GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute has named Vanessa Greene as CEO.
Greene started this week as leader of the organization, which works to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. She joins GRAAHI from Hope College, where she held leadership positions spanning nearly 17 years that focused on diversity and inclusion.
Greene most recently served as Hope College’s associate dean of students and director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, where she led strategic vision, planning, and the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts with a focus on the well being of students, faculty and staff of color.
“GRAAHI’s vision is to ensure that equitable access to health care within West Michigan is available to all its residents despite the color of one’s skin,” Paul Doyle, CEO of Inclusive Performance Strategies in Grand Rapids and chair of the GRAAHI Board, said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, it is important to continue to highlight the systemic inequities and racial health disparities in our community. As we continue to advocate for African Americans and communities of color, we see the reach and impact of GRAAHI will only be strengthened through this transition.”
Greene took over from Micah Foster, who led GRAAHI for more than a year as interim executive director. Foster has taken a role to oversee development of a medical advisory council of African American health care providers and community health practitioners.
Greene leads GRAAHI amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected African Americans and brought greater attention to long-existing racial disparities in health care.
“We need to continue to recognize and highlight the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the African American community,” Green said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, GRAAHI has done an excellent job acting as an ally for the community, both providing resources and calling for change. GRAAHI is well-positioned to continue those efforts as national and global leaders of health research, education, support, and advocacy. I am eager, ready, and prepared to lead the charge.”