Avis Gray RN MSN is presently the Leader of Health Equity with Ashe Cultural Arts Center. This role provides leadership to Community Health Workers. These CHWs include culture bearers and artists. These individuals are trusted messengers in the community that are critical to the role of wellness ambassadors and navigators. She received her RN from Charity Hospital School of Nursing, and BSN and MSN from University of South Alabama. She started a nursing career at Charity Hospital that included working in the clinical areas of Hemodialysis, Emergency Room and Ambulatory Care. The years of working in a large public hospital led to a desire to impact health management at the behavioral/community level. This started a 23-year Public Health journey.
The journey started with HIV/AIDS. In this arena she worked as Homecare, HIV Early Intervention and Community Based Organization Coordinator, as well as Statewide Nurse Consultant. The next step along the journey was as Assistant Director of Nursing for OPH. This led to becoming the Regional Administrator of Region 1. This region includes Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes. The defining moment of this Public Health experience was her responsibilities during Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Gray was involved in the planning for the Superdome, led transport missions between the Superdome and Baton Rouge and worked with the federal mortuary. Her role in all hazards emergency preparedness has included Pandemic Flu (H1N1), Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, hurricane evacuation, shelters, Ebola monitoring and assisting with the monitoring of medical services at the Convention Center for the Covid 19 Pandemic. She has worked extensively in the ongoing recovery from environmental issues to revamping the healthcare landscape in this region.