Board of Directors

The Council on Black Health benefits from the expertise and guidance of a talented group of governing board members, including:

Vanessa Briggs, MBA, RD

Brandywine Health Foundation

I was inspired to join the Council on Black Health, because if ever there was time to give voice and action to decades of health, social and economic disparities among black communities, the time is now.  Serving on the board presents an opportunity to shape a national action oriented agenda to improve the health and well-being through across sector partnerships, policy reform, and cultural centric resources while also using research to inform sustainable strategies that improve black health.  I am excited to learn and work alongside such committed and passionate fellow board members all sharing common values aimed at dismantling institutional, structural and systemic racism.

Renee Canady, PhD, MPA

Michigan Public Health Institute

Gary Bennett, PhD

Duke University


Ricky Bluthenthal, PhD

University of Southern California


Ailton Santonio Coleman, PhD, MPH, CPH

James Madison University

When NAACP Legal Counsel Thurgood Marshall used the results of Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s “Doll Experiment” in his argument before the Supreme Court in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, the course of Black History and the health of Black people changed forever from the increase in access to education, employment, and healthcare. Recent declaration of racism as a public health crisis by several states and cities across the United States demonstrate that this collaboration did not fully open the doors of equality in outcomes. Thus, my inspiration for joining the Council on Black Health is to continue the legacy of fighting for systemic change through the collaboration of Black academics, Black jurists, and Black activists. What excites me the most about the Council on Black Health is the ripple effects that are to come through the Council’s work. From one-on-one conversations with community members to defined stances and thought pieces on national policy, each arm of the Council’s activities represents a touchpoint to make a lasting impact on the health of the Black community.

Sheree Crute, MA

National Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM)

I was inspired to join the Council on Black Health Board because of the organization’s commitment to combining the best research with community-focused programming and actionable solutions for improving the health and wellbeing of Black Americans. The Council’s work is particularly exciting because of the organization’s unique approach to reframing how we see our health and our communities to emphasize our strengths and right to optimum health. I hope to contribute to the effective translation and implementation of this important work across the Council’s initiatives.

Nichola Davis, MD

NYC Health + Hospitals

At this pivotal time where there is broad recognition of health inequities and the need for justice in health care (among other areas in our society), CBH can be a leader in these conversations.  CBH has dynamic, accomplished members and leaders who all have the same goal of re-imagining Black health. I am excited about what we can do as an organization to improve Black health.   

Martinus Evans

Inspired Moments

The opportunity to make a tangible difference in the health outcomes of my community inspired me to join the Council on Black Health. I am looking forward to helping raise awareness of the Black Health Bill of Rights as well as to bring a fresh perspective to the Council.

Jennifer Fassbender, M.S., ACSM-CEP

Reinvestment Fund

Since its inception in 2002, I had been privileged to work alongside the founder and staff of this important organization. The complex challenges the Council has taken on have continued to be critical in connecting researchers, as well as a broader array of multi-sector stakeholders in building an evidence base and eventually a movement in prioritizing the health of Black communities. I am inspired by my colleagues working tirelessly in this space to make policy, practice and mindset change to improve health and opportunity in Black communities, and I hope to contribute my insights from leading a national learning community seeking to improve health equity and community investment systems, while aligning our collective networks.

J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE

Trust for America’s Health

Rebecca Hasson, PhD, FACSM

University of Michigan

The Council provides me the ability to network with researchers from across the country that understand the root causes of health disparities and are dedicated to promoting health equity in the United States. I am constantly challenged to continue to make an impact with my research that will bring positive changes to Black communities nationwide.

Michael P. Lischke, EdD, MPH

Wake Forest School of Medicine

What inspired you to join the Council on Black Health Board? – the people involved and the laser beamed mission of the organization to make a difference.

What excites you about the Council on Black Health?  Taking a deep and honest, transparent dive into the challenges of improving health of a population which has been the focus of generations of discrimination.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time as a Board member?  I plan to carefully listen, learn and help create the new research arena to address our ongoing challenges in ideal health for all.

Sheila Payton, BS, DC

Wellspring Health and Wellness PC

As an African-American woman, mother and healthcare professional, I have been subject to the benefits and the disadvantages of being an African-American seeking healthcare. I understand the disparities, the need and have ideas regarding solutions relative to the care our health. I’m excited to partner with the Council on Black Health to reimagine healthcare for African-Americans.

Maren Turner, PhD

Community Member

I am looking forward to helping raise awareness of the Black Health Bill of Rights, help end health and health care disparities, and contribute to making communities a healthy place for everyone!

Mary-Frances Winters

The Winters Group, Inc.

I joined the Board because of the mission of the Council on Black Health.  If I can help in some small way to address health inequities for Black people, I feel it is a part of my life’s purpose to do so.

Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, MBA

Kaiser Permanente Southern California

I believe in the mission of the Council on Black Health and the work we are undertaking to ensure that Black Americans and Black communities have the opportunity to achieve optimal health. I am honored to be a part of the Council on Black Health and to be invited to serve on the Board. The core members of the Council consist of smart, accomplished, driven people who, through research, programming, and advocacy, are committed to change the structures and processes that cause the health and healthcare disparities that Black Americans have endured for centuries. I’m excited to participate in the growth of the Council on Black Health as it matures. I hope to support the maturation of the Council by assisting in the development of its policies and programs.