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Sandra E. Douchand-Brown, Ph.D - Panel Discussion Moderator

Dr. Sandra E. Douchand-Brown was born in Germany and grew up in Jamaica, with cultural roots heavily influenced by her Jamaican nurturing.  For as long as she can remember, she wanted to be a nurse.  She fulfilled that dream in 1986, graduating with her Diploma in Nursing from Kingston School of Nursing in Jamaica.  She soon married, and the couple moved to the USA where she was recruited by Cedars Medical Center and earned a Master of Science in Nursing in from Barry University. In the early 2000s, while working as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, her appetite for education returned. She went on to become a University of Miami alum, and was granted a Fellowship from the Florida Education Fund as a McKnight scholar while completing her Ph.D. in Nursing. Dr. Brown humbly acknowledges the leadership of her distinguished professor, Dr. Doris Noel Ugarizza, who mentored her while at the University of Miami. 

In her research, Dr. Brown focused on the Health Promotion Behaviors of African American Women.  As a Nurse Practitioner in the local community, she continues to help clients through the promotion of health, and the prevention of diseases.  Additionally, Dr. Brown teaches nursing courses for two universities and mentors nurse practitioner students in her office practice. 

A happily-married mother of two, as well as a dog-mom, Dr. Brown attributes her success to her relationship with God and how He has guided her choices throughout her life.  She firmly believes that making the right choices takes a combination of wisdom, guidance, great mentors, and faith. 


Vanessa Joseph, Esq.

Vanessa Joseph, Esq. is currently the City of North Miami's Elected City Clerk. In this office, she makes history as both the city's youngest City Clerk and first black female City Clerk. Joseph is an immigration attorney based in Miami, Florida. She began her work in immigration and human rights as a law student when she worked in two legal clinics where she was able to engage in advocacy on behalf of the Haitian community of South Florida. Vanessa also worked with the Miami Law Health Rights Clinic where she represented dozens of low-income individuals who struggled with mental health issues, were HIV+, or had AIDS. During this time, Vanessa was an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD Fellow, where she delivered critically needed legal assistance to veterans in low-income and underserved communities in South Florida. Her hard work and dedication in the Health Rights Clinic earned her the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in the summer of 2014. 

Today, as a Supervising Attorney at Catholic Legal Services, Inc., (CLS) she continues to provide legal services to vulnerable populations. She began her career at CLS as a detention-center based attorney, conducting information

sessions for individuals in immigration detention to inform them of their rights and the immigration court process. Through her work in the detention centers, she has provided these services to thousands of men and women through group and individual orientations and self-help workshops. In addition to being an attorney, Vanessa is a public relations and marketing professional who has worked extensively with Haitian artists, musicians, personalities and businesses. Throughout graduate and law school studies, she co-founded and co-managed one of the top public relations and marketing firms of the Haitian Music Industry (HMI).

Vanessa’s work has earned her numerous awards, including the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce 20 Young Professionals Under 40 award (2017). She is also a Legacy Magazine South Florida 40 Under 40 honoree (2017). She was also named one of South Florida’s "Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry" for 2019. As the daughter of Haitian immigrants who moved to the United States in the late 1980s, her dedication to the Haitian community of Florida is unwavering. These are the driving forces of Vanessa as a professional: a desire to serve as an advocate for marginalized communities such as the immigrant population and people with developmental disabilities; and, a dedication to the promotion of culture and creativity, especially her own Haitian heritage.

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Catherina Chang-Martinez, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, ARNP

Dr. Catherina Chang Martinez has been a registered nurse for more than 25 years. She graduated from Miami Dade College with an Associate Degree in Nursing. She then completed her Bachelor degree and Master degree in Nursing from Florida International University. In 2007 she graduated from Florida International University with a Doctorate degree in Public Health Epidemiology.

Dr. Martinez currently works as Assistant Professor in the Entry-Level Nursing Program at Nova Southeastern University. Throughout her professional career, she has worked as a professional nurse, nurse practitioner, educator, administrator, and consultant at various organizations in Miami Dade and Broward County. Her clinical experience extends to the areas of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Cardiovascular disease, Informatics, Pain Management, Public 

Health, and Epidemiology. Her areas of research and community service have been dedicated towards healthy living practices, including nutrition, physical activity, in the prevention of obesity in vulnerable populations including children and adults with cognitive disabilities. She is also engaged in the area of prevention, particularly breast and cervical cancer prevention in low-income minorities in the community.

During her free time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, traveling, and learning about other cultures. She loves to cook, read
, and practice mindfulness meditation.

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Bridget Jones, D.D., MAT, BS, HCM, A.B.A.

Dr. Bridget Jones, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a successful entrepreneur and business coach, who is pursuing her passion for food and people. She is the proud owner of Savannah Soul, a catering and mobile food truck business, and the first black female in Fort Wayne to do so. When Bridget is not operating her food truck, she is working for Lincoln Financial Group as a Senior Business Analyst in Digital Robotic Process Automation, and she serves as an Elder and Business Manager at her local church, New Zion Tabernacle.

Dr. Jones obtained both her Doctorate of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees from Fort Wayne Theological Seminary and Bible College. In her earlier years of education, she obtained her Associate of Arts in

Business Administration from Miami-Dade Community College and Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from Florida International University. Additionally, Bridget is certified as a Green-Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Dr. Jones' personal mission in life is, "To inspire and equip people to pursue their passion, while embracing their God-given destiny."

Updates to come!

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