Strengthen the capacity of faith communities to understand the intersection of health, religion, race, and politics


RICHMOND, Va. (October 8, 2020) – The Balm In Gilead Inc. is a leader in bringing public health and faith communities together to strategically address health disparities in the African American community. The Balm In Gilead Inc. will use its Annual Healthy Churches 2030 Conference (HC2030) to answer this call to action by bridging faith and healthcare to breakdown health disparities in the Black community. This one-of-a-kind virtual conference will equip African American faith-based institutions and public health professionals with the tools to confront racial inequities in healthcare and wellness programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of building congregational health ministries within African American communities to offer rapid response to future public health crises. Healthy Churches 2030 Conference will examine the intersection and impact of health, religion, race, and politics on the lives of Black Americans.

Addressing the alarming rates of preexisting health conditions and lack of access to qualified medical professionals in African American comminutes, the conference will emphasize the urgent need to create locally accessible health and wellness programs. “The Black Health Agenda for the New Decade: The Intersection of Health, Religion, Race, and Politics,” the theme for this year’s conference, embodies the immediate need to confront health disparities and create prevention models within the Black community.

Participants will hear directly from some of the nation’s top public health officials, medical professionals, and faith leaders. This year’s Healthy Churches 2030 Conference speakers include:

      • Freda Lewis-Hall, Ph.D.; Clinician, Educator, Researcher, and Leader in Biopharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Industries
      • Kafui Dzirasa, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor and Resident Physician, Laboratory for Psychiatric Neuroengineering, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University Medical Center
      • Dr. Delman L. Coates, Ph.D.; Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD
      • Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology
      • LaPrincess C. Brewer, MPH; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester MN
      • Sam Dagogo-Jack, D.Sc.; Professor of Medicine & Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
      • Dr. Keith C. Ferdinand, FACC, FAHA, FNLA, FASCP; Professor of Medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine
      • Fred Hammond; Grammy award-winning artist, vocalist, songwriter, musician, producer, and arranger.

Speakers and presenters will share strategies, resources, and tools to strengthen the capacity of congregational health ministries across the United States to increase health prevention, disease management, and participation in clinical trials. “By building a nationwide network of health ministries within African American churches, The Balm In Gilead is actively diversifying the healthcare delivery model by transforming churches into local health hubs,” said Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

The upcoming Healthy Churches 2030 Conference also features content from our elite sponsors. Diamond sponsors AARP, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., Amgen Inc., Biogen Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Silver sponsors Astellas Pharma Inc., Pfizer Rare Disease, Roche, and Bronze sponsor Mayo Clinic.

This year, the annual conference offers group registration at $25 per person for groups of twenty or more and $75 for individuals. Registration for this year’s virtual conference closes November 6, 2020. To register and learn more about the conference, visit


About Healthy Churches Conference 2030

Healthy Churches 2030 (HC2030) is an annual conference designed to bridge faith and public health and address health disparities among African American communities. Healthy Churches 2030 Conference is the only nationally recognized conference that provides vital learnings and capacity development through training on healthcare models, nutrition, funding opportunities, and evaluation presented by leaders in scientific research, clinicians skilled in nutritional medicine, including experts on food and healthcare innovation. To learn more, visit

About The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

Founded in 1989, The Balm In Gilead, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, has developed an international reputation for providing an insightful understanding of religious cultures, values, and extraordinary abilities to build strong, trusted partnerships with faith communities throughout the world. By working with national, regional, and local faith-based partners, we establish grass-roots health delivery systems and increase the number of individuals who have the knowledge to lead in areas of health promotion, disease prevention, screening, and disease management. To learn more, visit

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