Michelle Williams

Grammy Award-winning, singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host 

Michelle Williams,is a Grammy Award-winning, singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host and member of one of the most successful recording groups of all time, Destiny’s Child. In 2018, Williams reunited with Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowlandfor a long-awaited Destiny’s Child reunion performance during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She has also recorded four critically-acclaimed albums as a solo artist including Journey to Freedomwho’s song “Say Yes” was certified Gold. Between recording projects, Williams made her theatrical stage debut asthe title role of the hit Broadway musical “Aida”. Williams has since appeared in productions of “The Color Purple”, Broadway and London’s West End productions of “Chicago”. She also was featured in the acclaimed stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know,” and a national tour with the musical “Fela!” Williams also starred in the Oxygen network series “Fix My Choir” and has served as a guest host on talk shows such as The View, ET,The Realand many more. In 2019 after making it to the semi-final round, Michelle was revealed as “Butterfly” on the #1 rated FOX television show, The Masked Singer! An advocate for mental health and empowerment, Williams is an ambassador for the Office on Women's Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she promotes awareness for maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care.

Dr. Helen Holton

Executive Director (she/her/hers)

National Organization of Black County Officials, Inc. (NOBCO)

Dr. Helen Holton, a recovering elected official of the Baltimore City Council, serves today as Executive Director of the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO).  She’s an engaging thought leader, and inspires you to hope and believe in better outcomes.  With expertise in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), leadership, resilience, and intercultural competence she operates as a bridge builder for fairness, justice and equity. She leads a multi-pronged agenda prioritized by health care and disparities; criminal justice reform; the digital divide; and a viable future for youth as priorities. 

Dr. Nadia Richardson

Mental health advocate, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, professor and speaker

Dr. Nadia Richardson is a mental health advocate, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, professor and speaker.  She is the Founder of No More Martyrs, a mental health awareness campaign that seeks to build a community of support for Black women and girls.  No More Martyrs continues to blaze trails in Black mental health with signature programs such as the Beyond Biopic Mental Health Awareness Summit (previously known as the Minority Mental Health Awareness Summit), Sister Speak Suicide Awareness Initiative and Voting Matters to our Mental Health campaign.  In the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, she developed a program that equips clients to move beyond diversity towards an action-oriented understanding of cultural competence, responsiveness, identity and implicit bias. As a university instructor, she leads courses on diversity, bioethics, social justice leadership, health disparities, culturally responsive care and academic potential.

Latoya Cantrell

Mayor of New Orleans

Mayor Cantrell’s life has been steeped in community service. As a little girl, her grandmother would bring her to neighborhood meetings, and by the age of 13, she was serving as secretary for her local chamber of commerce.

As the President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, Cantrell led the neighborhood’s redevelopment following Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. Flooding decimated Broadmoor, but through citizen engagement and Cantrell’s leadership, Broadmoor is now considered an international model for disaster recovery.

Aidil Ortiz

Host, Black Body Health Podcast

Aidil Altagracia Ortiz is of Cibaeño ancestry and is lovingly rooted in East Durham, NC. She is the founder of Aidilisms and has worked for over 20 years along themes of equitable community engagement and development, public health policy, neighborhood organizing, and urban/transit planning. She is accountable to SpiritHouse as her political home and tribe.  Aidil is also the co-host of Black Body Health the podcast at the Center for Black Health and Equity.

Ritney Castine

Host, Black Body Health Podcast

Advocate. Activist. Leader. These are three words that come to mind when describing Ritney A.

Castine. Ritney has devoted his life’s work to addressing some of society’s most complex

and pressing social issues.  He’s passionate about helping people and organizations do the

most good, for the most people, in the smartest way possible.  With an expertise in

strategic planning and facilitation, Ritney has a track-record of working with organizations,

small and large, to position themselves as innovative change-makers within the

communities they seek to serve.

Ruqaiijah Yearby, J.D, M.P.H

Full Professor at St. Louis University School of Law

Ruqaiijah Yearby, J.D., M.P.H is a full professor and member of the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University School of Law. She is also co-founder and Executive Director of Saint Louis University’s Institute for Healing Justice and Equity and Co-Principal Investigator for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant entitled, “Are Cities and Counties Ready to Use Racial Equity Tools to Influence Policy?” Recently, Professor Yearby authored Protecting Workers that Provide Essential Services and co-authored Racism is a Public Health Crisis. Here’s How to Respond.

Vegas Don

Non-Profit CEO & Founder

Vegas Don (Non-Profit CEO & Founder) with 20+ years of demonstrated leadership and experience campaigning for change for youth in under-resourced communities. Reputation for creating innovative and culturally relevant community education and youth empowerment programs. Proven success establishing collaborative state, regional and local partnerships and in raising private and public funds in support of mission. Use strengths in strategic planning, marketing and negotiation to achieve organizational goals of advancing community awareness and education, youth health and wellness and public safety.

Quinton Keith

Director of Data and Continuous Improvement with the Network for College Success

At the intersection of research and practice, Quinton helps school administrators focus on data collection, analysis, and dissemination to support strategic evaluation, decision making, and school improvement. As a Network Data Strategist, he provides data coaching and support to a Professional Learning Community of Data Technicians comprising 15 Chicago Public High Schools. Prior to joining NCS, Quinton worked for a human services organization in North Carolina to help those who are least able to help themselves.

LaTroya Hester

Director of Communications at

The Center for Black Health & Equity

LaTroya Hester received her A.B.J. & M.A. from The University of Georgia, and has worked in brand management, public relations and public health. Hester currently manages external communications and events including State of Black Health National Conference and No Menthol Sunday.

Daniel Dawes photo .jpeg

Daniel Dawes, JD

Executive Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Author, The Political Determinants of Health

Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., a widely respected author, scholar, educator, and leader in the health equity, health reform, and mental health movements, is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and a professor of health law, policy and management. He is also the co-founder of the Health Equity Leadership and Exchange Network (HELEN), which is a nationwide network of over 2000 governmental and non-governmental leaders and scholars focused on bolstering leadership and the exchange of research, information, and solutions to advance evidence-based health equity-focused policies and programs.

Shonta Chambers

Executive Vice President-Health Equity Initiatives and Community Engagement for Patient Advocate Foundation

Shonta Chambers is a seasoned non-profit executive and public health professional whose career spans more than 22 years’ experience in chronic disease prevention, health promotion, community engagement and women’s health.  Currently, she serves as Executive Vice President-Health Equity Initiatives and Community Engagement for Patient Advocate Foundation.

Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS

Chair of the Biden-Harris Administration COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

 Dr. Nunez-Smith currently serves as chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Previously, she served as co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board and community committee chair for the ReOpen Connecticut Advisory Group on behalf of Connecticut Governor Lamont. She is the principal investigator on several NIH and foundation-funded grants. Dr. Nunez-Smith is also Director of the Center for Research Engagement (CRE); Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the Yale Cancer Center; Chief Health Equity Officer at Smilow Cancer Hospital; Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Core Faculty in the National Clinician Scholars Program; Director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership; and Co-Director of the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship.

Dr. Ayanna Abrams

CEO/Founder of Ascension Behavioral Health and co-founder of Not So Strong

Not So Strong is an initiative to improve the mental health and relationship functioning of Black women through use of vulnerable storytelling. Her specialties include racism based trauma, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, entrepreneur mental health and relationship/marital counseling. She has extensive clinical experience working with people of color, specifically Black women, men and couples. Dr. Abrams has been featured in the New York Times, Essence, Allure and MindBodyGreen, as well as AfroPunk, Therapy for Black Girls and Silence the Shame.

Ashlee Wisdom

Founder & CEO of Health In Her HUE

Health In Her HUE, a digital platform that connects Black women and women of color to culturally competent healthcare providers, services, and health content. Health In Her HUE’s mission is to reduce racial health disparities by leveraging the power of technology, media and community to improve health outcomes for Black women. As a public health professional, Ashlee is a champion for health equity, and is passionate about taking an equitable approach to healthcare innovation. Most recently, she worked for an advisory firm, Junto Health, where she was the Program Director for the Strategic Ventures Group, an exclusive consortium of nationally-ranked health systems investing in health technology.

Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika

Founding Chair of the Council on Black Health

Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika is the Founding Chair of the Council on Black Health (formerly the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN)), a Research Professor at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health and Professor Emerita at the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia, PA. The Council is a national organization with academic, professional, and other community members in several U.S. states and a mission to realize healthy Black communities.  Current Council activities include coordinating a partnership among five, prominent national Black organizations to drive policy change on key Black health determinants and an outreach and training initiative to support comprehensive health literacy in Black communities. Dr. Kumanyika’s expertise is in public health nutrition and strategies for achieving equity in prevention and management of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases. She is a past president of the American Public Health Association. 

Torrian L. Baskerville

Black Queer Advocate, Activist

Torrian L Baskerville is a Black Queer advocate, activist, and agent of change. His deep love for social service and relentless drive to reduce health disparities, increase visibility and improve health equity for marginalized populations–especially youth and young adults, persons living with HIV, and Black and Latinx men who have sex with men–comes as a result of his own story.

Krystal Redman

Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action

Rooted in her political lineage of grassroots organizing and activism toward Black and queer liberation and health equity in the heart of LA–Dr. Redman centers her work in Health Justice, the liberation of folx who reside deep within the margins and in Reproductive Justice. Dr. Redman is a self-published author, and a frequent speaker throughout sexual and reproductive justice, and health justice movement(s), as well as in the public health sector. They bring over 16 years of experience in leading health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, as well as organizing towards equitable access, care and treatment within community-based and centered programs.

Joelle Lester

Director of Commercial Tobacco Control Programs, Public Health Law Center

Joelle Lester directs the commercial tobacco control programs at the Public Health Law Center. The Center seeks to improve health and advance health equity through the power of law and policy. Joelle manages a team of attorneys and policy analysts supporting tobacco control policy change throughout the U.S. by providing legal technical assistance to public health advocates and professionals around the country. Joelle oversees preparation of amicus curiae briefs and coordinates litigation support in cases of national significance. In addition, Joelle leads efforts to convene national thought leaders around bold policy options to end the tobacco epidemic. Prior to joining the Center, Joelle worked as a litigation associate at a private firm in Minneapolis.

Christopher Taylor

Career Coach | Founder of the Occupation Optimistic

Christopher Taylor is an internationally-renowned ‘Job Hunt Strategist’. He’s also the Founder of the Occupation Optimist, a company dedicated to modernizing the job hunt and aiding everyday people around the world in landing their dream job. He believes in empowering clients to approach the job hunt from a place of comfort in maximizing one's own personal strengths. A former headhunter, Christopher shares industry secrets with clients maximizing their resume, LinkedIn, networking strategy, and job hunt approach to land positions with sought after companies in the US and worldwide. Christopher’s approach to the job hunt has been featured in esteemed publications such as: The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Insider, Time, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, and The Muse.
 

A. Ovetta Fuller, Ph.D,

Associate professor of microbiology and immunology at University of Michigan Medical School

Our laboratory based research has sought to understand molecular mechanisms of how human pathogenic viruses enter into cells to mediate infection, membrane fusion and spread, and how these affect replication, pathogenesis and disease. The studies include exploring mechanisms of entry and early events for human herpesviruses- HSV-1 and HSV-2 . In conjunction with chemical engineering and human genetics researchers we have sought to develop microchip technologies for rapid and inexpensive detection of genetic variations in influenza virus. Experimental systems that examine viral entry, cellular receptors, pathogenesis, protein structure/function and fusion of biological membranes are used to determine possible approaches to control or prevent infection by viral pathogens. 

Charity Faye

Health Program Manager and Developer

Charity Faye serves as a health program manager and developer in the public health industry. Utilizing her training as a wellness chef and health specialist, she creates health equity programs and wellness strategies within the nonprofit sector and for various agencies within the community.

Dwayne Proctor, Ph.D.

Senior Adviser to the President, Health Equity

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Proctor came to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2002 as a senior communications and program officer who provided strategic guidance and resources for several child health and risk-prevention initiatives. In 2005, Proctor was tapped to develop and execute RWJF’s national strategies to reverse the rising trend in childhood obesity rates. In this role, he: (1) advanced changes to public policies and industry practices; (2) demonstrated innovative community and school environmental changes; and (3) used advocacy approaches to educate leaders on their roles in preventing childhood obesity. Today, Proctor advises the Foundation’s senior leaders and staff on health equity. His goal is to make RWJF a trusted and respected leader in the field of health equity. Proctor received his degrees in communication science from the University of Connecticut and he humbly serves as the board chair of the NAACP Foundation.

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