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Our Founder

Pernessa Seele bluePernessa C. Seele is founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc., a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mission is to prevent diseases and to improve the health status of people of the African Diaspora by providing support to faith institutions in areas of program design, implementation and evaluation. These efforts strengthen the capacity of the faith community to deliver programs and services that contribute to the elimination of health disparities.

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Operational Model

  • Create Awareness: Provide leadership in the identification of key health issues that faith communities should mobilize around and place the issues and solutions within that community’s context.
  • Develop Capacity: Provide technical support to build and enhance the capacity of faith institutions to effectively address health disparities within their communities.
  • Engage Faith Institutions: Provide expertise in areas of program design, implementation and evaluation to support faith institutions’ commitment to developing their own active response to the community health crisis.
  • Mobilize Community: Provide tools for community organizing and mobilization to faith institutions that are implementing the Balm In Gilead’s model for developing community-wide health promotion programs to encourage behavior and lifestyle changes.
  • Promote Advocacy: Provide guidance to government agencies, health departments, academic institutions, foundations and faith institutions in support of the inclusion of faith leaders in the planning processes that shape health policy and resource allocations.
  • Measure Outcomes: Provide monitoring and evaluation indicators and resources to measure program impact.

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Our Organization

Celebrating over 25 years of service, The Balm In Gilead develops educational and training programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of African American and African congregations that strive to become community centers for health education and disease prevention.

The Balm In Gilead is known throughout Africa and the United States for its insightful understanding of religious cultures and values and extraordinary ability to build strong, trusted partnerships with faith communities. With these unique partnerships, The Balm In Gilead has been entrusted to build the capacity of national faith structures to utilize their existing tentacles that reach into every urban center and rural village to deliver comprehensive health services.

The Balm In Gilead, Inc. is an international NGO based in Richmond, VA (USA) and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Skyway Building).



Our Leadership

Ms. Erline Belton, Chairperson
Founder & CEO
The Lyceum Group
Boston, MA

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Senior Pastor Emeritus
Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Cleveland, OH

Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate
African Methodist Episcoal Zion Church
Charlotte, NC

Dr. Marilyn Valentine, MD
Merrick, NY

Dr. Barbara Shaw
Immediate Past President
National Council of Negro Women
Baltimore, MD

Rev. Dr. William Lee
Senior Pastor
Loudon Avenue Christian Church
Roanoke, VA

Mr. Charles Owens
Owens Financial Services
Richmond, VA

Dr. Angela Aidala, PhD
Research Scientist
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, NY

Dr. Elnora P. Hamb
Immediate Past President
Women's Missionary Council
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Chicago, IL

Dr. Pernessa C. Seele
Founder & CEO
The Balm In Gilead, Inc.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 17:44