Associate Dean, Community Engagement, Morehouse School of Medicine
Tabia Henry Akintobi, PhD, MPH is health equity champion leading or collaborating in the implementation of translational research and participatory evaluations that address health disparities and advance community or population health transformation. As Principal Investigator of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center she demonstrates leadership in local, national and global community-based participatory approaches and research addressing health disparities. She leads or collaborates in several federal (CDC, OMH, NIH) and privately-funded initiatives that model community-driven research, including but not limited to the Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance, Georgia Center for Diabetes Translational Research and The Center for Translational Research in Health Disparities. She is Community Engagement Senior Advisor for The National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN): Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Populations, a network that will be leveraged, given its complementary approaches focused on health communication, rather than the COVID-19 testing strategies, specific to the proposed project. She is also the principal investigator for Georgia CEAL, that state Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities.The overall goal of this initiative is to understand factors that contribute to the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 in underserved communities and establish effective, community-engaged research and outreach response, with a particular emphasis on vaccine readiness.
Associate Dean, Community Engagement, Morehouse School of Medicine
CEO, EBONY & JET
Ghee is a transformational leader that has generated over a billion $’s in revenue while working for some of the most powerful media companies in the world including WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel and BET Networks. While at BET, Michele created and ran the first and only network for black women: BETHer. She began her career at SBC Communications in Oakland, California and is now the CEO of the Iconic black media brands: EBONY and Jet.
Ghee has received honors from; Multichannel News 2019 Wonder Woman, Working Mother of the Year Award Class of 2018, The ADCOLOR Change Agent Award and The American Advertising Federation Mosaic Role Model of the Year Award to name a few.
Ghee has authored three books and is a sought after public speaker. Ghee graduated college at 31 and was later honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from her alma mater, Golden Gate University. She resides in New Jersey with husband Tony and kids Taylor and Jordan.
Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, Morehouse School of Medicine
About Dr. Echols
Dr. Melvin Echols is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Disease with Morehouse School of Medicine. Although a former MSM medical student, he returned to MSM faculty in 2019 from Duke University Medical Center as a former Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Echols is also the program director for the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program and the Co-Chair of the Grady Cardiovascular Line Research Committee. He works as the Cardiovascular Medical Director for Grady Camp Creek Comprehensive clinic, where he addresses health equity and disparity intervention, prevention, and heart failure management of patients in the community. Dr. Echols has a primary research interest in translational heart failure research and precision medicine to combat disparate outcomes among African American patients.
Kayla Jeter is a former professional volleyball player turned fitness and wellness advocate. Growing up as a daughter of a former professional American football player, Kayla grew up surrounded by all things sports.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Ryan is a former NFL safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers and founder of Alkeme Health. Alkeme Health, a company rooted in Black wellness, creates digital self-care products designed for our culture and our care. Additionally, Ryan has operated as Managing Director of Techlete Ventures – a VC company investing in the areas of sports, health and lifestyle.
Founder, Alkeme Health; Former NFL Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers
Resident Therapist, Alkeme Health
Meghan Watson is a Resident Therapist for Alkeme Health, a digital mental wellness platform focused on the Black experience. Meghan is a licensed therapist, writer and consultant who has worked in both the US and Canada in the areas of complex trauma, eating disorders, LGBTQIA+ and gender-affirming health, addiction, mood disorders and anxiety disorders. She is the founder of a Toronto-based therapy practice Bloom Psychology and Wellness, and currently sits on the Advisory Board for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre of Canada (NEDIC). In her everyday work, Meghan is passionate about education and support around understanding emotion, managing stress, and establishing healthy relationships through a mindful and growth focused perspective on mental health.
Dr. Jessica Henderson Boyd is the Chief Medical Officer of Unity Health Care. She has a wealth of leadership experience in the delivery of health care to medically underserved communities. Prior to joining Unity, Dr. Boyd served as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and a medical strategist at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also previously served as CMO at Baltimore Medical Systems, a large Federally Qualified Health (FQHC) in Baltimore, Maryland and is a practicing pediatrician. Dr. Boyd received her Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of public health, her Doctorate in Medicine and Master’s degree in Biology and Biomedical Science from Washington University School of Medicine, and her Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Unity Health Care is the largest network of community health centers in Washington, D.C. Unity provides a full-range of health and human services to meet the needs of our communities through a network of over 20 traditional and non-traditional health sites and a mobile medical outreach vehicle. Our team of compassionate and multicultural health professionals place Unity values into action every day to bring whole-person care and wellness to over 100,000 patients through over 400,000 visits annually. Deeply rooted in the District’s neighborhoods for 35 years, Unity strives to promote healthier communities through compassion and comprehensive primary and specialty health care and wrap-around services, regardless of ability to pay.
The Breakfast Club was formed in December 2010 with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne and after only two years became a nationally syndicated show. Currently the show is syndicated in over 100 markets weekday mornings and on the weekends. Listeners can hear “Angela Yee’s Rumor Report,” her advice segment “Ask Yee,” and current events with “Front Page News.” In 2016, Angela Yee partnered with Styles P from legendary hip-hop group “The Lox” to open a juice bar, “Juices For Life BK,” in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She has also created “Angela Yee’s Book Club to encourage her followers to read more and support authors with a story to tell.
Her dedication to health, nutrition, education, and community is reflected in her positions as the first ever Ambassador for the New York Public Library (NYPL), the first ever Global Ambassador for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment (BSE), a board member for AFUWI, and a board member for Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation.
Gessie Thompson, better known as Coach Gessie, is a uterine fibroids survivor turned nutritionist and founder of the online wellness platform TheDeToxNow.com. Coach Gessie works daily to educate and empower women to achieve optimal health through a transformative and integrative healing program involving mind, body and spirit through coaching, trauma healing, stress management and nutrition counseling. She is also host of the podcast “DETOX LIVING with Coach Gessie”.
Gessie received recognition as a “change maker” for her work in women’s reproductive health by The United State of Women – a non-profit organization born out of the Obama Administration’s White House Council on Women and Girls. She was a featured panelist at the 2017 State of Black Women’s Health Congressional Briefing at the U.S. Capitol and has shared her advocacy and empowerment across various media platforms, including nationally syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club,” Women’s Health magazine, the FOX and ABC local TV affiliates in New York City and the Office on Women’s Health blog at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Natl VP, Health Equity Impact & Partnerships. American Heart Association
Pamela serves as VP, National Vice-President, Health Equity Impact and Partnerships,Office of Health Equity, for the American Heart Association where she is responsible for leading the strategic planning for improving the health of communities across the United States by identifying opportunities with powerful partnerships to impact transformative lifestyle and community change. Pamela has 20+ years of marketing and accounting experience and is passionate about empowering individuals and multicultural communities to be their own agents for change.
Pamela received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and her Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Pamela is a distinguished member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., The Links, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., American Marketing Association and a Lifetime Member of the National Black MBA Association.
Dr. Sharon Irons is the Medical Director of Ambulatory Services at Cook County Health in the state of Illinois. She is a board certified internist with more than 25 years of clinical experience. During her tenure at Cook County Health, she has taken on multiple leadership roles. Amongst them, include leading the colon cancer screening clinic with a focus on prevention and improving colon health; directing the General Medicine Clinic which is the largest primary care clinic in the Cook County Health system serving over 20,000 unique patients; and becoming the Chief of the Division of General Medicine from 2016 through 2021 leading well over 60 physicians and other health practitioners. Recently, she has taken on a more comprehensive role in her organization as the Medical Director of outpatient services. This role allows her to positively impact efforts to promote the welfare and help improve health outcomes for the patients of Cook County.
As an internist, she specializes in working with patients with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. As the current Co-Chair of the West Side United Hypertension Collaborative in Chicago, she utilizes her expertise by partnering with other organizations to help educate and increase health awareness for the citizens who live in the West Side of Chicago.
Janice Johnson has made a career out of placing herself in service to others. From the time she was a child growing up in Hot Springs, AR Janice remembers her parents keeping a fully-stocked refrigerator on the back porch of their home so those who were hungry could come take something to eat.She was raised to be engaged in both church and community. “We didn’t know it was called ‘volunteerism’”, she says, “it was just what we did and how we lived.”
Janice went on to attend Arkansas State University receiving her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Through her involvement in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, she continued to engage in supporting the community. A Master’s in Human Resources Development from Webster University followed.
A role in Employee Relations with global logistics company, UPS in their Louisville, KY operations was the start of Janice’s professional career. In that role, she began to hone the skills which would pave her path forward to a 30-year career there. She provided consultative guidance in Human Resources related matters, and oversaw efforts related to the organizations Community Relations efforts. After 16 years in a variety of progressing roles in Louisville, Janice accepted a role as Director of Community Relations for The UPS Foundation at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta.
The UPS Foundation role offered Janice the opportunity to merge two areas of personal passion; working with youth and the desire to coach/ leads others. One of the things she is most proud of is the development of a program in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of America, an organization with whom she was involved as a volunteer from a young-age. UPS Road Code is a free national program that educates teens on safe driving, using training UPS deployed to their own drivers, who are among the safest in the world. Under her leadership, over 25,000 students were impacted by the program over a five -year period. Janice’s portfolio included the oversight of a $20 million philanthropic budget annually for UPS’s Global Volunteerism, Diversity & Inclusion, and Road Safety initiatives.
During that time, Janice also became very engaged as a volunteer with Heart for Africa, a faith-based organization whose mission includes caring for orphans in Swaziland. In her bi-annual trips there, Janice has focused her efforts around caring for abandoned babies and serving in the community. She has used her time there to work with the “aunties”, and helping create a more self-sustaining community by strengthening the skills of the teachers.Janice has conducted workshops to help them understand self-care, improving their communications skills and worked to conduct reading and testing with both the teachers and Director of the school. Her latest endeavor is to create a book listing for our new library room.To date, she has made over 20 trips.
Her UPS career changed again as she took a new role as Director of Employee Experience, allowing her to flex her strength once again in coaching and counseling as she provided guidance to over 300 employees in career transitions during a transformational downsizing. Other aspects of the role included an annual global Employee Engagement Survey gathering and analyzing input from over 400,000 UPS team members, managing UPS’s global Employee Recognition Program including Retirement, Safety, and Years of Service programs for both union and nonunion workforces, and planning employee recognition events such as UPS’s 100-year anniversary celebration. All opportunities for Janice to bring her personal passions to her professional role.
During her career journey, Janice achieved professional certifications as an Associated Certified Coach from the International Coaching Federation and a Certified Professional Life Coach from the Professional Christian Coaching Institute.
After recently retiring from UPS, Janice is not only well prepared but remains passionate about helping others in her next chapter of the book of “Life”.One of her core beliefs is that “Nobody should ever have to go through something alone”. True to form, she’s continued to leverage her business skills while staying engaged and in service to others. Still active with Heart for Africa, Janice has also recently joined the board of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate, which provides services for vulnerable child populations, including foster children. She’s become a council member with GLG, a consultancy that she works with on an advisory basis to provide coaching and guidance to companies seeking solutions to Human Resources related issues.
Janice resides in Atlanta with her husband of more than 30 years, Roy, and has a daughter, Jessica who is an attorney. She remains active in the faith-based community as a member of North Point Community Church where she also finds opportunities to volunteer, or as she puts it, “just do what I do”.
jewel bush is Chief of External Affairs for GirlTrek, the largest health movement and nonprofit for Black women and girls in the country and is an award – winning journalist and communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience with a diverse background in advocacy and organizing (grassroots, labor, political, cultural). She has worked with the American Cancer Society and Planned Parenthood as well as SEIU, Service Employee International Union among other large organizations.
Bush is a New Orleans native. Her writing and storytelling projects have been U.S. based as well as international, and have been published in newspapers as large as The Washington Post and The Times- Picayune in NEw Orleans. SHe has won numerous awards including distinctions from the Louisiana Press Association, The New York Times Regional Media Group and the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors. Her fiction and creative nonfiction work have appeared in numerous places, including Transition Magazine, a Harvard University Journal on the African Diaspora. She is an alumna of VONA/Voices, the only multi -genre workshop for writers of color in the country and the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Bush has served on the board of directors for the following organizations:
Patois: New Orleans International HumanRights Film Festival, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, Konbit Pou Edikasyon and Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana.
Prior to joining the Alkeme Health team as Mindfulness Coach, Curtis Smith was a school leader and educator for over ten years. Throughout his tenure, he began as a special education teacher and went on to co-found one of the top-rated public middle schools in Brooklyn, New York. There he spear-headed their mindfulness initiative as the Dean of Culture. Later in his career, Curtis took the leap to evolve his work towards social entrepreneurship, and he founded Moment of Mindfulness LLC; a mindfulness lifestyle, methodology, and company bringing mindfulness and social emotional education to schools and companies.
Curtis holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science from Brooklyn College in Education, a School Building and District Leadership Degree from the College of St. Rose in partnership with the Center for Integrated Training and Education, a certification in Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness from The Path in partnership with The Nalanda Institute, and is a RISE for Educators recipient from Kripalu‘s Center for Yoga and Health. Curtis embraces mindfulness as a lifestyle and carries his deep passion for this work as he aims to make wellness more accessible for communities of color.