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19th Annual Spring Conference
March 26-28 2018

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2018 Conference Speakers


Arthur James, MD

Dr. Arthur R. James was born and raised in Watts, California.  He was educated at Stanford University (BA 1974) and Washington University in St. Louis (MD 1979).  He completed residency training in Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the University of Texas-Houston, and in Obstetrics and Gynecology, also at UT-Houston. He moved from Houston to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1988 to join a practice in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Bronson Methodist Hospital.  While at Bronson, Dr. James expanded prenatal services for underserved women, teens.  He later moved to Borgess Medical Center where he established and led Borgess Women’s Health Center, again expanding services.  Between 1992 and 1999, he led a community-wide effort in Kalamazoo County that reduced Black infant mortality from 29.7 to 10.2 deaths per 1000 Black births, thereby helping Kalamazoo, Michigan become only one of a few counties in the United States to accomplish the Healthy-People 2000 goal of 11 deaths per 1000 live black births. While in Kalamazoo he also worked part-time at an FQHC site from 1990-2011 where he was Director of the Ob/GYN Division.

Throughout his career, Dr. Arthur James has built healing partnerships, not only with women and families, but with whole communities, in the belief that the sources of poor pregnancy outcome arise in the community, and thus require community-based interventions.  He calls this “Community Oriented Obstetrical Care”, based on Dr. H. Jack Geiger’s model of “Community Oriented Primary Care”.  This approach begins by engaging the community to identify problems and resources, and then collaborating with multiple organizations to address the root causes of poor pregnancy outcome.  In July of 2011, Dr. James moved to Ohio and is now an Associate Clinical Professor at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Co-Director of the Ohio Better Birth Outcomes, Co-Chair of the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, and Senior Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Child and Family Services of the Ohio Department of Health.  His primary responsibility is to assist Ohio leadership in their efforts to improve infant mortality and decrease the racial disparity in birth outcomes.

Donald Warne, MD, MPH

Donald Warne, MD, MPH is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions at North Dakota State University, and he is the Senior Policy Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.  He oversees the only Master of Public Health in the nation with an American Indian Public Health specialization.  Dr. Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, SD and comes from a long line of traditional healers and medicine men.  He received his MD from Stanford University School of Medicine and his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health.  His work experience includes: several years as a primary care physician with the Gila River Health Care Corporation in Arizona; Staff Clinician with the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disorders / NIH; Indian Legal Program Faculty with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University; Health Policy Research Director for Inter Tribal Council of Arizona; and Executive Director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.

Kenn L. Harris

Kenn Harris is the director of the New Haven federal Healthy Start program at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in New Haven, CT. His maternal and child health, public health and fatherhood/male involvement experience spans more than 25 years.  Kenn is the President of the National Healthy Start Association, based in Washington, DC and co-creator of the Core Adaptive Model (CAM®), an evidenced-based model for fatherhood/male involvement programs. Kenn is a national expert and facilitator on topics raging from community engagement, fatherhood, racism and equity.  He is a community researcher and national advisor on men’s health.  Kenn recently co-authored and published an article “The Health of Young African American Men” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 2015).

Marc H. Morial

Entrepreneur.  Lawyer.  Professor.  Legislator.  Mayor.  President, U.S. Conference of Mayors.  President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation's largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. 

In a distinguished professional career that has spanned 25 years, Marc Morial has performed all of these roles with excellence and is one of the most accomplished servant-leaders in the nation.  As President and CEO of the National Urban League since 2003, he has been the primary catalyst for an era of change -- a transformation for the 105-year old civil rights organization.  His energetic and skilled leadership has expanded the League’s work around an Empowerment agenda, which is redefining civil rights in the 21st century with a renewed emphasis on closing the economic gaps between whites and Blacks, as well as other communities of color, and rich and poor Americans.  

During his tenure, the League had record fundraising success with a 280MM, five-year fundraising effort.  He has secured the BBB nonprofit certification, which has established the NUL as a leading national nonprofit, and the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, which has placed the NUL in the top 10 percent of all U.S. charities for adhering to good governance and other best practices, as well as executing its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

Under his stewardship, the League launched a historic $100 million, five-year “Jobs Rebuild America: Educate, Employ, Empower” initiative in 2013 – a solutions-based, comprehensive approach to the nation’s employment and education crisis that brings together federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 cities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network.   

His creativity has led to initiatives such as the Urban Youth Empowerment Program to assist young adults in securing sustainable jobs and Entrepreneurship Centers in 10 cities to help the growth of small businesses.  Also, Morial helped create the Urban Empowerment Fund, which will lend to urban impact businesses, and helped create the League’s New Markets Tax Credits initiative, which has resulted in $1 billion in community investment via urban impact businesses, including minority business, through both debt and equity investments.

As mayor of New Orleans, Morial was a popular chief executive with a broad multi-racial coalition who led New Orleans’ 1990’s renaissance and left office with a 70% approval rating. 

As a lawyer, Morial won the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award for his legal service to the poor and disadvantaged.  He was also one of the youngest lawyers, at age 26, to argue and win a major case before the Louisiana Supreme Court.

As a professor, Morial served on the adjunct faculty of Xavier University in Louisiana, where he taught Constitutional Law and Business Law.

As a Louisiana state senator, Morial was named Legislative Rookie of the Year, Education Senator of the Year, and Environmental Senator of the Year, while authoring laws on a wide range of important subjects.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies, he also holds a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous honorary degrees including Xavier University and Howard University.

Under appointment by President Obama, Morial has served as Chair of the Census Advisory Committee, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and on the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.  He was also appointed to the Twenty-First Century Workforce Commission by President Bill Clinton.

Morial has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the Top 50 Nonprofit Executives by the Nonprofit Times, and one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers in America.

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Saving Our Nation's Babies: The Impact of the Federal Healthy Start Initiative

Check our our 2nd Edition! It chronicles the birth of Healthy Start and NHSA and includes profiles and photographs from the federally-funded Healthy Start Initiatives.