Rhonda M. Smith

Executive Director

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Rhonda currently serves as the Executive Director of the California Black Health Network. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Life Serve Youth Foundation and as the Interim Executive Director for Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US). Prior to this role, Rhonda served as the IM4US Board President-elect. Before her tenure with IM4US, Rhonda was the Consultant/Project Director for the LiveHealthy OC Initiative, a three-year initiative that transformed the model of care of a network of FQHCs from a disease-focused treatment model to a prevention and wellness model to provide a whole person care approach.

Before the LiveHealthy OC Initiative, Rhonda served as the Consultant/Statewide Project Manager for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative, an intensive four-year effort to identify evidence-based strategies to decrease the high mortality rate of African American women diagnosed with breast cancer, and address disparities at the system, community, and individual levels.

Rhonda has also consulted on an NIH/NCI funded breast cancer survivorship research study at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami targeting the diverse population of Black women in the South Florida community. The study focused on evaluating the impact of stress management and wellness education on survivors who were within twelve months of competing treatment. Her responsibilities included marketing, PR, community outreach and recruitment, and facilitating the study’s ten-week health and wellness education program to the control group cohorts.

Prior to her health disparities consulting experience, Rhonda worked in sales, marketing, learning and development consulting, and business management, with companies such as Eli Lilly and DuPont. Rhonda has broad international consulting experience and managed client engagements and projects on 5 continents and in more than 20 countries for companies such as GE, Office Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, Glaxo SmithKline, Abbott Laboratories, Novartis, Rolls Royce, and Xerox Corp.

Rhonda earned her MBA in Marketing and Operations Management from the Colgate Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and her B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. Rhonda served the Mission Integration Chair for the American Cancer Society 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and a member of the Baptist Health South Florida Breast Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. Rhonda is a Leadership Charlotte alumnus, Past-Chair of the Board of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, and a past CEO Forum member of The Commonwealth Institute South Florida. Rhonda served on the 2007 NFL Super Bowl Special Events Committee, and in 2006 was named one of South Florida’s “25 Most Prominent and Influential African-American Women” by Success South Florida Magazine.

Meron Agonafer

Policy and Legislative Affairs Manager

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Meron Agonafer serves as the Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs for the California Black Health Network. She worked in the California State Assembly as a legislative aide for Assembly Member Chris Holden and Assembly Member Shirley Weber, and as a policy consultant in the Speaker’s Office of Research and Floor Analysis. Meron also worked as a Policy Consultant for UC Health. She brings over ten years of experience in health policy.

Meron holds a B.A. from the University of the District of Columbia in Political Science, a Master of Arts in African Studies (emphasis on conflict resolution) from Howard University, and a Master of Studies in Law, specializing in government, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Brittney Butler

Sr. Research and Program Manager

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Brittney Butler is a global and public health professional with experience transforming data into comprehensible reports and policy recommendations concerning social determinants of health.

Butler holds a BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley and an MS in Global Health from UC San Francisco, where she developed program evaluation and implementation science skills. She has research experience in health economics and policy, conducting cost-effectiveness analyses of interventions in rural Nepal, analyzing the live impact of COVID-19 on communities of color in the United States, and investigating the effect of prescribed fires on vulnerable communities in California.

Brittney is committed to reducing healthcare barriers in underserved populations and continues to galvanize grassroots support and stakeholder interest to improve community health.

Jessica Garza

Executive Assistant

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Jessica Garza currently serves as Executive Assistant to CBHN’s Executive Director, Rhonda Smith. She comes with over 10 years of experience in support and organizational roles. Prior to California Black Health Network, Jessica was a Learning Initiatives Executive Assistant at PBS in Hawaii. She has also held positions at ESPN Deportes and Spanish Broadcasting System in New York City.

Jessica grew up in New York City, but hails from Ecuador. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies with a minor in English from Queens College, City University of New York. Since a young age she has always had a passion for helping people and joined CBHN to help make a difference.

Jamila Jabulani

Network and Membership Manager

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Jamila Jabulani serves as the Network Membership Manager for the California Black Health Network. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for over fifteen years where she focused on civic engagement, health equity, education, and grantmaking. She is a former board member of an Autism chapter organization and founded the Differently Enabled Integrated Voter Engagement (DEIVE) Giving Circle which funds organizations committed to year-round voter mobilization, especially on behalf of people with disabilities.

Jamila holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in English Literature, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Philanthropy from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University.

Wendy Kaplan

Health Promotion and Communications Director

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Wendy Kaplan has spent most of her career implementing and managing public health education programs and services for California’s underserved communities. Her experience spans a wide range of content areas including nutrition and physical activity promotion, breast and cervical cancer screening access, tobacco control, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS prevention. She has extensive expertise in developing print and digital health promotion materials utilizing best practices in health literacy and communications. She is dedicated to advancing health equity and social justice in communities most impacted by health disparities.

Wendy holds a Bachelor’s in Health Education from CSU, Chico and a Master of Public Health degree from San Jose State University.

Sandra Simpson

Business Operations Manager

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Sandra Simpson is the Business Operations Manager for the California Black Health Network (CBHN). She brings a wealth of experience, integrity, and professionalism with her. Prior to CBHN, Ms. Simpson worked within the federal government and non-profits arenas in both the District of Columbia and California. She has managed the development and execution of a variety of programs, including administrative and organizational development. Her strong commitment to serving the underserved is reflected daily in her personal and professional life.

Sandra holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Sacramento.