Carol McGruder

Carol McGruder is experienced in the fields of tobacco control, transnational tobacco issues, public policy, social marketing, media advocacy, parent training, health education and community capacity building. She is a highly-respected trainer, presenter, community advocate and program designer with strong interpersonal skills. Ms. McGruder is a seasoned veteran of California’s tobacco control experience and has served as an advisor in many capacities, most recently as a founding member and co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC).


She also served as co-chair of the cessation track planning committee for the National Conference on Tobacco or Health Conference (NCTOH) 2009. Ms. McGruder was a planning committee member and presenter for the 2008 California Department of Public Health (CPDH) Tobacco Control Conference, “A Community Under Siege: The State of Black California and Tobacco Use.” She co-founded, a grassroots initiative that garnered national attention in its efforts to support the passage of California’s Proposition 86. In 2010, Ms. McGruder was honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Engagement Award for her tobacco control work in San Francisco.


She is also a recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award for community activism in tobacco control, and in 2007 she was the American Legacy Foundation national honoree for “Community Activist of the Year.” She has been recognized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Berkeley City Council, and American Lung Association for her leadership in tobacco control and community activism.

Y’Lonn Burris brings drive and energy to her position as Project Coordinator for The African American Statewide Coordinating Center. She possesses a broad range of effective professional skills which include project management, public relations, communications, public policy, fundraising, capacity building and marketing experience. Her passion regarding cultural competence and understanding particularly as it pertains to tobacco cessation in priority populations has lead to contributions to the Tobacco Education Materials Advisory Team and TFC Media Subcommittee.


She is a staunch advocate for Dementia/Alzheimer’s prevention as well as affordable residential and facilitated Alzheimer’s care within the African American community.  Y’Lonn is a Southern California native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State Fullerton and resides in the East Bay.

Y'Lonn Burris

Ekua Armah is the Project Assistant for the African American Coordinating Center. Her background in health promotion and disease prevention equips her to understand the biological, socio-cultural, behavioral and institutional aspects that affect health. She is committed to advancing wellness in communities of color.

Ekua Armah

Ernesta Wright

Community Engagement Coordinator


Ernesta Wright has established a track record as an effective collaborator for outreach and programming with large organizations, including completed projects with American Cancer Society, Covered California, Blue Shield of California, Susan G. Komen Orange County Affiliate, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Vines Medical Society, with five universities; National University, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Fullerton, Loyola Marymount, San Marcos University and other community/grassroots organizations, to facilitate a greater impact among African American constituents throughout the state of California. She has also positioned this grassroots regency as a leader in the fight against cancers.


The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation has a reach and positive impact in the fight against cancers that spans from its Orange County base of operations in Southern California, to the Bay Area in Northern California. Ms. Wright constructed statewide (Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento and Alameda) collaboration between certified educators and enrollment counselors to provide expansive outreach in African American communities.

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