Who We Are

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Established in 1998, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved (CV) is a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. CV is a dynamic advocate for change in pursuit of one simple goal – a healthier America. While programs and activities are diverse, the core focus remains sharp: build stronger communities by strengthening the health of families. The organization’s mission is to listen to voices in the community that often go unheard and take an active leadership role in improving health for all.

Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved has three major functions: 1) educate by teaching best practices for health care in underserved communities and inform national leaders on the impact of access to care, 2) advocate by fighting through word and deed to improve economic and cultural conditions that are part of the social determinants of health and 3) elevate by lifting families, communities and the nation through better health and health care Community Voices works to facilitate care, plans and conducts research, seeks funding, provides technical assistance and secures commitments for progress. The organization recruits champions to bring energy and talent into the struggle for health. Community Voices empowers individuals, families and communities to seek their own improvement.

The efforts of Community Voices are focused in five key areas: health and prison, mental & behavioral health, community health leadership, boys and men of color, and policy.

Our Team

Starla Hairston Blanks, MBA, MPH, CPHP

Starla Hairston Blanks is the Director of Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved of Morehouse School of Medicine, which is dedicated to addressing health disparities, research, policy and practice. Mrs. Blanks oversees all Community Voices operations and research efforts focused on health equity, health disparities, help seeking behavior and the impact of incarceration on communities. Additionally, she is charged with the evaluation of numerous nationwide projects related to community health, access to care, health policy, and chronic disease. To this position she brings experience working at the local, state, and national levels on health promotion, health policy, diversity and access to care issues. Ms. Blanks has published in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored book chapters, written articles for community newspapers, and provided interviews for local television and radio shows concerning health equity and disparities. She serves on the board and advisory committees for government and non-profit organizations. Ms. Hairston Blanks serves as course director for the Health Policy and Advocacy Rotation for the Department of Medical Education at Morehouse School of Medicine. She is a nationally recognized trainer with certifications in public health practice, adult learning, community organizing, smoking cessation and chronic disease who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in non-profit leadership and a graduate degree in public health.

Henrie Treadwell, Ph.D.

Henrie M. Treadwell, Ph.D. is Founding Executive Director and Senior Advisor for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved. Dr. Treadwell also has an appointment as a full-time Research Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, and Chair of The Links Incorporated, National Childhood Obesity Initiative. Her work encompasses formulation of health and social policy options, oversight of programs designed to address health disparities and the social determinants of health, and special programs to facilitate re-entry into community of those engaged with the criminal justice system with a special emphasis on poor boys and men/boys and men of color. Dr. Treadwell is also co-editor of “Health Issues in the Black Community (2009)” and Section Editor-Social Determinants in the Journal of Men’s Health. She also oversees the dissemination of policy briefs, fact sheets and other media products to inform the policy makers and the public and communities of policy and program options to improve health access.

Dr. Treadwell’s educational background includes the bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of South Carolina, in which she enrolled as the first African American student as a result of a desegregation lawsuit. Her further education was at Boston University where she obtained a master’s degree in biology, and Atlanta University where she received the Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. Dr. Treadwell has also completed postdoctoral work at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Dr. Treadwell frequently appears on syndicated radio and television networks aired throughout the world. In addition, she is a published author of numerous monographs and peer reviewed articles. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Public Health and the International Journal of Men’s Health and Gender; she also serves on the external advisory committee for the MPH program at Morehouse School of Medicine and she is a recent inductee into the Leadership Atlanta Fellowship Class of 2006. She serves as a member of several professional organizations including and the American Public Health Association, Academy Health, Women in Philanthropy, and Sigma Xi. Dr. Treadwell is also a member of several organizations dedicated to community services including Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and The Links, Inc.

Jareese K. Stroud

Jareese K. Stroud has vested her efforts toward decreasing health disparities on a local and national level for over 14 years.  Currently, she is the Program Manager for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved at the Morehouse School of Medicine.  Ms. Stroud's role in this capacity consist of providing programatic leadership  as it pertains to the Community Voices programs entailing strategic development, budget management, evaluation, conference planning, technical assistance,  and product and manuscript development. Her supportive research focuses on the deliterious chronic cycles that negatively impact marginalized populations in the areas of boys/men of color, childhood obesity, oral health, and prison reentry.  In addition she chairs the David Satcher Health Equity Research Seminar Series at Morehouse School of Medicine.  This seminar provides a platform for intellectual discourse among multi-disciplinary experts to take place in order to improve the communities served by Morehouse School of Medicine.   

Jareese attended Morris Brown College where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. She was the recipient of many honors and awards for her leadership as well as academic studies. Ms. Stroud plans to continue her pursuit of improving underserved communities as she supports the Mission of Morehouse School of Medicine to lead the creation of health equity.   


Graduate Research Assistants

Markay Russell

Markay Russell serves as a graduate research assistant in the division of Community Voices at Morehouse School of Medicine. She is a second year Master of Public Health student in the Master of Public Health Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. In 2016 she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Currently, she serves as a graduate research assistant for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI). Hers interests are in Black women's sexual and mental health, STI/HIV prevention, healthcare navigation, and health promotion throughout underserved populations. Upon graduation, Ms. Russell will pursue a doctoral degree.

Kiara Sims-Thrasher

Kiara Sims-Thrasher serves as a graduate research assistant in the division of Community Voices at Morehouse School of Medicine. She is a second-year Master of Public Health student at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Public Health from Spelman College in 2016. Currently, she serves as a graduate research assistant for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI). Ms. Sims-Thrasher interests are in Adolescent Health, STD Prevention & Education, HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention, Health Education & Promotion, and Minority Health. Upon graduation, Ms. Sims-Thrasher will pursue a Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences and ultimately conduct research regarding adolescents’ health.



 Research Interns & Students

Patrice Faye Little, MSN, FNP-BC  - Mercer University

Alesha Westbrook -Spelman College

Jewel Williams, MPH - Morehouse School of Medicine 

Brittany Willis - Morehouse School of Medicine

Alexis Sims - Morehouse School of Medicine

Julian Buchanan - Meharry Medical College 


The Community Voices Team

The Community Voices Team