In the Spring of 2001, I worked as a consultant with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Turning Point Initiative. Through this transformative project, I was able to witness the first grant given to the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative (MDBCI) from CDHPE. I remember collating MDBCI pamphlets and printing out information for an organization with whom I immediately became completely enamored.
The thoughtfulness of organizing Black churches to mobilize around improving the health outcomes of their members was truly what grassroots efforts were meant to be. Through the wonderful leadership of Grant Jones and tireless work and advocacy of Lucille Johnson, the organization grew and spread its reach on many topics related to health disparities in our community.
From my early days with the MDBCI, I could never have imagined where this organization was destined to go. Seeing our current CEO & Executive Director, Deidre Johnson, manage the transition of leadership and community trust as deftly as she did to her vision of having a building to call our own has been remarkable.
Proving to be a psychological and community resource anchor for years before and during the pandemic, The Center for African American Health (CAA Health) now will be a physical presence for years to come in our new facility. The expansion of focus into social determinants of health will only increase the impact CAA Health has on the health equity of our community. I am proud and grateful to be on the Board during this time of brilliant transition for CAA Health and can’t wait for Deidre and her team to continue to move mountains!
Contributed by Oswaldo Grenardo, MD
Centura Health Physician Group
CAA Health Board Member