Dr. Ford joined the Black Women’s Health Imperative as a Health Program Manager in January 2013. In this capacity, she provides leadership for the Imperative’s CDC-sponsored National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life., helping to build the capacity of partner organizations to both deliver and sustain the program. She is also a Master Trainer for the Imperative’s diabetes prevention program.
Dr. Ford brings to the Imperative 35 years of experience working in various aspects of social work, public health, and community engagement. Her interests have focused primarily on women’s health, health promotion and disease prevention, the mental health and aging of Black women, and the intersection of women’s childhood trauma and their adult health outcomes. In June 2012, Dr. Ford retired from the University of Pittsburgh after 22 years of service, where she also received both her Master’s and PhD in Social Work, along with a graduate Certificate in Gerontology. While at the University, she helped established the community satellite program for the Alzheimer Disease Research Center and served as its first Program Director; she held a secondary appointment as Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences; and served as both the Associate Director of the Center for Minority Health and Executive Director of the Center for Healthy Equity. During this same timeframe, she, along with several other women, established a women’s health promotion network– BWHOLE: Black Women and Health Outreach for Longer Life and Empowerment; she served as a Peer Leader/Trainer delivering the National Council on Aging Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Better Choices-Better Health to older adults, using the Stanford University model; she was a certified trainer for the Healthy Aging program sponsored by the University’s Aging and Population Health Prevention Research Center; a trained facilitator for the Arthritis Foundation exercise program, working with older adults; and trained case managers throughout the Ohio Department of Child Welfare to work effectively with biological and adoptive families of sexually abused children. For the past eight years, Dr. Ford has been a consultant for the University of Virgin Islands NIH-sponsored Caribbean Exploratory Research Center Community Outreach and Information Dissemination Core (School of Nursing); and prior to her tenure at the University, Dr. Ford counseled adult women who were sexually abused as children and female adolescent survivors of sexual assault living in group homes.
Dr. Ford has served on numerous Boards and advisory committees and her awards and acknowledgements have been numerous as well, including: University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service to the University, YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh Tribute to Women, Renaissance Publications Trailblazer Award, The New Pittsburgh Courier 50 Most Influential Women (2 years), Onyx Woman Magazine 25 Women to Know, Alpha Phi Alpha/Alpha Kappa Alpha Spirit of the Everyday Hero, Alpha Kappa Alpha Contributions to Public Health, and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year. Dr. Ford is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.