A nationally-known speaker, strategist, master facilitator, and public health leader, Natalie S. Burke is President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION–whose mission is to develop people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices.

She serves as co-director for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Culture of Health Leaders Program and directs Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Equitable Leadership.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Natalie has participated in the Emerging Leaders in Public Health Fellowship (University of North Carolina’s Schools of Business and Public Health) and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Lead the Way Fellowship for entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector. 

Natalie believes that to alter our collective health destiny, we must change our language; challenge deeply held beliefs about equity in our society and accept the role we each play in the production of the public’s health.



Jessica N. Holmes is a workers’ rights advocate, policy expert, and fighter for fairness and social justice.

Jessica was born and raised in eastern North Carolina.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

In 2014, Jessica became the youngest commissioner ever elected in Wake County’s history. She is currently serving her second term as chair of the Board of Commissioners; her colleagues elected her unanimously.

Jessica has been successful with these key initiatives that support workforce development: increasing access to early childhood development programs, advocating for increased education funding across North Carolina and development of career and technical programs in high schools, and leading a campaign to provide capital funding for our state’s largest community college system, Wake Technical Community College.



Not listed in order.  Stay tuned for specific times.

Practicing Our Equity Analysis with Case Studies  

  • Natalie Burke, Common Health Action

The Faces of Poverty in North Carolina          

  • Dr. Gene Nichol, Boyd Tinsley Professor, University of North Carolina

Creating Resiliency Hubs in the Face of Climate Change    

  • Jodi Lasseter, NC Climate Justice

Racial Equity Journey for Food Councils       

  • LaShauna Austria, Alamance Food Collaborative; Ashley Heger, Orange County Food Council; Just Foods Collaborative representative

Double Up Food Bucks Impact and Implementation 

  • Sonsera Kiger (Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC); Christina Bailey (Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the King St Market, Watauga Food Council)

Food Systems Funding panel                         

  • Moderated by Jen Zuckerman, Duke World Food Policy Center; Panelists include Merry Davis, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation; Linda Jo Doctor, Kellogg Foundation, plus others

Placing North Carolina in the National Context: Lessons Learned from Food Councils Across the US

  • Raychel Santo, Food Policy Network, John Hopkins Center for Livable Futures

Lessons on Preserving Farmland Alongside Development 

  • Margaret Sands, Triangle Land Conservancy; & Margaret Sands (Triangle Land Conservancy) & Tandy Jones (Farmer, Chair Chatham Agriculture Advisory Board)

The Financial Realities of Farming                 

  • Scott Marlow, Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA

Ancestral Awakening: Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Healing Greenspace       

  • Mrs. Darlene Graham (Waccamaw Siouan), Mrs. Sue Young-Jacobs (Waccamaw Siouan), Mrs. Jean Brown (Waccamaw Siouan), Randi R. Byrd (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Youth-led Food Work    

  • Lenesha Northington, A Better Chance for a Better Community (ABC2); Zachary Clemons (ABC2); Coreya Lynch (ABC2); Chester B. Williams (ABC2); Anthony Gregg (Youth Ambassadors (YA), Men & Women United for Youth and Families (MWUYF)); Chance Snowden (YA, MWYUF); Randolph Keaton (MWYUF)

Reshaping Communities By Grounding the Work of Health Inequity into the Community Health Assessment Process

  • Ann Meletzke (Healthy Alamance, Alamance Food Collaborative); Zo Mpofu (Buncombe County Public Health)

Stories of Black Farmers

  • Panel moderated by Gabrielle Eitienne, Panelists announced soon                                                           

Race Wealth Gap Simulation                          

  • Rosa Saavedra (Bread for the World) & LaShauna Austria (Benevolence Farm)

Organizing through Food Youth Initiative (FYI)         

  • Bevelyn Ukah (Center for Environmental Farming Systems) + FYI presenters

Racial Equity in Local Government

  • Ariana Flores (Race Forward), Shorlette Ammons (Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Committee of Racial Equity)
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