Current Leader

Lynn Todman

Lynn Todman
Location: St. Joseph, Michigan Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Addiction and Substance Abuse, Behavioral and Mental Health, Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Early Childhood, Education, Environmental Justice, Food Systems and Nutrition, Health Care Access, Leadership Development, Maternal and Infant Health, Obesity, Public Policy, Public, Population and Community Health, Violence and Trauma Populations Served: African-American/Black, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Children and Families, Foster Youth and Families, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Homeless Populations, Immigrants and Refugees, Incarcerated or Formerly Incarcerated Populations, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, Men's Health, Migrant Workers, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), Native/Tribal/Indigenous People, People with Addictions, Urban Communities, Women's Health
Vice President Health Equity
Spectrum Health – BHSH System

Health is a non-negotiable human right. Yet, in Berrien County, Michigan, a stark racial divide exists between those who have good health and those who do not. More than 75 percent of African-Americans, who comprise 15 percent of the population, live in census tracts where the death rate is up to 75 percent higher than county, state, and national averages. Health behaviors and access to health care underlie these disparities, but they don’t tell the whole story. Racism plays an insidious role not only by blocking access to resources and opportunities required to obtain care and engage in healthy behaviors, but also by stimulating human neurological and physiological processes that harm health. Lynn is using insights from fields such as social neuroscience, genomics, and epigenetics to deepen understanding of the impact of racism on health, and to reframe the narrative about why racial health inequities exist and how to address them.

A native of Chicago, Lynn grew up in a time of fervent activism in her spirited South Side community. Combined with training and work in the field of urban and regional planning, her perspective on community health is both broad and steeped in a commitment to social justice and social action.

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