Patricia Green-Powell, Ph.D.
On Aug. 2, 2019, Dr. Patricia Green-Powell was appointed Executive Director of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI). She is responsible for the oversight of MMERI as specified by Chapter 2017-232, Laws of Florida: “to educate minorities about marijuana for medical use and the impact of the unlawful use of marijuana on minority communities.” In this role, Dr. Green-Powell serves as the liaison between the FAMU Division of Research, the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Office of Communications, the University President, FAMU Board of Trustees, and the Florida Department of Health. Dr. Green-Powell’s efforts focus on educating and informing Florida’s diverse communities about medical marijuana and the potential consequences to health and wellbeing from the unlawful use of marijuana. Under her leadership, Dr. Green-Powell has launched a Basic Medical Marijuana Education Course and developed an Intermediate Medical Marijuana Education Course and a Focus Group Protocol.
Dr. Green-Powell’s scholarship has been published and presented nationally and internationally. In 2019, Dr. Green-Powell was named to the University of Florida’s Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research as a member of an expert panel and contributed to the development of the Consortium research agenda, provided scientific advice to the board and collaborated with Consortium members.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology from FAMU and a master’s and doctorate in educational administration/leadership from Florida State University. On March 27, 2020, she passed the Master Exam of the Cannabis Training University’s Master Certificate Program.
Budget & Program Manager
GP Mendie serves as Budget & Program Manager under the direction of MMERI’s Interim Executive Director, and the University’s Vice President for Research, the Provost and Leadership. He joined the MMERI team in February 2020
In this role, Mr. Mendie collaborates with relevant stakeholders to oversee the program’s budget and finance, operations, audit, contracts, strategic planning, and overall compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. He brings extensive, richly diverse years of experience in overseeing, implementing and managing numerous politically sensitive multimillion-dollar budgets and programs. His applied expertise and efforts with the MMERI program include, but are not limited to, finance and operations, outcomes budgeting, policy and fiscal analysis, legislative budget and bill analyses, contracts evaluation, monitoring and administration; long and short-term strategic fiscal planning; and systematic audits to prevent and mitigate fraud, waste, and/or abuse.
Mr. Mendie is a Florida certified contract negotiator and has utilized this expertise to MMERI’s benefit by working with vendors, contractors, internal and external stakeholders to foster budgetary oversight and accountability, achieve increased return on investment, quality assurance, as well as cost savings through outcomes-driven, cost-effective measures.
Mr. Mendie earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology (Nigeria), a master’s degree in Social Work (FSU), and is pursuing a doctorate in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes at Florida A&M University. He enjoys reading Congressional Budget Office Reports and is a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.
Bagnama Virginia King
Bagnama Virginia King provides administrative and executive support to the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative. She joined the program in November 2018 after completing a research project that formed the basis of FAMU’s original proposal to create MMERI.
In her role as Program Administrator, Ms. King fulfills many duties that are essential to MMERI’s ability to carry out its mission. For example, she oversees organizational activities, manages relationships with key operations vendors, and communicates with the office of procurement services, legal counsel and safety department to ensure all processes remain compliant. She also coordinates travel arrangements for staff, sets up conferences and meetings and collects survey data gleaned from community forums, among other functions. Her impact on the program is far reaching.
Ms. King hails from Togo in West Africa and speaks four languages (English, French, Ewe, Kabiye). She has completed the Master Examination at Cannabis Training University and received the Master Certification. Ms. King also holds a master’s degree in Applied Social Sciences, with concentrations in public administration, from Florida A&M University.
FAMU Assistant Director of Communications, MMERI Communications Liaison
Brian Howard became the assistant director of public affairs and marketing in the university communications department in August 2020 at Florida A&M University. His responsibilities also include being the communications liaison for the Medical Marijuana Education and Research Institute (MMERI).
In his role as the communications liaison for MMERI, Howard assists with the facilitation of marketing, content creation, community engagement, as well as campaign development, execution and management. Howard also handles media relations for MMERI, which includes responding to media inquiries, drafting press releases, and coordinating story placements about the program. He makes sure the public relations and mass communications activities for MMERI also support the University’s strategic initiatives.
Prior to working in university communications and MMERI, Howard spent a year as the director of communications for FAMU Athletics, where he helped orchestrate a new athletic website. He is no stranger to working at historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs). He previously worked at Lincoln University (Pa.), the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) office, Alabama State University and Grambling State University.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Howard has worked at collegiate institutions Young Harris College, LeTourneau University, Ouachita Baptist University and the University of West Alabama.
Howard and the former Ms. Rossanna Taal Punzalan are married and reside in Tallahassee, Fla.