Achieving What One Leader Can Not Do Alone

Achieving What One Leader Can Not Do Alone
January 3, 2018

Cross-sector collaboration is key to finding innovative solutions to the nation’s most difficult health challenges. RWJF’s leadership development programs offer participants a unique opportunity to connect with those outside of their usual circles. Two leadership program participants—Bettina Byrd-Giles, Culture of Health Leader, and Derek Hyra, PhD, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Fellow—have done just that.

While representing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) at the Aspen Ideas Festival this past year, the duo realized that Bettina’s community of Ensley in Birmingham, AL could benefit from Derek’s work in understanding gentrification and neighborhood development trends. As a result, Derek and Bettina will now work together to measure the impact of her organization, Ensley Alive, which is dedicated to Ensley’s renaissance as a cultural center where all residents have the opportunity for healthier, thriving lives. Derek will also meet with community stakeholders to discuss neighborhood development trends and share his research on the gentrification’s effects on communities.

This collaboration will allow Bettina to evaluate and evolve Ensley Alive’s work in real time to best meet the needs of her community, and allow Derek to share his research in a new community where it can be directly and immediately applied.

If you are interested in learning more about Derek’s work and research, come to the community stakeholder meeting he and Bettina are hosting:


January 26, 2018

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Five Points West Regional Library

4812 Avenue W.

Birmingham, AL 35208


In turn, Clinical Scholars, another RWJF leadership development program, has recognized Bettina’s expertise in cultural competency and asked her to help bring her perspective to their current cohort of fellows as part of their health equity curriculum.

These programs encourage participants to take on the big, complex issues that are perpetuating health inequities in America. Bettina and Derek are demonstrating what can happen when you diverse people and perspectives united around a common goal.

To learn more about Bettina’s work in Ensley, you can follow Ensley Alive on Twitter at @EnsleyAlive or visit her profile page.

For more information on Derek’s latest research, visit his profile page or read his book Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City.