I am honored to be a candidate for the position of Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Society for Health Psychology. This is an especially important position now—the time when our nation can no longer deny the exclusion, unfair treatment, and inequities that negatively impact the health and well-being of minorities, the poor, and the underserved. Having personally experienced these negative impacts as a result of being Black and growing up poor, I have “an ear for the beat of these different hearts.” Consequently, I have consistently conducted culturally and racially sensitive research to reduce health and healthcare disparities and promote health equity. My research is implemented by interdisciplinary research teams that include members of minority and low-income communities as equal research partners.
My research, my lived experiences, and my social justice-informed leadership experiences have prepared me to assume the position for which I am a candidate. My leadership experiences include serving as the University of Florida (UF) Florida Blue Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research, Director of the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, and Co-Chair of the Research Subgroup for the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition.
The work of the Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Society for Health Psychology will not be easy. However, as my grandfather has always told me, “anything worth doing ain’t easy.” I believe with all my heart that promoting diversity and inclusion is truly worth doing!