NIAAH

WHO ARE WE?

The National Institute for African American Health (NIAAH) a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose central goal is to improve the health of African Americans by providing a trusted source of health information tailored to the needs of our community. We want to increase the number of Black physicians available to see patients across medical specialties by mentoring and supporting pre-med and medical students as they navigate this rigorous path. NIAAH will also improve the quality of the clinical care African Americans receive through educational opportunities for providers (NIAAH Certification) and advocacy for patients who suspect inferior care.

who we are
CEO

Founder & Board President

NIAAH’s founder and board president is Gregory L. Hall, MD. Dr. Hall is a native of Cleveland and a Cleveland Clinic-trained internal medicine specialist. He is also an Associate Professor in both the Internal Medicine and Integrative Medical Sciences departments at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, as well as an assistant clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Hall was a governor-appointed member of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and served as Chairman for many years, and currently serves as the board president of Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Dr. Hall’s book “Patient-Centered Clinical Care for African Americans” is the first comprehensive title detailing the optimal clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall hosts a national continuing medical education series “Bridging the Gap” on the Pri-Med educational network and hosts the podcast “Better Black Health” on google podcasts and Spotify.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Raymond Headen, JD

Vice President

Former Ohio appellate court judge Ray Headen is a trusted advisor, counsellor, and advocate to public and private clients and communities throughout Ohio. Judge Headen was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Massachusetts. He earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has extensive experience encompassing public finance and economic development for municipalities, schools, counties, special purposes entities as well as devoting a substantial part of his career to business, including helping small and minority-owned businesses gain foundational support for future success. He has served as a member and chairperson with the University School board of directors in Shaker Heights, Ohio, as a committee member with the American Judges Association, and as a committee member with the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

James Alexander Jr., JD

Secretary

Mr. Alexander is a renowned Cleveland lawyer whose law practice provided legal services to the historic Forest City Hospital, and a number of historically Black nursing facilities and medical organizations.  Attorney Alexander got his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his JD from Case Western Reserve University.  Mr. Alexander was the founding member of the Cleveland Chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, a former trustee and vice-president of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society, a past board member of the NAACP, a board member of United Way, a founding member of the Black Professional Association, and many other non-profit/philanthropic organizations.

Edgar Jackson Jr., MD

Treasurer

Dr. Jackson was the Chief of Staff and senior advisor to the CEOs of University Hospitals of Cleveland. Jackson was one of the first African American graduates from the medical school at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and served as president of his class in each of his four years. Along with private practice, teaching and hospital administration, his professional roles included serving as the Co-Director of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership in Urban Health, Health Director for the city of Shaker Heights and first Assistant Dean of Minority Affairs at CWRU. Dr. Jackson has served on the boards of the St. Luke’s Foundation, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, and a host of other philanthropic endeavors. The Edgar B. Jackson Jr., MD, Endowed Chair for Clinical Excellence and Diversity was dedicated in 2004 at University Hospital and is the only endowed permanent staff position in an academic medical center in the United States that has been established to promote diversity of academic faculty

Patricia A. Ackerman, PhD

Director

Dr. Ackerman is the Executive Director of the Chalkdust Education Foundation, and a retired public-school educator who served as a teacher, principal and K-12 curriculum administrator.  She earned her undergraduate degree at Ohio University, a master’s degree from Cleveland State University and a doctorate from Kent State University. An articulate public speaker and education advocate, her 35 years of K-12 experience included executive leadership of professional associations and policy boards at the local, state, and national levels.  She is a past president of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and the Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators. Dr. Ackerman was appointed by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to serve on the Ohio Board of Regents for a four-year term. An emerita member and past chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees, Dr. Ackerman is also an emerita board member of the Ohio University Foundation. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, the Diversity Advisory Board of Kent State University, and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Charles Bremer, BA

Director

Mr. Bremer was a history and education major at Ohio University and upon graduation taught in the Cleveland school system and worked for the Ohio State Department of Labor after attending graduate school at Kent State University. Bremer was hired by Ernie Green of Little Rock Nine fame, to serve as Deputy Director of the Worker’s Defense League where he worked to develop strategies and programs to help African Americans gain entry careers with high skills and better wages. Bremer continued to support improved access to good-paying jobs for African Americans across the country. President Bill Clinton appointed Bremer to the President’s Peace Mission to Rwanda/Burundi Civil war. Bremer worked tirelessly to establish connections for the formation of this institute and NIAAH is forever in his debt.

Vanessa Whiting, JD

Director

Vanessa L. Whiting, Esq. is the President of A.E.S. Management Corporation, a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen franchisee in Northeast Ohio.  A.E.S. employs over 350 people at its sixteen Popeyes locations.  Ms. Whiting is a prominent attorney in the Cleveland area and has extensive experience in economic and community development law, real estate law, tax credit law, and public finance.  Ms. Whiting graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in public policy from Duke University. She received an M.S. in urban affairs and public policy from Southern Illinois University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urban.  Ms. Whiting is the current Board Chair of the MetroHealth System. She established the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and chairs the Legal and Government Relations Committee and the Governance Committee. Ms. Whiting is a member of the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation Board, the Greater Cleveland Partnership Board and recently was appointed to the board of Cleveland State University

OUR MISSION

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Our Health

NIAAH will always focus on "our health" as a first priority. Helping you live a better and longer life is our goal.

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NIAAH Scholars

We support the education and success of the next generation of African American doctors by providing educational resources and mentorship.

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Medical Experts

NIAAH's Medical Expert Panel is ready to share their support to future doctors as well as defend the integrity of the quality of care African American patients receive.