Goldie Byrd, PhD, Chosen as One of the Most Influential People of African Descent

December 22, 2023

Goldie Byrd, PhD, Director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was chosen as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in 2023. Based on her dedication and untiring contribution to equitable healthcare she was one of 20 out of 200+ honorees featured by the organization for top recognition in the field of health and wellness. Johnita P. Due, Executive Vice President of Integrity and Inclusion for CNN Worldwide, nominated Byrd.

A collage showing the Class of 2023 Global Top 100 Health Care Edition.

This distinguished honor was established in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors who join in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent and across its Diaspora.

Honorees are decision-makers in over 80 countries worldwide. They are selected based on political influence, business acumen, social media following and humanitarian endeavors for leading the advancements for people of African descent worldwide. “Being recognized for work you believe in and devote your career to is very humbling, there is so much more work to do as we continue to advocate for health equity,” said Byrd.

The 2023 four-day recognition week was hosted by MIPAD CEO, Kamil Olufowobi in New York City. Byrd participated in a panel discussion moderated by Scarlette Whyte, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy, for CNN. The compelling global discussion addressed the critical theme, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Crisis,” and explored how private and public sector organizations are navigating the challenges and forging ahead despite adversity. Other events included an awards ceremony, networking and training sessions, and a private tour of the United Nations for honorees.