Leslie Parks, MSW is senior director of programs and advocacy for the Black Women’s Health Imperative in Washington, D.C., where she directs program staff and manages national programs and initiatives to promote health equity and wellness of Black women. The Black Women’s Health Imperative is the only national organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls. Current initiatives focus on chronic disease, reproductive justice, and lifestyle and wellness to ensure Black women live longer, healthier, more prosperous lives.
Parks also manages and aligns federal and foundation resources to achieve program outcomes, develops program strategies reflecting evidence-based practices, analytics and experience to meet the Imperative’s mission, facilitates new opportunities and scales existing programs. As part of her advocacy portfolio, Parks facilitates collaborative partnerships, builds and works with various coalitions on women’s health issues. She supervises four professional staff and a varying number of consultants.
Before joining the Imperative, Parks served for six years as deputy director for the Center for School, Health and Education at the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Washington, D.C. The Center’s mission is to increase health and educational success in vulnerable students in marginalized communities by providing a strategic response to the social determinants that impede both. In collaboration with the Center’s director, Parks provided leadership and had responsibility for implementing programmatic and policy strategies.
Earlier in her career, Parks worked for Georgia State University in the Institute for Public Health’s National SafeCare Training and Research Center. There she coordinated the statewide effort to train and implement SafeCare, an evidence-based parent education model adopted by the Georgia Department of Human Services to prevent child maltreatment.
Ms. Parks has more than 30 years of professional experience and a diverse background in both private industry and non-profit organizations. Her experience spans multiple sectors including public health, education, child welfare, business, and television. Parks has an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked both in the United States and abroad.