Denise Octavia Smith, MBA, CHW, PN is the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers. Denise is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care Program in Global Primary Care and Social Change, an Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow, and a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leader. As a woman of African descent, a CHW, certified patient navigator and survivor of a rare chronic disease, Denise collaborates on national initiatives to advance CHW leadership and roles in COVID-19 response and community recovery, pursue racial equity, and improve clinical and community integration to address the social determinants of health.
Carl Rush, MRP has specialized in policy and workforce development for CHWs since 1996. He has advised CHW policy initiatives in more than 20 individual states, and groups of states for ASTHO and other national organizations. He was a lead author on HRSA’s 2007 CHW National Workforce Study, and co-lead on the CHW Core Consensus (C3) Project (2013-16). Carl convened the first national conference on financial sustainability for CHWs in 2001, and has recently completed two national studies with the CDC on CHW certification and workforce development. He is a member of the NACHW Policy Committee.
Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD is an Associate Professor at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. She has been a proud ally of the CHW workforce for over a dozen years. She focuses on CHW workforce development and policy and conducts community-academic partnered research focused on promoting health equity. Her work has been funded by CDC, NIH, HRSA, and PCORI. Ashley is a Robert Wood Johnson Interdisciplinary Research Leaders fellow. She currently co-leads the Louisiana CHW Workforce Coalition, along with fellow NACHW board member, Catherine Haywood. Ashley is a co-founder of the Louisiana Community Health Outreach Network (LACHON) and serves as co-chair of NACHW’s policy committee. She previously served as chair of the American Public Health Association Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section as well as chair of the CHW Section Policy Committee.
Catherine Haywood, BSW, CHW is the current chair for the Louisiana Community Health Outreach Network and worked for Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) for the past 20 years. She received her BSW from Southern University at New Orleans. Catherine has worked for the last 30 years advocating for individuals living below poverty levels and working to educate communities around health disparities such as HIV/AIDS, breast and cervical cancers, other cancers, obesity, and active living. She’s one of the founding members of Women with a Vision, a non-profit organization that has been in existence for the last 30 years. Catherine provides structured mentoring for community members about the PRC’s activities and implements training programs for community residents, barbers, stylists and health care providers around health issues. She is also a Community Health Worker Common Core(C3) fellow.
Venus Ginés, MA, P/CHWI is a 20-year breast cancer survivor. She was a faculty member of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, teaching cultural competence and health literacy as well as conducting research on Latino medical mistrust. In 1997, she founded Día de la Mujer Latina, Inc., a national nonprofit organization, celebrating its signature health fiesta in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic, and providing the medically underserved Latina community with culturally and linguistically proficient health education, early detection screening for chronic diseases, culturally tailored preventive programs for Latino teens, and patient-centered navigation. Día de la Mujer Latina is a Texas State Certified Training Program. She is a State-Certified Promotores Instructor and has trained 4200 promotores (Community Health Workers) this year.
For the last 16 years, Mitchell C. (Mitch) Hunter has taken active leadership roles in the Transgender and LGBQ communities. Serving for 3 1/2 years on the Seattle LGBT Commission, he helped create and implement Seattle’s single-use, all-gender restroom law. He served on numerous task forces researching, writing, and editing reports presented to the Mayor’s Office and other City departments. Mitch has worked with corporations, health care facilities, institutions, faith communities, and organizations to further transgender inclusivity and visibility. Featured in the Seattle Police Department’s transgender training video, Mitch helped write the SPD’s model policy on working with the transgender community. ( https://youtu.be/q1WYzkfCR_I)
Jessica Kronstadt, MPP, is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). In that role, she oversees efforts to evaluate the accreditation program and to promote research to build the evidence base around accreditation. Prior to coming to PHAB, she worked at NORC at the University of Chicago, conducting research on public health services and systems, as well as insurance benefit design, health information technology, and the rural health workforce.
Robin Wilcox, Chief Program Officer of the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), manages the implementation of the accreditation process for public health departments. Robin also leads the revisions of the standards and measures, modifications to the accreditation process, and the development of the reaccreditation process and requirements. She joined PHAB in August 2007. Robin’s work at PHAB follows a public health career in a variety of settings including governmental public health, a health care system, academia, local health planning, association work, and private consulting
Andre Blackman is a pioneering strategist with deep ties into the public health/healthcare, technology and branding landscapes. He is also the Founder and CEO of Pulse + Signal, a branding and innovation strategy consultancy where he helps healthcare focused organizations stay equipped for the future.
Andre is a sought-after advisor to companies building the future of health and brand builder for the leaders who run them. His contributions have been featured in Forbes, NPR, Reporting on Health, U.S. News and World Report.