Public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic will happen again affecting millions of people worldwide. We ask for your expertise to collectively address health disparities due to structural barriers inflicted on historically marginalized communities in the US, specifically Black / African Americans.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases will host three community forums to gather community leaders, organizations, and partners in a discussion of ideas that mitigate the spread of emerging infections and address social determinants of health. 

You are essential in building emergency action plans for your community, so please join us.

Learning Outcomes:

    • Describe the role of UNC Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC) sites in emergency preparedness for emerging pathogens.
    • Elicit community leader voices in developing action plans before and during pathogen response.

October 3, 2023 Community Forum


Click on the names below to read about our panelists for each Community Forum.

Shemecka McNeil, Founder, Executive Director, CBO of SLICE 325

Shemecka McNeil

Founder, Executive Director, CBO

Shemecka McNeil (she/her) is a multi-talented individual with a deep understanding of the relationship between food and health. Growing up in a family with a long history of preventable health conditions, she developed a passion for promoting good health through a nutritious diet.

With over a decade of experience in the health sector, Shemecka is well-versed in the importance of healthy eating for overall well-being. She founded SLICE 325, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating low-income individuals and families on how to create healthy meals using affordable ingredients.

Shemecka’s expertise extends beyond health education – she is also a trained chef, healthcare professional, and farmer. Her unique skill set allows her to approach health and nutrition from a variety of angles, making her a valuable resource for anyone seeking to improve their eating habits and overall health.

As the Executive Director of SLICE 325, Shemecka is committed to making a difference in the lives of others, one meal at a time. She firmly believes that every family is unique and that there are countless creative ways to prepare healthy meals that are both delicious and affordable.

Shemecka’s dedication to promoting health and wellness has earned her recognition as a PSA Grower and a Paul Harris Award Fellow. She is an inspiration to those around her and a true advocate for healthy living.

Rev. Dr. Rodney Coles Sr., President & Founder of Churches Outreach Network / Interfaith Clergy
Rev. Dr. Rodney Coles Sr
President & Founder of Churches Outreach Network / Interfaith Clergy

Rev. Dr. Rodney Coles Sr was born in New York City. As a youth growing up in New York, Pastor Coles served in various ministries in his home church, St. Matthews Baptist Church. He received his call to Christian Ministry in 1987, and he graduated from NYC Theological Seminary School in June of that year.

 Pastor Coles began his post-educational career to further equip him for his ministry. He attended St Luke Baptist Church Disciple Class under the teaching of Rev. Dr. J.G.McCann Sr (A.A, B.A, M DIV, and S.T.M. D.MIN)

He relocated to Greenville, North Carolina, in 2006, and God called him to begin his own Ministry.  In January 2007, he founded The Children of God in Christ Church located in Greenville, NC. Pastor Coles is focused on building God’s kingdom, God’s community, and God’s people.

In the fall of 2007, he had a vision to share with the people of God. The vision of Churches Outreach Network was born.  It is focused on the people in the community, especially those who were not part of the body of Christ and those who were not attending a church. We provide a network of community referrals, resources, assistance, and help to those in need. In our opinion, many people who were in the Church building were either already saved or on their way to being saved, and that left out the people who did not know Jesus or how to find out about him. Churches Outreach Network outreaches the community through a network of community leaders that are Pastors, Ministers, Organizational leaders, or businesses. We network together as one, ministering the word of God or fellowshipping together at events. We are a public nonprofit 501©3 organization. Through Churches Outreach Network, several ministries were birthed, including The Inter-Faith Clergy based on Pastors, Ministers, and Community leaders meeting and coming together once per month to address the needs of the community and the Community Action committee by working with law enforcement and faith-based organizations. 

Lisa M. Paulin, PhD Associate Professor Department of Mass Communication North Carolina Central University

   Lisa M. Paulin, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department of Mass  Communication
    North Carolina Central University


Lisa Paulin is a professor in the Department of Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University, a historically black university in Durham, NC. She researches news and issues of race/ethnicity with a focus on news about and for Latino/a communities in the U.S. South. Since 2020, she has been involved in COVID-19 community outreach to reduce health disparities and provide truthful scientific information in a way that non-scientists can understand. For these activities, she works with several grant projects including NC CEAL (Community Engagement Alliance). Recently, her goal is to teach people to recognize fake information and feel confident about speaking up when someone shares fake information. Before moving to North Carolina, she lived in Mexico for nine years, is fluent in Spanish and is very knowledgeable about Mexican cultural practices.


NC CEAL (Community Engagement Alliance)

The North Carolina Community Engagement Alliance works to inform media, health care workers, and North Carolina residents about recent updates to COVID-19 and issues related to the virus with a focus on groups experiencing health disparities. We partner with community organizations to hold events in communities at higher risk for problems related to COVID-19. The CEAL team initiative is funded through the National Institutes of Health. There are 31 CEAL teams across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Please subscribe and follow NC CEAL and share our information on your websites or social media channels.

Social Media:



October 23, 2023 Community Forum


Click on the names below to read about our panelists for each Community Forum.

Belinda Jones-Hill, RN, MHA, Project Coordinator, Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition
Belinda Jones-Hill, RN, MHA
Project Coordinator, Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition

Belinda Jones-Hill has over 32 years of nursing and healthcare experience with the former Halifax Regional Medical Center. She retired in 2018 as the Intensive Care Unit Nurse Manager with a broad range of skills and knowledge in nursing as she has practiced in a variety of roles, to include: Nursing Informatics, Telemetry, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. Belinda is an active member of the Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition where she is the Project Coordinator. Over the last 3 years, she has worked tirelessly with the CDC Foundation and the Gregory B Davis Foundation on educating the community about COVID and the importance of the COVID and Flu vaccines. Belinda is an advocate for the homeless as well as women and children affected by domestic violence. She works with Hannah’s Place, Inc. volunteering as a board member, and a founding member of the Hannah’s Closet Thrift Store.

Belinda believes in lifelong learning and the quote; “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” She holds associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing and a Master of Health Care Administration. Belinda is highly active in the community. She was a 2013 recipient of the Halifax Community College Local African American Hero’s Award, 2018 NC Great 100

Nurses, and a 2021 Community Voices graduate from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She is an active member of the Quankey Missionary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, NC serving on the Community Involvement Ministry and Senior Usher and Nurses Ministries president. Belinda resides in Roanoke Rapids, NC. She is a mother, a grandmother, a sister, and a friend.



Yesenia Cuello, Executive Director, NC Field
Yesenia Cuello
Executive Director, NC Field

Yesenia Cuello is a former farmworker, the co-founder of NC FIELD, and its current executive director. NC FIELD  bridges the gap between the agricultural workforce in rural Eastern North Carolina and vital health and human services. Yesenia’s leadership at the helm of NC FIELD has produced significant transformation and growth for the organization. Over the past three years, NC FIELD has increased their operating budget by nearly tenfold while taking a key role in COVID outreach, building partnerships with health systems, Affordable Care Act enrollment, and highlighting the needs of farmworkers in regional and state level health improvement efforts. Yesenia serves on multiple statewide boards and advisory councils, while remaining deeply integrated in community and  practicing a client-driven approach to projects and programming in the region.




October 25, 2023 Community Forum


Click on the names below to read about our panelists for each Community Forum.

Yvonka Marie Hall, MPA, RA, CTTS, GRMS, Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

Yvonka M. Hall, MPA

Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

Yvonka M. Hall, MPA, is the Executive Director of the nationally recognized Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. She received a Master of Public Administration from Texas Southern University and a Bachelor of Arts from Notre Dame College. She is a proud graduate of John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 2019 inductee into the Alumni Hall of Fame. The Cleveland Plain Dealer named her the HomeGrown Hero for her work addressing food insecurity. 

The 1974 murder of her mother, Yvonne Boston Hall, dramatically changed her life; her childhood promise to use her life to help others has led to the creation of cutting-edge programs and impacted thousands of people’s lives. She was named as 100 Women to Know in America. News Channel 5 WEWS named her number 10 of the 50 Everyday Heroes in Northeast Ohio.

She is a mother, grandmother, and activist deeply impassioned and involved in social justice activities locally and nationally. Her efforts will save many children from the lifelong impact of lead poisoning. She is currently working on a number of initiatives, including a ban on menthol products, healthy menu options, and implementing anti-racism in hospital settings policies. Her work is designed to address equity issues in the community and highlight the need for policy in calls to declare racism a public health crisis. She was honored as a Black Green Woman in 2021. She was named to the National Environmental Protection Agency National Justice Advisory Committee, where she serves as the chair for the Farmworkers and Pesticides Workgroup.

She is a member of numerous local and national organizations. She is a nationally recognized Congressional award-winning health disparities expert. She speaks all over the country about effectively engaging the African-American Community in the Art of Community Engagement. 

She is an activist, leader, influencer, humanitarian, speaker, researcher and philanthropist. 

Ruth Phillips, DPM, MS, Executive Director, Community Health Coalition

Ruth Phillips, DPM, MS

Executive Director, Community Health Coalition

Dr. Phillips, affectionately called Dr. Ruth relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2008 from Baltimore, Maryland. She served as a Public Health Specialist and later as Assistant Director for Wellness Promotion at North Carolina & State University. There she developed programs and collaborated with national organizations to broaden her reach and increase health awareness to the campus and surrounding communities.

As Executive Director of Student Health and Counseling Services at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Ruth developed programs, partnered with national organizations, collaborated with fellow campus departments and student groups to effectuate positive change not only for students but faculty and staff as well.

As a Director of Health Equity and Tribal Liaison for United Healthcare, Ruth was very intentional in analyzing data, programs, services, and access to care through a health equity lens while broadening diversity and inclusion internally.

As Executive Director for Community Health Coalition (CHC) in Durham NC. Dr. Ruth and her team are “boots on the ground” meeting people where they are addressing food insecurity, chronic disease health prevention and control, health education, advocacy and literacy. In addition to her role at CHC, she serves on the Executive Committee for the African American Covid-19 Task Force Plus, the Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Governor’s Task Force, the American Cancer Society Central and Eastern Northern Carolina Board, the Diabetes Research Foundation Board, and the Aging Well Durham Board.

Ruth has served in many roles since she arrived in Greensboro back in 2008 however, one of her most rewarding roles is to mentor teens and adults through P.O.W.E.R. Pearls Of Wisdom to Empower by Ruth, lesson, she learned along the way and lessons she loves to share! Ruth received both her Bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Morgan State University and her Doctorate at Temple University. Ruth is married to Wendell F. Phillips and have two daughters Clarke Leigh 23, a graduate from University of NC School of the Arts as a Film Director and Logan Allyn-Marie 15 who is in 10th grade attending Southeast Highschool.

Joseph L. Fox, Ed.D., MBA, PHR, Owner, Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, LLC

Joseph L. Fox, Ed.D., MBA, PHR

Owner, Fox Management Consulting Enterprises

Dr. Joseph Fox is the owner of Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, LLC. He possesses an Ed.D. and an M.B.A. from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC. Dr. Fox also possesses the Professional in Human Resources Management (PHR) National Certification, Global Achieve Leadership Training Certification, the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) Certification, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certification.

Dr. Joseph Fox is a lifelong educator, mentor, and community advocate. He has advocated for students of a darker hue for more than 30 years in his role as a community college instructor, as well as his role as a former Department Chair of Business Administration at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Dr. Fox is a Board Member of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Buncombe County Partnership for Children, Friends of the Western North Carolina Museum of History and Culture, and Roseland Community Center (Tryon, NC). He is also a member of the Asheville African American Heritage Trail Project, the Buncombe County TDA’s Legacy Investment From Tourism (LIFT) Fund Committee, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) Advisory Board, North Carolina Community-Engagement Alliance (NC CEAL) Advisory Council, and the Eastside Citizens’ Advisory Committee (Tryon).

Mavis Hill, MPA, Executive Director, Tyrrell County Community Development Corporation

Mavis Hill, MPA

Executive Director, Tyrrell County Community Development Corporation

Mavis Hill is the Executive Director of the Tyrrell County Community Development Corporation (CDC). She graduated in 1986 from Elizabeth City State University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Business Management. In 2021, she graduated from Regent University with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, focusing on nonprofit and faith-based organizations, as well as public organization leadership. Apart from her professional work, Mavis is an active member of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Within the church, she serves in various roles, including president of the missionary auxiliary, church clerk/secretary, historian, and as a member of the finance committee. Mavis is also a mother to one son, Joseph Hill, and is a member of the Nu Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.


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