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. 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.

Toyosi Adekeye, MBBS, DrPH

Toyosi Adekeye, MBBS, DrPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, and the Director of the Community Health Leadership Program, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Adekeye earned his Medical degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of Georgia, Athens (UGA), a Masters of Public Health, and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research is focused on chronic disease prevention through the utilization of culturally effective and appropriate strategies to address health disparities, especially disparities disproportionately affecting minority and other vulnerable populations.

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.   

Harriet Esi Browne

Harriet Browne is a Senior Research Assistant with Community voices. She has a degree in Medical Anthropology and African Studies from the University of Kansas. Prior to working at Morehouse School of Medicine, Ms. Browne worked as public health educator in Uganda, Dominican Republic and Ghana. Ms. Browne enjoys traveling and doing yoga. Harriet Browne received a NIH Diversity Supplement Grant with the TCC. A grant that allows individuals interested in graduate school an opportunity to serve as a research assistant as well as receive mentorship during the process of applying to graduate school for two years. Ms. Browne's long term goal is to practice medicine globally to underserved communities.


Research Assistants and Program Coordinators

Kourtney A. D. Byrd, MPH

Kourtney A. Byrd serves as a research assistant and Social Media Manager for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. She received her Master of Public Health in May 2017 from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interests consist of boys/men of color health, gang violence prevention, and social policy.  

Upon graduation from the MPH program, Kourtney will attend Indiana University School of Public in Bloomington, for her Ph.D. in Applied Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Behaviors.  In the future, Kourtney hopes to further engage in conducting community-based participatory research in inner-city areas to develop gang violence prevention programs as well as improve social policies across the United States by serving as a Social Policy Analyst.

Jordan A. Brown, MPH

is currently serving as the Program Coordinator under the division of Community Voices at Morehouse School of Medicine. Jordan Brown is a recent graduate from Georgia State University and obtained a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. Prior to obtaining her master’s, Jordan also attended Georgia State University for her undergraduate degree and received a B.A. in Psychology at the age of 20 years old. Jordan’s special interests are centered around helping community organizations and foundations that is focused on social justice issues. She has experience in fundraising, community engagement, and researching better solutions to advocate the dismantling of structural policies that withholds growth in the South via education reform, environmental justice, health care access, and criminal justice reform. Jordan graduated magna cum laude, she is a Woman’s Philanthropy Initiative scholarship recipient, and received the Georgia Health Foundation Scholarship two years in a row. Her most recent research centered on mental health seeking behaviors for Black nontraditional students compared to nontraditional White students.

Alexis Sims, MPH

Alexis K. Sims serves as a research assistant for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. She received her Master of Public Health in May 2017 from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), where she was a MSM Presidential Scholarship recipient. She graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in public health from Spelman College in 2015.At Morehouse School of Medicine, Alexis served as a MPH epidemiology tutor and she was elected 2nd year Liaison of the MPH Student Government Association, which allowed her to become involved in many service and student activities. Alexis also served as a planning team member through a Community-Academic Partnership (CAP) for the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council (HWCAC). In 2016, Alexis was a Dr. James A. Ferguson Fellow working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, and she also has done many research presentations at various local and national conferences, including the 2016 American Public Health Association in Denver, Colorado where she presented her master’s thesis work on HPV vaccination. Alexis also earned many awards during her matriculation at Morehouse School of Medicine including, the MSM Epidemiology Academic first year student of the year award, graduated as a honors student, and is now a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health for ranking number 1 in her MPH class.

Upon graduation from the MPH program, Alexis will attend the University of Texas UTHealth School of Public Health, Houston Health Science Center for her Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. In the future Alexis hopes to conduct infectious disease research and develop behavioral interventions to better assist underserved communities and help eliminate health disparities.

Jewel Williams, MPH

Jewel Williams is a recent graduate of the Master of Public Health Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2015. Currently, she serves as a research assistant for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a division of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI). Her interests are on the impact of racism on health outcomes. Upon graduation from the MPH program, Jewel plans to pursue a doctoral degree in social epidemiology. 


Summer Research Interns & Students

Markay Russell - MPH Student,  Morehouse School of Medicine

Kiara Sims-Thrasher - MPH Student, Morehouse School of Medicine

Brittney Willis - MPH Student, Morehouse School of Medicine

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



The Community Voices Team

The Community Voices Team