NPHW Forum 2023: Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health

Monday, April 3, 2 p.m. ET

Join APHA and public health leaders from across the country in this conversation about the intersections of public health and how public health can collaborate with community leaders to build trust and a strong foundation for healthy change. The Forum is the national kickoff for NPHW.

This year's Forum theme is Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.

Watch the Forum.

Keynote Speaker

Leah Thomas headshotLeah Thomas, Founder of Intersectional Environmentalist & Author of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet

Leah Thomas is a celebrated environmentalist based in Los Angeles, CA. Coining the term ‘eco-communicator’ to describe her style of environmental activism, Leah uses her passion for writing and creativity to explore and advocate for the critical yet often overlooked relationship between social justice and environmentalism. With this intersection in mind, Leah founded and launched the non-profit Intersectional Environmentalist, a platform and resource hub that aims to advocate for environmental justice, provide educational resources surrounding intersectional environmentalism and promote inclusivity and accessibility within environmental education and movements. 

Building on her work in the field, Leah penned The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet. Published in March 2022, the book serves as an introduction to the intersection between environmentalism, racism and privilege, and as an acknowledgment of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without protecting all of its people. 

Leah is also the founder of the eco-lifestyle blog @greengirlleah, where she uses her multiple years of eco-focused educational and work experience to inform her ever-expanding list of projects, and connect with her audience of more than 400k followers across channels. Leah has been named to several notable lists — including TIME100 NEXT, INSIDER’s Climate Action 30, Marie Claire’s Creators to Watch, EBONY Power 100 and InStyle’s The Badass 50 — and is an established public speaker who has presented at Google, 1% for the Planet’s Global Summit, Dreamforce and more. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, The Washington Post and Highsnobiety. She has also been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, W Magazine and CNN as well as Good Morning America, ABC News, NBC, The Weather Channel and numerous podcasts.

Leah is a graduate of Chapman University with a BS in Environmental Science & Policy and a cluster in Comparative World Religions. She has interned with the National Park Service and has worked at leading green companies, including eco-friendly soap company Ecos and outdoor retailer Patagonia.


Angel Charley headshotAngel Charley is a highly accomplished Indigenous leader who has dedicated her career to addressing violence against Native women and girls. She currently serves as the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, where she has demonstrated a deep commitment to building values-driven solutions that can inform system transformation around gender-based violence.

As a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and Navajo Nation, Ms. Charley brings a unique perspective to her work that is informed by Indigenous knowledge systems and values. She is deeply committed to advancing Indigenous power building and affirming Indigenous knowledge systems within the movement to end gender-based violence.

In recognition of her expertise and dedication, Ms. Charley was appointed to the New Mexico Murdered and Missing Indigenous Relatives Taskforce in 2019. She has also been recognized by the New Mexico State Senate for her tireless advocacy and work to bring awareness to the MMIW movement. Ms. Charley's commitment to social justice and gender equity has led to her appointment to the 2022 White House Gender Policy Trilateral Workgroup to address violence against Indigenous women. Her testimony at Congress was crucial in highlighting the urgent need for systemic change and accountability in addressing gender-based violence against Native women and girls.

Additionally, Ms. Charley is a highly regarded member of several boards and organizations that work towards ending gender-based violence and advancing social justice. She serves on the board of directors for the Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Collaborative, the Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence, and the Laguna Federation of Democratic Women. Ms. Charley is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, where she earned a degree in Communication. 

Felix Hernandez HeadshotFelix Hernandez is a person committed to practicing strength-based, trauma-informed support to families navigating parenthood. Born in Houston and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Felix studied education and literature in Baltimore. He has been an educator in Washington, D.C. for children as young as 3 and in Alexandria, Virginia for students in middle school. His work in home visiting has transformed his understanding on the importance of protective factors that shield children from abuse and neglect. His continued learning about the long-term health implications of adverse childhood experiences magnifies his efforts to tackle root causes of trauma in families and communities.

Currently, as Advocacy and Fatherhood Supervisor at Mary's Center, he engages families, family support workers and professionals in early childhood education in the District to advocate for their wellbeing to city officials. Felix's primary mission is to challenge versions of masculinity and power dynamics that cause harm and trauma to others, and the land. He works towards the society where conflict is constructive and benevolent at every level. He commits to supporting families and communities interested in creating the sustainable and healthy environment they want to thrive in.  

Diane Horvath headshotDiane Horvath, MD, MPH (she/her) is the co-founder and medical director of Partners in Abortion Care, an all-trimester abortion clinic in College Park, Maryland. She is passionate about dismantling the stigma that surrounds abortion later in pregnancy, providing care based on anti-oppression principles, and training clinicians to view advocacy as part of their obligation to patients and colleagues and as a tool for empowerment.

A lifelong Midwesterner before relocating to the Baltimore/DC area, she earned degrees from the Ohio State University, Medical University of Ohio and the University of Minnesota. After four years of general OB/GYN practice, she completed a fellowship in complex family planning at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in D.C., a master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins, and a yearlong fellowship in reproductive health policy advocacy with Physicians for Reproductive Health. She has written and spoken extensively about abortion provider safety and her own experiences with anti-abortion harassment and violence. Her legal challenge to a former employer's restrictive policy on abortion advocacy was featured in multiple media outlets, including The Washington Post and the New York Times.

Lupita Vasquez Reyes headshotLupita Vazquez Reyes is a native of Immokalee, Florida, where immigrant farm laborers provide two-thirds of the nation’s winter crops, yet suffer the irony of food insecurity in a USDA-described food desert. She sees this as a form of continued violence and threat to the diverse identities that comprise her hometown. Lupita is a community activist, platica healer and cultural worker. As the daughter of immigrant farmworkers who were organizers in the early days of immigrant farm labor movements in Southwest Florida, Lupita uses her background to inform and radicalize change in her community through her efforts to connect local knowledge of ancestral growing practices and helping to facilitate spaces that nurture healing, collaborative, collective approaches to care. Her heart work centers a return to ancestral knowledge and stewardship of food ways, language, identity and comunidad in the garden, specifically among farmworker communities and youth. She is the community gardens and outreach manager with Cultivate Abundance

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