Plug Into Equity Conference

Plug Into Equity

We hope you were able to attend the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District Plug Into Equity Conference. A dynamic gathering of thought leaders, professionals, and advocates committed to fostering a more inclusive and equitable society, this conference aimed to explore and advance equity in our community by delving into critical topics surrounding equity, diversity, and social justice. To see each speaker's presentation slides, visit the Keynote Speaker or Speakers tabs below.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Paul Elam, Plug into Equity Conference Keynote Speaker

Dr. Paul Elam

Chief Strategy Officer, Michigan Public Health Institute

Dr. Elam is responsible for diversifying the MPHI’s portfolio to address cutting edge issues that affect the health and well-being of our society. His deep understanding of youth violence and prevention, crime and justice, and child maltreatment is nationally recognized. Dr. Elam brings a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic disproportionality and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably. His current leadership efforts include mentoring and training professionals from historically underrepresented groups in culturally responsive and equitable engagement to ensure that the people who are most impacted are at the center of conversations which seek to find solutions to problems affecting them. Dr. Elam works closely with governmental, philanthropic, university, and nonprofit clients, providing strategic consultation to advance decisions in ways that improve lives, advance social justice and produce equitable outcomes. Dr. Elam earned a PhD in Family and Child Ecology, a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Urban Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, all from Michigan State University.

Keynote topic: "Utilizing Culturally Responsive and Racially Equitable Engagement"

Presentation(PDF, 5MB)


Susan Kirtz speaker photo Susan Kirtz

Assistant Director or Program at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Health Communication

Susan Kirtz is the Assistant Director of Programs at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Health Communication. She has more than eight years of experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based health promotion and health communication initiatives and 13 years of experience in the social services and public health fields. Susan is driven by a dedication to improving the health outcomes of all Texans by addressing our state’s most critical public health issues. In her current role, Susan manages three statewide Texas Health and Human Services health communication campaigns aimed at preventing substance use disorder and promoting behavioral health.

Session topic: "Designing and Testing Health Messages to Support Public Health"

Presentation(PDF, 2MB)

Sol Bautista Sol Bautista

Director of Professional Development and Outreach, Creative Waco

Sol Bautista has forty years of experience as a very vulnerable human, that’s where her strength comes from. Raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México , she grew up surrounded by storytellers, art, food, laughter that could turn into tears and most of all, love for others. She has a very close relationship to nature that she learned from the several indigenous communities where she served. Her lived experiences combined with her degree in psychology have allowed her a very unique view of how diversity is not only important but necessary. Sol believes that any system will benefit from the growth mindset and curiosity that drives her passion as a citizen of the world.

Session topic: "Empowering Minds: Cultivating Mental Health Equity and Well-Being"

Presentation(PDF, 711KB)

Kerri Fisher Keri Fisher

Senior Lecturer and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University

Kerri Fisher is a Senior Lecturer and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. She is a regularly invited speaker on topics including Fostering Cultural Humility, Combating Supremacy, and Creating Antioppressive Practices. She is the co-host of On-Ramp:Two Christians Talk about Race and So Far So Good: Engaging Diversity One Story at a Time. Kerri is also a creative writer, often writing about the intersections of race, gender, and spirituality. You can find her creative work at

Session topic: "Embedding Equality: Developing a Process for Lasting Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Your Organization or Community"

Presentation(PDF, 3MB)

Jason Rosenfeld Dr. Jason Rosenfeld

Director for Global Health Education, Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Jason Rosenfeld is a public health professional with almost 20 years of experience designing, implementing and evaluating international and domestic community health education and behavior change programs. Jason obtained his Masters in Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and completed an Executive DrPH in Public Health Leadership through the University of North Carolina’s Gilling’s School of Global Public Health. At UT Health San Antonio, Dr. Rosenfeld is the Assistant Director for Global Health at the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, and is the Principal Investigator of Implementation for Bexar County’s Health Confianza health literacy project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and the South Texas Community Health Worker Workforce Preparedness Collaborative funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Session topic: "Closing the Health Equity Gap: Strategies for Addressing Health Disparities in Rural Communities"

Presentation(PDF, 8MB)

Equity Panel

Photo of Eric Terrazas, Plug into Equity Conference panelist.Eric Terrazas

Community Advocate & Small Business Enthusiast

Eric Terrazas is a devoted advocate for community welfare, small businesses, and the power of meaningful relationships. His diverse background encompasses sales, real estate, economic development, and small business support, giving him a unique perspective on fostering growth and prosperity.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University, Eric holds a Bachelor's Degree in Integrated Studies, specializing in Business Management and Journalism.

During his recent tenure at the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Eric conceptualized and launched a small business support initiative in Spanish called Escalando. Presently, he devotes his time and expertise to the Waco Community, serving as a board member for La Puerta Waco and Ispiracion Waco. He also actively contributes to committees for the Hispanic Leaders Network and plays a pivotal role in local programs such as AIR Collaborative and the LeadershipPlenty Institute. Eric's motivation is deeply rooted in fostering a more interwoven and thriving community in Waco. His ultimate aspiration is to leave behind a legacy for future generations to flourish and relish.

He is married to a native Wacoan, Caelie and they have two Humane Society rescue dogs, Pongo and Yoda. In their spare time, you can find Eric and Caelie enjoying community events, spending time with their pups, and enjoying the Waco food scene.

Jaja Chen

Jaja Chen

Co-Owner & Chief of Strategic Initiatives & Business Partnerships, Waco Cha

Jaja Chen (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S) specializing in trauma, burnout, racial trauma, and perinatal mental health through her private practice. Alongside her husband Devin Li, Jaja is co-owner and Chief of Strategic Initiatives and Business Partnerships of Cha Community - a boba tea cafe small business located in downtown Waco and Temple, Texas. Prior to work as a trauma therapist and boba tea entrepreneur, Jaja worked in the field of domestic violence and anti-human trafficking through local nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Jaja co-founded Asian Leaders Network - a Waco-based non-profit organization - alongside five fellow Asian American leaders and is the current Chair of the City of Waco Sustainable Resource Practices Advisory Board. Jaja received both her Bachelor and Master of Social Work through the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. In her free time, Jaja enjoys traveling, swimming, spending time with her English Bulldogs Momo and Mimi, and thrift store shopping.

Photo of Dr. Alex Jones-Adesina, Plug into Equity Conference panelist. Dr. Alex Jones Adesina

Medical Doctor and Clinical Lead of Health Equity, Waco Family Medicine

Dr. Jones Adesina is a Waco native who returned to practice family medicine in the fall of 2019. Inspired by her parents’ desire to care for the community by caring for children experiencing the foster care system, she taught with Teach For America to achieve transformational educational achievement in Chicago. While Dr. Jones Adesina greatly enjoyed teaching, she felt called to health care and found that a medical and public health training provide the necessary skills to care for and advocate with communities that have been systemically underserved. Dr. Jones Adesina enjoys caring for people throughout their lives, and so family medicine was a perfect fit. Shortly after returning to Waco, Dr. Jones Adesina joined Waco Family Medicine where she cares for patients at the Martin Luther King, Jr clinic. In the summer of 2023, Dr. Jones Adesina accepted the inaugural role of Chief Equity Officer at Waco Family Medicine where she leverages her insights in providing patient care to inform the work to achieve equity within the organization as well as health equity.

Galen Price Galen Price

Housing & Community Development Director, City of Waco

Galen Price, Housing & Community Development Director with the City of Waco, has over 24 years of municipal government experience. Mr. Price has been with the City of Waco for over 6 years, serving a few different roles in his tenure, primarily in Housing. Prior to Waco, he worked in Irving for 10 years managing a team of people providing direct client assistance in housing programs, infrastructure, public facility projects, and has worked extensively in the HOME program and with CHDOs. Prior to Irving, Galen worked with CDBG in Fort Worth for 8 years in contract compliance and managing a team of people handling public service contracts, economic development projects, and affordable housing projects. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Texas in Business Administration. A native of Fort Worth, he is also a HUD Certified HOME Specialist on Regulations and Administration and an instructor teaching the HOME Basics class and HOME Advanced/Underwriting for NCDA.

Photo of Waco Police Chief, Sheryl Victorian Chief Sheryl Victorian, Ph.D.

Police Chief, Waco Police Department

Sheryl Victorian is a native Texan and a 30-year law enforcement professional. After serving nearly 28 years with the Houston Police Department, Sheryl was sworn in as the City of Waco’s first female and first African American Chief of Police on March 15, 2021.

Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University (1992), a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston – Downtown (2003), and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Administration of Justice from Texas Southern University (2013). Sheryl has earned many awards and commendations for her service and dedication as a leader and police professional.

Sheryl is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) session #81, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy (FBINA) session #267, Discover Leadership Master Graduate of class #252, a current fellow of American Leadership Forum’s class XLVII (47), Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (LIFE) class #17, and a graduate of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). She is also the creator and co-designer of “Building Trust From Trauma,” a course designed in the Summer of 2020 to educate and inspire officers to learn about the trust-eroding events that negatively impact trust between communities of color and the police and to reduce harm, learn from the past, and build meaningful cooperative relationships between the police, the community, and community stakeholders.

In her spare time, Sheryl is a playwright and enjoys traveling, mentoring, public speaking, teaching, and spending time with her family and canine babies, Shelby, and Roxy.

Photo of Dr Jasmine Oppusunju Dr. Jasmine J. Opusunju, Panel Moderator

Clinical Assistant Professor & Director of MPH@Baylor, Baylor University

Dr. Jasmine Opusunju is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the MPH@Baylor online program in the Department of Public Health at Baylor University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education (2005) and a Master of Science in Education (2007) from Baylor University. She earned her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Health Promotion and Health Education from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston with additional training in public health management, policy, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), and she is Certified in Public Health (CPH).

Dr. Opusunju has worked across the intersections of community health practice, research, academia, and business for almost 20 years. She has extensive experience in authentic community engagement and capacity building, program planning and implementation, and cross-sector collaboration around community-driven solutions to advance health and quality of life. Her health promotion practice and research has focused on health promotion behavior, obesity, the built environment, social determinants of health, food systems, and health equity.

Environmental Equity

The Health District partnered with Urban Reap to offer composting and recycling of conference waste. 74% of the waste generated was compostable, and 83% was diverted from the landfill.

Total waste generated: 116.55 lbs

  • Trash: 25 lbs
  • Recycling: 6.05 lbs
  • Compost: 85.5 lbs

For more information about how you can compost or recycle, visit Mission Waco's Urban Reap or the City of Waco's Solid Waste & Recycling Services.

Conference Program

Our Conference Program is a comprehensive overview of the Plug into Equity Conference. Click the link below to see the program.

Conference Program(PDF, 2MB)


Vendors for the Plug into Equity Conference:

  • Impact Research
  • Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children
  • United Way of Waco-McLennan County
  • Community Healthcare of Texas
  • Foster Village Waco
  • Healthy Women's & Children's Coalition
  • Live Well Waco Coalition
  • Waco-McLennan County Public Health District
  • Family Abuse Center