MHA Alumna Named Chief Inclusion Officer

MHA Alumna Named Chief Inclusion Officer

Teresa Branson, MHA '10, a Grand Valley State University School of Public, Nonprofit, & Health Administration Alumna  will oversee diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as Kent County's first Chief Inclusion Officer. The news was reported on, and the article is quoted below:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Kent County has hired its first chief inclusion officer, a new role tasked with overseeing the county’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and ways the county can improve.

Currently the deputy administrative health officer at the Kent County Health Department, Teresa Branson was selected for the role, county officials announced Thursday, May 6.

“We are fortunate to have someone as qualified as Teresa serve as our first Chief Inclusion Officer,” said Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt. “We elevated this role because we are committed to accelerating our efforts to be an inclusive workforce and to ensure we are being equitable in our service delivery. I am excited for Teresa to fulfill this role and help us expand our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”

Branson, who starts May 24, has previously held a number of public health education positions, both within KCHD and beyond. She also serves on numerous community and statewide boards, including the Michigan Community Action Team of the Governor’s COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force.

During her time at the health department, she facilitated health equity and social justice training sessions, as well as provided direction on the department’s health equity initiatives and led programs aimed at reducing health disparities.

“It is an honor to be selected as the first person filling this role at Kent County,” said Branson. “I look forward to working with our leadership teams, employees and community partners to build on the work that has already been done and to implement meaningful change that will make county government more responsive in meeting the diverse needs of our employees and community.”

Branson holds a master’s degree in health administration from Grand Valley State University and a bachelor’s degree in public health education from Central Michigan University.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners established the new chief inclusion officer role, who reports directly to Britt, in late March.

Over the past several years, the county has invested in programs aimed at increased equity and inclusion across its hiring, training and service delivery processes. Branson will oversee these efforts, as well as look at ways to improve the county’s ability to serve both its employees and residents.

“Teresa has a wealth of experience that will help us develop best practices and break through potential barriers. Our goal is to build a more welcoming workforce and community,” Britt said.

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Page last modified May 7, 2021