Bridging Body, Mind, Spirit in Black Women's Health
Dr. Akila Ka Ma'at
(publishing as Jennifer R. Warren)
For over three decades, Dr. Ma’at has immersed herself deeply within the vibrant tapestry of Black communities across the United States. She stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Black women, in the spaces where they live, labor, and love, diligently expanding her understanding of how health and medical care is delivered, received, and enacted.
Dr. Ma'at has built powerful alliances with organizations and institutions professing to serve Black communities. Not content with mere rhetoric, she has forged community task forces and advisory
boards, working tirelessly from the grassroots upwards to wage war on the rampant health inequities and the resulting disparities that mar the lives of Black women.
Her academic prowess reverberates across borders, earning her international acclaim as a distinguished scholar and research collaborator. Her impact is quantifiable, as evidenced by a portfolio with funding awards and honors. Through her award-winning nonprofit, Center for African American Health Disparities Education & Research, Dr. Ma'at conducts the research that informs WATER and mentors Black and Brown women students in the health professions on transformational equity research, shaping WATER's coaching efforts.
But Dr. Ma’at's influence transcends mere numbers. Her contributions to the scientific community, demonstrated by over 30 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and reports, and her voice, resounding in over 70 presentations at distinguished scientific venues, are a testament to her effectiveness and dedication. As a trusted advisor, she has lent her expertise to a broad spectrum of entities across the nation, including nonprofits, state health departments, and prestigious medical school programs.
Dr. Ma'at's ceaseless commitment, incisive intellect, and profound empathy make her a force for change, tirelessly championing the cause of transformational equity research.
As a driving force in health equity, Dr. Ma’at's expertise in health disparities research spans across the US and the Black Diaspora. From leading the 'Bodyworks' initiative for holistic wellness on the West Coast, to amplifying knowledge about COVID-19 within Black communities, her impact is wide-reaching.
In the Midwest, she enhanced cultural relevance in clinical trials and led a seven-year community-based participatory research project that led to the collaborative development of a community-based intervention, placed in childcare centers, that increased knowledge of environmental pollutants and skill in protecting asthmatic children.
In the Northeast, her partnerships with housing communities resulted in resident councils and health task forces that addressed substandard housing's impact on Black health, reduced food insecurity, and encouraged physical activity. She also launched a Black women’s health collaborative and co-developed solutions for racial inequities in access to relevant and agentic health and medical care.
Internationally, she collaborated with American Sierra Leonean communities and the Sierra Leonean government during the Ebola outbreak, highlighting their discrimination in US contexts and developing interventions to strengthen familial communication and relationships and reduce poverty and misinformation.
In addition to these achievements, Dr. Ma’at is an expert in health and medical care racism, behavioral health, cancer-related health disparities, immunization, digital health design and access, and health message and intervention development. She provides continuing medical education opportunities and public and community health professional development,
Excelling at securing funding, managing health programs, and multi-program management, Dr. Ma'at is cementing herself as a visionary leader in transformative health equity.