SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Black Health Network (CBHN) announces the appointment of Rhonda M. Smith as its new Executive Director, effective Jan. 4, 2021. Smith comes to CBHN off the heels of serving as its Interim Executive Director since July 1, 2020. She will lead the organization's efforts to achieve health equity for African Americans and Black Immigrants across California. Smith has an extensive background and experience that spans across a multitude of disciplines, including sales, marketing, consulting, business development, and nonprofit management. However, for the past decade, Smith has developed an expertise in health disparities and has led strategic community-based initiatives aimed to improve health outcomes for the underserved and communities of color.
"I am honored to be chosen to lead CBHN, an organization that has such a legacy in the Black Community. There is so much potential for CBHN in the years ahead for us to make an impact in improving the health and health outcomes for Black Californians. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we take action to improve health outcomes for Black Californians, inspire hope for a new and better future, and ensure a racially just humanity. We also need to ensure that there are more effective education, advocacy, and policy initiatives that mitigate those factors that contribute to the widening of the disparities gap due to COVID-19 and in the life expectancy of Black Californians," said Smith.
Blacks in California have the shortest life expectancy at birth compared to all other racial and ethnic groups, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated this problem. Black Californians are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 than white residents and are nearly two times more likely to die from it.
In response to this issue, CBHN has launched "The Campaign for Black Health Equity", a multi-year effort to mitigate the inequities that significantly impact the health, lives, and well-being of Black Californians. The goal is to decrease health disparities for Black Californians by 25% by 2023 and, ultimately, increase their life expectancy.
"Over the past seven months in her role as Interim Executive Director, Rhonda has demonstrated that she has what it takes to lead this organization to becoming a major leader in advocating for greater health equity African Americans and Black Immigrants across California. Throughout the history of CBHN, its primary goal has been ensuring that all African Americans and Black Immigrants are afforded the opportunity to live long, healthy lives. If ever there was a time to have a great leader at the helm, this is it, we look forward to Rhonda's expertise and leadership to move CBHN to the forefront of leading the charge on a Campaign for Black Health Equity," said Brenda Shipp, Board Chair of CBHN.