Our History

Healthy Black Families, Inc (HBF) formed as a non-profit organization in July 2013.  However, since 2002 some of the individuals on the Board of Directors were on the Community Advisory Board of the Berkeley Black Infant Health (BIH), a program of the Berkeley Health Department.  Currently HBF is dedicated to the success of our programs while working in partnership and collaboration with other community organizations to advocate for equity and progressive change for our children, families and community.

Healthy Black Families, Inc. provides for the essential needs of program participants such as childcare, transportation vouchers and food incentives for meetings.  Annually, HBF hosts various activities including, Mother’s Day celebration, Turkey Basket distribution, December Holiday gathering, February Black History Month Celebration and a Summer Barbeque.  Cultural celebrations are critical to the social and spiritual unity of our black families and integrated into HBF programming.

All of our programs are free, provide incentives for participation, provide childcare at the site of meetings when needed and other supportive things for families who participate (e.g. children’s clothing, new toys for celebrations, raffles based on participation, etc).  We do all we can to make it possible for mothers and families to attend our activities.

If you are interested in finding out more click on Contact Us.

 

 

 

Welcome to Healthy Black Families, Inc.

About Us

If you are black and pregnant or have just had a baby, HBF is here to support you.   We can help you to have a healthy baby.  HBF will connect you with the Black Infant Health program and the Sisters Together Empowering Peers program.  (Click on our Programs button for more information).   HBF invites you and your family to be a part of educational programs and celebrations throughout the year (Click on our Calendar and/or events button to see events and activities).

Our Vision

The VISION of Healthy Black Families, Inc. is to bring about health equality for black babies and full health equity for all black children and families.  A black child should have the same opportunities in life as any other child.

To achieve this vision we believe we need to go beyond the traditional health care system.  We know that maternal stress causes poor outcomes in our babies.  HBF addresses the unique conditions in our lives based on the fact that we are black that cause additional stressors every day (housing insecurity, job insecurity, educational opportunities, discriminatory practices of the police, individual and institutional forms of racism, etc).  HBF believes that we collectively have the capacity to change these conditions.

Our Mission

The MISSION of Healthy Black Families, Inc. is to support the growth and development of healthy black families and individuals.

We achieve our mission by providing the black community with education, engagement and capacity building and supporting individual self-advocacy and empowerment.

 

Meet the Family

The Board of Directors, Our Staff and the Sisters Together Empowering Peers (STEP) Leaders

We are a team of dedicated professionals, ready to support the growth and development of healthy black families and individuals.

Vicki Alexander, MD MPH

Vicki Alexander, MD MPH

President

• Retired physician, Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Public Health
• Retired MCAH Director and Health Officer, City of Berkeley
• Organizing and Board development experience
• Committed to health equity, social justice and training
• Local, state and national level contacts
• Recipient of Woman of the Year Award, Berkeley – 2011
• Recipient of Martin Luther King, Lifetime Achievement Award, City of Berkeley – 2014
• Co-Chair, Measure D Campaign for a Soda Tax - 2014
• Single mother and grandmother

Sheryl Walton, MPH

Sheryl Walton, MPH

Vice President

• Program Manager, Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS)
• National trainer for TimeBanksUSA, established first TimeBank in the Western region in Oakland, California and continues to provide technical assistance
• Candidate for City Council, Oakland, CA, 2012
• Experienced organizer and trainer in foster care, participatory research and health equity
• Developed the Healthy Neighborhoods Model and replicated it in 6 Bay Area cities developing Resident Action Teams in San Pablo, Pittsburg, Richmond, North Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland.
• Author of chapter in Community Organizing and Community Building for Health and Welfare, 3rd Edition, edited by Dr. Meredith Minkler
• Single mother

Starla Gay, MPA

Starla Gay, MPA

Director

• Knowledge and expertise related to BIH program based on participant’s viewpoint
• Active in South Berkeley Community Action Team, African American/Black Professional and Community Network
• VITA Tax Volunteer tax preparer
• Committed to supporting other women with similar experiences
• Received Bachelor’s from Cal State University East Bay,
• Received Master’s of Public Administration from CSUEB in June 2013
• Full time employment counselor, Alameda County Social Services
• Single mother of two

Nailah Hunter, M.A. in Education

Nailah Hunter, M.A. in Education

Treasurer

• Former Program Manager, Brighter Beginnings, Black Infant Health Program, Cal-Learn and Early Head Start
• Previously employed at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide where managed various public health, consumer and education accounts, including the Center for Disease Control, BabyCenter, Produced for Better Health and Technology Benefiting Humanity.
• Independent educator in various Alameda and Contra Costa School Districts focusing on healthy home environments as an early source of learning
• Designed inquiry based lessons in health, social justice, socio-moral development, literacy and math.
• Recently managed implementation of three state and federal grant-funded programs in health, education and human services
• Managed budgets, reviewed data and conducted quality assurance
• Served as Community Engagement Coordinator in areas of reproductive health, nutrition and financial empowerment projects from conceptualization to completion
• Mother of one

Cecil Devers, MSW

Cecil Devers, MSW

Treasurer

• Mental Health Counselor, Casa De La Vida of Berkeley Place
• Mental Health Contract Assessor for Alameda County Superior Court
• Social Work Consultant for Harambee Consultant Group
• Trainer, Mental Health Clinical and Support Staff for East Bay Agency for Children
• Experienced in crisis intervention for individuals and groups
• Crisis Center for Active Women in Prostitution and others at risk for poor health outcomes
• Participates in several Berkeley organizations including the African American/Black Professional and Community Network, NAACP
• Co-Chair, Education Committee of the BIH CAB – April 2011 through June 2013

Jackie Boyd, MSW

Jackie Boyd, MSW

Director

• Currently employed at Hoover Elementary School in West Oakland
• Recently transitioned to Oakland from the East Coast
• Mental Health Professional
• Contributes to psychoeducation and mental health resources
• Provides clinical context to the understanding of child development
• Member Education Committee of Healthy Black Families, Inc
• Co-facilitator of educational groups
• Editor and creator of local newspaper articles

Marisel Brown

Marisel Brown

Director

• Currently employed at San Francisco Department of Public Health – responsible for developing and implementing a continuous performance improvement program for population health programs, securing additional funding streams for reproductive health services, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations applicable to disease prevention and control services
• Previously employed with Alameda County Public Health Department and Public Health Institute
• 25 years of management experience in health care services delivery and public health improvement programs, including managing a $32 million dollar budget process for county government ambulatory care clinics
• Developed and coordinated a grantee selection process for the distribution of prevention program funds
• Planned health policy implementation stakeholder working meetings
• Managing primary care clinic operations in public health department, academic medical center and community-based clinic operations
• Implemented county-wide tobacco use prevention and control and injury prevention programs.

Karen Hembry, MPH, PhD

Karen Hembry, MPH, PhD

Director

• Career has focused on inequities affecting African American communities and families, issues include repeat childbearing among adolescents, HIV prevention in out-of-treatment injection drug users, women at heterosexual risk for HIV infection and high school dropout prevention
• Grant writer and monitor funding from federal and state sources
• Program evaluation and strategic planning
• Educational background in sociology and public health (emphasis on epidemiology)

Amani Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH

Amani Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH

Director

• Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Divisions of Community Health and Human Development, and Epidemiology
• Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar from 2003 to 2005, Emphasis on Social epidemiology and population health
• PhD in Health and Social Policy from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2003
• MPH in Maternal and Child Health from George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, 1998
• Nationally recognized expert in the area of social determinants of population health and health disparities, focus on racial discrimination as a form of stress and its impacts on health outcomes, particularly among childbearing women
• Featured speaker/trainer Berkeley Black Infant Health and at both national and international conferences
• Contributor to multiple scholarly journals, grant reviewer for the NIH
• Discussant for the Leadership Development Project sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the Kellogg Foundation

Ramona Benson, BA

Ramona Benson, BA

Director

• Provides training to assist disenfranchised communities, linking them to needed services
• Provides training related to public benefits, homelessness, outreach, health information gathering, confidentiality, relationship building
• Coordinated a Community Health Worker Training Program for a nonprofit organization in San Francisco serving Homeless women
• Served on several Boards and special task forces, i.e. San Francisco Mayor’s Homeless Task Force, Homeward Bound Housing for Homeless Families, Family Rights & Dignity
• While working full time as a Community Health Worker, went back to school and earned a Certificate in Community Health work at City College of San Francisco and then a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Health Education at San Francisco State University
• Helped to facilitate the conceptualization and implementation of the Sisters Together Empowering Peers (STEP) Program in 2003
• Mother and grandmother

Joyce Lewis, RN, PHN, JD

Joyce Lewis, RN, PHN, JD

Director

• Currently legal counsel to Veterans Administration, San Francisco
• Previously Public Health Nurse, Berkeley, CA
• Health Care Provider and companion support for our elders
• Proponent of health autonomy, education, wellness and disease prevention
• Education support: setting goals, navigating complex systems, and accessing opportunities
• Legal advisor, research and writing, ADR, mediation and settlement
• Youth and adult mentorship, career guidance, networking and leadership
• Art supporter, preservation of gospel, blues, jazz and independent radio
• Participate and volunteer for community events, church and family gatherings