Congrats to HELI Alumna Dr. Carmen Valdez!

Congratulations to HELI 2012 alumna Carmen Valdez, PhD, on her promotion to Chief of the Division of Community Engagement and Health Equity at the University of Texas at Austin!

Dr. Valdez joined the faculty at UT in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and Dell Medical School in Fall 2018 and after two years she is now leading the largest division in the Department of Population Health! As Chief of the Division, she oversees nearly 30 faculty and staff who conduct community-engaged research, build community partnerships and collaborations with community clinics, and train scholars and their community partners at UT in community engaged research. In parallel, she also directs the Community-Driven Initiatives Program which supports Austin residents’ ideas for improving community health.

Dr. Valdez is a community-based participatory researcher with a special interest in mental health promotion and intervention with Latinx immigrant families. She is also interested in understanding the role of social policy, neighborhood and family factors on immigrant health. She aims to address health equity through partnerships, community-grounded research and mentoring of health equity scholars. Dr. Valdez shared that this new opportunity makes her feel like she’s found her dream job!

Prior to 2018, Dr. Valdez was an Associate Professor at UW-Madison and led the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity’s Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEAD) Program.

Congratulations, Carmen! Your HELI & Wisconsin family is thrilled for you!

Congrats to HELI Alumna Dr. Nandi Marshall!

Congratulations to HELI 2013 alumna Nandi Marshall, DrPH, MPH, CHES!

Dr. Marshall and her colleague Joseph Telfair, DrPH, of the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University have received a 2020-25 U.S. Department of Health Resources and Service Administration grant valued at $3.25 million to support the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program. Each year, $650,000 will be available to offer scholarships to qualifying students who wish to pursue a Master of Public Health or Doctor of Public Health at Georgia Southern.  

The SDS program promotes diversity among the health professions by providing awards to eligible health professions and nursing schools for schools to provide scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are enrolled full time in a health profession program or nursing program. 

“We are excited about the opportunity for funding, but this program also aims to intentionally expose our students to opportunities that serve medically underserved communities,” said Marshall. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure our public health students can put our mission of eliminating health inequities into practice.”

Dr. Marshall is Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in JPHCOPH.

Read the Georgia Southern news here.

Congratulations to Dr. Marshall and all involved!

Opportunity: Historical Trauma Training RFP

The Wisconsin Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF) is seeking an individual or organization to provide a virtual training about historical trauma, its origins, how it manifests today, and its linkages to stress and overall health. They seek to hold this event virtually for an audience of African American mothers and families living in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin.

LIHF is seeking to hold the training prior to November 30, 2020.

To be eligible, an individual or organization should:

  • Have at least 5 years of professional experience in Diversity and Inclusion and/or health equity-working with African American lay and professional communities;
  • Training/certificate in Historical Trauma;
  • Demonstrated skills through examples of work and three references.;
  • Be willing to meet with our team to inform the training.

Preferred experience working within or in partnership with universities.

The budget for this training is up to $6,000 and the deadline to apply is October 19th, 2020.

Learn more in the Request for Proposal.

Applicants should complete the questions outlined in the RFP and email them and budget to: Pat Batemon –

Thank you to David Frazer, Associate Director for the Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH) for sharing!

Talking Barbershop, Improving Black Men’s Health Webinar

UW-CCHE invites you to register now for the first event in our new CCHE:LIVE Webinar Series!

On Tuesday, June 23rd, CCHE will host ‘Talking Barbershop – Improving Black Men’s Health: The Barbershop Community Engagement Model.’ This FREE webinar will highlight successes and challenges to using the Barbershop Community Engagement Model in Greater Madison and nationally to help improve Black men’s health.

A version of this session was initially planned to take place during our HELI 2020 conference and we’re thrilled it can happen virtually with the involvement of HELI Faculty Dr. Stephen B. Thomas & members of our local Madison, WI community!


The webinar will be broadcast on Facebook Live and will be recorded.
Register via Zoom

This webinar is part of the new CCHE:LIVE Webinar Series and is sponsored by All of Us at UW-Madison.

#ShutDownAcademia Wednesday, June 10th

An academic shutdown is planned for tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10th ~

Scholars across the country will participate to engage White and non-Black scholars of color in efforts to combat racism. The action plan for June 10 is available here:

If you participate, encourage you to include a message about the shutdown as part of your out of office e-mail message.  This is a sample message; feel free to use as much or as little of the message as you like:  On Wednesday, June 10th, I will be out of the office as I will be participating in the #AcademicShutdown and #Strike4BlackLives to engage in activities to eliminate racism and anti-Blackness.

More details about the strike are available here:

CCHE challenges you to think about concrete steps you can take to address racism in the context of your profession, whether you are a(n) public health practitioner, researcher, instructor, or some combination of the three.

Below is a list of resources to aid you in this challenge. Our hope with so many others is if we as a collective commit to challenging racist systems in domains where we have influence, we can accelerate our march towards equity.


Racism, Anti-Blackness, and Allyship

Background on the Current Protests About Police Brutality

Addressing Racism in the Academy

Racism and Public Health

Thank you to HELI 2019 alumna Deeonna Farr, MPH, DrPH, of East Carolina University for sharing!

Congrats to HELI Alumna Dr. Delishia Pittman!

Congratulations to HELI 2013 Alumna Delishia Pittman, PhD, on her promotion with tenure at the George Washington University!

Dr. Pittman joined the faculty at GWU in August 2014 and as of May 2020 is Associate Professor of Counseling with tenure, Department of Counseling and Human Development in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Her current work includes investigations of health behavior and related negative health outcomes among Black women. More specifically, she focuses on sexual health behavior and related outcomes in emerging adult and college student populations.

In sharing her celebratory news, Dr. Pittman was also kind enough to share two ways her HELI experience has been instrumental since she came to Madison in 2013:

First, I attended HELI in 2013, a year into my first tenure track position at a teaching university. I was having difficulty launching my research agenda due to the heavy teaching load and very small African American community in the state I was living in. While chronicling some of these challenges during HELI, Drs. Stephen Thomas, Craig Fryer and James Butler told me that I needed to go on the market immediately (in no uncertain terms), adding that I needed to be at an institution and in a city that could support the kind of research career I wanted to have. It was their urging that ultimately landed me in my current position and I’m grateful to them for this push.

Second, HELI introduced me to 8 other amazing Black women (in the cohort) who have become a cross-country sisterhood. We have encouraged one another, celebrated personal and professional triumphs, and held one another accountable in love and excellence. They are truly HELI’s gift to me. 

Wow! Learn more about Dr. Pittman’s work via her practice website.

Congratulations, Delishia. Your successes are well-earned and your HELI family is very proud of you!

CCPH Call for Health Equity Webinar Speakers

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) has a call for speakers and topics for their COVID-19 webinars ~

The weekly webinar series, Communities in Partnership: Ensuring Equity in the Time of COVID-19 has generated excitement and a robust audience. The webinar production team is committed to sharing important topics and issues that are impacting communities in the time of COVID-19.

They welcome suggestions and ideas for future sessions. Review the archived sessions and offer ideas.

Email your suggestions to

This sounds like a good opportunity for HELI Alumni to practice graceful self-promotion!

Health Disparities Research Scholars Trainee Opportunity at UW-Madison

The Health Disparities Research Scholars Postdoctoral T32 Training Program in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is accepting applications for one postdoctoral trainee position beginning September 1, 2020.

This program supports the training and mentoring of scholars from diverse fields to become interdisciplinary researchers with a focus on health among minority populations, particularly maternal/child, adolescent, and family health. We are seeking candidates who are committed to a research career.

More info: Application procedures and program information.

Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

Questions may be directed to Program Director Deb Ehrenthal, MD, MPH, at

Alvin Thomas Joins Virtual Panel Series on Black Men’s Well-being During Pandemic

HELI 2016 Alum Dr. Alvin Thomas recently joined a panel of Wisconsin experts to kick off a series of discussions on Black men’s mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

African-Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and many black men in particular, who have underlying health conditions, are more vulnerable to complications from the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the Black Male’s Mental Health and Well-Being Facebook Live Support Group event series launched as a chance for men to ask health-related questions of an expert panel on any topics they choose. The event was hosted by Aaron Perry, founder of Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, and featured panelists Dr. Alvin Thomas, Dr. Logan EdwardsDr. Jonas Lee, and Haywood Simmons, as well as Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.

Panel Series on Black Men’s Well-being During Pandemic poster

The virtual event is coming out of Madison, but Mr. Perry expected engagement from groups of men across the country:

“Right now, we have groups of African-American men from Racine; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Phoenix, Arizona who are all committed to participating in this Facebook Live session. We’re starting to get a very broad reach of men who understand that what we’re dealing with here in Dane County, they are dealing with in their own communities as well.”

The first meeting brought together 60 men from around the world and they plan to continue the virtual gatherings each weekend while the pandemic continues.

Thank you to Dr. Thomas for sharing this! We encourage our HELI family to share with anyone else who may find it helpful.

HELI 2020 Postponed Due to COVID-19

The HELI planning team has made the difficult decision to postpone HELI 2020.

We will be taking advantage of a ‘gap year’ to envision the way our signature annual HELI offering can enhance its impact going forward.  Our 10 year celebration is supposed to be just that – a CELEBRATION, in person and all together!

We plan to explore options for sponsoring some planned HELI sessions virtually in Fall 2020, and will share more about that as soon as we’re able.

Thank you to all our HELI alumni and engaged colleagues for your patience as we reached this decision. We look forward to seeing all of you when our communities are healthier and with the intention for #HELI2021 to be the best yet.

Questions and interest in HELI 2021 may be directed to