PRESS RELEASE

211 7th Avenue N, Ste. 100

Nashville, TN 37219

Phone: (615) 255-0331 Fax: (615) 255-0354

website:  www.tnjustice.org

The Tennessee Justice Center welcomes 10 new members to their Board of Directors.  

Nashville, TN – Michele Johnson, Executive Director at the Tennessee Justice Center, announced that the organization has appointed ten new board members: Denise Alper, Dr. Shindana Feagins, Dr. Sabrina Finney, Nita Guinn, Mike Gardner, Kristie Helms Nettles, Dr. Freida Hopkins Outlaw, Sadiatou Jallow, Dr. Kevin James, and Dr. Susanne Tropez-Sims. 

Michele Johnson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center, said, “We are thrilled to have such a talented and well-rounded group of champions for justice join our Board of Directors. As we celebrate our 25th year, we are even more appreciative of the people who strengthen our work.”  

The board officers are Nate Gilmer – Chair; Jeff Gibson – Vice Chair; and Josh Hedrick – Treasurer.  

Denise Alper 

Denise Alper is a native Nashvillian. After a couple of decades in Hospital Management, Denise has spent her professional career in consulting and project management for healthcare and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she was Interim CEO for Gilda’s Club of Middle Tennessee.  

Denise has served on the Boards of Metro Nashville Health Department, United Neighborhood Health Services, Alive Hospice, Gilda’s Club, The Women’s Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and All About Women. She is a graduate of Leadership Nashville.  

Ms. Alper received her BA in Public Administration from The University of Florida, Gainesville and her Masters of Hospital and Health Administration from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. 

Dr. Shindana Feagins  

Dr. Shindana Feagins is a native of Los Angeles, California.  She has been a physician practicing Internal Medicine for 20 years. Prior to becoming a physician, she worked for the LA Unified School District as a middle school teacher at Charles Drew Middle School.  Her love of writing poetry has enabled her to author two children’s books – Poems for My Children (2010) and We Have Such In Common (2015).  

Dr. Feagins currently works as an Internist in Madison, TN and is the owner of Feagins Medical Group (a primary care practice managing acute and chronic illnesses) and Walk With Your Doctor Weight Loss (a weight loss management program). She is the co-owner of Comprehensive Correctional Services, which offers contracted medical and dental services to Correctional Facilities, and HealthMD, a mobile house calls and telemedicine practice. 

She is the founder and CEO of Rezolve Wellness Center, which is a nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with her Walk With Your Doctor Weight Loss program. She is also the co-founder and CEO of a company called, We Have Such In Common, Incorporated, and the nonprofit We Have Such In Common – Let’s Talk, which promotes harmony among children and teaches elementary and middle school children about diversity & inclusion through literacy, visual arts and music. She and her business partners were the first African American women-owned nonprofit in Tennessee to partner with AT&T to teach their Diversity & Inclusion curriculum to students at a charter school in Atlanta, Georgia.  

She is a former 2013 Athena Award Nominee, a 2013 Recipient of the Gospel Music City Business Woman of the Year Award and 2014 recipient of the Legacy Award.  

Dr. Feagins is a former board member of the Green Hills YMCA and currently sits on the Metro Hospital Authority Board.  She is the first African American woman and Meharry graduate to chair the Hospital Authority Board for Nashville General Hospital, in its 130-year history.  She is also the first African American woman to sit on the board for Father Ryan Highschool in its 95-year history and is the first and only African American woman physician currently sitting on the medical advisory committee for Father Ryan Highschool.  

Through her nonprofit, Rezolve Wellness, Dr. Feagins became the first African American woman physician in the state of Tennessee to pilot a weight loss study for United Healthcare Insurance, the largest insurance company in the US.  

Dr. Feagins is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Meharry Medical College and resides in Old Hickory, Tennessee, with her husband Edwin Feagins, Sr. and their two children Sabria and Edgerin.  

Dr. Sabrina Finney 

Sabrina Tanis Finney, MD received her undergraduate degree from prestigious Spelman College in 1990 and her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in 1996. She completed her internship and residency at Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit Michigan. She served four years in the National Health Service Corp, which took her from East Jackson Family Medical Center and Cayce Health Clinic in Jackson, Tennessee, and Nashville, Tennessee, respectively. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, Societas Docta Incorporated and the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, previously serving as the president for the Nashville, Tennessee Chapter. She served as the Associate Program Director in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College from 2011 to 2014. Dr. Finney was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award at Meharry Medical College, Department of Family and Community Medicine in 2012 and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Society in 2014. Dr. Finney is currently Medical Director of Wellpath. In this position she provides acute and chronic care for inmates assigned to the Davidson County Sherriff’s Office. Simultaneously, Dr. Finney works for Vanderbilt University Medical Center as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine. 

Mike Gardner 

Mike Gardner is in-house counsel for Experian Health, Inc., where he leads a team of three attorneys.  Prior to joining Experian Health, Mike was in-house counsel for Community Health Systems where he specialized in litigation management. Before working at CHS, Mike practiced in the Litigation and Appellate Group of the Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis firm’s Nashville office. Mike graduated in 2002 from Duke University and then graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2006. Prior to joining the TJC Board, Mike volunteered regularly with TJC during his time at Waller and later assisted TJC in fundraising efforts on behalf of its Raise the Bar campaign. 

Nita Guinn 

Nita is retired from 30 plus years in sales. At Tupperware World Headquarters she served as a VIP Manager and trainer for launching new products and establishing new programs. She served as Assistant Manager at Ashley’s Furniture before retiring from a sales and training position at Havertys.  

More importantly, Nita received her God-given “master’s” in advocacy care after 38 years of being the sole advocate for her son, Lee Murphey. Lee had Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.  

Nita had to, and willingly did, put all formal education and career ambitions aside in order to give Lee the care he required. Her work in sales allowed her the flexibility to support herself while caring for Lee.  

Nita is indeed a master at navigating the health care system, which is evidenced by Lee living well past the years medically anticipated. And his was a life of quality; he even accomplished two majors.  

In her words, “I am passionate about helping those who rely on TJC for assistance in their own advocacy efforts. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.” 

Kristie Helms Nettles 

Kristie Helms Nettles is VP/Director of Operational Marketing at AllianceBernstein where she has oversight of the global marketing production and proofreading teams responsible for creating the firm’s presentations, commentaries, fact sheets and related materials. 

Prior to joining AB in 2019, she led Digital Marketing and Client Communications and served as Global Head of Content Strategy at State Street for more than 11 years. There she worked in several global offices including Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. She launched the company’s social media program and led the digital marketing team that took Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue viral. Ms. Nettles also created a social media data mining program used to deliver hyper-targeted marketing strategies and competitive intelligence for sales teams and was awarded WOMMY’s first ever Gold Award for Social Media Monitoring Implementation.  

Ms. Nettles has a long history of interactive leadership within financial services, earning an IABC Gold Quill Merit award in Digital Communications for the launch of State Street’s first social intranet and a number of awards for digital marketing campaigns including the Digital/Social Communications Campaign of the Year (Silver) Bulldog Award, Best Use of Digital/Social for a Banking/Financial Services Campaign (Silver) Bulldog Award and the Bulldog Digital/Social PR Awards (Gold) for Excellence in Online Communications. Her work has received recognition from the FTPensions & InvestmentsForbes and Brand Channel for her unique use of social media in financial services – which once included tweeting a set of emojis that explained SEC regulations. 

Passionate about combining her southern roots with more than 20 years of financial services’ experience in NYC and Boston to create a new, global financial hub in Nashville, she serves as co-chair of the AB Out leadership team, is an AB Diversity Ambassador and is a Dean of the Client Group’s internship and Rotational Associate program. She serves as a member of Tennessee State University’s Economics and Finance Advisory Board and recently funded an LGBTQ Endowment at Murray State University. 

A native of far western Kentucky and former crime reporter at a daily newspaper in Paris, TN, Ms. Nettles obtained a BS in journalism from Murray State University in Murray, KY and an MS in communications management from Simmons College in Boston. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of both Boston Pride and the Fenway LGBTQ Health Center and was appointed by the Massachusetts Governor to the Boston Finance Commission. Active in community organizing, she was an elected delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and worked on the campaigns of Deval Patrick, Elizabeth Warren and Ayanna Pressley. She remains a proud recipient of the Kentucky Colonel designation for her work with the Kentucky delegation to the 2004 DNC in Boston.

She and her wife of 20 years reside in East Nashville with their three small, ill-behaved dogs. 

Dr. Freida Hopkins Outlaw, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FAAN 

Freida Hopkins Outlaw received her Baccalaureate in Nursing from Berea College, Masters in Psychiatric Nursing from Boston College and a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America and completed her postdoctoral study in Psychosocial Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has over fifty years of experience as a clinician, researcher, educator, and policymaker in public mental health. She is currently the Executive Program Consultant for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Minority Fellowship Program at the American Nurses Association. Prior, she was the Director of the Meharry Youth Health and Wellness Center, a health care delivery system for adolescents with a special focus on LGBT youth. For eight years Dr. Outlaw served as the Assistant Commissioner, Division of Special Populations, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. For 15 years she was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. Dr. Outlaw has written in the areas of cultural diversity; management of aggression; seclusion and restraint; and the role of religion, spirituality and the meaning of prayer for people with cancer; the use of the Geriatric Depression Scale with older African Americans; Black women and depression; children’s mental health; quality of life of African American women caregivers; and the mental health needs of minority transgender youth. She was a co-author of the book Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care, 7th edition which was recognized with a book of the year award in 2015 by the American Nurses Association. 

Sadiatou Jallow 

Sadiatou grew up on the other side of the world – literally – in Gambia. She and her immediate family came to Knoxville in 1987 with help from Alex Haley, author of Roots. Sadiatou’s daughter Binta is a direct descendent of Kunta Kinte, of Roots fame. Binta was born with severe disabilities and needs around the clock care to keep her safe in the community. 

For 26 years, Sadiatou has been a dogged advocate for her daughter’s healthcare. She has worked with Tennessee Justice Center to ensure Binta has the care she needs since shortly after her birth. She has been featured in state and national media, testified before courts and lawmakers, and courageously shared her family’s story to educate people and put a human face to policy issues impacting people with special needs. She has provided heartfelt advice to countless other parents, all while serving as Binta’s primary caregiver and struggling with her own health issues. 

While still living in Gambia, she worked for a major telecommunications company, during which time she traveled throughout the UK for business.  Once in the United States, she received Associate degrees in both Communications and Medical Assistance. She currently works as a caregiver and provides Hospice care. Sadiatou is pleased to join the Board of Directors at Tennessee Justice Center, looking forward to being able to continue helping other families who need assistance getting the health care they need. 

Dr. Kevin James  

Dr. Kevin James is a practicing geriatrician and hospitalist in Maryville, Tennessee. He grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, before attending Davidson College and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  After completing internal medicine residency and serving as Chief Resident at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, he pursued specialty training in geriatric medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.  In 2012 he returned to East Tennessee settling in Maryville and beginning work as a hospitalist.  A year later he served as a founding physician for Blount Senior Care Partners, a geriatric care group in Maryville. Over the past nine years, Dr. James participated in the growth of Blount Senior Care Partners.  This has included founding a geriatric primary care and consultation clinic; expanding care in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities; and more recently expanding a home care program. In addition to working as a geriatric primary care physician, he provides inpatient continuity by caring for all of his group’s patients whenever they require hospital admission. 

Dr. James was attracted to the Tennessee Justice Center when he realized how limited the medical and social safety net he had to work with in Tennessee was compared to what he experienced while training in Massachusetts. His work caring for vulnerable elders through his clinic and nursing homes frequently involves dealing with barriers to accessible and affordable support for patients and their families. By working with the Tennessee Justice Center, he hopes to improve the ability of seniors to access care and educate other health care providers on how they too can advocate for more resources for their patients.   

Dr. Susanne Tropez-Sims, MD, MPH 

Dr. Susanne Tropez-Sims is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, graduating in 1971 with a major in Biology/Chemistry. She then matriculated at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill where she completed her MD degree in 1975 before beginning her internship and residency in pediatrics at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. Further training included a Master of Public Health from UNC – Chapel Hill, along with a Preventive Medicine Fellowship and a Community Pediatric Fellowship in 1982. She went on to become an academician, serving at UNC – Chapel Hill, Louisiana State University Health Science Center and Meharry Medical College. Despite the rigors of academia, Dr. Tropez-Sims was also the Maternal and Child Health Director for the New Orleans Health Department.  

Dr. Tropez-Sims became an advocate for abused children and was a child medical examiner for the states of North Carolina and Louisiana. She trained physicians, police, social workers and lawyers in evaluating child abuse. Her research consisted of sexually transmitted diseases in sexually abused children and adolescents. In addition, she designed and implemented a program entitled Teens with Tots. This program encouraged adolescent mothers to continue school, thereby reducing the pregnancy recidivism rate. Never losing her passion for adolescents, she implemented one and managed two school-based clinics in New Orleans.  

In 1997, Dr. Tropez-Sims joined Meharry as Chairperson of Pediatrics, also serving as Professor, Clerkship Director and – in 2005 – Associate Dean of Clinical Affiliations. She has directed MINDS (Moving in New Directions), an HIV/AIDS prevention program, in two Davidson County public schools and a faculty development mentoring program at Meharry. Her research at Meharry has focused on faculty development, HIV/AIDS prevention in adolescents, Vitamin D deficiency, HPV vaccines in adolescents and correlations between infant obesity and maternal obesity.  She has received numerous honors and awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics, communities in which she worked and Meharry.  

In Dec 2019 Dr. Tropez-Sims retired but continues contract assisting Meharry SOM with administrative duties. 

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) is a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm serving Tennessee’s families. It gives priority to policy issues and civil cases in which the most basic necessities of life are at stake and where advocacy can benefit families statewide. TJC works to empower its clients by holding the government accountable for its policies and actions. TJC was established in 1996 and is located at 211 7th Ave N, Ste. 100, Nashville, TN. For additional information about the Tennessee Justice Center and its services, visit www.tnjustice.org or call 615-255-0331.