Dr. Cherry Houston is the President/CEO of Critical Learning Systems, Inc. (CLS), Project Director for the CLS Oral Health Network Index project (OHNI), Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Graduate Studies & Research at Meharry Medical College (MMC), a member of the MMC Masters in Science Public Health Program Advisory Board and a Visiting Scholar at the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care. She also serves as a leader on the DHHS Office of Minority Health National Partnership for Action Southern Health Equity Council (SHEC)/Region IV, the Cross-RHEC Oral Health Equity Work Group, the DentaQuest Foundation National Oral Health Equity Connection Team (NOHCT) and the NOHCT Equity and Social Justice Workgroup.
Dr. Houston has over 40 years of public health experience and has created through a network of partnerships Health Equity Consortiums designed to advance national and regional health equity knowledge exchanges. She has experience in leadership, training, motivation and has implemented various projects in faith-based settings, engaged stakeholders and community advocates using community-based participatory approaches, and has targeted interventions involving the entire family. Coupled with her broad background as an Associate Director of Training and Senior Behavioral Scientist where she provided strategic leadership to plan, coordinate and design project specific activities relative to adaptation, tailoring and contextualization of behavioral interventions for public health prevention projects, community health and capacity building services for outpatient care and treatment.
She has successfully administered projects for a statewide public health agency as Division Director for the State of Tennessee, providing strategic leadership to Directors of the Office of Minority Health, Health Disparities Elimination, Faith-Based Initiatives and Title IX/Civil Rights. Dr. Houston has convened and coordinated the DHHS Region IV Research Integrity Conference, developed equity modules for staff and communities, putting prevention to work grants and contributed to the African American Men’s Health Network. She is a subcontractor to a NIH grant to develop Policy Action Plans for the reduction of Childhood Obesity, Child Advocacy and Child Policy programs with the Morehouse School of Medicine Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Tennessee Collaborative Action Child Education program.
Dr. Houston has won numerous awards and citations such as the California Wellness Foundation’s Leadership Award in HIV Leadership and Awareness. She is currently working to strengthen the National Oral Health Network through collaboration with the OHNI, NOHCT, RHECs and the RHEC IV/SHEC by promoting equity and social justice at the national, regional, state and local levels. She enjoys reading, gardening and traveling.