Mysheika Roberts, MD, MPH

  • Co-Chair of the Health Equity Board
    Health Commissioner for the City of Columbus

    City of Columbus Health Commissioner, Mysheika Roberts, MD, MPH, leads the organization and a team of more than 500 public health professionals focused on neighborhood-based approaches that address and decrease the disparities that exist related to social determinants of health – from safe, affordable housing and education to jobs and food access.

    Dr. Roberts has a prolific 20-year public health background at the local, state and national levels. Prior to her appointment as health commissioner in December 2017, she was the medical director and assistant health commissioner at Columbus Public Health. She also built a solid public health foundation early in her career by serving as an epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Ohio and leading an STD clinic at the Baltimore City Health Department.

    Additional service

    • Member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation Board of Directors
    • Member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee and Director of the Health Equity Workgroup
    • Member of the Lifeline of Ohio Minority Advisory Group
    • Member of the OhioHealth Faith, Culture and Community Benefit Committee
    • Immediate past chair of the Big Cities Health Coalition, a collaboration of health departments from the 35 largest cities in the country representing 61 million people


    • Doctor of Medicine from the University of Maryland
    • Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan

Cara Dingus-Brook

  • Co-Chair of the Health Equity Board
    Chief Executive Officer and President at The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

    Cara has served in her current leadership role at The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a regional community foundation that creates opportunities in Appalachian Ohio by supporting and inspiring philanthropy for 17 years.

    Under her leadership, the Foundation has:

    • incubated ten local community foundations, ensuring every county in Appalachian Ohio is served by a local foundation.
    • established an innovative mobile vision clinic partnership with the Ohio Optometric Association and national nonprofit Vision to Learn, becoming the first Results OHIO pay-for-success program in the state.
    • partnered with Ohio’s Governor and legislature to address rural philanthropy gaps in Appalachia through creative “matching campaigns.”
    • Grown its assets ten-fold.
    • Received national recognition, especially for pioneering the nation’s first nonprofit IPO.

    Today, the Foundation leverages more than $110 million in philanthropic assets to create opportunities and facilitate partnership in the areas of health, education, economic development, environmental stewardship and arts and culture.

    Prior to joining the Foundation as CEO, Cara served as a District Representative for U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich in southeast Ohio and as a program assistant and intern with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio during the Foundation’s formative years.

    Additional service

    • Commissioner for the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority
    • Ohio University’s Public Affairs Committee
    • Advisory boards of The Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Service and the newly formed Appalachian Children’s Coalition.
    • Past board member of Philanthropy Ohio and of the Patient Advisory Committee of the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center at The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Center.
    • Past presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Advisory Board, a citizen leadership group to the Treasury’s Community Development Finance Institution programs.
    • 2018 Honorary Co-Chair of The Komen Foundation’s Southeast Ohio Race for the Cure


    • BA in English from Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College
    • MPA from the Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Service

Elizabeth Brown

  • President and CEO of YWCA Columbus

    Elizabeth Brown became president and CEO of YWCA Columbus in January 2023. YWCA Columbus defies the status quo that puts women, people of color,and the underprivileged on uneven footing. By fostering dialogue and providing practical resources and education, we promote empowerment and inclusion. YWCA Columbus initiates systematic social change that will create a Columbus of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

    Before joining YWCA Columbus, Brown served seven years as President Pro Tempore on Columbus City Council, fighting for broad-based economic prosperity, gender equity, and racial justice. She also was the executive director of the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network, a statewide collective impact project to improve women's economic security through public policy.

    During her years on council, she spearheaded laws to protect reproductive healthcare, provide paid family leave, connect pregnant women with housing and medical care, defend residents against threats of deportation, support low-income families through COVID disruptions, erase medical debt and increase access to early childhood education opportunities.

    She also commissioned an overhaul of tax incentive policies which resulted in the city’s first affordable housing and living-wage requirements. She has additional prior professional experience in economic development, nonprofit service and state government.


    • Columbia University

Sharon Bucey

  • President and CEO of Adaptive Sports Connection
    Founder of Brandweavers for Health
    Founder of Healthy-TXT

    In her leadership role with Adaptive Sports Connection, Sharon Bucey oversees the non-profits efforts to improve the health and wellbeing for veterans, children and adults with disabilities through sports, outdoor therapeutic recreation and adventure therapy.

    Bucey is also the founder of Brandweavers for Health, an integrated healthcare consulting firm dedicated to innovating the communications process, ensuring that messages and interactions add up to greater understanding, more efficient processes, greater compliance and better outcomes. 

    In addition, she is the founder of Healthy-TXT, a digital health engagement company, marrying relevant informational content with technology to change patient behavior and foster compliance. Recognized as an emerging health innovation startup, Healthy-TXT was selected to participate in an accelerator program at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Insight Product Development Accelerator Lab, and MATTER Chicago (a community of healthcare industry leaders.)

    Bucey has also been the Director of Public Relation for University of Florida Health Science Centers; Executive Director of the Licking County Foundation and the The Ohio State University Newark Campus Development Fund; and Director of Public Relations for Zimmerman Public Relations.

    Additional service

    • Chair for HealthImpact
    • Board advisor for The Goodness Tour


    • The Ohio State University School of Journalism

Juanita Burden

  • Director of Benefits and Customer Outreach for Mid-Ohio Food Collective

    In her influential role as the Director of Benefits and Customer Outreach at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, a position she has held since 2021, Juanita Burden actively collaborates with both internal and external partners to tackle critical issues such as food insecurity, equitable healthcare access and the availability of nutritious food.

    Under her leadership, more than 36,000 individuals in 20 Ohio counties have been screened and connected to vital public benefit support programs, emergency feeding programs and wrap-around services.

    Additional service

    • Columbus Public CPHI Minority Health Advisory Committee
    • Advocates of Color group led by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks
    • Program capacity advisor for Feeding America.
    • Presenter at the National Anti-Hunger Conference for the Food Research and Action Center 2023


    • Master's in Education from Kent State University

Duane Casares MSW, LISW-S

  • CEO of Directions for Youth & Families

    CEO of Directions for Youth & Families (DFYF) since 2011, Duane Casares, MSW, LISW-S, has a strong social work background and unshakeable ethic. Under his direction, DFYF has grown to be one of the leading mental and behavioral health providers to Central Ohio youth and their families. The agency was selected as the 2022 honoree of The Columbus Foundation Award, the 2022 Smart 50 Award and 2021 Central Ohio Social Justice Award.

    Prior to becoming CEO, Casares served as the organization’s Clinical Director. He started at DFYF in 1990.

    Additional service

    • Presents on trauma-informed care and his agency’s outreach model. Past speaker at the White House, New York City Public Schools, Bridge Housing Corporation of San Francisco, Boston University Law School and many other organizations.
    • Partners with government, local and national leaders to share DFYF’s transferable Community Restoration Model, a collaborative approach to addressing poverty and neighborhood redevelopment without gentrification.
    • Serves as presenter, trainer, consultant, panelist, CEU provider and educator for numerous organizations, court system, schools, businesses and conferences.
    • National Crittenton Leadership Team
    • Board President of the Human Service Chamber
    • Executive Board of United Way of Central Ohio
    • President’s Panel of the Center for Healthy Families. Duane
    • Monthly segment on Columbus Perspective addressing community and mental health issues on 97.1 The Fan radio station of Ohio News Network.


    • The Ohio State University, College of Social Work

J. Edward Johnson, MS

  • Assistant Health Commissioner for Columbus Public Health, City of Columbus

    Columbus Public Health protects the health and improves the lives of residents by addressing critical public health issues, such as infant mortality, the opioid epidemic, tobacco use and obesity.

    As Assistant Health Commissioner, J. Edward Johnson, MS, helps lead an organization of over 500 public health professionals who are focused on neighborhood-based approaches that address the social determinants of health.

    Johnson currently oversees:

    • The Environmental Health Division where over 8,000 restaurants, markets, public pools and spas, body art facilities, campgrounds and tobacco retailers are licensed and inspected
    • The Addiction Services Division, implementing the Columbus & Franklin County Addiction Plan, currently presiding over multi-year decreases in overdose deaths since 2020
    • The Center for Public Health Innovation, which is naming racism as a public health crisis and seeking to increase Columbus’ life expectancy by reducing racial health disparities and raising quality of life.

    Johnson has more than 11 years of combined experience in public policy and public health, having served in staff roles at the Ohio House of Representatives and Columbus City Council.

    Additional service

    • Board of Directors for Thoughtwell Data Insights
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees for St. Philip Lutheran Church
    • Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for OneOhio Recovery Foundation Region 1


    • Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree from Xavier University
    • International Economics degree from Valparaiso University

Erika Clark Jones, MPPA

  • CEO of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County

    Erika Clark Jones, MPPA, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH), the government agency that partners with more than 30 non-profits to plan, fund and evaluate community based mental health and substance use disorder treatment, recovery, crisis and prevention programs to individuals and families in Franklin County, Ohio.

    A Columbus native, Erika’s experience spans across public health, public affairs, public policy, community engagement, strategy development and management.

    Jones’ career includes 19 years in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Columbus, including time as Deputy Director of the Community Relations Commission, Policy Director and Director of the Office of Homeless Advocacy. Additionally, Erika led the CelebrateOne initiative to reduce infant mortality in central Ohio.

    Additional service

    • YWCA Board of Directors
    • Capital University Board of Directors
    • One Ohio Regional Committee to distribute opiate settlement funds.


    • Bachelor’s degree from Capital University
    • Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University

Buhari Mohammed, MD, MBA, CHCEF

  • CEO of Heart of Ohio Family Health

    As the current Chief Executive Officer of Heart of Ohio Family Health, a Community Health Center dedicated to providing primary medical and behavioral health since 2003 to over 16,000 residents of Columbus, Buhari Mohammed, MD, MBA, CHCEF oversees a dedicated outpatient primary-care staff of more than 180 professionals with 40 providers. Dr. Mohammed focuses on the impact of healthcare delivery by improving access to care, emphasizing patient experience and strengthening the workforce to transform healthcare delivery and transforming community.

    Dr. Mohammed is dedicated to improving the health center’s business model, which includes communicating the health center’s mission and strategic plan to the staff, board and the community at large. He excels at bridging the gap between clinical and administration by utilizing effective communication strategies.

    Additional service

    • Clinical consultant with the Management Strategists Consulting Group that works with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration’s Bureau of Primary Health Care
    • YMCA of Whitehall Board of Directors
    • Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services Board of Directors
    • Franklin County Juvenile and Family Recovery Court Advisory Board
    • Past board member of the United Way of Central Ohio Fitness and Nutrition Board, the Ohio State University Medical Dietetics Advisory Board and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank Health Advisory Board


    • Doctor of Medicine from Ege University in Izmir - Turkey
    • Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Capital University
    • Community Health Center Executive Fellowship from the University of Kansas Medical Center

William Murdock

  • Executive Director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

    The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is Central Ohio’s regional council for local governments that provides services, funding, tools, and resources to more than 80 member communities comprised of counties, cities, villages, townships, and regional agencies. As the executive director of MORPC, William Murdock oversees innovative planning, services, and policies in transportation, planning, housing, land use, sustainability, and data.

    Additional service

    • Murdock is actively involved in a number of local, state, and national organizations. Notably, he is secretary/treasurer for the Ohio Association of Regional Councils, past president of The Ohio State University Knowlton School Alumni Society, and past chair of the National Association of Regional Councils’ (NARC) Executive Directors Council (EDC).


    • The Ohio State University:
    • Bachelor of Science in Economics
    • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
    • Master of City & Regional Planning
    • Master of Science in Parks, Recreation & Tourism Administration

Densil R. Porteous

  • CEO of Pride Fund 1
    Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus

    Densil R. Porteous has extensive engagement as a volunteer and executive leader, at local and national levels, with more than 20 years working with organizations focused on issues of equity and access. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Pride Fund 1 and Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus.

    Porteous also has also had a notable career in education administration encompassing a mixture of admissions and enrollment management; strategic marketing and communications; and development/advancement at Kenyon College, Stanford University, Drew School, and Columbus Colleges of Art & Design.

    Additional service

    • Advocates for Youth; former Board Secretary
    • Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors and former national Board of Governors
    • Equitas Health; former Board Vice-Chair
    • The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation
    • Chair of Create Columbus Commission


    • MBA from the University of Phoenix
    • Bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College

Jerry Saunders, Sr.

  • CEO of Africentric Personal Development Shop
    Managing Partner with The Saunders Business Development Group, LLC

    Since 1997, Jerry Saunders, Sr., has served as Chief Executive Officer of Africentric Personal Development Shop (APDS). He is also managing partner with The Saunders Business Development Group, LLC. Prior to joining APDS, Saunders served ten years as executive director of the Eldon W. Ward YMCA of Central Ohio.

    APDS was established in 1988 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit behavioral healthcare institution specializing in prevention, treatment and recovery of substance abuse and domestic violence intervention education for adults. APDS provides innovative personal development programs for youth and young adults. The organization has been recognized as the 2020 Nonprofit Business of the Year by the African American Committee.

    Additional service

    • Chair of the Creative Housing, Inc. Board of Directors
    • Chair of the Equity Now Coalition Board of Directors
    • Vice Chair of the Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity Board of Directors
    • Trustee of United Methodist Children’s Home, Inc.
    • Mt. Carmel Health Systems Foundation Board of Trustees
    • Franklin County Reentry Advisory Board
    • Founding member of The Columbus CEO Collective

    Saunders has served as a commissioner of the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department for 15 years, a trustee for Franklin County Children Services for 6 years, and a board member of several other human services organizations.


    • Oberlin College

Julialynne Walker, JD

  • Development and Urban Agriculture Consultant

    Julialynne Walker, JD, is a passionate Pan-African advocate for food sovereignty who initiated the Bronzeville Growers Market, Bronzeville Urban Growers and the Bronzeville Agricademy as mechanisms by which to address food insecurity on the Near East Side of Columbus.

    Walker is Certified Market Manager Assistant for the Ohio Farmers Market Network; Market Mnager for the Bronzeville Growers Market; and Manager of the Bethany Bronzeville Community Garden which services the 15-year-old Community Lunch Program at Bethany Presbyterian Church.

    In 2020 she launched the Bronzeville Agricademy, a ten-week online gardening course, and the Bronzeville Urban Growers, a network of families growing in limited circumstances primarily within the Bronzeville area, both of which are recurring in 2021.

    Walker also serves as a consultant for the Maroon Arts Group Urban Farm, the Douglas Foundation and Genesee Avenue Church of God in Christ Community Gardens, among others.

    Additional service

    • Facilitated a seven-month course in urban farming sponsored by USDA/Farm Services Agency that addressed the existence of food deserts in Central Ohio
    • Created the mechanism by which community gardens could participate in selected farmers markets
    • Serves as a mentor to area gardeners and presented on this topic for TEDx and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
    • President of the Franklin Park Civic Association
    • Board member and service on other community focused structures


    • Juris Doctor from Northwestern University

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