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Ms. Debra Fraser-Howze

Founder of Choose Healthy Life

Debra Fraser-Howze is the Founder of Choose Healthy Life, a non-profit organization focused on establishing a sustainable, scalable and transferable approach to address public health disparities through the Black Church.

She founded Choose Healthy Life in October 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic after seeing the disproportionate death and inequitable health impact it was having on the Black community. She saw an opportunity to bring faith and medicine together by establishing a trusted health workforce within the Black church to connect hard-to-reach and underserved communities on the ground to much needed health services.

To guide Choose Healthy Life she established the National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council co-chaired by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and eminent theologian Rev. Calvin O. Butts III (Abyssinian Baptist Church) of blessed memory. Under Ms. Fraser-Howze’s leadership, Choose Healthy Life, expanded to 120 churches across 13 states. To date, Choose Healthy Life has hosted over 3,500 church events at which over 110,000 individuals were vaccinated for COVID-19.

Prior to Choose Healthy Life, Ms. Fraser-Howze served for a decade as the Senior Vice President, Government and External Affairs at OraSure Technologies where she played a critical role in launching the nation’s first and only rapid HIV test that is available over the counter. She was also instrumental in securing government funding for the clinical development of the Company’s rapid HCV, Ebola and Zika tests.
Prior to joining OraSure, Ms. Fraser-Howze served as the President/CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), an organization she founded in 1987. While at NBLCA, she was an author of the federally-funded Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) which was created in 1998 in response to growing concern about the impact of HIV/AIDS on racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. The MAI provides for over $500 million in annual funding, strengthening organizational capacity and expanding HIV-related services in minority communities.

Recognized for more than three decades of global leadership to communities of color regarding teenage pregnancy, social welfare, and HIV and AIDS, Ms. Fraser-Howze advised two U.S. Presidents while serving on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 1995-2001.

In 2009, she was the recipient of the National Medical Association’s (NMA) highest honor, the Scroll of Merit, and in 2010 she was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame for distinguished achievement. Ms. Fraser-Howze is currently a member of the board of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Ms. Debra Fraser-Howze
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