The Community Advisory Board (CAB) of the Healthier Black Elders Center (HBEC) consists of local metro Detroit community members who:


  • Are interested in reducing health-related disparities that impact African African older adults
  • Are willing to contribute to and support the research, outreach, and education efforts and activities of the Healthier Black Elders Center


The Detroit CAB is responsible for:

  •  Attending quarterly meetings
  •  Planning and attending the Lunch & Learn series 
  •  Contributing ideas and content for a community newsletter. 
  •  Promoting Healthier Black Elders programs throughout the community, and
  •  Sharing their experiences with research in order to recruit for a volunteer registry of research participants, called the Participant Resource Pool (PRP). 
  • Reviewing applications for research projects that want to utilize the Participant Resource Pool as a sample for a study. 


Academic researchers at local universities who have received institutional review board (IRB) approval for their work can apply to the  CAB for access to a list of potential research participants included in the Healthier Black Elders Participant Research Pool (PRP). 


The CAB provides an additional layer of review to ensure that the proposed study maximizes benefit for Black older adults. CAB members are trained with a research curriculum to support their ability to review research studies and they have the support of faculty liaisons at the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Learn more at



Current Detroit CAB Members:


Dr. Ethel Ambrose
Social Worker (ret.)


Mr. Eugene Odom
American General Insurance Comp. (ret.)

Photo of Eugene Odom

Mr. Odom was born in Ohio, but moved to Detroit at age 4 and continues to live there today. He first worked at Cadillac Motor, then served as a court liaison for 10 years in the Wayne County Substance Abuse Department. He eventually transitioned to a career in life insurance for several years before retiring. After being encouraged by a friend to consider being part of the community advisory board for HBEC, he joined and has been a member for 17 years.


Mr. James Bridgforth
Claims and Servicing Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (ret.)

Photo of James Bridgforth


Ms. JoAnn Smith
Medicare/Medicaid Trainer and Volunteer Coordinator, Detroit Area Agency on Aging (ret.)

Photo of JoAnn Smith


Mr. Henry Swift
Owner, Swift Office Solutions

Photo of Henry Swift

Mr. Swift is a Vietnam veteran who served as an occupational therapy technician in San Francisco where he treated returning injured soldiers. He is a Wayne State University alumnus with a bachelors of arts degree in philosophy. He and his wife started a computer supply company, Swift Computer Supplies, that has been part of the  Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council for over 30 years and received the Council’s supplier award. He also published his first novel in 2010 about the original Buffalo Soldiers and has since written HBEC NEWS FROM FLINT a screenplay and sequel novel. Mr. Swift has been a member of the community advisory board for just over a year now.


Ms. Precious Everett
City of Detroit, Principal Medical Tech (ret.)

Photo of Precious Everett


Mr. Clarence Steen

Photo of Clarence Steen


Ms. Johnetta McLeod
Tax Examiner, City of Detroit (ret.)


Mr. Freddie Hawkins
Senior Industrial Hygienist State of Michigan (ret.)


Ms. Alice Feurtado
Human Resources Assistant Westin Hotel (ret.)


Ms. Patricia Mullin
Realtor, Amazing Real Estate Solutions

Patricia Mullin was born and raised in Detroit MI. In the past she lived in Alabama and Georgia. Pat’s past life experiences were as an Insurance agent and an Investment advisor, Substitute Teacher, Registered Radiology Technician and a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Pat also had a Licensed Adult Foster Care Home in Oak Park MI. Patricia earned her Bachelor degree in Applied Science with a Minor of Health Care Administration from Siena Heights University.  Presently she is a Realtor, investor, and aspires to become a Community Developer. A Senior at 67 years young she is still energetic and has the desire to build affordable housing in Detroit.


Mrs. Fannie Spears
Administrative Assistant, Wayne County Court System (ret.)


Attorney Adrienne Watts
JD Elder Law, Law Office of Adrienne C. Watts, PLC


Dr. Shirley McRae
Detroit Public Schools (ret.)

Photo of Dr. Shirley McRae

Dr. Shirley McRae was born and raised in Detroit. She earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology at Wayne State in 1954. After working for 10 years as a medical technologist, she turned her passion toward education. She earned her teaching certificate and taught science at Detroit Public Schools for many years. She went on to get her master’s degree and taught at Wayne State for four years, then went on to receive a PhD in education. Dr. McRae has been a community advisory board member for over 10 years.


Ms. Wilma Stringer
Division Coordinator for Development Detroit Institute of Arts (ret.)


Mr. Sy Jensen

Mr. Jensen is a retired Chemist who previously worked for the County of Wayne, BASF, Ford Motor and Consumers Energy. He currently owns his on financial services business to help entrepreneurs to enter in the financial services industry with an office in Redford, Michigan.


Mr. Roland Samaroo

Mr. Roland Samaroo is a retired psychologist and mediator, he worked in the mental health field for many years in various capacities including administration and education. He places great values on education and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Wayne State University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. Mr. Samaroo is honored to serve on several boards, including the Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center and Center of Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State.

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