Grand Rapids African American Health Institute announces search for executive director

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Micah Foster, interim executive director for the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute Courtesy GRAAHI

A local nonprofit announced its search for a new executive director.

The executive director will continue building the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute’s presence and widen the organization’s impact within West Michigan. Micah Foster, PA-C, who has served as the interim executive director for the past year, will serve as a member of the search committee alongside the GRAAHI board of directors and HR Collaborative, which will be heading the search.

“GRAAHI has been a part of the Grand Rapids community for 18 years,” said Paul Doyle, CEO of Inclusive Performance Strategies and GRAAHI board chair. “We know we are at a pivotal point within our community, not to mention our country as a whole. There has been increased exposure of systemic inequities within the Black community due to social justice issues and the pandemic, which have increased racial tensions. Our work has never been more important, and It is imperative we build on our foundation and identify the right person to continue leading our work within the community.”

The new executive director will work closely with the board of directors and assist in the development and implementation of strategic planning. The new hire also will be responsible for managing the GRAAHI team and fund development activities.

“West Michigan is the area in which our advocacy, education, outreach and research efforts are focused,” Doyle said. “For that reason, it is our intent to facilitate our search within our region. It is extremely important that our new executive director is someone who knows and understands the dynamics of our community. We have been extremely fortunate to have had Micah serve in the interim role for the past year. We are all excited to build on the momentum, direction and progress he has made during his tenure.”

Following the transition, Foster will take on a new role within the organization and oversee the development of a medical advisory council, which will be comprised of Black health care providers, along with other community health practitioners.

The council will strengthen the organization’s ability to ensure programming and initiatives are mission-centric and demonstrate positive health outcomes in the communities we serve.

“It has been a tremendous pleasure and a privilege to serve the community, staff and GRAAHI board over the past year,” Foster said. “I have been honored to build on the strong foundation of this critical institution. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve and an agent for change within our community. We are ready to find a candidate who will take GRAAHI to the next level and support the needed change and awareness within our community.”

The ideal applicant will hold a master’s degree in public administration, health care administration, human services or a related field (Ph.D. desired), with at least 10 years of experience. As the leader of the organization, the candidate must have extensive experience in budget and fiscal management, as well as grant writing.

GRAAHI was formed in 2002 as a result of data and evidence that suggested the vast differences in health care outcomes for Black people. The Kent County Health Department, state of Michigan and the national government provided data showcasing the need for intentional effort and attention toward addressing racial and ethnic inequities in health.

Since its birth, GRAAHI has continued to grow within this space, working to eliminate such inequalities and shedding light on injustice within the Grand Rapids community and health care systems.

Candidates interested in learning more about the position can view the full job description online.

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