RICHMOND, VA. (Black PR Wire) – The Balm In Gilead, Inc. has set the stage again for the only national conference of its kind to bridge faith and public health.

As a three-day capacity-building training event, more than 500 influencers from across faith, medical and corporate spectrums are expected to convene in Charlotte, NC for the 6th annual 2019 Healthy Churches 2020 National Conference on Nov. 19-22.

The conference takes place at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Charlotte where some of the nation’s leading public health and faith leaders will forge alliances to strengthen the capacity of faith communities to address the alarming rates of health disparities among African Americans.

“For more than 30 years, The Balm In Gilead continues to be a forerunner in addressing health issues that disproportionately affect African Americans,” said Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

“Every year, we take several steps forward to close the information and application gaps in some of our hardest to reach African American communities.”

Bishop Horace Smith, MD, senior pastor, Apostolic Faith Church, physician at Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and the conference chairperson, echoed similar sentiments:

“Body, Soul, Mind, your mental health – all that is needed to be a complete person,” he said. “This conference addresses all of this!”

The Balm In Gilead, Inc. ( develops educational and training programs specifically designed to establish sustainable, integrated systems of public health and faith principles, to help improve health outcomes. of individuals living in urban, rural and remote communities.

The primary objective of the gathering is to strengthen the skills and leadership capacity of pastors and congregation members who work within church health ministries, and auxiliaries including the kitchen/culinary teams, ministry nursing units, transportation teams, deacon and missionary groups and other outreach ministerial programs.

The organization has announced its initial slate of speakers for the 2020 conference. New this year: Gospel Artist Israel Houghton will headline the Best Practice Awards Dinner.

• 2019 State of the Union on Black Mental Health: Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

• Conference Opening Preacher: Bishop James B. Walker, presiding prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

• Conference Key Presenter: Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, obesity medicine physician scientist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

• Conference Closing Preacher: Shane B. Scott, senior pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Los Angeles, Calif.

• Conference Key Presenter: Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, writer and public Intellectual, Ray of Hope Community Church, Nashville, TN

• Conference Key Presenter: Paul Abernathy, director, FOCUS Pittsburgh

• Conference Key Presenter: Dr. Khaalida T. Forbes, MSW, DMIN, founder and chief executive officer, Metamorphosis Enterprises, Atlanta, GA.

For registration, hotel and other information visit