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Executive Director

Nicole Garner portraitNicole Garner, MBA

Nicole Garner is the executive director of the Center for African American Health. She has a background in health care leadership within for-profit and non-profit organizations, driven by a passion for building up underserved communities.

Nicole previously spent 15 years in the long-term care industry where she showcased her adept budget management skills and consistent leadership resulting in significant growth in net revenues, net gains and patient occupancy across every senior living community under her leadership. 

After a successful journey in the long-term care industry, Nicole made a profound decision to embark on a new path led by purpose and passion — a journey into the realm of public health driven by her innate desire to make a meaningful impact on underserved communities. This transformation marked the beginning of a career devoted to fostering positive outcomes and amplifying the voices of those in need, creating a legacy of compassion and empowerment in the realm of public health. Prior to joining KU Medical Center, Nicole served as Planning and Operations Division Manager at Wyandotte County Health Department, where she channeled her expertise and leadership acumen into spearheading initiatives that address pressing public health challenges like declaring racism a public health crisis and promoting health equity. 

Nicole's person-centered approach to health and her dedication to fostering positive outcomes have made her an influential figure in public health. Her impact extends beyond the local level, as she presented at CDC’s Preventive Medicine Residency and Fellowship program. The grand rounds presentation titled, "A Community's Response to a Pandemic: Wyandotte County's Health Equity Taskforce" showcased Nicole's expertise and innovative approach to addressing the unique challenges faced by the community. With its diverse population and disproportionately high COVID-19 impact, Wyandotte County became the stage for a transformative initiative.

Nicole's dedication to the value of every individual within an organization is evident in her efforts to ensure adequate resources and support for employees, fostering a culture of growth and success.

With an MBA focused on Healthcare Administration and Leadership, complemented by a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management from Park University in Parkville, MO, Nicole's academic background further cements her position as a subject matter expert in her field.

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Associate Directors

Jason Glenn portrait
Education Pillar Leader

jill peltzer portrait
Service Pillar Leader

michelle redmond portrait
Research Pillar Leader

Sharla Smith portrait
Policy Pillar Leader

Implementation Team

In 2021, a strategic group of community-minded health leaders and advocates partnered with KU Medical Center to engage in conversations to unpack systemic racism and health care disparities affecting Black and African American communities in Kansas. In these conversations, the group brainstormed strategies to strengthen community engagement, participatory research to reduce disparities, and a multisectoral collaborative approach to health equity.

The Center for African American Health Implementation Team guided the development and launch of center. The group meet monthly and includes individuals from various fields and geographies, including nursing, medicine, history, population health, community engagement, Wyandotte County, Sedgwick County and multiple other identities.

The center’s Implementation Team oversees the design and implementation phases by soliciting community voices and engagement, landscape analysis, peer institution research, partnership development and funding prospects. The Implementation Team has received a Quality Improvement Determination from the Institutional Review Board at KU Medical Center to conduct this work.

Members

  • Reverend Tony Carter, Pastor Salem Missionary Baptist Church
  • Kourtney Carr, Associate Professor of Practice, KU School of Social Welfare
  • Elnora Tellis Jefferson, President of Oak Grove Neighborhood Association and Founding Member of Groundwork NRG (formerly the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association, Inc.)
  • Carla Keirns, Associate Professor, History and Philosophy of Medicine; Associate Professor, Palliative Medicine, KU School of Medicine
  • Diane Mahoney, Assistant Professor, KU School Nursing
  • Samuel Ofei-Dodoo, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, Associate Professor, Family and Community Medicine, KU School of Medicine-Wichita
  • Nicole Palmer, Community Outreach Administrator for the Care Collaborative, The University of Kansas Health System
  • Mildred Oligbo, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science and Athletic Training, KU School of Health Professions
  • Mariana Ramirez Mantilla, Director of JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health, KU School of Medicine
  • Carol Ulloa, Clinical Professor, Neurology, KU School of Medicine
  • Brittany Talley, Coordinator of Student Services, Trauma-Informed Care, KCKPS USD-500 and Co-founder of the Color Collective
  • Natalie Ragsdale, Office Coordinator for the Care Collaborative, The University of Kansas Health System
  • Heather Rollins, Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Patrick Sallee, President and CEO, Vibrant Health
  • Justine Kigenyi, Administrative Director, Hoglund Biomedical Imaging Center
  • Rebecca Lepping, Research Assistant Professor, Neurology, KU School of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Ablah, Professor, Population Health, KU School of Medicine-Wichita
  • Danielle Binion, Director, KU Medical Center Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Jason Glenn, Associate Professor, History and Philosophy of Medicine, KU School of Medicine
  • Jerrihlyn McGee, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, KU Medical Center; Clinical Associate Professor, KU School of Nursing
  • Jill Peltzer, Associate Professor, KU School of Nursing
  • Michelle Redmond, Assistant Professor, Population Health, KU School of Medicine-Wichita
  • Sharla Smith, Assistant Professor, Population Health, KU School of Medicine
Center for African American Health

University of Kansas Medical Center
Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Mail Stop 2015
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-3319
AfricanAmHealth@kumc.edu