Making Herstory: "Women's Health is Women's History" hosted by Black San Diego x Multicultural Health Foundation

March 31, 2021 6:30 PM

As we wrap up Women's History Month this March 31st, join us while we reflect with the women who are leaving an impact on the healthcare industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women are a vital force in medicine and continue to make "herstory" today.

You will learn about black women in medicine, the importance of good health (with or without the vaccine) and the role of nurses in the community during the pandemic.

Guest Speakers:

Dr. Suzanne Afflalo, MD

Dr. Afflalo currently serves as the Medical Director for the Alliance Health Clinic, which provides health care for the refugee population. She served as Chief of the Family Medicine Department for six years; held the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) Professional Staff President position for three years and taught numerous medical students and residents as an Associate Faculty of UCSD School of Medicine since 1994. Dr. Afflalo also served on numerous committees during her 23-year career at Kaiser Permanente.

Over the past 25 years, Dr. Afflalo has spent most of her free time volunteering in the community, lecturing on breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, other health related issues, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. She is deeply passionate about working specifically with minority and underserved communities, educating, encouraging, and empowering people to obtain the best health possible. Dr. Afflalo has organized several health fairs and health screenings at several barbershops, churches, and community events.

In spring 2014, Dr. Afflalo designed and implemented “A Healthier Me” (AHM), a lifestyle change and health improvement program developed to decrease the morbidity and mortality of African Americans and other minorities with various cardiovascular risks. AHM provides health education, addresses healthy eating, regular exercise, weight loss, blood pressure and diabetes control to improve the overall health of minority communities. Dr. Afflalo has successfully implemented the AHM program in 4 churches in the Southeastern San Diego community, but her goal is to spread “A Healthier Me” to several other churches and organizations in San Diego.

Dr. Kelly O. Elmore

Volunteer Medical Director, VivaLife Health Hub

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Elmore graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Xavier University of Louisiana, received her medical degree at The University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine and Master’s in Business Administration from Naval Post Graduate School. She completed post-graduate training and board certification in obstetrics and gynecology after a tour as a General Medical Officer at Naval Hospital Roosevelt Roads.

From 2007-2013, Dr. Elmore served as the Assistant and Interim Department Head for Obstetrics and Gynecology at NH Camp Pendleton. During this time she was the medical liaison for labor and delivery and the lead women’s health consultant for the John Hopkins University Applied Sciences Lab OBGYN Process Improvement Project. She co-authored research on The Prevalence of Peripartum Depression in Military Families, which was presented at the 2011 Academic Research Competition and published in the October 2012 Journal of Military Medicine.

2013-2015, Dr. Elmore completed a Department Head tour at NH Guam where her team significantly improved the branding and access to women’s health services. These efforts increased patient satisfaction, continuity of care, optimized utilization of women’s health resources and created collaborative care between Air Force and Navy services.

2016-2018 Dr. Elmore was competitively selected for the Director of Health Care Business at NH Camp Pendleton. Her team has bridged the clinical and administrative gap within Southern California Market. The directorate developed a MOU with the Veteran’s Administration of San Diego, implemented DHA guidelines prior to the 2017 and 2018 instructions. Recognized as a leader in Navy Medicine in clear and legible reporting, unification of the So Cal market referral management and a best practice site for utilization management. Dr. Elmore, created and became the inaugural Director, Marketing and Branding, a 12 person diverse multi-disciplinary team of active duty, GS and contractors. This team has been integral in the verbal, on-line and face to face communication with NHCP’s 151,000 eligible beneficiaries and the implementation of high visibility programs that engage over 5,000 beneficiaries monthly.

2018-2019 As the senior OBGYN for Branch Health Clinic, Iwakuni she became the physician liaison to the Japanese Host Nation Hospital Executive boards, implemented specialty care secure messaging services and a southern regional gynecologic consultation service. 

Dr. Elmore has been a featured speaker at NHCP Women’s History Month, Marine Corps Camp Pendleton Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention symposiums, and the Navy Region Southwest Black History Month program. While in Guam, she was a subcommittee chair and panelist for the Inaugural Joint Marianas Women’s Leadership Symposium.

Dr. Elmore celebrated the release of a joint service and multi-disciplinary co-authored book, Perinatal Mental Health and the Military Family and was recognized by the Secretary of Defense, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. She has received the Military Health Service Navy Junior Officer Female Physician Leader of the Year award and the Women of Color, National S.T.E.M. award for military scientists.

Her military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3), Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation, Outstanding Volunteer Service and Global War on Terrorism.

Jaleisha Smith Jacobs

Strategy & Program Development Director, Anthem, Inc.

Jaleisha isa strategy director at Anthem, responsible for relationship management, client retention, and growth for the company’s healthcare fraud, waste, and waste solution. Preceding her current role, Jaleisha was the Chief of Staff forAnthem’s Service Experience division, where her team was charged with crafting strategies and leading initiatives to achieve associate engagement, operation excellence, and consumer satisfaction. During a period of organizational transformation, Jaleisha was part of a team that managed a portfolio of initiatives valued at $1B in operating gain from ideation through business case development and execution planning. Jaleisha also designed and implemented an initiative to maximize performance through increasing associates’ connection to the organization’s values.

Prior to joining Anthem, Jaleisha managed the patient safety program for a 500+ bed hospital. She performed root cause analysis for sentinel events, managed the physician peer review process for several specialties, implemented a successful employee injury prevention program, improved Culture of Safety survey results, and achieved sustainable gains in national patient safety process and outcome measures. Jaleisha used principles of effective teamwork, open communication, and smart process design to achieve a safe healthcare environment for the patients that the hospital served. Jaleisha started her career in healthcare asa transplant ICU nurse, then transitioned to behavioral health nursing before working in patient safety.

Jaleisha earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University ofPennsylvania, graduating magna cum laude. She is a Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation Gates Millennium Scholar. Jaleisha received her Master of PublicHealth (MPH) degree with a concentration in healthcare management and policy from San Diego State University. She graduated from the MPH program with a 4.0GPA, and was awarded the Health Management and PolicyOutstanding Graduate Award and the FosterG. McGaw Award. From2016 to 2018, Jaleisha served as the president of the Penn Club of HamptonRoads. Jaleisha continues to support the Penn community as an alumni interviewer and mentor to an undergraduate student. Jaleisha also mentors undergraduate students at San Diego State University.

As an undergraduate, Jaleisha trained with the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of MinorityHealth as peer educator for their campaign to reduce health disparities in infant mortality. As a peer educator, Jaleisha promoted preconception health, organized a community health fair and baby shower in Philadelphia, and participated in community outreach in Memphis. Jaleisha was among the team captured in the documentary Crisis in the Crib: Saving Our Nation’s Babies, produced by Tonya Lewis Lee.  

Presently,Jaleisha is a member of the San Diego Black Nurses Association (SDBNA) and a co-chair of their COVID-19 Taskforce where she and other members of the Taskforce have taken on the charge to secure vaccines to administer at events in the most diverse areas of San Diego. Since the SDBNA began holding events, the percentage of African Americans among people that have been vaccinated has increased from 2.0% on February 16th to 2.5% as of March 22nd. In a little over one month, the Task Force has administered over 1,750 Moderna vaccines through 100% volunteer effort and community partnerships.

Jaleisha also volunteers with Amor Ministries and Habitat for Humanity, and has participated in house builds in California, Virginia, Mexico, and South Africa.Jaleisha serves as a Phone Pal to an older adult through Anthem’s MemberConnect program aimed at combating loneliness and promoting social health.Jaleisha also supports a number other of non-profits including San Diego RescueMission.

Jaleisha isa San Diego native and grew up in the Webster community. As a young person, she was involved in a number of community service and civic engagement programs, including serving on the Youth Advisory Boards for both the 4th District Councilman and the Mayor of San Diego. Jaleisha now lives in the city of Chula Vista.


Together Against COVID is an initiative led by the Multicultural Health Foundation (MHF) in partnership with the County of San Diego. MHF's mission is to bring health justice and wellness to the multicultural communities of San Diego County by focusing resources on the most vulnerable populations with community-based wellness strategies, social-clinical interventions, and research that will lead to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. For more information, please contact us at (619) 915-6734.