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18th Annual Spring Conference
April 1-5 2017

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Conference Speakers

A. Adar Ayira

Kisha Bird

Phyllis Brunson

Joia Crear-Perry

Ed Connors

Denise Evans

Bret Ewig

Thurma McCann Goldman

Carmen Green

Richard Hofricter

Paul E. Jarris

Camara Jones

Fleda Mask Jackson

Joe Jones

Kiko Malin

Jeremy Moore

Charlotte Parent

Cynthia Pellegrini

Rodney Perkins

Annelle B. Primm

Jason Reece

Maxine Reed-Vance

Meshelle "The Indie-Mom of Comedy"

Lee Anne Roman

Camille Smith

Stacy Scott

William Spriggs

Carol Synkewecz

Jan Tedder

Mildred Thompson

Ivory Toldson

Peggy Vander Meulen


A. Aday Ayira

A. Adar Ayira has, forthe past 8 years, workedas Associated Black Charities’ Director of Programs, guiding its“More in the Middle" Initiative. Through the “More in the Middle” Initiative, ABC’s goal is to facilitate closure of health and wealth gaps and a more robust economy for all who live and work in Maryland by increasing access and opportunity for African Americans and other communities of color. An intersectional anti-racism/anti-oppression philosophy and analysis provides the foundation for all of her work.  She is also a co-founding member of Baltimore Racial Justice Action, where she is a Senior Facilitator/Trainer and Board member.

Kisha Bird

director of youth policy at CLASP and project director for the Campaign for Youth (CFY), a national coalition chaired by CLASP.  Ms. Bird works to expand access to education, employment, and support services for disconnected and other vulnerable youth.  She is an expert in federal policy for vulnerable youth and helps ensure national legislation (such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) is fully implemented in communities nationwide and has maximum impact for poor and low-income youth and youth of color. 

Before joining CLASP, Ms. Bird was director for the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network, working to make quality education and afterschool programs accessible to young people.  Prior to that, she was a program officer at the Philadelphia Foundation, where she helped develop and manage the Fund for Children, Youth Advisory Board, and discretionary grants process. She also has direct service experience, working in various community settings with children, youth and families. Ms. Bird holds a Master of Social Service and Master of Law and Social Policy from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.  She also earned a Bachelor's Degree in sociology from Spelman College.  Lastly, she is a graduate of the Education Policy Fellowship Program, a joint program of the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Pennsylvania Education Policy Leadership Center.

Phyllis Brunson

 

Phyllis Brunson manages CSSP’s Constituents Co-Invested in Change portfolio, helping communities form collaborative partnerships that promote community-based results accountability, resident engagement and community decision-making. Brunson is advancing a new body of work called the Customer Satisfaction initiative, which uses direct feedback from customers in a community to test, assess and rate the quality of services they use. Brunson also manages CSSP’sInternal Race Equity work, which builds staff capacity to identify and confront race inequity internally and externally. She also oversees CSSP’s International Learning agenda and serves as the United States’ board member on the International Initiative for Children, Youth and Families. Prior to joining CSSP, Brunson worked for the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families where she served as the deputy director and acting director of the System Reform Initiative. She is a member of the board of directors of the Sheridan-Patterson Center for Holistic Health and the Elizabeth Ministry, Inc., which helps single teen mothers in the foster care system achieve financial independence and attend college. Brunson is a graduate of Lincoln University and earned her master’s degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.

Joia Crear-Perry

Dr. Crear-Perry is the Founder and CEO of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Birthing Project, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the Director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department where she was responsible for four facilities that provided healthcare for the homeless, pediatric, WIC, and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area. Dr. Crear-Perry continues to work to improve access and availability of affordable heath care to New Orleans’ citizens post the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.

After receiving her bachelor’s trainings at Princeton University and Xavier University, Dr. Crear-Perry completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University’s School of Medicine. She was also recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association, and the New Orleans African American Museum. She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children: Jade 22, Carlos 18, and Robeson 4.

Her love is her family; health equity is her passion; maternal and child health are her callings.

Ed Connors

Mr. Connors is the driving force behind Heudia Health LLC which emerged as an extension of a multiyear collaboration with Dr. Michael Dulin, Chief Clinical Officer for Analytics and Outcomes Research at Carolinas Healthcare System to create – The MAP. The MAP, serves as a Social Outreach & Community Engagement platform that creates supportive relationships and collaborative links between People in Need and People who Care to Increase Access to Care, Eliminate Health Disparities, and Reduce Avoidable Healthcare Cost.

Ed is the lead technologist on the National Healthy Start Association’s Maternal and Child Health’s HIE Interoperability Toolkit program funding by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.  He is also is co-inventor on a patent application – Methods And Systems For Facilitating Use Of Healthcare And Social Service Resources In A Community.

Denise Evans

Denise Evans, M.M., M.A., is the Project Coordinator for Strong Beginnings (SB) (a federally funded Healthy Start Program) and a trained facilitator in the area of health equity social justice programming for Kent County.  In conjunction with Kent County Health Department staff, Denise has facilitated over 40 Health Equity Social Justice 2-day Dialogue Sessions serving over 600 social service providers in the last 4 years.  Ms. Evans works extensively in partnership with state and local health departments, the National Association of City and County Health Officials initiatives, Spectrum Health System, Mercy Health and has been a reoccurring guest lecturer at Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, and Calvin College on issues of health inequities, social justice and cultural humility.  Denise is a trained community organizer and uses her experience to help provide leadership at the state and local level of the Michigan Power to Thrive movement – joining community organizers and public health professionals to improve the lives of community residents by addressing the Social Determinants of Health.  She is the past chair of Spectrum Health’s System Inclusion Council and serves on the leadership teams of the Greater Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network (GGRREN), and   Healthy Heartlands Building Bridges to Health Equity - a seven-state collaborative of community organizers and public health professionals in the Midwest creating permanent alliances to confront and alleviate health disparities and inequities.

Ms. Evans is a graduate of Cornerstone University, the Southern California School of Ministry, and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary where she has mentored students for over 5 years. Her passion is working towards health equity and the elimination of racialized outcomes. 

Bret Ewig

Bret Ewig, MHS, is the Director for Public Policy and Government Affairs at AMCHP. Prior to his current role, Mr. Ewig served for two years as the Senior Program Associate at Grantmakers in Health where he advised health foundations and corporate funders on health issues and synthesized lessons learned from theri work. He also spent over eight years at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) where he served as the Principal Director for Prevention and Public Health. In this capacity, he oversaw federally funded projects addressing access to primary care, maternal and child health, chronic disease prevention, adolescent and school health, and injutry prevention and control. Prior to ASTHO, Mr. Ewig served three years in the government relations office of InterHealth, a national associaiton for not-for-profit, religiously affiliated hospitals and health systems. In 2003, he was apponted to a three-year term on the Montgomery County (MD) Commission on Helath and was elected chairman in 2005. In 2006, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of Montgomery Cares, an innovative public-private partnership expanding access to health care for uninsured county residnets. Mr. Ewig holds a Master of Health Sciences Degree in Health Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Valparaiso Univeristy. 

Thurma Goldman

Dr. Goldman’s work history spans all levels of community medicine and public health. She started a private practice in the rural high desert of southern California and traveled to remote locations to provide immunizations to disadvantaged children. She then joined the staff at D.C. General Hospital in Washington, DC where she piloted HIV counseling and testing programs for youth at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection.

Dr. Goldman’s work in public health then took her to the federal government, where she served as Medical Officer in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She directed the development and implementation of the presidential initiative to reduce infant mortality in the United States. As the head of the HIV/AIDS Bureau’s (HAB) Division of Community-based Programs, Dr. Goldman shared the US domestic experiences with HIV prevention and treatment in global settings. She became lead of the HAB International Program where Dr. Goldman represented HRSA as a Deputy Principal to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Dr. Goldman played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which now funds local and international partners around the world to support the global fight against HIV and AIDS. She served as the Country Director for the South Africa office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for six years interacting with country and local leaders of public health. Now in retirement, Dr. Goldman seeks to utilize all of these experiences and further her commitment to expand services to underserved populations.

Carmen Green

Carmen Green is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, by way of Salisbury, North Carolina. After graduating from Wake Forest University with a major in Sociology and minor in Public Health Administration, she explored her auxiliary interests through serving with Teach for America in rural Louisiana. With greater knowledge of communities and the social factors that contribute to health, education and socioeconomic status, she confidently began her career in health. Carmen is an MPH graduate of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and Community Health Education. Carmen's professional interests are birth outcome disparities, community health, health advocacy, and other inequities afflicting black and brown populations in the United States. She currently serves as Louisiana Program Director at National Birth Equity Collaborative.

Richard Hofricter

Richard Hofrichter, PhD, MA is Senior Director for Health Equity, National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), since 1994. Richard develops and manages NACCHO’s health equity program, aimed at strengthening local public health departments’ capacity and power to act with their committed allies on the root causes of health inequity, e.g.—structural racism and class oppression—in every day practice. For the last four years he has been working with community organizers and public health departments in the Midwest to create permanent alliances among them to confront health inequities, recognizing that powerless is itself an underlying cause. Richard and colleagues produced a web-based course, Roots of Health Inequity under an NIH grant in 2011. His interests include developing strategies for transforming public health practice through principles of social justice and collaborating with local health departments to develop a progressive public narrative for realizing health justice. With Rajiv Bhatia, he is co-editor of Tackling Health Inequities Through Public Health Practice: Theory to Action, 2nd Ed. (Oxford University Press, 2010); editor of Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2003); Reclaiming the Environmental Debate: The Politics of Health in a Toxic Culture (MIT Press, 2000); and Toxic Struggles: The Theory and Practice of Environmental Justice (New Society Publishers, 1993). He is author of Neighborhood Justice in Capitalist Society: The Expansion of the Informal State (Greenwood Press, 1987). Richard received his Ph.D (1983) and M.A. (1969) in Politics from the City University of New York.

Paul E. Jarris

Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA is Senior Vice President, Maternal and Child Health Program Impact and Deputy Medical Officer at the March of Dimes. He leads March of Dimes’ Maternal and Child Health Program Impact department, with overall responsibility for the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, which seeks to reduce the rate of preterm birth, the number one cause of death among babies in the United States.
 
Dr. Jarris, a nationally known expert in national healthcare policy, clinical quality initiatives, disease prevention and wellness, among other areas, previously served as Executive Director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). One of his many achievements at ASTHO was partnering with the March of Dimes to challenge all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to lower their preterm birth rates.
 
Dr. Jarris has a distinguished career spanning 20 years leading policy and care initiatives to improve public health at the local, state and national levels. Prior to his role at ASTHO, Dr. Jarris served as Commissioner of Health for the State of Vermont, where he led healthcare policy matters and championed new public health initiatives, addressing access to care, prevention, and the factors that impact population health. In addition, he has held a number of health insurance executive-level positions, including President and CEO of Vermont Permanente Medical Group. Throughout his career, Dr. Jarris has received numerous prestigious awards and honors, and has served as a member of many health-related boards and committees.
 
Dr. Jarris received his BA from the University of Vermont, his MD at the University ofPennsylvania School of Medicine, and an MBA from the University of Washington.

Camara Jones

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD is President of the American Public Health Association, and a Senior Fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Cardiovascular Research Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation.  She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care, but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism).

As a methodologist, she has developed new methods for comparing full distributions of data, rather than simply comparing means or proportions, in order to investigate population-level risk factors and propose population-level interventions.

As a social epidemiologist, her work on "race"-associated differences in health outcomes goes beyond documenting those differences to vigorously investigating the structural causes of the differences.

As a teacher, her allegories on "race" and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss.  She hopes through her work to initiate a national conversation on racism that will result in a National Campaign Against Racism.

Dr. Jones was an Assistant Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1994 to 2000, and a Medical Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2000 to 2014.  She received her BA in Molecular Biology from Wellesley College, her MD from the Stanford University School of Medicine, and both her Master of Public Health and her PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.  She also completed residency training in General Preventive Medicine (Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health) and in Family Practice (Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Hospital).

Fleda Mask Jackson

Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson is a scholar, resercher, and activist whose work is intended to advance health equity through the study, measurement, and translation/application of research findings on the racial and gendered stress experiences of African American women. A widely published authors and presenter, Dr. Jacksons's work was featured in "When the Bough Breaks" an episode from the award winning series, "Unnatural Causes: is Inequality Making Us Sick?" and the HHS file, "Crisis in the Crib". Fleda Mask Jackson is the recipient of Spelman College Alumni Achievement Award for Science and Health and in 2014 she received the Maternal and Child Health Award from the Georgia Public Health Association. 

Joe Jones

Joseph T. Jones, Jr. is founder of the Center For Urban Families (CFUF), a Baltimore, Maryland nonprofit service organization established to empower low-income families by enhancing both the ability of women and men to contribute to their families as wage earners and of men to fulfill their roles as fathers. Prior to founding CFUF, Mr. Jones developed and directed the Men’s Services program for the federally funded Baltimore Healthy Start initiative and replicated the Baltimore affiliate of the nationally recognized STRIVE employment services program. His ability to engage and provide hands-on services to fathers garnered him the reputation of trailblazer in the field.  Mr. Jones is now a national leader in workforce development, fatherhood and family services programming, and through his professional and civic involvement influences policy direction nationwide.

Mr. Jones has received numerous awards and honors for his leadership and programming including the Johns Hopkins University Leadership Development Program’s Distinguished Leadership Award, the Walter Sondheim Public Service Award, the White House Champion of Change and was a 2013 CNN Hero. He currently serves on President Obama’s Taskforce on Fatherhood and Healthy Families and several boards including: the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board, and the National Fatherhood Leaders Group. He was a community advisor on fatherhood issues to Vice President Al Gore and contributed to First Lady Laura Bush’s Helping America’s Youth initiative. 

Mr. Jones is a Weinberg Fellow and a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He is happily married and has three children.

Kiko Malin

Kiko Malin is the Family Health Services Division Director for the Alameda County Public Health Department in Oakland, Calif.  She is responsible for oversight of California Children’s Services, the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program and the Maternal, Paternal, Child and Adolescent Health unit, which includes adolescent health, perinatal home visiting/family support programs and the Building Blocks for Health Equity unit, whose goal is to achieve health equity through innovative multi-sector work with women, children, families and communities. 

Jeremy Moore

Jeremy Moore currently serves as a Director in Healthier Communities at Spectrum Health, a Truven Health Analytics Top 15 healthcare system. In this role, Jeremy focuses on community health innovations strategy and social impact investment. He also serves as chair of the Spectrum Health System Inclusion Council.

Prior to joining Spectrum Health in 2008, Jeremy led several successful initiatives in the area of child welfare, mental health, and workforce development. Jeremy is driven by his passion for advancing equity and social justice through multi-sector systems change.

Jeremy is a graduate from Michigan State University where he received a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Psychology.  It was early on as a Spartan that Jeremy found his passion for issues of social justice. He later went on to receive his M.P.A. with a focus on nonprofit leadership from Western Michigan University.

Jeremy’s expertise includes community health, social sector financing structures, nonprofit leadership, institutions in society, and social equity.. He also writes on issues related to the economy and equity for The Rapidian, serves on the equity workgroup for KConnect and is the co-founder of Equity Drinks. He is the co-founder of a local charity start-up called Mama’s Boys working to advance pancreatic cancer research.

Jeremy’s vision for Grand Rapids is that we are a vibrant city where people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, philosophical beliefs and religions will find a place to thrive socially, culturally and economically.  He hopes Grand Rapids can be a city that capitalizes on its strengths. Furthermore, that Grand Rapids is also a place that deliberately and effectively addresses community and economic issues that threatens this vibrancy.

Charlotte Parent

Charlotte Parent is an outstanding public health leader.  As Director of the City of New Orleans Health Department and previously as the department’s deputy director –Ms. Parent has proven herself an adaptive thinker, administrator, and implementer.  Under Ms. Parent’s leadership, NOHD has transformed from a direct service provider to a true public health entity and achieved national accreditation.  NOHD now  emphasizes prevention, partnerships, and results and is guided by the core values of integrity, excellence, transparency, teamwork, responsiveness, innovation, diversity and inclusion, respect, customer service, and accountability. 

A registered nurse by training, Ms. Parent has personally demonstrated these values throughout a public health career that has stretched over two decades.  In her role as Health Director, Ms. Parent spans a number of boundaries in the field of public health; for example, she chairs the City’s Children and Families Coalition, which has focused on identifying universal outcome measures to track progress in improving family health citywide, and the Fit NOLA Partnership, a collaborative of over 200 partners working to increase physical activity and healthy nutrition.  Ms. Parent also advises Mayor Mitch Landrieu on a wide range of health topics, such as the construction of a new hospital in eastern New Orleans, and serves as the Mayor’s representative on several boards and commissions, including the board of Metropolitan Human Services District, the regional provider of mental health, substance abuse, and development disability services.

Mrs. Parent was the Director of Maternal and Child Services at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, LA where she created and coordinated services for expectant mothers and their families throughout the childbirth and post natal experience.  She served in this role during Hurricane Katrina and during the re-opening of hospital services post Katrina where Touro Infirmary was the only facility in New Orleans providing OB services. 

Mrs. Parent has also served as an adjunct professor of Nursing at Loyola University in New Orleans, LA and currently serves on the board of the National Healthy Start Association.  

Cynthia Pellegrini

Cynthia Pellegrini has served as Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs at the March of Dimes since 2011.  In this capacity, Ms. Pellegrini oversees all March of Dimes advocacy efforts at the federal level and in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Key March of Dimes policy priorities include access to health care for all women of childbearing age and children; research into prematurity, birth defects, and other aspects of reproductive and child health and development; and disease prevention and health promotion issues.

Ms. Pellegrini serves as the consumer representative on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which issues recommendations to the CDC Director regarding the childhood and adult vaccine schedules.  She represents the March of Dimes on the National Quality Forum’s Measure Applications Partnership and serves on the National Campaign on Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s Public Policy Advisory Group.

Prior to joining March of Dimes, Ms. Pellegrini served as Associate Director for Federal Affairs at the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she covered a range of issues including genetics, bioethics, child abuse and neglect, environmental health, nutrition, obesity, and injury and violence.  She also worked for more than a decade on Capitol Hill, including positions as chief of staff for Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY) and covering health care, women’s health, and other issues.

Rodney Perkins

Rodney Perkins is a first year doctoral student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC majoring in nursing. He also holds a faculty post at Howard University Division of Nursing where he provides instruction in Adult Health and Maternal Child Health Nursing. Before joining the Division of Nursing in 2014, Rodney was Director, Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC.  

Rodney is a 2007 initiate of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a member of the Silver Spring Alumni Chapter. An advocate for men’s health Rodney has work effortlessly to develop health awareness within the fraternity by providing health screenings for cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health and cancer. In 2012, the 25th Province Polemarch appointed him as the Province Health Coordinator and in 2013, the National Health and Wellness Chair appointed him as Vice Chair of the National Health and Wellness Committee. Over the past five years the Eastern Province has screened over 1000 members, silhouettes and community participants.

A Registered Nurse (RN), Rodney holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. He also holds a Master’s of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from the George Washington University School of Public Health. 

Annelle B. Primm

Dr. Primm is a community psychiatrist and Senior Psychiatrist Adviser for Urban Behavioral Associates in Baltimore, Maryland.  She also serves as Senior Medical Adviser for The Steve Fund, a non-profit focused on supporting the mental health and well-being of young people of color.  She previously served as Deputy Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association and Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Community Psychiatry Program where she oversaw a variety of mental health services for adults. Dr. Primm is an adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Howard, Johns Hopkins and New York University Schools of Medicine. 

Jason Reece

Jason is the Senior Associate Director for the Kirwan Institute, an engaged research Institute based at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works in Ohio and nationally to support inclusion and expand access to opportunity for marginalized communities. Jason acts as an advisor and capacity builder to foundations, non-profits, community organizations and government agencies on community development, social equity in planning, civic engagement, GIS, and health equity. Jason co-developed the opportunity mapping methodology with John A. Powell, a methodology which has been adopted or utilized by more than dozens of non-profit, public sector and philanthropic partners and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jason’s professional experience includes organizational management, program administration, project management, program development, grant writing, strategic planning, research & policy consultation. He has managed and developed $10 million in grant and contract research since 2007. Jason is adjunct faculty and lecturer teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, focused on equity in the City & Regional Planning Program, at the Knowlton School of Architecture. 

Maxine Reed-Vance

Maxine Reed-Vance serves as Director of Clinical Affairs and Quality Assurance at Baltimore City Healthy Start.   Ms.  Reed-Vance has worked with Baltimore City Healthy Start since the programs inception in 1993.  She has over 30 years of experience in obstetrical nursing and has worked in institutions such as the Johns Hopkins hospital, the Jefferson Davis Hospital (now Lyndon B. Johnson) in Houston, and the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston.  She has over ten years of teaching experience at the College level.  Ms. Reed-Vance has completed all of course work toward a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nursing Research.  She has participated in applied research carried out by staff at the Baltimore City Healthy Start including research on depression screening;  the examination of Chlamydia and Bacterial Vaginosis prevalence among program enrollees; childhood safety among program participants; substance abuse and pregnancy outcomes; and inter-pregnancy intervals, home-based family planning services, and contraceptive use patterns. Ms. Reed-Vance served as the Principal Investigator for the Baltimore site-  one of five  NICHD funded sites examining the role of stress and resilience in pregnancy outcome.

She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nation Nurses Honor Society and Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority.  She has held membership in the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing and the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  She is a Johnson and Johnson Fellow (2006). She currently serves as one of the 73 Innovator Advisor for the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation.  She is co-author of several recent journal articles including Spiritual and Religious Resources in African American Women Protection From Depressive Symptoms After Childbirth Clinical Psychological Science Journal May, 2014.

Maxine is an ordained minister serving as associate minister at Grace Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Meshelle "The Indie-Mom of Comedy"

Innovative, Independent with Individuality are the words that best describe MESHELLE "The Indie-Mom of Comedy". With a style that makes you stop and in your tracks and say “she looks like “the Girlfriend, not “the WIFE” and certainly not anyone’s “MOM”.  MESHELLE is a wife, mother of 3, and sought after comedienne whose appearances include: Nickelodeon's Search for the Funniest Mom in America 3 (Hosted by Roseanne Barr), Martin Lawrence Presents: THE FIRST AMENDMENT STAND UP (STARz), THE BLACKLIST: 20 Most Notable and Notorious Moments of 2009 & 2010 (TV-ONE); BET News Presents; Obama: Journey to the White House, as well as BET's ComicView (2014), ASPIRE TV(LaffMobb Presents:We Got Next, 2014)The WORD Network  (Soulaughable Comedy Series)  (NBC, syndicated Documentary) Walk a Mile In My Shoes: 90 Year Look at The NAACP   MESHELLE pioneered the role of "Michelle" (portrayed by Kimberly Elise in the film adaptation) in the hit Stage Play "Woman Thou Art Loosed" written by TD Jakes and Terry McFadden

A graduate of Bowie State University and a former Temple University Doctoral level student; MESHELLE opted for an extended leave-of-absence after 3 years of matriculation in the Department of School Psychology to pursue her comedic career. MESHELLE is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a 2010-2012 Open Society Institute Community Fellow.    As an Alumni Fellow of this noted social justice organization; offering funding for programing/initiatives in 57 international countries and the United States founded by George Soros; MESHELLE implemented Goaldiggers The Sankofa Project www.goaldiggers.us ,  connecting inner city teen girls of African descent to education  and tools to gain college access; by introducing them to the study of their ancestry and ethnic identity reinforcing a positive self-concept.  Anthropological methodology, genealogical research and DNA testing will uncover and assure their ethnic identity with a culminating voyage to Ghana, West Africa. 

As an advocate for girls and women; MESHELLE’s inaugural literary offering "101 Things Every Girl/Young Woman of Color Should Know" (Duafe Press, 2010) is available exclusively at www.saveourgirls.comand is currently utilized in school-based, private, faith-based, and non-profit programming.  MESHELLE is a Contributing Editor for Heart&Soul Magazine whose writings have been featured in The UTNE Reader and URBANITE Magazine; and is Host/Writer of the Award Winning Educational Series "Sex Smart for Teens"  www.injoyvideos.com

MESHELLE returned to her Musical theater roots as the “Mayor of Dingburg” (Baltimore Theater Project; November 2010) during the 2 week  production of  “Zippy the Pinhead: The Musical “an original adaptation of the internationally award winning syndicated comic strip written by Bill Griffith appearing in 200 newspapers weekly.   MESHELLE’s New One Woman Show, “Diary of A M.I.L.F.” (Mom I’d Love to FOLLOW) Directed by Rain Pryor; debuted December 17, 2011 to a sold-out audience at the Baltimore Theatre Project and has received multiple awards; WINNER, Favorite Overall Theatrical Experience (Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, 2012); WINNER Audience Choice Award (DC Black Theatre Festival, 2013). WINNER, “One Act Battle” (DC Black Theatre Festival, 2012, 2013), WINNER, Outstanding Solo Performer (Midtown International Theatre Festival, 2014: NY, NY)

MESHELLE “The Indie-Mom of Comedy” is indeed…Funny on PURPOSE!  www.meshelle.net   

Lee Anne Roman

Lee Anne Roman is a nurse and a researcher/evaluator focused on maternal and infant health programs and disparities among Medicaid insured families.  She partners with community stakeholders and policy makers and has conducted a randomized trial of a nurse-Community Health Worker team home visiting model and quasi-experimental, state-wide study of a Medicaid sponsored home visiting program.  She currently leads a federal AHRQ funded demonstration project of a community system of care for Medicaid insured women, as well as, a team of investigators conducting a  mixed methods evaluation (propensity score matched analysis, costs, focus groups)  of the Strong Beginnings program.  She has worked with linked Medicaid claims, home visiting program and vital record data from a state data warehouse using data use agreements, and is now working with the same data linked to local community and healthy start data.

Stacy Scott

Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, has dedicated the last 30 years to designing and implementing programs that impact underserved communities in the areas health disparities, prevention, and delivery of services. She has served as a national health advocate working to reduce infant mortality with emphasis being placed in the African American community.  Dr. Scott is the President and CEO of In Black Print, Inc. (IBP) a firm that specializes in community outreach and development.  IBP operates on the premise that the community holds the key to eradicating disparities in health. Dr. Scott received her bachelor’s degree in Human Service Administration from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green and her Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. Dr. Scott’s client list includes both Federal and state governments, foundations, faith and community-based organizations. She served as a project manager for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s “Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in African American Communities” outreach, working with three national organizations on planning and executing three regional summits dedicated to reducing the risk of SIDS in communities of color. She currently provides training workshops around the country on infant safe sleep practices for health professionals and lay community members. Dr. Scott has facilitated numerous SIDS/safe infant sleep outreach activities such as statewide “SIDS Sundays”. This effort was designed to increase community awareness surrounding the racial disparity in SIDS rates and the importance of placing one’s baby on his or her back to sleep in a safe sleep environment.

Camille Smith

D. Camille Smith, M.S.,Ed.S.,CPD is an Educational Psychologist and certified Postpartum Doula with the Learn the Signs Act Early Campaign, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.  She is currently working on a campaign that aims to increase early identification of children with developmental delay by improving parents’ awareness of early development, and increasing healthcare and childcare provider awareness of the importance of developmental screening. Her research interests include the study of caregiver/child interactions, improving child developmental outcomes through programs designed to influence parenting behavior, and the social determinants of health. She is co-author of the Essential Package of Health and Developmental Services -an intervention that holistically addresses the needs of young vulnerable children and their caregivers affected by HIV and AIDS. 

William Spriggs

William Spriggs is a professor in, and former Chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University and serves as Chief Economist to the AFL-CIO.  In his role with the AFL-CIO he chairs the Economic Policy Working Group for the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and serves on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

From 2009 to 2012, Bill served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy at the United States Department of Labor, having been appointed by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  At the time of his appointment, he also served as chairman of the Healthcare Trust for UAW Retirees of the Ford Motor Company and as chairman of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust, vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute; and on the joint National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration’s Committee on the Fiscal Future for the United States; and, as Senior Fellow of the Community Service Society of New York; and served on the boards of the National Employment Law Project and very briefly for the Eastern Economic Association.

Bill’s previous work experience includes roles leading economic policy development and research as a Senior Fellow and Economist at the Economic Policy Institute; as Executive Director for the Institute for Opportunity and Equality of the National Urban League; as a Senior Advisor for the Office of Government Contracting and Minority Business Development for the U.S. Small Business Administration; as a Senior Advisor and Economist for the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce; as an Economist for the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress; and, as staff director for the independent, federal National Commission for Employment Policy.  He is a former president of the National Economics Association, the organization of America’s professional Black economists.

He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, and holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He also taught six years at Norfolk State University and for two years at North Carolina A & T State University.

He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Academy of Public Administration. 

 Carol Synkewecz 

Carol practiced public health at Local, State, National, and International levels for 40 years.
Her introduction to public health began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and as the first of 2 women engineers /educators employed within the mining industry. Her most recent work was as Director of Maternal, Child and Women's Health in Duval County, Florida with responsibilities in many areas including Family Planning, HIV, School Health, and Jacksonville's State and Federal Healthy Start. Prior to 12 years in Florida, she was Director of Policy and Development at the Allegheny County Health Dept. in Pittsburgh, PA. While in Pittsburgh she served as Executive to three County Health Directors. She has published policy and community reports related to health, income, gender and geography. Her contributions continued as Project Director of Healthy Start Pittsburgh for 10 years, one of 15 nationally funded with expansion to rural Fayette County, PA. She also implemented and directed the first Americorps/National Direct Health Corps program in 4 States, PA, New Mexico, Illinois, and Fl. Numerous community collaboratives focused on health equity with results are credited to her grantsmanship, team administration, and leadership.

While Carol's undergraduate studies were in History, Sociology / Anthropology, her graduate work was in Mining Engineering and ultimately Public Health with a specialty in Maternal Child Health administration from University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. She has received numerous awards and commendations and served on various local and national boards and advocacy efforts. She was a Founding member of the National Healthy Start Association and elected as first 2 year President. Carol has continued to mentor leaders in public health while enjoying international travel, golf, beach life, cooking and retirement.

Jan Tedder

Jan Tedder BSN, Family Nurse Practitioner, Lactation Consultant, has worked in primary care and lactation support for decades. Ms. Tedder has researched and developed HUG Your Baby, an award-winning program to teach parents and professionals about newborns and young children. She recently spent a year teaching birth and parenting professionals in fourteen countries. Jan is the recipient of North Carolina’s Maternal Child Health Nurse of the Year Award and has received other state and national awards for her efforts to educate young parents and the professionals who serve them.

Mildred Thompson

As Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place, Mildred Thompson leads the organization's health team, with work focusing on healthy food access, improving the built environment and the systemic integration of health equity. A significant component of her work involves exploring community factors that impact health, and identifying effective solutions. Prior to joining PolicyLink, she was director of Community Health Services for Alameda County’s Public Health Department; director of Healthy Start; and director of San Antonio Neighborhood Health Center. Thompson has degrees in nursing, psychology and social work. Having taught at Mills College and San Francisco State University, she has also worked as an organizational development consultant. Thompson is a frequent speaker on topics related to health equity and serves on several boards and commissions including The Zellerbach Family Foundation. She is a member of the Health Disparities Subcommittee to the CDC Director’s Advisory Committee, Dartmouth School of Medicine’s Health Equity Center, Bristol Myers- Squibb’s Diabetes Advisory Committee and NYC’s Fund for Social Policy Education and Practice. Mildred is also a textile artist and avid traveler.

Ivory Toldson

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs, as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is currently on leave from his position as full professor at Howard University. He has also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education, and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.

In addition to ongoing work with elected officials, government executives, HBCU leaders and advocacy groups, Dr. Toldson conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program, which identifies and engages the top HBCU scholars.  He also co-authored a series of blogs on federal sponsorships for various federal agencies and hosted a series of webinars, in an effort to increase the approximately $5 billion of federal revenue that flows to 100 HBCUs.

Dr. Toldson has more than 65 publications, including 4 books, and more than 150 research presentations in 36 US states, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Scotland, South Africa, Paris, and Barcelona. He has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous local radio stations.  His research has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Root, The National Journal, Essence Magazine, and Ebony Magazine.

Dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by the Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Dr. Toldson, according to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, is "a prolific young scholar and myth buster." According to Capstone Magazine, "Toldson has spent a lot of time traveling across the country talking with teachers about misleading media statistics that invariably either link Black males to crime or question their ability to learn."  Dr. Toldson was named in the 2014 and 2013 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders.

After completing coursework for a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, Dr. Toldson became a correctional and forensic psychology resident at the United States Penitentiary. There, he completed his dissertation on Black Men in the Criminal Justice System. Upon completion, Dr. Toldson joined the faculty of Southern University and became the fourth recipient of the prestigious DuBois Fellowship from the US Department of Justice. He also served as the clinical director of the Manhood Training Village. He has received formal training in applied statistics from the University of Michigan, and held visiting research and teacher appointments at Emory, Drexel, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Peggy Vander Meulen

Peggy received her BSN from the University of Michigan graduating Summa Cum Laude and earned her Master's degree from Grand Valley State University.  Before becoming Program Director in 2004 for Strong Beginnings, an inter-disciplinary federal Healthy Start project that works to improve maternal, paternal, and child health among African Americans and Latinas, she worked for eight years as the Maternal Support Services Coordinator for three urban clinics. 

The previous 25 years were spent in disaster relief, as a medical contractor for Peace Corps, and as a health consultant for community-based maternal-child health organizations in Latin America, Bangladesh, and West Africa. Working in impoverished urban and rural areas she developed integrated development projects, designed programs to train Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants, and launched several inter-agency collaborative partnerships. 

She co-chairs an 85-member coalition working to eliminate disparities in birth outcomes with a focus on racial equity and community engagement.  She is a member of several state and national boards working to promote women’s health and has been the recipient of numerous awards. 


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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.