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Modern Structure

Join us on September 29th for the annual HFRCC Research Symposium, highlighting Flint-related research and exploring plans for moving forward in the era of COVID-19.


What to look forward to!


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Keynote Speaker

Dr. Apryl R. Brown is the 2021-2023 president of the Michigan Public Health Association (MPHA). She along with other MPHA leaders are Fellows in the CDC-funded Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (LAPH) exploring the counternarratives: social determinants of health from the lens of the Black and Brown communities of Detroit and Flint. Broadening her reach to outside of Michigan, Dr. Brown is the co-chair of the Science Board of the American Public Health Association (APHA) while serving on the joint policy and scientific session planning committees. She previously served on the APHA Education and Action Boards as well as the Governing Council where her votes helped to influence federal legislation.


Dr. Brown is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne County Community College District preparing students to excel in their future careers in the health professions. In the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Dr. Brown is the chairperson of the Health Commission of the AME North District Michigan Conference overseeing 26 congregations. This endeavor includes her training as a community partner on how to effectively implement and maintain congregational health and wellness ministries through the Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Partnership Academy affiliated with the University of Michigan. As a past coordinator of the Detroit Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Dr. Brown participated in initiatives pertaining to health and wellness and public health preparedness and response while striving to achieve health equity.


Dr. Brown’s history of excellent service and dedication led to her initiation in Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health and recognition as a 2012 Community Leader in Global Health at her alma mater Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Meet the Panelists

Join our afternoon panel discussion, Recovering Together, highlighting Flint community efforts and experiences of the pandemic and exploring ways to move forward together toward a healthier community. This panel will feature other Flint community and academic leaders with plenty of time for your questions! 

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Mother Sandra Jones is the Executive Director of the R. L. Jones Community Outreach Center, Inc., Senior Marketing Consultant of the Church of God in Christ Publishing House (COGIC), and wife of Bishop Roger L. Jones, Pastor and Founder of Greater Holy Temple COGIC. She also serves as Chairman of Capital Assets Committee at the National Board of Trustees of COGIC and Chairman of Marketing and Publishing Board COGIC. Mother Jones received her Master of Theology at Midwestern Theological Seminary and has studied at Texas Southern University, MIT, and Harvard.



Dr. Lucas is a social and health psychologist whose research considers psychosocial causes of racial health disparities. He is particularly focused on stress and preventive health behavior pathways, such as cancer screening. Dr. Lucas's research especially considers psychological justice - the causes and resulting health and social consequences of perceiving injustice for individuals and communities. Dr. Lucas also enjoys collaborating with the community on a wide range of research related to enhancing healthy equity and social justice.


Dr. Jennifer E. Johnson is the first C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who conducts policy-relevant implementation and effectiveness trials of mental health and substance use interventions for vulnerable populations, including perinatal women and individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She has been Principal Investigator of 17 research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, and Co-Investigator of another 17.

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Katie Baxter has many years of clinical experience in the mental health and substance abuse field. Some of her previous roles include therapist, site manager, and clinical director. Ms. Baxter currently serves as the Senior Director of Clinical Services at Genesee Health System and as a member on various agency and community work groups and coalitions. She received her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from MSU and is credentialed in several substance use disorder credentials through the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals.

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My name is Kevelin Jones. I've been an educator for 20 years. With a master's degree in educational leadership, I've served in the capacity of Dean of Students, Dean of Middle School, principal (High School and elementary), Assistant Superintendent, and now, Superintendent of Flint Community Schools. My passions are family, education, ministry, and music. As an educator, nothing is more important to me than building relational capacity with colleagues, parents, and scholars! It is my goal to see a bright future for Flint, as I was born and raised here. 



Dr. Kubitskey earned a BS in Chemistry from UM-AA in 1987 and worked in the pharmaceutical industry until she realized her heart was in teaching. She enrolled in Eastern Michigan University’s MS in Physics Education and earned her teaching certificate, then she earned a PhD in Teacher Education. She is currently the Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at UM-Flint, drawn by our commitment to developing professionals that value and celebrate the communities in which they serve, with a commitment towards social justice.  

What to Expect

The 2022 HFRCC Research Symposium will be a day for connection, reflection, learning, and growing. The day will start with our incredible keynote speaker, followed by brief presentations and a poster session featuring cutting-edge Flint researchAfter lunch, we'll hear from our panelists about how the Flint community has responded to COVID-19, with plenty of time for questions from you. Symposium guests are then invited to take part in breakout conversations about public health in Flint, moderated by community and academic experts. Finally, we'll honor honor community and academic members for their outstanding Flint-focused work in an awards ceremony. Don't miss it! 

Conversation Moderators

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Moses Bingham

Moses Bingham is the Director of Special Projects & Initiatives in the Office of the President at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.


Laney Rupp

Laney Rupp, MPH, is the Center Manager for the CDC-funded Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


Rick Sadler

Rick Sadler, PhD, MPH, is an urban geographer, an associate professor at Michigan State University Division of Public Health, and an HFRCC co-director.



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Kerry Downs

Kerry Downs is the Director of the Flint Community Education Initiative at the Crim Fitness Foundation. She previously spent 18 years as a teacher in Flint Community Schools.


Lesli Skolarus

Lesli Skolarus, MD, MS, is a stroke neurologist at Michigan Medicine, a professor of neurology and public health at the University of Michigan, and an HFRCC co-director.


Monica Villarreal

Pastor Monica M. Villarreal, MDiv, MSW, serves at Salem Lutheran Church, is faculty at Michigan State University's School of Social Work, and is a member of the Greater Flint Coronavirus Taskforce. 

Julia Felton

Julia W. Felton, PhD, is a child clinical psychologist by training and an Assistant Scientist in the Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health.



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Asa Zuccaro

Asa Ascencio Zuccaro is the Executive Director of the Latinx Technology and Community Center in Flint.

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COVID-19 safety is a priority for the HFRCC. We strongly encourage all of our guests to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Per University of Michigan policy, all guests must complete a COVID screening questionnaire prior to entering the Riverfront Conference Center. Please stay home if you are sick, experiencing COVID symptoms, or were recently exposed to COVID-19. 

We also ask that guests wear a mask throughout the Symposium unless eating, drinking, or presenting. Masks and hand sanitizer will be made available. 

COVID-19 Policy

Symposium questions? Send us an email at

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