The California Black Health Network (CBHN), an organization concerned with achieving health equity for African Americans and Black Immigrants across California, has named Rhonda M. Smith Executive Director.
Having served as its Interim Executive Director since July 1, 2020, Smith will continue to drive the organization’s vision. Compared to all other racial and ethnic groups, Blacks in California have the shortest life expectancy at birth. COVID-19 has only made this issue worse; Black Californias are three times more likely to contract the disease than white residents, and nearly twice as likely to die from it.
In response, the CBHN has launched The Campaign for Black Health Equity, which in a multi-year plan aimed at tackling underlying inequalities, takes a holistic approach to improving Black health. Smith, with her deep expertise in health disparates, and her background in disciplines as various as sales, marketing, consulting, business development, and nonprofit management, is the perfect person to lead the charge.
"Over the past seven months in her role as Interim Executive Director, Rhonda has demonstrated that she has what it takes to lead this organization to becoming a major leader in advocating for greater health equity African Americans and Black Immigrants across California. Throughout the history of CBHN, its primary goal has been ensuring that all African Americans and Black Immigrants are afforded the opportunity to live long, healthy lives. If ever there was a time to have a great leader at the helm, this is it, we look forward to Rhonda's expertise and leadership to move CBHN to the forefront of leading the charge on a Campaign for Black Health Equity," said Brenda Shipp, Board Chair of CBHN.
"I am honored to be chosen to lead CBHN, an organization that has such a legacy in the Black Community. There is so much potential for CBHN in the years ahead for us to make an impact in improving the health and health outcomes for Black Californians. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we take action to improve health outcomes for Black Californians, inspire hope for a new and better future, and ensure a racially just humanity. We also need to ensure that there are more effective education, advocacy, and policy initiatives that mitigate those factors that contribute to the widening of the disparities gap due to COVID-19 and in the life expectancy of Black Californians," said Smith.