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Sept. & Oct. 2023 at The Center

The Center for Black Health & Equity (The Center) works to uplift the Black community and optimize our health. We have been chronicling our happenings and whereabouts. After State of Black Health in September, in the following weeks, we participated in a number of activities to put a spotlight on Black health and equity.


The CDC Office of Smoking and Health held a National Partners Meeting in Atlanta. Natasha Phelps, Equity-Centered Policies Director, was on a panel about menthol, disinformation, and comprehensive policy solutions.


Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held their 52nd Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The event included visionaries, activists, and leaders who are shaping the future of African Americans and the global Black community. Unfortunately, during the conference, tobacco representatives peddled disinformation about the state-level menthol bans around the country, alleging the criminalization of Black people. Read more about debunked menthol myths here.

Greg Bolden, Community Initiatives Manager, worked with our trusted partners, including those at the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, to create a resource to combat this disinformation. The Center was also a sponsor of one of the many axillary receptions occurring during CBC week.

Natasha Phelps & Greg Bolden


The Center for Black Health & Equity sponsored the Ashé Rooftop Festival and Gala in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year was the 25th anniversary of the event, put on by Ashé’s I Deserve It community health workers and Sistahs Makin’ A Change. The Ashé Cultural Arts Center played a significant role in our Truth Be Told project, led by The Center’s Equity-Centered Policy (ECP) department. Mary Williams-Stover, our ECP program manager, represented The Center and continues to strengthen our partnership with Ashé.

Mary Williams Stover & Community Member


The School Meals for All NC (SMFA NC) coalition held a town hall to remind residents of their power to make a difference and offer solutions to end child hunger. One in six children in North Carolina experiences hunger daily. In our most rural counties, as many as one in three children experience hunger. Providing no-cost school meals to all students in North Carolina public schools will ensure every child has access to healthy, nutritious breakfast and lunch, promote student academic achievement, and eliminate meal debt and “lunch shaming.”

Kayla Holland, our Food and Nutrition program manager, was one of many panelists during the town hall, where the Food and Nutrition team initiated The Center's Quorum Pilot, which supports the implementation of text campaigns. Attendees were empowered to share their stories and sign the letter of support by texting "SMFA" to 52886.

Kayla Holland & Reporter


Kim Caldwell, Tobacco Program Manager, completed an on-camera interview in Milwaukee for the Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting as a part of a series called Living Tobacco Free, during which she shared strategies for a successful quit journey.


The Food and Nutrition team co-led a presentation to the board of directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Foundation on the milestones of School Meals for All NC. The invitation to showcase the project speaks to the project's success. The Center was highlighted as an invaluable leader in food access, and the Food and Nutrition team detailed the work undertaken on grasstops and grassroots levels. The team received an award reflecting their recognition of the project's value, recent legislative wins, and progress.

OCTOBER 17 Natasha Phelps, Equity-Centered Policies Director, spoke at a webinar hosted by the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine about The Center’s Health Equity vision and goals. Academics, foundations, and community philanthropies of various sizes were also invited to speak. Panelists discussed the ways philanthropies can address social determinants of health.


The “Cut the Salt, Keep the Flavor” campaign was developed by a coalition to promote informed food choices through the implementation of a sodium warning label policy. In our Cut the Salt, Keep the Flavor Town Hall, attendees were encouraged to contact their legislators by texting "SALT" to 52886. The adoption of text campaigns has lowered barriers to action for priority communities across all Food and Nutrition projects, fueling collective community outreach and engagement efforts.


Greg Bolden, Community Initiatives Manager, attended the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Region II’s Regional Conference in Maryland. The 2023 conference theme was “Building Leaders to Strengthen Our Foundation.” Bolden spoke on the topic of Black health and equity with an emphasis on Black men.





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