixar film SOUL, an honor he shared with fellow composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Jon’s work on SOUL also earned him a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a NAACP Image Award and a Critic’s Choice Award. He is the second black composer in history, after legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock, to win an Academy Award for composition. Batiste’s latest studio album, WE ARE, was released in March 2021 to overwhelming critical acclaim. Subsequently, he was nominated for eleven Grammys across seven different categories, a first in Grammy history. He went on to win five of those Grammys, including Album of the Year.
Arthur C. Brooks, PhD
Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches courses on leadership and happiness. He is also a columnist at The Atlantic, where he writes the popular weekly “How to Build a Life” column. Brooks is the author of 12 books, including the 2022 #1 New York Times bestseller From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life. He speaks to audiences all around the world about human happiness, and works to raise well-being within private companies, universities, public agencies, and community organizations.
As Governor, Jeanie Buss is responsible for running all aspects of the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Buss, who oversees the business and basketball operations of the team, works closely with President of Business Operations Tim Harris and Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. In 2020, Buss became the first female Governor to win an NBA Championship, as the Lakers tied a league record with their 17th title.
Representing the team on the NBA’s Board of Governors, Buss is currently a member of the NBA Advisory and Finance Committee and serves on the NBA Labor Committee, which in 2016 successfully reached a deal with the NBA Players Association for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Buss serves as an Honorary Trustee of the University of Southern California, her alma mater, and on the Board of LA2028, the group overseeing the return of the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2028. Named by the Sports Business Journal in October of 2011 as one of the Game Changers: Women in Sports Business, she is a co-host of Lakers All-Access, a yearly event presented by the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission (LASEC), a nonprofit organization which draws events and attractions to Los Angeles and also sits on the board of the LASEC.
Prior to joining the Lakers, Buss spent four years as President of the Great Western Forum before joining the Lakers. She began her career at the age of 19 as General Manager of World Team Tennis’ Los Angeles Strings and, in 1993, brought professional roller hockey to Los Angeles as the owner of the Los Angeles Blades. Buss is also currently involved with leading the revival of WOW – Women of Wrestling, featuring female superheroes in the ring.
Buss is a strong advocate for mental health and wellness and was recently recognized for her work by receiving the UCLA Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center Eudaimonia Lifetime Achievement Award. Buss sits on the board of the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation and supports Canine Companions for Independence, Apex Protection Project and the Best Buddies organization among her many other charitable endeavors, while also working internally with the Lakers Youth Foundation to raise money for Southern California Youth charities. In 2015, she funded the establishment the Dr. Jerry H. Buss Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai as a tribute to her late father.
Helena Hansen, MD, PhD
Helena Hansen earned an MD and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology as part of Yale University’s NIH funded Medical Scientist Training Program. During graduate school she completed fieldwork in Havana on Cuban AIDS policy, and in Puerto Rico on faith healing in evangelical Christian addiction ministries founded and run by self-identified ex-addicts.
After graduate school, she completed a clinical residency in psychiatry at NYU Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital, during which she also undertook an ethnographic study of the introduction of new addiction pharmaceuticals. She examined the social and political implications of clinicians’ efforts to establish addiction as a biomedical, rather than moral or social condition, as well as the ways that neurochemical treatments may be re-inscribing hierarchies of ethnicity and race. She completed a feature length visual documentary based on this work, Managing the Fix, which debuted at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. Her book Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Drug Ministries was published by UC Press in 2018.
She is also leading a national movement for training of clinical practitioners to address social determinants of health, which she and Jonathan Metzl call “Structural Competency,” and which is the subject of her second book, Structural Competency in Medicine and Mental Health: A Case-Based Approach to Treating the Social Determinants of Health, with co-editor Jonathan Metzl, published by Springer Press in 2019. Her third book, Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Heroin in America, with policy analyst Jules Netherland and historian David Herzberg, is forthcoming from UC Press.
She is the recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator Award, Kaiser Permanente Burche Minority Leadership Award, an NIH K01 Award, a Mellon Sawyer Seminar grant, the NYU Golden Dozen Teaching Award, the American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training Model Curriculum Award, and an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Vivek H. Murthy, MD
The Surgeon General of the United States
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States. He previously served as the 19th Surgeon General under President Obama. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public. As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations. He is also the host of House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy, a podcast highlighting the healing power of conversations. The first Surgeon General of Indian descent, Dr. Murthy was raised in Miami and is a graduate of Harvard, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Management. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author, he lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children.
Johnese Spisso, MPA
Johnese Spisso assumed the position of President of UCLA Health, CEO of UCLA Hospital System and Associate Vice Chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences in 2016. She is a nationally recognized academic healthcare leader with more than 30 years of experience, and oversees all operations of UCLA’s hospitals and clinics as well as the health system’s regional outreach strategy.
Before coming to UCLA, Spisso spent 22 years at UW Medicine in Seattle, Washington, where she was promoted from Chief Nursing Officer to Chief Operating Officer to Chief Health System Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs for the University of Washington. She served in the latter role from 2007-2016 and was responsible for the two academic medical centers, two community hospitals, the network of community clinics, and the Airlift Northwest flight program. While there, Spisso played a major role in expanding collaborations with regional hospitals and in the operational integration of two major community hospitals into UW Medicine. She also was instrumental in leading the development of a statewide trauma system.
Prior to UW, as a registered nurse, Spisso rose through the ranks over 12 years at the University of California, Davis Medical Center and directed the critical care, trauma and burn center, emergency services and the Life Flight Air-Medical Program. Before that, she began her career as a critical-care nurse in the medical, surgical and transplant intensive care unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian.
Spisso received a master’s degree in health care administration and public administration from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Chapman College. She earned her RN at the St. Francis School of Nursing. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on healthcare leadership, and she serves on several national boards, including the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems.
Spisso is active in community leadership and has served as the Los Angeles Community Chair for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk as well as the Los Angeles Community Chair for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon. She has received numerous awards and recognition throughout her career, recently being named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Most Influential Women Leaders in 2019, LA Business Journal’s 500 Most Influential Leaders in Los Angeles in 2020, Modern Healthcare’s Top 50 Clinical Leaders of 2020 in the U.S., and the Los Angeles Business Journal Women of Influence Award for Health Care in 2021 and 2022.