A Paradigm Shift was established by the Sankofa Collaborative, a robust collaboration of African American and Afro -Latino health professionals representing non-profit, public health, faith based and academic institutions as well as women who are living with HIV throughout the United States.
Gail Wyatt, PhD Co-Chair
Dr. Wyatt a Clinical Psychologist, board certified Sex Therapist and Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior at UCLA.
She is a graduate of Fisk University and received her doctorate at UCLA. For the first 17 years of her career, Dr. Wyatt was the first ethnic minority to receive training as a sexologist. She received a prestigious NIMH Research Scientist Career Development Award to develop culturally congruent measures, conceptual frameworks and interventions to capture sexual decision making among ethnic minority men and women within a socio cultural framework. She was the first African American woman in California to receive a license to practice Psychology, and the first African American woman Ph.D. to reach full Professor in a school of Medicine. Her research examines the consensual and abusive sexual relationships of women and men, the biological and behavioral effects of these experiences on their psychological well-being and the cultural context of risks for STIs and HIV. She has conducted national and international research funded by the NIMH, NIDA, State and private funders since 1980. Dr. Wyatt has been selected as a senior research fellow by the COBB Institute for the National Medical Association.
Cynthia Davis, MPH Co-Chair
Cynthia Davis, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine and College of Science and Health at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California. She has worked in the HIV/AIDS arena for 27 years developing HIV/AIDS education, risk reduction and HIV testing programs targeting at risk communities of color. Professor Davis developed the first pilot mobile HIV testing program in Los Angeles County in 1991. This mobile testing and community outreach program has provided free HIV screening services to over 60,000 Los Angeles County residents since its inception.
Professor Davis was instrumental in helping to build and operate the first HIV/AIDS hospice in Los Angeles County in 1989. She was also instrumental in T.H.E. Clinic obtaining funding to operate the first dedicated HIV treatment clinic for women in South Los Angeles in 1990. She served on the Board of Directors of Health Promotion Institute, Inc., which operated a residential shelter for HIV positive homeless women and their dependent children in Los Angeles County from 1993 to 2003, and in 1998, she developed a project benefiting HIV/AIDS orphans, called the Dolls of Hope Project. The Dolls of Hope Project has distributed over 6,000 handmade cloth dolls to HIV/AIDS orphans on a local, national and international basis.
Condessa M. Curley, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Dr. Curley, a graduate of the University of California, Davis (UCD) School of Medicine, completed her residency training in Family Medicine and Maternal and Children’s Health fellowship at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine /California Hospital Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Curley obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health. She is a board certified Family Physician and a Fellow of both the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP) and the prestigious California Health Care Foundation. Dr. Curley has serviced as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. Dr. Curley is an Area Medical Director for one the nation’s largest public health departments. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Project Africa Global Inc. a non-profit 100% volunteer medical and humanitarian organization working in Africa, Haiti and the U.S. since 2002. She is a board of member of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS health care with clinics in 15 states throughout the U.S. and 38 countries throughout the world. Dr. Curley is the recipient of many awards locally nationally and internationally for her work in the U.S., Africa, Haiti and the Links Incorporated.
Ms. Gordon is focused on resolving pressing issues facing women who are diagnosed with or are unaware of risk factors that can expose women and girls to HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) in the United States. She is the founder of the Bridget B Foundation, sits on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and is Co-Chair of the Integration Advisory Board for Los Angeles County’s integration of Public Health, Mental Health and Health Services Departments. She has been featured on Oprah and Oprah’s, “Where are they now”, the 2015 award winning documentary “Women At Risk”, The Cycle on MSNBC and CNN Online. She has a degree in Engineering from the University of Washington, her career in engineering and consulting has taken her all over the world with Fortune 500 technology companies.
Bridget Gordon won a historic ruling by the California Supreme Court in 2006 allowing her case to proceed, showing the need to protect an unsuspecting partners rights. Her case raised stunning awareness that marriage and “monogamy” can present a dangerous risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS. The 2008 trial determined that Bridget’s ex-husband acted with fraud, malice and negligence in failing to disclose his high risk sexual behavior.
Kisha B. Holden, PhD, MSCR
Kisha B. Holden, PhD, MSCR is Interim Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). In this role, she provides executive leadership for the institute’s four divisions—Behavioral Health, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, Health Policy, and Sexual Health; and its two Centers-Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research and the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research. Also at MSM, Dr. Holden is an Associate Professor in both the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Department of Community Health & Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Holden earned undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees from Howard University in counseling psychology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in both the School of Medicine and School of Public Health. She earned a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree from MSM. She has completed professional development trainings from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Psychological Association (APA), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Prior to joining MSM, Dr. Holden held positions at Georgetown University, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Urban Health Institute, Children’s National Medical Center, and Evaluation and Research Associates, Inc.
W. Imara Canady
W. Imara Canady currently serves as Regional Director for Communications and Community Engagement for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest HIV/AIDS service and advocacy organization, and Chair for the AHF Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC). In this role, Imara is leading the charge to develop cutting-edge community partnerships, programs and initiatives that empower and educate the Black community on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and building impactful collaborations around prevention. Imara joined AHF, following an impressive 30 year career in politics and journalism, having worked in every strata of government, from Atlanta City Hall to The White House, hosting “City Talk”, a weekly public affairs show andfor close to 20 years, producing “In Contact” a multi-award winning public affairs show.
Ivonne Quiroz is originally from Southern California but moved to the Bay Area in 2008. She earned her B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Physiology and a minor in Latino/a Studies from San Francisco State University. At WORLD, she is the Policy and Advocacy Manager and supports women living with HIV in Oakland through policy and community organizing. Before working at WORLD, she worked at a community organization working for the rights of immigrants through economic empowerment. She is also a California HIV/AIDS Policy Research center (CHPRC) fellow and is doing research on the impacts of national and local healthcare policies to women living with HIV.
L. Lerissa Smith, MPH
L. Lerissa Smith, who holds a BS in psychology from Howard University as well as a Master of Public Health, currently serves as a Research Associate with the Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center (SATTC) at Morehouse School of Medicine’s National Center for Primary Care. Prior to joining SATTC, Lerissa served as the Health Policy Program Manager with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute of Morehouse School of Medicine. Lerissa has 10+ years of public health program development, analysis, and evaluation experience across a variety of diseases and models. In her capacity with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Lerissa worked to develop a multi-year, comprehensive, statewide HIV prevention plan. Prior to coming to Georgia, Lerissa worked with the University of Maryland School of Medicine as part of the Robert Gallo Institute of Human Virology where she studied the progression from HIV to AIDS as it relates to psychoimmunology, the American Psychological Association where she worked on their capacity building HIV/AIDS project – Tabono, Thompson Reuters Healthcare, and the Howard University DC Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities.
Sequoia Ayala, JD, MA
Sequoia Ayala is the Policy and Advocacy Program Manager at SisterLove, Inc. She received her law degree and master’s degree in International Relations from the American University Washington College of Law and School of International Service, respectively. As the Program Manager at SisterLove, Sequoia works collaboratively with community members, elected officials, and policymakers in advancement of the health, well-being, and human rights of Black women living with HIV/AIDS, those at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and for all individuals who belong to marginalized communities that are severely and disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDSs, especially in the Deep South and Global South. At the root of her work is a deep respect, and commitment to upholding the human rights of all people.
Jammie Hopkins, DrPH
As a health disparities researcher, administrator, and wellness practitioner, Dr. Jammie Hopkins is committed to operating at the intersections of policy, research, and practice to promote healthy lifestyles and eliminate health disparities among vulnerable populations. Jammie earned a BS in Exercise Science from University of California, Davis; a MS in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton; and a Doctor of Public Health degree (DrPH) from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. In 2013 he completed a Health Policy Leadership postdoctoral fellowship in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. He is currently Project Director for the NIMHD-funded Transdisclipinary Collaborative Center for Health Disparities Research at Morehouse School in Medicine. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, and serves as a clinical specialist in the Optimal Health and Wellness Clinic at Morehouse School of Medicine.
C. Virignia Fields
C. Virginia Fields, MSW has been the President and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) since 2008. She brings to the position over eighteen years of experience as an elected official in New York City, where she won widespread praise as a consensus builder around important city, state and national policy issues.
Mrs. Fields was at the forefront of community battles in the early 1980s to secure housing for people living with AIDS. As Manhattan Borough President, she was instrumental in the allocation of millions of dollars for programmatic support to community-based organizations and educational institutions, borough-wide. In 2005, Mrs. Fields was a Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York City, becoming the first African American woman to seek that office. In 2008, she was appointed to the New York State AIDS Advisory Council by then Gov. David A. Paterson. In 2011, Mrs. Fields was appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Region II Health Equity Council, one of ten across the nation addressing health disparities and social determinants of health.
A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Social Work, Mrs. Fields served as an adjunct lecturer at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. She is a recipient of numerous awards, citations and honors of distinction for her leadership on education, health, community and economic issues.
Cynthia Carey Grant
Cynthia Carey-Grant assumed the Executive Director position at Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD) on June 1, 2009. She returns to the arena of women’s health advocacy after working for several years in the philanthropic sector. Cynthia brings over 25 years of women’s health leadership and advocacy experience to her new role.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Carey-Grant served in leadership roles in several prominent women’s health organizations. Among these were Planned Parenthood Federation of America as Western Regional Field Manager in the Public Policy Division where she was responsible for the management of PPFA public affairs assistance through the implementation of strategies at the local level and as it relates to the development of affiliate and state office public affairs work. Cynthia served as Project Manager for Women’s Health with The Permanente Medical Group where she worked to advance women’s health within Kaiser Permanente. The Women’s Health –KP initiative received national recognition for leadership in improving health service to women in northern California.
She was also the Executive Director and then Board Chair of the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League where she distinguished herself through work in local, national and international reproductive health initiatives. In 1993, Cynthia led CARAL as it expanded its mission from a focus on abortion rights to including the full range of reproductive choices for all women. Under her leadership, CARAL received the Outstanding Grassroots Organizing award from NARAL. Additional volunteer leadership includes Chair of the Board of the Bay Area Black Women’s Health Project and Board Chair of Californians for Justice (CFJ) formed in 1995 to work against passage of the anti-affirmative action initiative proposition 209.
Cynthia’s expertise and passion is in developing relationships with culturally diverse community based women’s health advocates and organizations, legislators and the media to improve access to affordable quality health care for women. She has committed her life work to improving the status of women, people of color, and the empowerment of the politically disenfranchised. One of her most cherished dreams is to help build a multi-cultural, international woman’s health and reproductive justice movement.
Kim Moon is a soon to be author, motivational speaker, HIV advocate and activist who travels the world sharing her story and speaking on HIV and other STI's. She focuses mainly on women and young adults because she feels that they are underserved. Her passion and purpose are both to help women love themselves, make better choices, and stop the spread of HIV. Kim is a woman who is passionate about helping others. Her goal is to encourage, empower and equip them for their NEXT. Kim does consulting work. She's written training manuals for a number companies and non-profit organizations. She facilitates WILLOW workshops (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women) and does an enormous amount of volunteer work here in the Atlanta Georgia area. She is the 2nd Vice Chair of The Metropolitan Atlanta HIV Health Services Planning Council, also known as the Ryan White program. She is also the Chair of the Atlanta Area Outreach Initiative (AAOI) where she was named chair of the year in 2015. Kim is a board member of Good Health Heals LLC, and the Heather Ivy Society. Kim has been featured in several training videos for large pharmaceutical companies. She also was featured in blackdoctors.org, Mango Health and National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day blog for (DPH) Georgia Department of Public Health. Her hobbies are making awareness bracelets, reading, traveling, watching football and basketball but most importantly spending quality time with her family and the Lord.
Kesha Baptiste-Roberts, PhD, MPH
Kesha Baptiste-Roberts, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Analysis at the Morgan State University School of Community Health & Policy. She is trained in epidemiology and has published research in the areas of women’s health, maternal and child health, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Her current research efforts are focused health disparities among sexual minority women. Dr. Baptiste-Roberts has co-edited a book on Obesity in Pregnancy and has contributed book chapters to two books. Dr. Baptiste-Roberts is also actively engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning and has been a leader in this area at her school. Dr. Baptiste-Roberts is an active member of the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and is the current president (2016 -2018) of the Society of the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI).
Nicole Roebuck, MSW
Nicole Roebuck is the Executive Director of AID Atlanta, which is one of the largest AIDS Service Organizations in the Southeast region. She has been at AID Atlanta, Inc. for almost 17 years. Prior to being named the Executive Director in October 2015, she spent 13 of those years as the Director of Client Services providing leadership and oversight of the agency’s largest program, case management, our medical clinic, as well as mental health, housing, and other support service programs that serve almost 3200 members annually. Prior to her work at AID Atlanta, she also held leadership positions at the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s State office of Special Education, and at the Association to Benefit Children in New York City. In 2016 she was recognized as one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence. She has served for 16 years as a member of the Ryan White Part A Atlanta Metropolitan Planning Council and is currently the Quality Management Committee Chair for the Ryan White Planning Council. Nicole is regarded highly inthe Atlanta HIV community and is a strong advocate for people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS. She also serves on the Ryan White Part A Comprehensive Planning Committee, the Ryan White Part B Case Management Committee, the Ryan White Part B Quality Management Committee, the Georgia Prevention and Care Council, and the Fulton County HIV/AIDS Task Force. A trained social worker, Ms. Roebuck received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University, and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pace University in New York City. She lives in Conyers, Georgia with her husband and three children.