topper
Eliminating Heart Health Disparaties Amongst African-American Women
The Board of Directors
Florence Champagne, MSW, Chairman and CEO, suffered a heart attack March, 2012, and as a result, she had emergency open heart surgery.   Due to being uninsured at the time, she did not readily receive the diagnostic testing and life-saving treatment.  She found that she was not alone, and met other African-American women along the way, who were either uninsured or underinsured, which impacted their ability to receive treatment, thus, creating a life-threatening disparity.  Being a heart survivor, she found purpose in her pain as she provides support, advocacy, and leadership to women living with heart disease.

Florence is spokesperson for WomenHeart: A national coalition of women who support women living with or who are at risk of heart disease.  To that end, her accomplishments include being on the Dr. Oz show, speaking on Capitol Hill about heart health disparities, written articles as well as her participation in patient education videos, sharing her personal story empowering women to become advocates for their heart health.  Through her advocacy, education, and speaking engagements, Florence has reached approximately 6,000 women.  Florence received a BA from George Mason University in Art Therapy and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Howard University. Her history includes working at the White House, the Department of Justice and the US House of Representatives.  She is a published author publishing her first book called "Inez's Granddaughter".  Florence is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and Sisters for Sisters Network, Inc.  She is originally from Philadelphia and currently resides in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Sandra Crewe, Ph.D., Vice Chair
Dr. Crewe is the Dean of Howard University's School of Social Work.  She holds a BSW and MSW from the National Catholic School of Social Services, Catholic University of America. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). Her research interests include Family Caregiving and Kinship Care (emphasis on older adults), Program Development and Evaluation, and Cultural Competence. She has published articles in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Affilia, and  the Journal of Health and Social Policy. She serves as the director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Social Gerontology.
 
Dr. Crewe is a gubernatorial appointee for the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust; member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (Resident Leadership Faculty); member of the board of directors, American Association of Service Coordinators (chair professional development committee); advisory council member of the Women’s Health Institute and HIV/AIDS Consortium (Howard University); and member and chair of the ethnogeriatric and culture committee, Washington DC Area Geriatric Education Consortium Center (WAGECC). She is also a Master Faculty Scholar for WAGECC and member of the NASW Aging Specialty Group and served as a member of the expert panel for Family Caregiving Standards. Dr. Crewe also serves on the Council of Social Work’s professional development committee. She is a program evaluation/development consultant for the Department of Social Development (provincial government), Cape Town, South Africa.
Cassandra Rone Freeman, Acting Treasurer
Ms. Freeman has over 32 plus years of federal service with the Department of Defense (DOD), Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Transportation (Federal Transit Administration/FTA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard. She provided managerial leadership as a Contracting Officer, Branch Chief, and Socio-Economic Program Manager and as the Deputy Director for small business programs at the EPA and the Director of Small Business Programs at the National Guard Bureau.  She has served as the Deputy Director, Office of Small Business Programs at EPA, and oversaw small business policy, procedures and initiatives.

She spearheaded regulations for the Woman-Owned Small Business Program, Small Business Parity, HUBZone Revisions and the Small Disadvantaged Business Self-Certification of Subcontractors.  She later joined HHS as the Division Director for Acquisition, overseeing the promulgation of HHS‘ implementation of the Defense Production Act of “health resources” in the event of a man-made or natural disaster.  She transitioned to the National Guard Bureau as the Director for its Small Business Programs where she recently retired.  
 
She is a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA/DC Chapter), the Executive Women in Government (EWG),  Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the International Society of Female Professionals, Top Ladies of Distinction, National Council of Negro Women, The League of Women Voters of Prince George’s County, and has served an appointed position as a member of the Prince George’s Commission for Women.
Khaleelah Cohen, M.A., Secretary, Board of Directors
Khaleelah has over six years of research and collegiate teaching experience; and a professional background in non-profit program development and volunteer services spanning over 12 years.
 
In her previous roles, she oversaw the enhancement and execution of numerous program initiatives and national training conferences. As Director of Programs at WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, she managed community-based education initiatives, peer support programs, social media campaigns and led the planning and execution of the organization’s annual conferences for patients and national hospital partners. In 2017, Khaleelah launched her consulting business and has worked for clients such as WomenHeart, The Myositis Association and the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, managing various aspects of patient volunteer programs, training, campaigns and special projects. She continues her work in the non-profit sector, serving community members through her position as Community Benefit Specialist with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and continues to offer consulting services for non-profit organizations.
Khaleelah received her MA in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and B.A. from the University of California, Riverside where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Open My Heart Foundation and The Talking Drum, Incorporated. Khaleelah is a California native and resides in the District of Columbia with her husband and three children..
 
Pamela A. West, Board Member
Pamela West is a retired college administrator from Cheyney University of PA. She is a highly creative and results-driven professional with a passion for education and driving results for the success of others.  She has over 28 years of experience in the university setting.  She is a proactive leadership with a keen acumen for enrollment management, educational programming, and financial aid policy development. Her effective strategic planning and project management skills, and her broad financial management and operational expertise allowed her to oversee recruitment activities, financial services, registrar resources, capital budgets, to effectively managing operations and facilitating complex negotiations, fundraising development activities, event planning and board management – development. She coached senior management to develop and communicate new strategies for continuous improvement and organizational effectiveness.

Pamela was a member of many national enrollment management organizations; however, her passions for her alma mater lead her to serve on the following campus committees; the University Strategic Planning Committee, Faculty Advisor for the Delta Iota Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which is the chapter to which she was inducted, Enrollment Management and Registration Committees and she also served as the Cheer Coach. 

Now retired, she volunteers time at the place where she gained her first job; the Nile Swim Club of Yeadon, PA as a lifeguard. 
Gloria Ward Ravenell, Board Member
Gloria is a heart survivor that thrives!  As a child she suffered from rheumatic fever, which led to congestive heart failure and aortic heart valve replacement, and she wears a defibrillator implant.
 
Gloria retired from the Federal Government after 32 years of service. Following retirement she became a licensed Realtor in the DMV, and an Outreach Regional Coordinator for the Capital Area Food Bank.  She is also a 20-year breast cancer survivor and board member and political advocacy and fundraising director for Supporting Our Sisters International, Inc., a breast cancer organization. Gloria is a member of Sisters Helping Sisters breast cancer ministry at Ebenezer AME church in Fort Washington, MD and has been a strong supporter of the Open My Heart Foundation since its inception.  She was the first Vice Chair, of the National Congress of Black Women founded by congresswoman Shirley Chisholm; a model and liturgical dancer with the Prince George’s County (PGC) Senior Performing Arts Troupe showcased by the PGC Department of Parks and Planning.   She lives her life knowing that God has placed a fence of protection around her.  She plans to continue her world travels and study world cultures   She is the mother of two, a grandmother and great-grandmother.  Gloria lives in Oxon Hill, Maryland with her husband professor Jerry B. Ravenell.

Patrice Desvigne-Nickens, M.D., Advisory Committee
Dr. Nickens is a program director in the Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Branch in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is responsible for the scientific development and fiscal management of research programs focused on prevention, recognition, and treatment in cardiovascular medicine.  She is responsible for initiative development, coordinating workshops and meetings, and preparing all reports within these scientific areas for the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and the Institute Director.

Among her various responsibilities, Dr. Desvigne-Nickens is particularly interested in disparities in the practice of medicine and cardiovascular health and the effect on women and minorities.

Prior to joining the NHLBI in 1991, Dr. Desvigne-Nickens was a primary care physician at the Johns Hopkins Health Plan in Baltimore. In that position, she treated patients of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds who were afflicted with various complex chronic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Dr. Desvigne-Nickens has reviewed or edited dozens of scientific manuscripts and is an author or coauthor of numerous articles and studies. She is a member of the American Heart Association, the National Medical Association, and the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Dr. Paul Underwood, Advisory Committee.  
Paul Underwood MD, FACC, FSCAI, RAC is an interventional cardiologist with over 30 years experience in the private practice setting. He completed medical school and residency at the Mayo Clinic and completed cardiology training at the Cleveland Clinic. He learned interventional cardiology at Iowa Heart Center and practiced interventional cardiology in Phoenix, AZ. There he has been an influential member of cardiology society through the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Intervention and the American College of Cardiology (where he sat on the Arizona Board of Councilors). Most notably, he is a life member and former president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. In addition to patient care responsibilities, Dr. Underwood is passionately committed to elevating the health of communities.

In 2009 he joined Boston Scientific Corporation as a medical director for Interventional Cardiology/Structural Heart. Dr. Underwood is committed to making ideas become reality with particular emphasis on benefits of minority participation in clinical research. In addition to his clinical responsibilities at Boston Scientific, he also serves as the medical director for Close the Gap, Boston Scientific’s health equity education initiative. His professional interest has been on the creation of collaborative clinical, community and educational approaches to health promotion and translation of technological advances into the lives of patients.
Peggy Morris, Advisory Committee.  
Peggy is the President and Founder of Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc. (S4SN).  S4SN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization driven by membership.  The key to the organization’s success is creating an empowerment, motivational and informative environment developed in a Spirit of Sisterhood, where their focus is on Education and Mentoring, Health and Wellness, Entrepreneurship, and Domestic Violence.  She has created a platform to bring women together to share information, resources and contacts to help elevate each other to the next level in their business. Their motto is “Women Helping Women to Connect”.   Peggy is also a host of a Web TV online radio program called 4Sisters LIVE.  There she helps to provide a platform which allows them to bring information to the community with guests on the topics of Education and Mentoring, Health and Wellness, Domestic Violence, and Entrepreneurship.  
Dr. Terri Peters, Advisory Committee.
Dr. Terri Peters is a Compound Pharmacist and co-owner of Quality of Life Pharmacy along with her husband and Pharmacist, Dr. Rick Peters serving at the forefront to improve patient outcomes through Specialty Compounding and Disease Management.  She is also the Ambulatory Clinical Care Pharmacist in Charge at the University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center, where she turned the pharmacy into a full service hospital pharmacy to serve the state in treating Maryland Covid-19 patients. She is a Health Coach for Weight Loss and Associate Professor for Experiential Education for Howard University Doctor of Pharmacy Candidates. She is a Member of the Prince George's County Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Co-Chairs the Health Committee. She is also a Member of the Prince George's County Health Coalition.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS

The Honorable
Eleanor Holmes Norton

The Honorable Melony Griffith

The Honorable Aisha Braveboy

Barbara DeBaptist
Former National President, NCBW

Sylvia Traymore Morrison
Comedian/Impressionist

Jennifer Donelan
           Former NBC News Anchor
Heart Survivor

Dr. Willie Jolley
Motivational Speaker, Author

Cassandra A. McCullough
Association of Black Cardiologist

DeeDee Strum
University of Maryland