The Balm In Gilead presents Best Practice Award at the 2020 conference

RICHMOND, Va. — The Balm In Gilead, Inc. will present Best Practice Awards to nine congregational-based health ministries from across the country that are raising the bar to improve the health of African Americans within their congregations and communities.

Additionally, VillageHeartbeat, a North Carolina-based organization, will receive The Balm In Gilead’s Best Practice Award for Engaging African American Congregations in Addressing Health Disparities. Cheryl S. Emanuel, MS, CSAPC, leads Village Heartbeat. The organization’s 2019 Life Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Geneticist Georgia M. Dunston, Ph.D., a retired professor of human immunogenetics at Howard University and founding director of the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. All honorees will receive special recognition during the 6th Annual Healthy Churches National Conference Awards Dinner.

The Healthy Churches 2020 Conference is expected to attract more than 500 faith and public health influencers Nov. 19-22 in Charlotte, NC at the downtown Sheraton Hotel. The awards dinner, featuring Grammy Award-(Black Entrepreneurs NYC) to(Black Entrepreneurs NYC) to Winner Israel Houghton takes place on the evening of Nov. 21. The Balm In Gilead’s Best Practice award, which is designed to recognize extraordinary faith-based partnerships, health outreach, and services within rural and urban African American communities.

“The Best Practice Award is the foundational essence of our work,” said Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder, and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc. “These congregations and organizations are beacons of light and hope, proactively working to bring the latest health solutions to communities they serve”

Congregations receiving 2019 Best Practice Awardees are:

  • Turner Memorial AME Church, Hyattsville, Md. (Dr. D.K. Kearney)
  • Central Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Hilton Head, S.C. (Rev. Louis Johnson)
  • Faith Community Baptist Church, Richmond, Va. (Rev. Dr. Patricia Gould-Champ)
  • New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Dr. Marcus Davidson)
  • Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, New Haven, Conn. (Dr. Kelcy Steele)
  • Beebe Memorial CME Cathedral, Oakland, Calif. (Dr. Charles Hames, Jr.)
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church, Staunton, Va. (Dr. Michael Turner)
  • Berea Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Dorchester, Mass. (Rev. Omar G. Jarvis)
  • Beacon Light International Baptist Cathedral, New Orleans, La. (Dr. Darryl Brister)

Annually, the Healthy Churches 2020 conference speaker roster includes nationally-renowned faith and public health leaders. This year’s line-up includes author and philanthropist Cookie Johnson; Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, Duke University Medical Center; Bishop James Walker, Sr., The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. Shane Scott, the historic Los Angeles-based Macedonia Baptist Church; and many more.


About The Balm In Gilead, Inc: The Balm In Gilead, Inc. builds and strengthens the capacity of African American faith communities throughout the United States to deliver programs and services that contribute to the elimination of health disparities. The organization develops educational and training programs specifically designed to establish sustainable, integrated systems of public health and faith principles, which helps to improve the health outcomes of individuals living in urban, rural and remote communities. For more information:


Jameel Barfield
[email protected]
(212) 736-0404