Introducing the Team

Yvonka Marie Hall, MPA, RA, CTTS

Executive Director

Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition


Ms. Yvonka Marie Hall, MPA serves as the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition and co-founder of the Cleveland Lead Safe Network. She is a nationally recognized award winning health disparities expert and serves on the following boards: the Ohio Healthy Homes Network; Health & Human Services Region V Health Education Advisory Committee; Multi Ethnic Advocates for Cultural Competency (MACC) and she is a member of the United Way Accountable Communities Health Committee. She is a proud member of the National Council of the Negro Women Cuyahoga County Section, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Our Revolution, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Greater Cleveland Chapter and the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Greater Cleveland Chapter. She was recently elected to the Democratic Party of Cuyahoga County Central Committee Member representing District N. 


The 1974 murder of her mother dramatically changed her life. Ms. Hall’s childhood promise to use her life to help others has led to the creation of cutting edge programs and impacted thousands of people’s lives. This includes, but not limited to, programs like No More Tears-When Your Sweetie Ain’t So Sweet, LEAV Ladies Escaping All Violence and MOVE Men Overcoming Violent Environments. She speaks across the country regarding Effective African-American Engagement. She organizes a national conference every year focused on the State of African American Health Disparities. She coined the phrase “cultural proficiency” to refer to the person centered care that is not always found in cultural competency service delivery.


Ms. Hall is a published author lending her story, The Making of a Public Health Emergency, to the book Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio. Ms. Hall has hosted local conversations throughout Northeast Ohio geared towards creating solutions in health, education, criminal justice and youth engagement. Her local conversation on the Department of Justice Community Corrective Action Report was utilized by the city of Cleveland to craft the consent decree. She is the first African American in the state of Ohio to run a syringe exchange harm reduction program. Her efforts over the last four years to bring local legislators to the table to create a lead safe Cleveland has led to a national awareness and support of her local efforts. Her strength and tenacity will save many children from the lifelong impact of lead poisoning.


Ms. Hall is a proud mother, grandmother and activist deeply impassioned and involved in social justice activities. Ms. Hall is a graduate of John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio and an inductee into the Alumni Hall of Fame. She also attended Notre Dame College where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History and later attended Texas Southern University where she received her Master of Public Administration (MPA), Public Policy Analysis, She is part of numerous justice groups including; Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail; Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH); Clevelanders Organized for Regional Development (CORD); Pregnancy and Infant Loss Committee (PAIL) and the Ohio Lead Free Kids Coalition. 


She is a member of numerous organizations locally and nationally. She is a nationally recognized Congressional award winning health disparities expert. She has served as an expert offering input to televised and print media and speaks all over the country about effectively engaging the African American Community the Art of Community Engagement. 


She is an activist, leader, influencer, speaker, researcher and philanthropist. 


Lashale Pugh, PhD, MS, BA, BS

Asst. Executive Director

Research and Evaluation Director

Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

Dr. Pugh was born in Youngstown, Ohio and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. She returned to Youngstown to attend Youngstown State University at age 35, majoring in Biology and Geography. Dr. Pugh was educated in Chicago Public schools for elementary and Elizabeth Seton High School in South Holland, Illinois. She received her Bachelors’ (‘00) in Biology and Geography and Masters (’02) in Biology from Youngstown State University and later attended the University of Maryland – College Park where she received her PhD in Geography (’09). Her interest in wildlife was influenced by Jack Hanna, Steve Irwin, and an interest in crows and led to her research of public health issues, by connecting an interest in wildlife to human health outcomes during the first outbreak of West Nile Virus. 

Presenting to audiences nationally, she highlights factors resulting in disparities in health outcomes, community-level health and disease patterns, and food justice issues. Pugh’s article, “Geographic Patterns of Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) for Mahoning County, Ohio Census Tracts 2010,” was published in Papers in Applied Geography in 2016. Her commitment to community service is demonstrated through her involvement with community organizations including the Youngstown Office on Minority Health, Hope Community Services, Goodness Grows (agricultural outreach), Mahoning Valley African American Male Wellness Walk Initiative, ACTION, the Healthy Food Partnership and The Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. 

Dr. Pugh’s awards include the Healthy Hero Award from The African American Male Wellness Walk committee in 2013, the David T. Stephens Alumni of the Year Award from Youngstown State University Geography Department in 2010, Early Career Faculty Workshop StipendCollege of William and Mary, 2010 and was listed in the 2001 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. During the summer of 2000, she was awarded a Fellowship by the Greater Akron Audubon Society ($1000), a Research Travel Grant from the American Association of University Women ($250) to present her research results at a conference in Newfoundlandand in 2002 she received a Doctoral fellowship to attend the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Pugh is also an entrepreneur and began production of Dr. Shale’s Mango Salsa in 2017 to share her passion for food and creativity. In October, 2020 Dr. Pugh began teaching a virtual cooking class for the Seniors Offering Service program offered through ACTION, MYCAP and Christ Centered Church in Youngstown. The classes provide her the opportunity to share her own recipes while helping the participants stay connected and active during the pandemic. Her hobbies include reading, crafting, sewing, cooking and birdwatching. Dr. Pugh resides in Campbell, Ohio with her daughter, grandchildren, and Tank, the family dog. 


Rev. Dr. Zachery Williams, PhD

African American Public Policy Director

Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition


A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dr. Williams is the African American Policy Director for the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. He was formerly the Associate Professor of History at The University of Akron. He is the Director of the Africana Cultures and Policy Studies Institute, a non-partisan scholar-activist public policy think tank that uses African American History to understand and solve major public policy issues and social problems. He founded the Black Male Summit and received its highest honor in 2017 the Legacy Award.


As a scholar and public intellectual, he has published articles in The Journal of American Studies of Turkey, The Journal of Pan African Studies, and The Journal of African American Men. He is the author of In Search of the Talented Tenth: Howard University Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race in Academia, 1926-1979 (Columbia: University of Missouri, 2009) and editor of Africana Cultures and Policy Studies: Scholarship and the Transformation of Public Policy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).


He is also an Associate Minister at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Zach is the father of  two beautiful daughters, Zion Olivet and Zipporah Raye.

As a philosophy of life, Zach lives by the wisdom of Howard Thurman who said, “There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”

Ms. Dawn Pullin, MA. ED, BSN, LPC, CDCA

Behavioral Health and Addictions Director

Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition 


Dawn Pullin is a Phenomenal Woman who empowers others to “Move from Just Being to Phenomenal”!  Her passion for advocating and assisting those who are struggling with substance abuse, trauma and mental health issues has been her lifelong mission.


Dawn was educated in the public-school system of Canton, Ohio and Sterling Virginia. She received her Associates and Bachelors’ Degrees in Nursing from Norfolk State University; an Associates in Biblical Studies from North Carolina School of Theology’ and a Masters of Arts in Education from Malone College in Canton, Ohio.  Dawn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant.


Dawn is currently employed at Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. She is also the CEO of Restoration Community Services LLC, a community based behavioral health and substance abuse treatment center and Phenomenal Woman D.P. Ministries, a non-profit organization. Dawn has extensive experience as a Coach, mentor, public speaker, trainer, mental health, and chemical dependency fields.  She has worked as an individual, group and family counselor at several community-based agencies, along with the Maryland State Correctional Facility.  In addition, Dawn has worked as a Child Protective Services Social Worker for Loudon and Stark counties, respectively. 


Dawn is an example of the positive outcomes that can manifest after your life has been affected by substance abuse, trauma and mental illness.  As a survivor, she has overcome many obstacles, and is still making a phenomenal impact on men, women, children, families and the community. 


Our Mission

The Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition is a social justice organization created to address the impact of racism on African American disparities including policy inequities, historical trauma, food insecurity, research, behavioral health and addiction, health promotion by working to empower, educate and advocate for health equity in under-served communities.


The Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition (NEOBHC) was established in 2011 and is a non-profit 501(c) (3). The NEOBHC is the first organization in the State of Ohio dedicated to addressing disparities in the black community. 


Our vision is to achieve parity in the African American community. 

National Award Winning Engagement

The Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

  • 2016 African American Male Wellness Walk, Committee Member

  • 2016 Nia Award “Purpose”, Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center

  • 2018 Making A Difference Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Lambda Phi Omega Chapter

  • 2019 Voices of Health Champion, Aetna

  • 2019 National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. National Distinguished Health Leadership Advocate Award


Our Strength

NEOBHC’s strength is in its ability to work across multiple sectors using unified approaches regarding education, advocacy and empowerment utilizing partnerships to specifically meet the unique needs of African Americans in Northeast Ohio. NEOBHC holds the following guiding principles for: 

  1. Health Equity and Health Care Disparities Elimination

  2. Capacity Building

  3. Community Empowerment

  4. Social Justice

Agency Information

Agency Name: Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition

Address: 18115 Harvard Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44128

Telephone Number: 216-295-0283



Federal Tax ID# 45-4643139

Agency Contact: Yvonka Marie Hall, Executive Director



Slavery in the United States existed as a legal institution for more than  200 years until the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 following the Civil War.


Most slaves were of African descent and were held by whites; in the English colonies, their status as foreigners and, generally, non-Christians contributed to hardening the legal boundaries of slavery.  In 1662 the colony of Virginia passed a law adopting the stating that children of a slave mother inherited her status.


By the early 18th century, colonial courts and legislatures had racialized slavery, essentially creating a caste system in which slavery applied nearly exclusively to Black Africans and people of African descent.  According to the Census of 1860  the slave population in the United States had grown to more than four million.


Diseases Among Slaves

Slave faced serious health problems. Including poor nutrition, unsanitary living conditions and excessive labor made them susceptible to disease. 


Slave Diet

The slave diet featured very little in the way of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that were essential to good health and nutrition.


Because of this history it is important that the needs of the African American community be looked at from a unique perspective.  Many slaves suffered from horrible living conditions, working conditions and life conditions.  The end of slavery did not make everything that had gone on prior to and during slavery go away.  It has only been in the last 40 years that African Americans have gained some of the freedoms that should have been given to them when they were emancipated. 


A Healthy African American community cannot happen overnight, but it is important that we work to make it happen everyday and that we remember that African Americans are still traveling a long hard road to GOOD Health.


The Brown Rose


The brown rose conveys a feeling of warmth and stability. Despite of all of the atrocities that African Americans have faced we are still able to warmly embrace our ancestry and remain strong in our unrelenting faith.

We are no longer accepting the things we cannot change.

We are changing the things

we cannot accept.


-Angela Davis