Introducing the Team
Yvonka Marie Hall, MPA, RA, CTTS
Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
Yvonka M. Hall, MPA is a prominent community leader in Cleveland and serves on numerous boards and committees. She is currently Executive Director at Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. She holds a BA in Political Science from Notre Dame College and an MPA from Texas Southern University.
Recently, she was recognized by the both the Ohio Senate and House and the United States Congress for her work in the African-American community. During the 2016 primary Yvonka served as a field organizer for the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign and is an elected officials representing Cleveland Ward 1 Precinct N for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.
The 1974 murder of her mother Yvonne Boston Hall dramatically changed her life; her childhood promise to use her life to help others has lead to the creation of cutting edge programs and impacted thousands of people’s lives.
She is a proud graduate of John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio and a 2019 inductee into the Alumni Hall of Fame. She was recently named a Black Woman Green Future Honoree for her environmental justice work. Last year the Cleveland Plain Dealer named her the HomeGrown Hero for her work addressing food insecurity. The National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter recently named her the Region 3 Community Member of the Year.
She is a mother, grandmother deeply impassioned and involved in social justice activities locally and nationally for three decades. Her efforts will save many children from the lifelong impact of lead poisoning.
She is an activist, leader, influencer, humanitarian, 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.”
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
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:
Health Equity and Health Care Disparities Elimination
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
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.
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.