WHO WE ARE
Founded in 2020, Diverse Research Now Inc. is a nonprofit organization started due to the lack of diversity in clinical trials. We are working to ensure that underrepresented and underserved communities get access to highly qualified medical professionals and frequent medical care through clinical trial participation.
MEET THE TEAM
Board President (Founder)
Renarda Jones, MS
Renarda is a clinical research professional and doctoral candidate with over 15 years experience working with clinical trials. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL but currently lives in San Diego, CA with her family. Renarda started her career at Rush University in Chicago, IL working in Alzheimer’s disease research. It was at Rush University that Renarda gained knowledge about the health disparities in the black community. She became passionate about educating her community on clinical trials because this was one way to decrease health disparities.
Semise Daley MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
Semise is a Family Nurse Practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in hospital, community, and primary care environments. She has experience in developing faith-based health related educational programs, health screenings, health fairs, and life crisis coaching. She has been a presenter and speaker at several health related national and local conferences.
Godfrey Coker, MBA, MPH, MS
Godfrey is a health educator focusing on improving health in individuals by using education and public awareness strategies. He is also a Clinical Research professional skilled in all aspects of project and personnel management and experienced in complying with study protocols, standard operating procedures, and good clinical practices. He has been instrumental in conducting clinical investigations research and development in Alzheimer's disease.
Tamiko MaGee-Rodgers, PhD, CCRP
Dr. Tamiko MaGee-Rodgers is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in Alzheimer’s research trials and has worked in the field of aging for more than 15 years. As the Associate Director for the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) Recruitment and Strategic Initiatives, she oversees staff and programs who work to include people from traditionally underrepresented communities in clinical research for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Elisha Butts, MBA
Elisha is a Research Professional with experience as being vital member of epidemiological research team for 6 plus years working with vulnerable populations at Rush University Medical Center. She continued her career with Rush University within the Revenue department for 2 years as a Coverage Analyst gaining knowledge and experience with phase 2 or 3 protocols within clinical trials.
Linda Verin, DMD
Dr. Linda Verin grew up in San Bernardino, California. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Integrative Biology and minoring in African-American Studies. She graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and has been working as a General Dentist in North County San Diego the past 12 years.
Denise Alston, DNP, RN, ANP-BC
Denise is a certified Adult Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of experience working with adult/geriatric patients in various settings. She presently works as a sub-investigator at a private clinical research site, supporting studies in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, COPD, and infectious disease/vaccines.
She prides herself with establishing excellent rapport and educating patients.
Board Member (Secretary)
Inez is an administrative professional with experience in company start-ups. She has continued her career as an entrepreneur in the business industry.
She has strong communication skills and is a detailed oriented professional.
She has a love for the black community and is happy to help move her community forward.
Vanessa Di Felice, MD, MPH
Medical Science Liaison at Genentech, collaborates on Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder treatment. A Howard University graduate with an MD and MPH, she conducted pediatric research at Children’s National Health System. Transitioning to medical affairs at Tetraphase, she chaired the Scientific Research Committee. Now pursuing a PhD at Walden University, Vanessa explores the experiences of Black youths with Type 1 diabetes.
Brandy Starks, MSHS, MBA, CDE
Brandy Starks is a clinical research professional, research participant, and certified diversity executive. She is currently the founder and CEO of DiversAlly Consulting and She Free Collective.
A vocal patient advocate, Brandy sits on several boards and committees including the NIH All of US Patient Advisory Board and Cedars-Sinai’s IRB and patient experience boards.
She started her career in 1972 at the University of Illinois where she promoted research studies. In 1997, she was a leader as Assistant Manager in the Mile Square Health Center in Chicago, IL.
She retired from the Health center in 2000 after 30 years of community service. She was sought out by Rush University Alzheimer disease Center in Chicago, IL to work in the Multicultural Outreach Dept planning research studies events and to be an advocate and ambassador for clinical studies.
Stephanie Thompson, CRA
Stephanie is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) with over 20 years of experience in higher education research administration; managing grants and contracts. She currently serves as director of the research office at the University of Memphis. She has held leadership positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as Rush University Medical Center. Stephanie has managed a multitude of externally sponsored grants and contracts from varying funding agencies.
Kenneth Lawrence, BS, PharmD
Dr. Lawrence is currently Executive Director, Medical Affairs at Seres Therapeutics. Is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island for both his Bachelor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy Degree’s. Dr. Lawrence began his 2-decade clinical pharmacy practice career as a critical care pharmacist later transitioning to Infectious Disease/Antimicrobial Stewardship. More recently, he has held roles in Clinical Development and most recently Medical Affairs.
Raeshonda Bowser, B.A.
Dedicated, and compassionate Administrative Assistant with over 10 years of administrative experience. She has a B.A. degree from California State University of Fullerton. Her dedication to make a positive impact on her community, combined with the administrative expertise, plays a pivotal role in supporting Diverse Research Now’s mission to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their participants, and community.