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Who's in CHARGE?: KaTerri Monét Kelly, MSHC

Aug. 9, 2023

Who’s in CHARGE? spotlights a member of the AAMC Collaborative for Health equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE), a forum for investigators, clinicians, and community partners who design and implement research and policy that eliminates health and health care inequities. Today we’re featuring KaTerri Monét Kelly, MSHC, founding director of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine HBCU Scholars Program and program administrator of consultations and evaluations at the Center for Community Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Connect with KaTerri on LinkedIn.

KaTerri Monét Kelly, MSHC

What sparked your interest in health equity or health disparities work?

As a native of New Orleans, I experienced health inequities firsthand in nearby Cancer Alley, an intensely industrial area of southeastern Louisiana with high concentrations of pollution leading to high rates of cancer among its residents. I saw the long-term effects of these social determinants of health and how the lack of environmental policies caused generations of coastal residents to struggle to maintain their well-being.

Why does health equity matter in general? Why should health equity matter to other people?

Health equity matters because it is the foundation of humanity and human rights. No human body should be subjected to illness, lack of quality care, or the ability to advocate for their own health. I look at health equity as another way to say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The time is now because the past injustices are repeating themselves — if we don’t address it now we will see a deepening division.

What health equity project are you most proud of or excited about?

Right now I am most excited about the work of exposing, training, and advancing the next generation of public health advocates and clinicians from minority communities. Early exposure is key and I have begun to develop relationships with organizations and curricula that will decrease the disproportionate gap in the training of ethnic minorities and ethnic-minority-serving practitioners.

Do you have any health equity heroes?

My health equity heroes are the late Dr. Clinton Warner, a foot solider for health equity and civil rights in Atlanta, Georgia, who founded the first minority medics surgical group in 1967, and the late Dr. Anna Cherrie Epps, a pioneer in the promotion and advancement of minorities in science and medicine. She was one of the first female deans and presidents of a medical school.

What is the oddest job you have ever held?

The oddest job I’ve ever had was as an extra on House of Cards! It was an amazing odd job that afforded me the opportunity to be a part of one of my favorite shows.

You can meet other health equity champions like KaTerri in the AAMC CHARGE virtual community. Interested in nominating yourself or a colleague for a Who’s In CHARGE? member spotlight?

Submit your nomination here