Black Leaders and Organizations in Lung Health

Spotlight Series

Trusted Organizations in the Black Community

As a national public health organization, it is imperative that we partner with organizations that are trusted in the communities we serve to deliver our mission. In an effort to continue to uplift, support and partner with trusted organizations in the Black community, this living, comprehensive list of Trusted Organizations in the Black Community serves as a helpful resource to identify these organizations.

2021 Spotlight Series

Ngozika Orjioke, MD, MBA, FCCP
Founder/Managing Partner, Covenant Critical Care
East Point, GA

"The United States has the most affluent and sophisticated medical community in the world, yet large population differences in healthcare outcomes among racial/ethnic populations remain an imposing challenge for the twenty-first century." Importance of Race/Ethnicity in Clinical Trials, Circulation, December 2006.

In the words of Dr. Orjioke:

The major risk factors for respiratory diseases, tobacco use disorder, poor socioeconomic status, and poor healthcare access are commonly encountered in the brown and black communities. I want to be a part of the prevention and management of pulmonary diseases in my community.

The vision of Covenant Pulmonary Critical Care is to provide innovative, exceptional, culturally sensitive and humanistic, care for our patients and to perform important research that enhances the understanding of lung health and creates new ways to prevent, detect, and treat, respiratory disorders. We are actively involved in education, clinical research and in community outreaches.

Every soul carries the same weight before God and so deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy.

Lakeeta Watts
Community Health Worker
Ambassador, National Association of Community Health Workers
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lakeeta Watts is working to change her Milwaukee, Wisconsin community, starting with the children. Mrs. Watts is involved with children from the beginning; she is a doula and has founded a youth program geared toward children who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

Mrs. Watts has interacted with the American Lung Association for the past four years as an Asthma Educator Institute speaker and community health worker. She provides home visits for children with poorly controlled asthma, bridging cultural barriers, ensuring access to quality care, and improving health outcomes.

Mrs. Watts is trained as a community health worker, home visitor, and in massage therapy, behavioral health and breast health services. Mrs. Watts is an Ambassador for the National Association of Community Health Workers and co-chairs the CWH section of the WI Public Health Association.

Andre Smith, MD
Pulmonologist, Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist, Andre Smith, M.D. is passionate about health equity and improving patient care. Dr. Smith is a respected role model who mentors individuals on his clinical teams. A graduate of Columbia University School of Medicine, he has led various efforts to further the health and wellness of communities of color in New York and Ohio.

Currently, Dr. Smith serves as founder and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Multicultural Lung Health Center. The center’s mission is to increase access to comprehensive, personalized care for underserved patients disproportionately affected by pulmonary diseases such as asthma, COPD, COVID-19, lung cancer and sarcoidosis. The Multicultural Lung Health Center brings together teams of specialists across the health system who have expertise and cultural understanding in caring for neighbors in our in Northeast Ohio communities, where health disparities are of concern.

In addition, providers utilize a holistic, comprehensive approach to treat other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and addiction.

Ellen Grant, PhD, LCSW-R
Local Leadership Board Member
Deputy Mayor
Buffalo, New York

As Deputy Mayor, Dr. Ellen Grant is honored to work with Mayor Byron Brown and the dedicated staff that serves the Buffalo community. Under Mayor Brown’s direction, Dr. Grant launched a lively call-in program called Senior Connect during the early days of the pandemic to ensure that Buffalo’s senior population stayed connected on important initiatives, including the rollout of food and mask giveaways, vaccinations and test kits. Senior Connect is hosted by Dr. Grant and Doug Ruffin, the Director of Senior Services, and features guest speakers on timely topics.

Most recently, Dr. Grant spearheaded an initiative in which 11,000 Rapid COVID Tests were distributed to the community at five separate locations, including City senior centers. The response was overwhelming. In three hours, the test kits were gone.

Dr. Grant is honored to be recognized by the American Lung Association in New York as a Champion in our Communities of Color and Lung Health.

2021 Webinar Speakers:

Lilliann M. Paine, MPH is currently the Director for Technical Assistance for the National Birth Equity Collaborative, and was the inaugural chief of staff with the City of Milwaukee Health Department. She coordinated the COVID-19 response and positioned Milwaukee and Wisconsin as innovation leaders in tracking pandemic data. Ms. Paine was instrumental in authoring the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA) Racism is a Public Health Crisis 2018 resolution. She facilitated the resolution’s adoption in Milwaukee, which marked the first municipality to do so.

Dr. Ozuru Ukoha, M.D., MSc, FACS, was born and raised in Nigeria, immigrating to the U.S. after high school. The bulk of his clinical practice has been at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County as a general thoracic surgeon. He considers it a labor of love and a privilege to give back to the community that has few advantages. In the last 20 years, he has won the Penfield Faber Teaching Award in Cardiothoracic Surgery, served as President of the Medical Staff of John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital from 2013-2017, appointed the Division Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2013 and now, Chair of the DEI Committee of the Medical Staff of John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.

Page last updated: January 24, 2023

Clinical Trials: Why It's Important to Participate
, | Dec 14, 2023