Dr. Thomas Lawrence Dobbs

Professor Emeritus of Economics
United States

Focus Areas

Economic Security
Economic Development
Higher Education
Food Systems
Food Systems
Environment & Sustainable Development


Dr. Rivera is Chief Medical Officer of The Acacia Network in The Bronx, NY. The Acacia Network is the country's largest Hispanic-serving community based organization. He is a pediatrician with a subspecialty in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. He is co-founder of ASPIRA of Delaware Inc (AOD) and ASPIRA of Delaware Charter Operations Inc (ADCO). ADCO founded and operates Las Americas ASPIRA Academy (LAAA} in Newark, Delaware. LAAA is a state chartered K-8 school and is the state's first charter to offer a rigorous dual-language immersion, project-based K-8 curriculum. LAAA opened its doors in 2011and currently serves over 700 K-8 students in a fully owned and completely renovated 100,000 SF facility in Newark, Delaware. Dr. Rivera served as Delaware's Director of Public Health and State Health Officer under Governor Ruth Ann Minner from 2004 to 2009. During his tenure, he directed the implementation of Governor Minner's public health priorities for Delawareans - emergency preparedness, comprehensive cancer control,infant mortality reduction, and elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in health care. On a national level,Dr. Rivera served on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Hablamos Juntas (We Speak Together) Program, which awarded over $10 million in grants to establish best practices for eliminating language barriers to health care. He also served on the Board of Governors of the American Medical Association's Minority Affairs Consortium; the Board of Directors of the National Hispanic Medical Association;the United States Department of Agriculture National Advisory Council on Maternal,Infant,and Fetal Nutrition; and the American Hospital Association's Special Advisory Group to Improve Hospital Care for Minorities. In Delaware Dr. Rivera served as Chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs under Governors Thomas Carper and Ruth Ann Minner. Working collaboratively with lawmakers, he secured support for over $1 million in annual funding for public school programs for English Language Leaners. He served on numerous community-based nonprofit boards including several terms with the United Way of Delaware, the Latin American Community Center, and Children and Families First. Dr. Rivera also served on Governor Minner's Infant Mortality Task Force and Health Disparities Task Force as well as the Vision 2015 Steering Committee, Delaware's Health Resources Board, and Council on State Service Centers. As Director of Public Health under Governor Ruth Ann Minner, Dr. Rivera directed implementation of innovative programs in comprehensive cancer control,infant mortality reduction, and disparity elimination. Under his leadership, Delaware became the first state to implement a cancer treatment program for uninsured and underinsured Delawareans up to 650% of poverty and cancer screening programs up to 250% of poverty. Dr Rivera has also served as a physician executive in the private sector and with Federally Qualified Health Centers. In 2009, Aspira of Delaware implemented youth development/leadershi p programming through Aspira Clubs in nine high schools across the state with high Hispanic enrollment. In 2005, ASPIRA of Delaware implemented an innovative Saturday Academy Program for high school seniors seeking admission to college. In August 2011ADCO opened Las Americas Aspira Academy. The school now serves over 700 students through an innovative dual-language immersion project-based curriculum. As an undergraduate at The City College of New York, Dr. Rivera served in several positions including Managing Editor of the college's minority newspaper The Paper. He was instrumental in the creation of the Open Admissions Program at the City University of New York. This program opened the doors of higher education to over half a million underprivileged New Yorkers since its inception in the seventies. As a medical student at Harvard, he co-founded Boricua Health Organization, now Latino Medical Student Association, to encourage and assist mainland east coast Hispanic undergraduates gain admission to medical school. The organization has grown to over thirteen chapters in medical school across the country and has assisted thousands of Hispanics prepare for and gain admission to medical school. A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Rivera came to the U.S. in 1957. He is a graduate of the City College of New York and Harvard Medical School. He practiced in Delaware for almost 20 years as a pediatric gastroenterologist and pediatrician. He was a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellow (Group XV) and a Senior Fellow, Department of Health Policy, Jefferson Medical College. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Hispanic Medical Association, and Delaware's esteemed Wallace Johnson Community Service Award. Dr. Rivera and his wife Carmen live in Yonkers, New York. They have four daughter and four grandchildren.