Connecting Local Communities to Trusted Health Resources

Joining together with local partners, we are creating a healthier future for Black communities by ensuring everyone has access to resources and education they need to be healthy. For far too long, politicians and those in power have deliberately deprived Black communities of health resources, creating color-coded barriers that make it harder for Black people to access the information they need to get and stay well. By providing communities greater access to trusted, culturally-competent people and resources, we are improving health outcomes for generations to come.

Our Partners


Every child and adult should have access to the resources they need to be healthy, regardless of where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money is in their wallets. To truly live into our values as a society that seeks justice and fairness, we must ensure every person has the opportunity to be healthy. Research and lived experience show us that Black communities have been ignored and discriminated against, significantly limiting their ability to receive, understand, and apply health information. 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the disparities in access to health resources for black people and people of color. It showed the importance of being proactive; directing resources and attention to communities who need the most support to protect Black lives. All around the country, acting individually and collectively, we witnessed committed organizers and organizations compassionately mobilize their expertise, resources, and access to health providers to support Black communities. Their work—educating, dispelling misinformation, recommending data-driven prevention strategies including vaccination, and facilitating health services— saved countless lives. 

The Council on Black Health, with the support of our partners including Sesame Workshop, The Pfizer Foundation, and The Charlotte Area Fund, is providing local communities with accurate, relevant, and relatable health information from trusted sources. Our work is improving health literacy, providing health education, and encouraging behaviors and activities that prevent disease and ensuring positive health outcomes for Black people. 

“The beloved community” was around long before the pandemic and will exist long after we combat the acute effects of COVID-19. Local grassroots leaders who showed up for their communities during this time—passing out masks, providing testing center locations, interpreting and sharing research, and advocating for increased attention and resources—are experts on public health. We learn from them, as well as researchers and public health leaders as we build local capacity for providing accurate and unbiased health information and resources to families and communities.   

Our Initiatives and Impact

Developing Trusted Health Navigator Networks

We honor the ongoing contributions and important role trusted local leaders with lived experience play in advancing health equity. As such, we provide training and develop skills to deliver health education, transformational health solutions, and promote optimal health outcomes in their communities. 

After the completion of the training program, Trusted Health Navigator teams engage their networks and civic leaders to share messaging on chronic disease prevention, COVID-19 care strategies and resources, the role of racism in health care, and more. All the while, we’re evaluating the effectiveness of using trusted messengers to share information compared to other public health communications strategies. 

Trusted Health Navigators with Lived Experiences

With funding from the Pfizer Foundation, the Council launched a training program to implement strategies to address health literacy and health behavior among members of Black communities in Charlotte and Chicago by:

Community Health Worker Pre-Internship Training Course

The Council is partnering with the Governors State University College of Health and Human Services to deliver a pre-internship training course for undergraduate students. This training provides college students with employable skills to work as a Community Health Worker (CHW), with real world experience in public health, to help solidify the competencies they acquired during their program and prepare them for the internship required to complete the collegiate studies.

Workforce Development Through Community Health Worker Certification

The Council is pleased to partner with the Charlotte Area Fund (CAF) as a capacity building partner to support workforce development. CAF offers various income-based Workforce Development programs to ensure people have the proper training and certifications to land and retain jobs in fields of high growth. Through funding from CAF, the Council has identified and recruited community members to go through the required 100 core hours and 80 practicum/clinical hours necessary for eligibility for Community Health Worker (CHW) certification. The Council will support participant engagement and will facilitate connection with community partners for practicum experiences. After training is completed, certified CHWs will become part of the larger CHW workforce and will also become permanent partners for the Council’s work to advance our strategic plan. CW Williams Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center (FQHC) based in Charlotte, serves as our ongoing partner and host site for the practicum training program. 

Participants who completed our training program in our first two locations have led successful health education and health behavior promotion programs in their communities. This training initiative has proved to be a powerful workforce development strategy. Many training alumni have gone on to gain new employment in related health fields, providing these trusted health navigators with paid employment and stability as they work to change practices that impact Black people’s health.

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Sesame Street in Communities

No matter where we live or what our background is, we all want to be able to care for our loved ones, especially our children. Families want to be able to access prevention and treatment options, yet systems have been rigged to prioritize health education and health care for some, while creating color-coded barriers for others. 

With the support of Sesame Workshop, we are working to promote healthy behaviors and practices for children through educating parents, caregivers, and health providers. We are advancing health equity by ensuring all families understand the benefits of routine well-child visits, oral health check-ups, vaccinations, and healthy practices in the home. It’s not enough to share information; we engage parents with cultural competency, providing outreach from trusted messengers who have lived experience and empathy for how hard it is to overcome barriers to resources and care.

Here’s how we’re partnering with Sesame Workshop to ensure health education reaches into homes of children across the country through their Sesame Street in Communities Initiative:

View Sesame Workshop’s Resources for Families and Children

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Explore More Projects

Young adulthood is a period of high risk for excessive weight gain and development of obesity due to pregnancy and postpartum weight retention. Women often face multiple responsibilities which prevent their participation in lifestyle interventions, increasing health inequities among women of color that contribute to obesity disparities. This presentation will describe lessons learned from a longstanding academic research partnership with a national home visiting organization that offers a model for reaching women and achieving real world lifestyle change.

One major contributor to excess weight gain is the high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Increasing access to water and other healthy beverages is one viable strategy to reduce excess weight gain. Nationally, in 2012, 26% of adults reported consuming sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g., regular soda, fruit drinks, or both) ≥1 times daily. In 2014, consumption of SSBs at least once per day was highest among Black American adults aged 20-39 (77%), those of parenting age. Black youth have significantly higher total beverage consumption from soft drinks (30%) as compared with other children (as low as 9%). For all of these reasons, promoting healthy beverages throughout childhood and adolescence is a public health concern. This webinar aims to describe the national recommendations and resources for healthy beverage consumption among Black youth. Participants will: understand the effects on sugar-sweetened beverages on the health of Black youth, identify best practice recommendations to promote healthy beverages to Black youth, identify credible sources of information to promote healthy beverage consumption, and assess alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages to consume healthy beverages.

Join our network of experts that integrate global perspectives, data and research, and lived experience to create actionable strategies to achieve Black health equity.

Join us for an eye-opening session that delves into the transformative power of the Citizen/Community Scientist approach in improving community-led research and addressing health disparities. Article 5 of the Council on Black Health’s Black Health Bill of Rights highlights the importance of reclaiming our power and autonomy to transform our health. In this episode, we’ll provide an insightful overview of the Citizen/Community Scientist approach, developed in collaboration with Project Brotherhood. Discover how this approach can revolutionize the recruitment and engagement of diverse populations in the All of Us research program, a groundbreaking NIH-funded initiative involving communities. Find out how the Citizen/Community Scientist approach can impact your own research endeavors and contribute to sustainable solutions for improving health and reducing disparities. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the movement for change. Subscribe now and join the conversation!

In this webinar, we dive into the research and experiences of Black Americans who have successfully maintained healthy eating and physical activity behaviors for extended periods of time (more than 6 months). By understanding their strategies, we can develop intervention approaches that effectively promote health and reduce health disparities. Don’t miss out on these valuable insights that can transform the way we approach behavior change. Subscribe now and join the conversation! 

Among ethnic groups in the  United States, African Americans continue to be among those with notably low life expectancy and high overall rates of chronic illness, including diabetes. It is well documented that diabetes self-management decreases the severity of symptoms, slows the progression of disease trajectory, and increases the quality of life. However, socio-economic factors and the stress of structural racism continue to strongly influence health equity and disease disparities which, in turn, may interfere with self-management. While interventions focused on clinical targets have reduced the overall disease burden, they have failed to eliminate racial and geographic disparities in diabetes. To that end, there is an urgent need for sustainable interventions devoted to increasing health equity and the self-management of diabetes in African Americans. Today’s webinar will highlight the successes and challenges of a program of research dedicated to the self-management of diabetes among African Americans — including recruitment and retention — as well as discuss the next steps in practice and research. Subscribe to our channel for similar content!

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly expanded the use of telemedicine, remote diagnosis and treatment of patients using telecommunication technology, for care delivery. Telemedicine has appeared especially promising in the management of chronic diseases, such as type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM), which require consistent monitoring and adjustment to be optimally controlled. This webinar will provide a review of the current state of knowledge regarding the impact of telemedicine on diabetes outcomes and on disparities in diabetes care, identify the current gaps in knowledge with regard to delivery of diabetes care via telemedicine, and discuss barriers to telemedicine that can exacerbate known disparities in diabetes outcomes. Dr. Batch will conclude by discussing opportunities for future research that can inform clinical care and reduce disparities in diabetes.

Despite increased funding  allocated for health and physical education (PE) programs through Every Student Succeeds Act, disparities in school-based physical activity programming persist with low-resource schools less likely to offer recess, have a certified PE teacher, or provide after-school sports programming, compared to higher-resource schools. Classroom-based physical activity interventions hold great potential for reducing physical activity disparities at school by providing children with 19 minutes of in-class activity every day (approximately two-thirds of the school-based recommendation of 30 minutes). Yet, low rates of treatment fidelity (the extent to which an intervention is delivered as conceived and planned) have been observed in low-resource schools, resulting in children accumulating less than 5 minutes of daily in-class activity. There is a critical need to develop classroom-based physical activity interventions that are tailored to context, to maximize fidelity and motivate behavior change in students toward increased activity levels. In the absence of such tailored programs, classroom-based interventions have the potential to perpetuate existing disparities in physical activity participation among low-income children. Today’s webinar will highlight the successes of a school-based physical activity program tailored for implementation in low-resource settings and how this same program was adapted for dissemination in the home environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

African diaspora dance in public health and health care is positioned to have far-reaching implications as a tool for achieving health equity. This webinar will present African diaspora dance as a cultural determinant of health and discuss the role of African diaspora dancers as cultural bearers and trusted messengers for health promotion in the Black community. Subscribe to our channel for similar content! 

Disparities in obesity prevalence and weight loss treatment affecting Black women persist. This is a barrier to improving health risks and outcomes in weight-related conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Black women’s provision of care to family and non-kin networks may be a barrier to achieving weight control. Examining the multiple caregiver roles, a sociocultural factor among Black women engaged in a behavioral weight loss intervention may indicate the role of such context on behavior change and weight. In this talk, Dr. Blackman Carr will discuss her work and insights surrounding Black women’s caregiving on dietary and physical activity behaviors and weight while pursuing weight loss. The webinar will also indicate potential directions for future efforts to address obesity and improve weight loss in treatment-seeking Black women. Subscribe to our channel for similar content!

The limited success in the prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases and the related efforts to achieve health equity reflects a lack of knowledge about which programs and policies can effectively reach underserved racial/ethnic minority and low-resource populations. Implementation of programs and policies outside of health care settings (i.e., in community settings such as schools and childcare centers, worksites, social service organizations, and religious organizations) has high potential in this respect. However, unique challenges arise from the fact that primary missions, capacity, cultures, and values in such settings are not centered on physical health or health services delivery. This webinar will present a review of implementation research in community settings and highlight lessons learned to guide future research and practice in diverse settings and geographies.

Racial disparities in weight status during the childbearing window have long-lasting implications for racial disparities in obesity over the life course. Neighborhood context is a key multilevel determinant of maternal weight status during and after childbearing. However, the multidimensional nature of neighborhood contexts is often not captured in a comprehensive way. Doing so would facilitate a more complex understanding of how neighborhoods impact on health beyond simple additive accumulations of individual factors across the social, physical, and built environment. It can also improve insight into how neighborhoods can be leveraged to enhance the effectiveness of interventions targeting maternal weight status. This talk will explore insights from my research using composite measures of neighborhood opportunity access in relation to racial/ethnic disparities in key weight-related maternal health outcomes, including gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention. The talk will conclude by proposing systems-based methods as a next step in continuing to capture the complex and dynamic aspects of neighborhood context in ways that can facilitate translation of evidence into action to improve Black maternal health.

Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in diabetes-related outcomes persist. There is a need for effective interventions that facilitate diabetes self-management while also acknowledging the social context in which patients are trying to self-manage. We will present results from our NIDDK-funded two-year randomized pilot trial, Bridge to Health/Puente a la Salud, as well as lessons learned.

Preschool-age children from low socioeconomic environments tend to have low physical activity levels. In the US, approximately 61% of preschool-age children spend most of their day in non-parental childcare settings such as preschool centers, making this an ideal setting to intervene on their physical activity levels. A significant proportion of physical activity interventions targeting preschool centers have been stand-alone programs and have been implemented by trained external staff, which is not a viable model. For a physical activity program to be viable and sustainable, the program must be integrated into the preschool day and implemented by preschool teachers. This presentation will describe the characteristics of successful preschool-based physical activity interventions. The majority of the presentation will focus on lessons learned from implementing teacher-led physical activity interventions in preschool-age children from low socioeconomic environments. 

The ability to address the high rates of childhood obesity in black communities will depend in part on how healthful, lower-calorie foods are priced relative to less healthful, higher-calorie alternatives. This webinar will highlight AACORN’s recently published research with Black Americans from four cities on how food prices impact what foods they buy.

African-American women are disproportionately affected with a sedentary lifestyle, high body weight, and increased risk for stress-related chronic diseases. Yoga can be an effective strategy to address adverse health outcomes by decreasing sedentary behavior and stress; however little research has been conducted to explore its effect in African-American women. This presentation will review the existing literature on the benefits of yoga and explore the potential of yoga to address health outcomes in African-American women.

Dr. Singleton will present current evidence on the feasibility and acceptability of several local and national strategies to expand healthy food retail in low-income black communities. Furthermore, she will discuss findings from studies that evaluated the impact of these strategies on healthy food availability, food purchasing behavior, diet, and health. Dr. Singleton is an assistant professor of community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines relationships between healthy food retail, food purchasing, and dietary intake in low-income communities.

Young adulthood is a period of high risk for excessive weight gain and development of obesity due to pregnancy and postpartum weight retention. Women often face multiple responsibilities which prevent their participation in lifestyle interventions, increasing health inequities among women of color that contribute to obesity disparities. This presentation will describe lessons learned from a longstanding academic research partnership with a national home visiting organization that offers a model for reaching women and achieving real world lifestyle change.

Black women have a higher prevalence of obesity than any other major demographic group in the United States. Additionally, black women tend to lose less weight than their white counterparts when engaging in obesity treatment regardless of modality. Reasons for differences in obesity prevalence and weight loss outcomes are not fully understood and warrant further exploration. This presentation will explore psychological factors that are associated with weight management among black women in the Deep South with a particular focus on the roles of stress and depression in obesity and obesity-related health outcomes.

There is a high prevalence of obesity among African American adults in the US population. While obesity treatment is generally challenging, African Americans may face additional challenges in pursuit of effective treatment options. This presentation will review what we know about the effectiveness of obesity treatment and its impact on associated outcomes in African Americans. 

This presentation will explore the state of the literature on diabetes prevention and weight loss interventions for African American populations. It will also discuss two models of diabetes prevention translation interventions aimed at Black and Latino men and participants receiving services from Food Banks. 

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. Black women have a high prevalence of obesity and severe obesity. An individual’s perception of body size might differ based on what is thought to be “normal” weight in their reference group or sociocultural context and limit weight control motivations or success. This webinar will share findings from a literature review focused on examining the significance of the association between body image and obesity in Black women. The presentation will identify cultural influences, address salient themes, highlight gaps in the literature, and discuss the importance of incorporating body image issues in public health solutions for prevention and control of obesity and related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.

Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are leading causes of death for Black men that have been linked with obesity and obesogenic behaviors such as unhealthy eating, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, sedentary behavior and physical inactivity. Strategies to address obesity among Black Americans regularly enroll more women than men and few rigorously designed studies have identified healthy strategies to promote weight management, control or loss in Black men. During this webinar, Dr. Griffith will describe some of the challenges with how health researchers and practitioners frame Black men’s chronic disease risk, motivate Black men to engage in healthier behavior, and implement interventions to address obesity, diabetes and related health issues. He will discuss some promising qualitative, quantitative and intervention research and lessons learned that suggest new strategies to promote healthy weight loss among Black men.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) provided strong evidence that modest weight loss could reduce the onset of diabetes by half, among persons at high risk for diabetes. In DPP and other intense behavioral weight loss interventions Black participants lose clinically significant amounts of weight, but among Black women, weight loss outcomes are generally among the lowest. This webinar will present research summarizing the weight loss outcomes of Black Americans (mainly women) participating in trials of DPP adaptations and then highlight more recent studies that suggest new approaches to designing behavioral weight loss approaches for Black Americans that show promise in improving observed weight loss outcomes.

This presentation will illuminate and discuss assumptions associated with faith-oriented interventions that can be incommensurate with the theological and operational contexts of churches and other faith institutions. Faith settings are logical as potential venues for lifestyle change interventions related to weight management and diabetes control in black communities. Addressing these and other assumptions can lead to improvements in intervention effectiveness, uptake, and sustainability.

Highlights AACORN research that explored perceptions of targeted food and beverage marketing practices among food retailers and policymakers serving Black communities. Interviews were conducted in Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL. Presenters will highlight insights from these key decision makers and discuss implications of the study results for efforts to improve the healthfulness of food marketed to Black Americans.

The benefits of physical activity for preventing and treating chronic diseases, including diabetes, are well established. Self-report instruments suggest that African Americans engage in less leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) than other population subgroups; however, objectively measured physical activity suggests that African Americans may be more active, overall. During this webinar we will discuss differences in physical activity patterns obtained from self-report and objective measures of physical activity, and the impact of these assessments on public health recommendations and campaigns. We will also describe specific benefits of LTPA and efforts to address disparities in LTPA in African American populations.