HC Speakers

2023 Speakers

Virtual & Life Changing

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Dr. Pernessa C. Seele

Founder & CEO The Balm in Gilead Inc.

Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, Founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, is a phenomenal trailblazer. Dr. Seele is celebrating over 30 years of providing vision and leadership in areas of technical support to strengthen the capacity of faith institutions in the United States and Africa to eradicate health disparities by promoting health education and services within their local communities. 

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Bishop Horace E. Smith, MD

Bishop Horace E. Smith is a man gifted with a passion for God's Word coupled with a love for God's people. He has a contagious spirit of generosity that overflows in every facet of his life.

Senior Pastor, Apostolic Faith Church Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
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Dr. Khaalida Forbes

With 25 years of combined academic and vocational experience in ministry, psychology, and leadership, Dr. Khaalida Forbes has dedicated her entire life to the service of people.

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VaShawn Mitchell

Vashawn Mitchell’s 25+ year career in music is a testament to the power of songs as he celebrates the release of his 10th project fittingly titled, Chapter X. A native of Chicago, IL, a city considered the birthplace of gospel music, the genre naturally had a profound role in shaping Mitchell’s creative voice.

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Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

Visionary. Civil rights activist. Community organizer. Dr. Jamal- Harrison Bryant combines sound Biblical teaching, business

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Rev. Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley

Pastor, Preacher, Author, and University Lecturer, Boston, MA. The Reverend Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley is an African-American pastor, preacher, author, and scholar in religion

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Rev. Dr. Renita Weems

Minister, Biblical Scholar, Maker, and Author Nashville, TN. Dr. Renita J. Weems is a biblical scholar, a minister, and an author whose scholarly insights into modern faith

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Chef Sherri Whitmire

Rent-A-Chef by Sherri L.L.C, Ladys Island, SC. Chef Sherri, a low country chef from the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina

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Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr.

Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Sr., is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Mindful Meditation Ministries, Inc., in Jacksonville, Florida. This ministry teaches applicable tools, practices and biblical principles, to gain greater clarity, deeper connections and understanding, while creating a stronger prayer practice that renews spirit, mind, and faith journey.

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Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr.

Senior Pastor, Bethel Church Jacksonville, FL

Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr., is the Senior Pastor of the Bethel Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Cookie Johnson

Cookie Johnson is a successful entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. Johnson uses her platform to raise awareness against HIV/AIDS, advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, and encourage women spiritually and physically.

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Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director, UNAIDS Under-Secretary-General, the United Nations

Winnie Byanyima is the Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. A passionate and longstanding champion of social justice and gender equality, Ms. Byanyima leads the United Nations’ efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

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The Right Reverend Dr. Yvette Flunder

The Presiding Bishop
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, San Francisco, CA

Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years.

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Robert A. Winn, MD

Director and Lipman Chair, Oncology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

As director of Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center, Robert A. Winn, M.D., is leading the nation in establishing a 21st-century model for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the oncology workforce, optimizing cancer health care outcomes for all and spearheading interdisciplinary approaches to cancer disparities research.

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Crystal Aikin

The incomparable Crystal Aikin is a world-renowned Gospel singer-songwriter from Tacoma, Washington, and the winner of the first season of BET’s Sunday Best.

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Rev. Tony Lee

Founder and Senior Pastor Community of Hope AME Church, District Heights, MD

Rev. Tony Lee is the founder and Senior Pastor of the Community of Hope A.M.E. Church in Hillcrest Heights, MD. Community of Hope is recognized throughout the region for its innovative ministry, social engagement, and community outreach.

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Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD

Professor, Duke University Durham, NC

Dr. Kafui Dzirasa is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, neurobiology, and neurosurgery

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Michelle D. Hare

Certified Group Exercise Instructor; Personal Trainer, American Council on Exercise, Atlanta, GA

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Michelle is a longtime dance and exercise enthusiast.  Michelle was a dance major and played the violin at the Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts.

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Dr. Barbara L. Shaw

Chair, Board of Directors, The Balm In Gilead Inc, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Barbara Louise Shaw is the Immediate Past International President of The Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

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Pamela Price, RN

Deputy Director The Balm In Gilead, Inc, Richmond VA

Pamela D. Price currently serves as the Deputy Director for The Balm In Gilead managing the various health initiatives of the organization.  Under her leadership

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Cary L. Goodman

Program and Development Consultant The Balm In Gilead, Inc., Richmond, VA

Cary L. Goodman, a native of Richmond, VA, has a sincere passion to empower faith communities nationally to operate at their fullest capacity in areas of health promotion, advocacy programs, outreach and development.

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Saidi Mpendu, MD

Country Director The Balm In Gilead Inc, Tanzania

Saidi Mpendu, MD, MPH, is the Country Director of The Balm In Gilead – Tanzania. Dr. Mpendu also serves as Deputy Chairperson of Institutional Review Board (IRB) @ Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)

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Jude Ngang, PharmD

PharmD Executive Director, Representation in Clinical Research (RISE) Amgen

Jude Ngang is Executive Director, Representation in Clinical Research (RISE) at Amgen. He leads the RISE team dedicated to improving proportional representation in clinical trials in alignment with Amgen's Environmental & Social Governance imperatives, health equity narratives, and ethical research commitments.

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Reema Dirks, PharmD

PharmD Sr. Medical Science Liaison, Amgen Allergy/Asthma Therapeutic Area

Dr. Reema Dirks earned a Doctor of Pharmacology degree from the University of Missouri- Kansas City. After working in community pharmacy, Reema realized she could make an impact at the patient level by working to educate healthcare providers and facilitating research working in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Cassandra Smith, MBA

Director, Health Equity Enterprise Advocacy Relations, Amgen

Cassandra Smith currently serves as the Director, Health Equity, Enterprise Advocacy Relations at Amgen.  She has over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, joining Amgen in June 2023.  In this role, Cassandra collaborates with and connects internal and external stakeholders to implement strategic plans that align with the company's vision and values around addressing health disparities.

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Laonis Quinn, RN, MSN, AE-C

Founder & Executive Director Breathe Anthony J Chapman Asthma Foundation

Laonis Quinn, RN, MSN, AE-C is the founder and Executive Director of Breathe Anthony J Chapman Asthma Foundation. Since the untimely death of her eldest son Anthony Jamar Chapman (Tony) in 2007 from a fatal asthma attack.

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Idoroenyi Amanam, MD

Assistant Professor, Leukemia Division, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Idoroenyi Amanam is an Assistant Professor in the Leukemia Division at City of Hope. He obtained his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and completed his training at St. Mary-UCLA Internal Medicine Residency, where he was awarded Intern of the Year, Resident of the Year and Chief Resident distinctions.

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Jorge Leon

Director, Our Race to Health Equity – Enterprise Engagement, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson

Jorge Leon is a results-oriented leader who has been with Johnson & Johnson for over 22 years. He is currently the Director, Our Race to Health Equity – Enterprise Engagement, in the Global Community Impact organization, the group responsible for disbursing philanthropic dollars on behalf of the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

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Shelina Ramnarine, PhD

Director, Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement

Shelina Ramnarine PhD is the Director Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement. Shelina is a recognized change catalyst with proven capabilities to take innovative ideas from concept to execution.

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Ogo Egbuna, MD, MSC, FASN

Vice President, Clinical Development, Vertex

Dr. Ogo Egbuna is a passionate physician scientist with nearly two decades of clinical, academic, and drug development experience. Originally from West Africa, he completed medical school at the University of Nigeria before emigrating to the United States

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Ifeoma Onuorah Ezenekwe, MD, FACC FASE

Assistant Professor of Medicine & Senior Physician, Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology

Ifeoma Onuorah is an Assistant Professor with the Division of Cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta Georgia since 2017.

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Daphney Kernizan, DO

Pediatric Cardiologist Nemours Children's Health, Panama City

Dr. Kernizan is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist with advanced fellowship training in fetal cardiology.

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Willibroad L. Maimo, MD

Cardiovascular Fellow, Department of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Willibroad Maimo is a board-certified internist and geriatrician currently pursuing a fellowship in Cardiovascular medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

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Joanne Mitchell-McLaren, APRN, BSN, NP, MSN

Patient Engagement Liaison, GSK

Joanne is a Patient Engagement Liaison (PEL) with GSK. She has worked for more than 40 years caring for patients in the pediatric, adults, and octogenarian areas

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Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr, DMin

Passionate about education, Dr. Hilliard is the former Group Convener and Mentor of the Donald Hilliard Fellows Doctor of Ministry Program, and visiting professor of Church Renewal at Drew University Theological School in Madison, NJ.

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Rev. Stephanie Allen

Rev. Stephanie has pastored Allen Chapel AMEC, Hannibal, MO, and Bethel AMEC, Louisiana, MO. She currently pastors The Historic St. Paul AMEC, Columbia, MO.

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Nyambi Nyambi

Nyambi Nyambi is an American actor and producer most known for his role on the CBS series “Mike & Molly”.

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Andrea L. Phillips, MD

Dr. Andrea L. Phillips is a Family Medicine physician with extensive experience in patient care and clinical research.

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Gersham Dent, PhD, MBA

Gersham Dent is a Clinical Development executive with over 30 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in Central Nervous System Research and Development.

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Mollie Richards

Mollie Richards is a retired Occupational Therapist with extensive, successful experience in rehabilitation management, program development, and staff education and is currently a dedicated community leader committed to helping families living with Alzheimer’s.

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Ralph Richards

Ralph Richards is a long-time community leader and retired decorated veteran who works with his wife, Mollie, to educate the community on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

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Dr. Craig Emmitt Cole

Dr. Craig Emmitt Cole is a board certified Hematologist from Detroit, MI. Dr. Cole his undergraduate degree at Michig

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Dr. Stephen Hurd

Worship Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Landover, MD. A charismatic praise & worship leader, Washington, D.C.-based Stephen A. Hurd wears all the hats one can

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Rev. Toi Barbel

International Gospel Center of St. Thomas, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Rev. Toi A. Barbel is the Pastor-Overseer of International Gospel Center Of St. Thomas & International

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Sharí Nycole

Sharí Nycole is a tv and radio personality, podcaster, tv and film producer, speaker, editor, director and writer.

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Bishop Benjamin Dube

Bishop Benjamin Dube is a chart-topping, award-winning minister, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music

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Shanti Das

Shanti Das is an accomplished entertainment industry veteran, speaker, author, and Philanthropist. Shanti worked in the entertainment business for over 25 years.

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Katherine Ponds

VP, Meridian Resources Inc. Katherine Ponds has a diverse background that encompasses leadership roles in for-profit, non-profit, and public sector organizations.

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Dr. Valencia Wilson, PharmD, MBA

Director in Medical Intelligence and Patient Insights, Astellas Pharma. Dr.Valencia Wilson is an energetic, solutions-driven, performance- focused professional with over 23 years in healthcare.

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Kris Bennett

Director, Health Equity, Community Organizing, ZERO Prostate Cancer. Kris Bennett, MiM is currently the Director of Health Equity, Community Organizing and Engagement

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Tiffaney Bradley

Patient representative, Chron’s Disease. Tiffaney Bradley is a passionate and dedicated Communications and Public Engagement professional.

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Yasmeen Long

Yasmeen Long is a director at FasterCures, a Center of the Milken Institute. Her expertise lies within health equity

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Kira Mann

Kira serves as CEO of MitoAction and champions the growth of the programs and services offered by MitoAction.

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Melissa Bishop-Murphy

Senior Director, National Government Relations and Multicultural Affairs, Pfizer

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Dr. Ugochukwu Egolum, MD

Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist, Chief, Department of Cardiology, Northeast Georgia Health System

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Tab, living with hATTR amyloidosis, went from teaching cycling classes several times a week to contemplating using a

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Sue has a background in nursing and has worked in the healthcare industry for 22 years, with the last 12 years spent

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