Keynote Speakers

Dr. Gail ChristopherPHOTO Gail_Christopher_1-2010

Dr. Gail Christopher is vice president for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. In this role, she serves on the executive team that provides overall direction and leadership for the Foundation. She also leads the Food, Health & Well-Being, Racial Equity, Community & Civic Engagement and Leadership programming.

Gail is a nationally recognized leader in health policy, with particular expertise and experience in the issues related to social determinants of health, health inequities and public policy issues of concern to our nation’s future. Gail has more than 20 years experience in designing and managing national initiatives and nonprofit organizations. She brings extensive knowledge and experience in creating a comprehensive approach to well-being and is nationally recognized for her pioneering work to infuse holistic health and diversity concepts into public sector programs and policy discourse. Her distinguished career and contributions to public service were honored in 1996 when she was elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2007 she received the Leadership Award from the Health Brain Trust of the Congressional Black Caucus for her work in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities; in 2009 she was named a Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Honorary Fellow – the highest recognition given to a non-SOPHE member, who has made significant contributions to health education and to public health; in 2011 she was awarded the “Change Agent Award” by the Schott Foundation for Public Education; in 2012 she received the recipient of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) John C. MacQueen Lecture Award for her innovation and leadership in the field of maternal and child health. She is president of the board of the Trust for America’s Health.

A prolific writer and presenter, Gail is the author or co-author of three books, a monthly column in the Federal Times, and more than 250 articles, presentations, and publications. Her national print and broadcast media credits are numerous, and include The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Dallas, Times, National Journal, Essence, “Good Morning America,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” National Public Radio, and documentaries on PBS and CBS.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Gail was vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Office of Health, Women and Families in Washington, D.C. There, she led the Joint Center Health Policy Institute, a multi-year initiative created to engage underserved, racial, and ethnic minorities in health policy discussions. Previously, she was guest scholar in the governance studies department at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has additional experience at the National Academy of Public Administration, Howard University School of Divinity, Americans All National Education Program, and Family Resource Coalition of America. She has also launched, led, and managed three public commissions. Under her sponsorship, the landmark Dellums Commission research into conditions faced by young men of color produced policy recommendations to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

Gail holds a doctor of naprapathy degree from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy in Illinois and completed advanced study in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in holistic health and clinical nutrition at the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities at Union Graduate School of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is president of the Board of Directors of the Trust for America’s Health.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

 Nathaniel Smith


Nathaniel Smith serves as Director of Partnerships and Research for Equitable Development at Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships. In this capacity Nathaniel facilitates engaged scholarship opportunities with external and community organizations to achieve balanced, sustainable and inclusive development throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region. Prior to joining Emory Nathaniel served as Public Policy Manager at the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP). His advocacy, research and coalition building activities supported the creation of many innovative policies that encourage the equitable distribution of mixed income communities throughout the metropolitan Atlanta Region.

Nathaniel has been sanctioned by Emory University to continue his efforts to support the realization of an equitable metropolitan Atlanta via his role as Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO) of a multi-sectored, racial and generational network of regional stakeholders called Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE). Empowered by the unified vision and voices realized through its regional organizing efforts, PSE pushes for policies and actions that promote equity and inclusive prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta.

Among his many acknowledgments, Mr. Smith was selected for the National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED) 2000 Emerging Leaders Program; the Outstanding Young Person of Atlanta Award in 2003, Georgia Trend Magazine’s 40 under 40 list in 2006 (cover), The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Up and Comers” List in 2006, and the 2007 Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood Based Developers (AHAND) 2007 Affordable Housing Champion Award. Nathaniel was awarded the German Marshall Fund of America’s Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) in 2009 and was also a participant in the summer 2012 Aspen Seminar, sponsored by the Aspen Institute.

Nathaniel resides in the Summer Hill Community of Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Alyshia, an elementary school principal, and their daughter Alexia.

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