Friday, August 4, 2023

Season 2, Episode 15:

The Power of Faith

in Public Health

In this episode, we are talking with Ericka Horne about the power of faith in public health as she shares her journey working with faith based organizations to provide health program planning and implementation.

Season 2, Episode 15: The Power of Faith in Public Health

by Dr. Joyee Washington and Ericka Horne


Welcome to the Public Health Joy podcast, the safe space for real and honest conversation about what building a public health research career is really like: the challenges, the triumphs, and all the lessons we learn along the way.

I’m your host, Dr. Joyee, a Public health researcher, PhD survivor, and entrepreneur. In today’s episode, we are talking with Ericka Horne about the power of faith in public health as she shares her journey working with faith based organizations to provide health program planning and implementation.

This is where research meets relationship and together, we will find our Public Health Joy! 


How can we equip those in faith-based spaces to guide not just the spiritual needs of their communities but their overall health too? This is the question posed by today’s guest, Ericka Horne, who is the CEO and Founder of AKCIRE Consulting, LLC, where she supports nonprofits and faith-based organizations with program planning and implementation. She is also a Doctor of Public Health student at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) and a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for the Gates Foundation Grant, as well as an active volunteer, leader, and mentor on campus and within her community. In this episode, Ericka offers some insight into her public health journey, her passion for faith-based partnerships, and how she uses her platform to prioritize self-care, education, and health equity, particularly in Black communities. We also take a closer look at what Ericka is doing to bridge the gap between faith and medicine and find out why building and nurturing community relationships is so important for public health professionals.

To connect with Ericka:

Ericka Horne on LinkedIn

Ericka Horne on Instagram

For more information on transforming public health research into positive community impact, visit

Key Points

  • Who Ericka is, what she does, and the organizations and communities she serves. [02:52]
  • How growing up in the church informed her focus on faith-based partnerships. [05:10]
  • Bridging the gap between the church and healthcare, particularly for Black folk. [07:52]
  • Why knowing your community is critical for public health professionals. [12:05]
  • Challenges that Ericka has encountered and what she has learned from them. [13:19]
  • The importance of being aware of the social structure and culture of your community. [16:05]
  • Insight into Ericka’s research interests, including chronic disease management. [20:55]
  • How Ericka facilitates emergency response support for the churches she works with. [25:38]
  • The value of “meeting people where they are,” regardless of your beliefs. [27:55]
  • What brings Ericka joy in her work: seeing other people get what they need. [28:36]

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[00:00:54] Dr. JW: Welcome to another great episode of the Public Health Joy podcast. Today we have Ericka Horne. And Ericka, we’ve only known each other for a few months. 

[00:01:08] EH: Yes, a few months. 

[00:01:10] Dr. JW: It feels like it’s been forever already. 

[00:01:12] EH: It does. Oh, my gosh.

[00:01:16] Dr. JW: Yeah, it feels like it’s been forever. And I remember – well, let me say this first. Ericka is the CEO and founder of AKCIRE Consulting LLC, where she supports non-profits and faith-based organizations with program planning and implementation. And I’m going to let you get to explaining more about what you do in your business in a minute. 

But when I think about you, I always think about the first time we met in Orlando, right? 

[00:01:45] EH: Orlando was a good town. 

[00:01:48] Dr. JW: Because we saw each other and you were like, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe it’s you.” I was like, “Who you talking about?” 

[00:01:58] EH: I was like, “Is that Joyee?” 

[00:02:00] Dr. JW: I was like, “Oh, me? You talking about me?” And so, that moment always reminds me like you never know who you’re impacting. Like you never know how people feel about you. Because for me, I’m like I’m just a regular old person. I’m just a country girl from Mississippi. I don’t know what else to say about that. 

But I never know who’s listening, who’s watching, [inaudible 00:02:23]. It’s always good to know when people resonate with you and people can relate to the things that you’re doing. I appreciate that is basically what I’m trying to say. So I appreciate the interaction and the way that we’ve gotten to know each other over the past few months. And you always supporting. You always come through. I’m like, Ericka about to be on homie status with me. 

[00:02:48] EH: We can make that happen. 

[00:02:48] Dr. JW: Yeah. We’re going to be on homie status. So, go ahead. Let’s tell folks who you are. What you got going on? what’s happening? 

[00:02:57] EH: Yes. So in my world over here, I’m Ericka Horne. I am, as stated earlier, CEO and founder of AKCIRE Consulting LLC. I have the distinct honor to work with different non-profits and faith-based organizations. I’m really passionate about helping them to be able to provide health services and programming to their communities that they serve. So, different churches. 

I’ve had the opportunity to help plan like health fairs and symposiums and do speaking engagements surrounding health. Help lead different kind of biblical health-related Bible studies and been able to provide support to non-profits that are planning like health-first for their community or just doing things surrounding health for like their mentoring organizations. Those are a lot of the non-profits that I serve. 

It’s just really important for me to be able to to give back to these communities that have helped build me up and helping them understand the importance of living like long healthy lives. It’s not really something we hear about often. So being able to provide that as a support to them as we’re changing the guards and we’re evolving and everything. It’s like, “Okay, this is good. Everybody should be healthy.” It shouldn’t just be those that are in the medical field. They should know everything. 

Like I feel if we’re all on this Earth, if we all got to live long healthy lives, then we should all help each other be able to get there. That’s a little bit about what I do with my business. 

Outside of that, I’m a full-time student and in a doctoral program. And this degree is not writing itself. But I’m in the dissertation phase and I’m very grateful for I am. But I’m very excited for it to be over at the exact same time. 

[00:04:33] Dr. JW: Oh, I have lived that life. So I know. I absolutely know. And I think that it’s important in the work that you are doing, of course, working with faith-based communities. We think about – or for me, I think about the connection between our spirituality and our health regardless of what your faith is, right? Or what your spiritual beliefs are. There is a great connection between our minds, our body and our spirit. 

And if you have a spiritual belief, our health is greatly tied to that. So my question is how did you even get involved in this work? What made you decide that I want to focus on faith-based communities? 

[00:05:19] EH: So, it’s very interesting you asked that. I always knew I was going to be a doctor growing up, right? You just don’t know what kind or that there’s so many roads to be in the doctor. You think it’s just a medical doctor. 

[00:05:30] Dr. JW: Yup. Like all of us. 

[00:05:32] EH: Exactly. That pre-med journey. Oh, yeah. Yeah. No. That wasn’t for me. But I still pursued it for a very long time. But also, I grew up in the church. I grew up like every committee serving, doing everything, from ushering to dancing. I actually had a step team growing up like singing. We did all the things. I spent a lot of my time outside of school at church. 

So, like, loving science and being involved in science and being good at it was always like one thing. But finding a way to bridge the gap between my science background and my spiritual background was like, “Okay, this is good.” 

And when I got to college and I realized that medicine wasn’t really the thing that I was doing, I was able to get involved with the health ministry at my local church. And what I started seeing was like we would put on like health fairs and it wouldn’t be too often. But every time people would have questions around health, I would notice that people start asking me questions because they notice that I’m on the health ministry or they, “Oh, you’re going to be a doctor.” “Yeah, I’m going to be a doctor.” But I didn’t realize that was the kind of doctor I was going to be. 

I kept on going. I tried to be that route. I became a medical assistant. I worked for years. But I realized mostly when I was working at the church or doing events that I was able to reach more people. And a lot of the conversations was they weren’t going to the doctor themselves or they didn’t understand what the doctor was telling them. I’m there re-explaining what should have been explained to them in the first place. 

Or, “Well, I got this diagnosis. I’m not going to go back to the doctor because I’m scared of it. I’m just pray and God going to heal me.” You know? It’s just like, “Okay, there is a disconnect and we need to fix it and bridge that gap that exists that I see a lot.” 

I got really involved with, “Okay, how can we make sure we bring the health professionals? Maybe bring them into the community.” And that’s kind of where I was just like, “Okay, we need to have events. We need to bring them in.” Even if I get resources from like the local health department or from doctor’s offices about things that are going on or ways to understand things, it’s like there needs to be an understanding, because all these people are here on Earth. We all want to live a long life. We all say we’re going to live long lives until we’re 80 and 90. They want to live to see grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. But we’re not doing things that are going to help us be well physically. But they also don’t know that there are things that they can be doing also. 

I was like, “Okay, there’s a gap. There’s something that’s not making sense. Why are people so gung-ho on their faith?” And I’ve been doing a lot of research like my dissertations in this area. Recently, I’m really been diving into like all the mindsets, the religiosity and spirituality and how they’re like can be used as coping mechanisms for your health. 

And it’s like, “Okay, I see that this is important to you. You listen to whatever your leader is saying. The pastor or the elder, what they’re telling you, you’re going to listen.” You’re listening to what you think is supposed to be happening. But how is this impacting you? You believe so much whatever they got to say. 

If they say everybody go take a spoonful of sugar every day, ‘y’all going to a spoonful of sugar to stop a heart attack. But if the doctor say it, it’s just like, “I don’t know. I don’t trust them.” And I get it. We have had a lot of mistrust within the black community when it comes to health. I get that. 

But how can we equip those who are in those spaces to be able to effectively lead not just in spirituality but their overall health. Because at the core of it, if people aren’t alive and living long, healthy lives, who are you there serving as like the leader, you know? 

For me it was like, “Okay, understanding what this gap is.” And seeing it firsthand was like, “Okay. Yeah, this is where I need to be.” Like, I feel a strong connection, a passion for it. I’m diving head first and I’ve been enjoying the ride so far. I can’t complain. 

[00:09:17] Dr. JW: And I think just to clarify for the church that you’re talking about that you grew up in and that you spent a lot of time in, that was a black church, right? 

[00:09:26] EH: Yes. It’s Caribbean at that. I’m Jamaican-American. So my church is Caribbean. On top of being black, it was culture, all the things. 

[00:09:35] Dr. JW: Yes. Because I think it’s important, especially in the context of this conversation. Because people who might be listening, they might not know that being in the black church or the Caribbean church or Caribbean-American church or churches where there is a diverse population, it’s different. 

[00:09:54] EH: It is. It’s different, y’all. 

[00:09:58] Dr. JW: It is different. And one thing about the black – and I’m saying black church. And that’s all-encompassing, right? One thing about the black church, they’re going to trust their pastors. 

[00:10:08] EH: Yes. 

[00:10:09] Dr. JW: Okay? 

[00:10:10] EH: Yes. 

[00:10:10] Dr. JW: And part of that is because that pastor, and those associates, and the elders and whoever have really spent time building relationships with those congregational members. And so, when you think about it along with that mistrust of the medical profession, you might go to the doctor every six months. Maybe once a year or whatever. But when you in the black church, you at church on Monday. You at church on Tuesday. 

[00:10:45] EH: Yeah. 

[00:10:46] Dr. JW: You’re on church on Wednesday for prayer study. I mean, prayer meeting, a Bible study. You at church on Thursday for choir rehearsal. You at church on Friday. You were at church on Saturday for whatever meetings or whatever they got going on. Then you at church all day Sunday. So you’re sitting fine with all of these people all throughout the week. And you have time to build those relationships. 

And at the time that we’re recording this, we in vacation bible school season. You hear me? 

[00:11:17] EH: They already. 

[00:11:19] Dr. JW: So you know the kids are getting involved, everybody. Being a part of the black church is not only important for our physical health. But it’s part of our social health as well. Because that’s how we connect with other people. That’s how we socialize. That’s how we continue to build those relationships. And when you walk into a black church, they’re going to know. They’re going to know if you’re outsider or not. 

[00:11:50] EH: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:11:51] Dr. JW: Don’t sit in nobody’s seat. Don’t sit on nobody’s – 

[00:11:54] EH: Don’t sit in the wrong seat. They got names on them. Don’t y’all? 

[00:11:58] Dr. JW: True. So you have to know your community. 

[00:12:05] EH: Yeah. It’s so important. Knowing your community is like the key to all things that we do and we should be doing as public health professionals and researchers. Because how do we expect to impact change if we’re not even in the communities that we want to see changed? 

All the statistics and data’s out there, it can say that this is happening in this specific community, “Oh, they’re disadvantaged. They’re the ones that are being affected negatively.” Okay. Cool. But have you gone and sit with them to find out why? Why would I listen to something you have to say if you don’t even spend time with me? Like you said, those relationships are key. It’s their essential. 

[00:12:43] Dr. JW: And I could even remember – I grew up in the black church as well. And so, thinking about people from even other ministries and people from other churches and those people coming in. Like, you really had to focus on building a bond with them first. Because nobody going to listen to anything you got to say. And as soon as you walk out them doors, they’re going to talk about you.

[00:13:06] EH: Mm-hmm. 

[00:13:08] Dr. JW: It ain’t going to be nothing nice. And you’re not going to be welcomed back. You have to know what those strategies are. And every community is different. Every church is different. You really have to focus on knowing your community and also knowing the strategies that will work for that community or for that church. 

For you, what have you found are some of those strategies? Have you run into any challenges? And even though you are a part of the faith-based community, have you run into any challenges being more of an insider than an outsider? 

[00:13:44] EH: I would say one of the biggest challenges is probably being able to reach out to other churches that – like, my church is non-denomination that I go to now. But if there’s a church that’s a specific denomination – because I may not understand the structure. Like you said, you have to understand like how do they do what they do? Why they do the way they do it? 

It’s not necessarily difficult. It’s just that this is something that I’ve come across as learning more about the structure. Well, how do you guys do things here? What is going to be – finding out like what’s going to be received well by your members. Who does this need to come from? Like, do you guys have like – is there a dedicated health ministry to this or is there not? Do people come in and speak? Who needs to be presenting information? 

Because some places, if it don’t come from the pastor, it could come from any other leader. But it’s still not going to be get done. And then there’s some places, they’re like, “Oh, this is a trusted leader in my church. So I still trust them with what they have to say. If the pastor trust them, then I trust them.” 

It’s just like, “Okay, what are the different things?” And not thinking just because, oh, I’m in faith-based organization. I’m in the same that I fit into every single mole. Because I do not. And being okay with that and accepting that is like something that I had to learn. Like, “Okay, this doesn’t work the same for everyone.” 

And then the connection that I do have, just knowing that I’ve been trusted. Like, they can vouch for me when they go to their pastors and like, “Oh, yeah. This is the person we need to come and do this. She needs to come sit on this panel when we have this. She needs to do this specific teaching on this.” 

When there are connections, it’s like, okay, they can vouch that. It’s not just the outsider who just is science. All they’re doing is science in their head and health. But they’re like, “Oh, no. This person has similar beliefs. We understand that this person has the same belief system.” It can be used in a good way. 

That’s like two in one. Like, it’s good sometimes. And then those are the challenges because you don’t know or the other person doesn’t know what can we expect out of this. It really is about on those connections and making time to do that because our leaders are busy. 

Like, you see them on Sunday. But they have things every single day if they’re busy involved in the community, they have their own businesses. They’re being pulled every which way as well. So finding the time to be engaged to be able to even present the work that can be done or that I’m able to help them achieve. 

[00:16:04] Dr. JW: Yeah. And even as you were talking about the structure. Understanding the structure, specifically the black church, but any community that you attend. It also came to my mind, you have to understand the language. 

[00:16:16] EH: Yes. Yes. 

[00:16:18] Dr. JW: The language. And especially, in talking about the black church. Because the first thing I thought about, I was like, “Now, if you’re listening to this and you’re not familiar with the black church, don’t go using this all willy-nilly, all right? Don’t go using this.” 

But if you step into a black church and you are familiar with the environment and you are familiar with the language and you step up to the podium, not the pulpit, you step up to the podium – 

[00:16:43] EH: That part. Exactly. 

[00:16:44] Dr. JW: Knowing your structure. Knowing where you stand. Step up to the podium on the side. And the first words out of your mouth is giving glory to God who is the head of my life. You know what I’m saying? That’s an immediate breaking of the barrier right there. 

[00:17:00] EH: Oh, yeah. We know this one. She’s a good one. He’s a good one. We can listen there right there. 

[00:17:04] Dr. JW: She’s aware. She knows her place. You know what I’m saying? But when it comes to – and sometimes it can be conflicting being a researcher, right? Because in research, we don’t talk about spirituality. We don’t talk about religion. We don’t talk about our connections in a spiritual way. 

And so, a lot of times trying to figure out – and I know for me. I’m going to speak for myself. But me, trying to figure out my identity and being a researcher. But also, being a woman of God. Claiming my identity as a Christian. Because that’s who I am. That’s how I grew up. That’s how I identify. 

And I should be able to feel just as comfortable walking into the black church saying, “Giving glory to God who’s the head of my life,” I should feel just as comfortable walking into a research team meeting saying, “Giving glory to God who is the head of my life because he brought me into this team, this research team right now.” 

[00:18:09] EH: Exactly. 

[00:18:09] Dr. JW: This is how it’s going to be. This is what it’s going to look like. It has really been – I don’t want to say a challenge for me. But it has been a process. It has been a process. 

[00:18:20] EH: We’re navigating the waters. 

[00:18:22] Dr. JW: Right. We’re navigating what it looks like. And how do I talk to people? And now, now, I got the doctor stamp on my name. 

[00:18:31] EH: Yeah. 

[00:18:31] Dr. JW: If you walk into a black church and they say, “Oh, this is Dr. Joyee.” That is another barrier that is broken. Black folks love to see a black doctor. 

[00:18:41] EH: Yeah. Sometimes it don’t even matter what you’re a doctor of. You’re a doctor. 

[00:18:45] Dr. JW: They don’t. They don’t at all. I literally just saw I think it was on Instagram, Instagram or something, today, and it was one of those trends where they have like a family matters theme song. And it was like how different patients act when they see a black doctor. And it’s like you got the one client who immediately colonnades single grandchild. You need to meet this person. The other person who’s like a hugger. Like, “Oh, I just want to hug you because you’re a black doctor.” 

The person who like giving you the dab, giving you the handshake. Bringing it on. Like, yeah, that’s my boy. That’s my girl. Like, it’s a thing in the black community. 

[00:19:24] EH: It is. 

[00:19:25] Dr. JW: You really have to be aware of those types of things. And it can make a difference. Because if you’re not aware, it can either be harmful or it can be very beneficial. And if you’re not aware – and that’s their way of breaking a barrier and that’s a source of building trust, you need to handle that carefully. 

[00:19:47] EH: Very true. 

[00:19:49] Dr. JW: You need to handle that with a certain level of responsibility. 

[00:19:54] EH: Mm-hmm. Because now you’ve been trusted. 

[00:19:55] Dr. JW: Yeah. Because you only get one shot. You get one shot. And you mess it up, it ain’t no coming back. 

[00:20:02] EH: And it really is not. Yeah, one time. Do it right. Get it right the first time. 

[00:20:07] Dr. JW: Mm-hmm. We really have to – and not only be aware of it for ourselves. But also, in having this conversation, let other people know. 

[00:20:15] EH: Yes. 

[00:20:18] Dr. JW: Let other people know that they need to be aware that some of these things might be going on. Because say, for instance, if I walk into a black church and you know somebody else who does not look like me is also a doctor and walks into a black church, they’re not going to get the same treatment. 

[00:20:33] EH: They will not. 

[00:20:36] Dr. JW: And it’s not anything to be offended by or take personal. But you have to understand the language, and the structure and the culture, especially when you are doing research. 

I know you mentioned your dissertation. What are some of the other research areas of interest around religion, spirituality, public health? How do those things connect for you in the research that you’re doing? 

[00:21:05] EH: I’m really trying to focus in on how the different – their intrinsic and extrinsic factors to religiosity. You’re looking at internally, the person’s individual faith, their belief system. Do they pray? Do they fast? Do they meditate? How do those factors differ from like the extrinsic factors? Do I go to church? Do I go serve in a ministry? Do I sing? Do I dance? And is there a difference between the two when it comes to how we take care of ourselves? Especially with chronic disease. 

I’m really big on chronic disease management because a lot of times people just have the assumption, “Oh, this is something that’s not necessarily fatal. So I don’t have to do much work.” I have a diagnosis of diabetes. I have a diagnosis of high cholesterol, of hypertension. Okay. Well, they’re going to give me some drugs and I’m going to just keep on living my life. 

But over time, they can wear on your body and they can cause more adverse effects than they need to. I really want to look at – that’s what I’m exploring right now. How do all of those things – do they make a difference? How do they make a difference? Is it the fact that you believe in this higher being that you’re going to be healed? That you refuse to go to the doctor. You refuse to take medication. Do you even adhere to the requirements the doctor is giving you? Or do you have enough faith to believe that, “Okay, I have this diagnosis. But because of my faith, I’m going to do the work to make sure I get better.” 

There’s two things that I’ve read about and I really want to explore within the black community to see, “Hey, what’s working? What’s not working? What’s the belief?” And really be able to empower our faith leaders to be able to help our community. 

Because a lot of times, even if they don’t feel empowered, they don’t know what to do. They don’t know that there’s a need for it in their community. And so, the work is done. So the work is essential because it’s like, “Okay, chronic diseases is common now.” People don’t even flinch when you say diabetes. 

They’re like, “Oh, just diabetes.” No. It shouldn’t just be no normalized that everyone has diabetes or everyone has hypertension. It shouldn’t be to the fact – we’re not supposed to just be sick. We want to live long, healthy lives. In order for us to do that, we have to figure out what’s that mindset. How are those things grow? 

Especially, because within the black community, faith is so important regardless of if you’re Christian, Catholic, Jew. Whatever it is. The faith is important to the people. They’re going to do what they word says and tells them to do. They’re going to do whatever book they read tells them to do, they’re going to do. 

It’s like, “Okay, this is so important. How can their health get on that same level? Or how can their religion help them to exceed and get to better health?” Especially [inaudible 00:23:43]. 

[00:23:45] Dr. JW: As you are talking I’m like, “And as the word of God and the church says, faith without works is dead.” And I remember in the church that I grew up in, sometimes people would pass out or fall out or whatever. And it wasn’t because they had caught the Holy Ghost. It was because their blood sugar had dropped or something going on. Something medically was going on with them and it took people – it’s always an interesting interaction to see that play out. Because you see the person. Maybe they’re getting woozy or maybe the pastor sits down in a way that he wouldn’t normally sitdown. People pick up on the cubes. People, they’re in church enough that they can pick up on the cues when something ain’t right. 

[00:24:33] EH: Yeah, exactly. 

[00:24:36] Dr. JW: But nobody knows what to do. 

[00:24:36] EH: Exactly. 

[00:24:38] Dr. JW: And thankfully, for the church I grew up in, our church was right next to the fire station. Our game plan was always somebody run to the fire station, which might not have always been the best plan. But every church is not next to a fire station. 

[00:24:54] EH: Exactly. 

[00:24:57] Dr. JW: You know? Thinking about how do we help churches? Because that church is a community. How do we help those churches come up with a plan or when things happen? And not just when somebody passes out or something’s going on. But when there’s a storm in the middle of service, where do people go? When there is a fire? Because one thing about black church is we’re going to cook. 

[00:25:25] EH: They’re going to cook and we’re going to eat some real good food.

[00:25:28] Dr. JW: We’re going to have something in the fellowship hall, okay? We’ll have to go on over there and get you a plate after service. But there are things that catch fire in the kitchen, in the fellowship hall. What happens when there’s a fire? You need to have fire drills. You need to have tornado drills. You need to have plans in place yes when emergencies happen because they do. 

[00:25:49] EH: Yes. And that’s also part of what I do is when I’m helping other churches and stuff. With our church, we have like an emergency responder team and we put together and have those who are clinically trained to be able to you be available during service in the event that something happens. Because you never know. 

Even in providing trainings for those who may not be clinical but just to be able to, “Hey, these are the basic things. Be able to do this and then be able to call for an ambulance or something if you need to.” Those are really like some of the services that I’m able to even offer through my business because it’s so essential. 

As much as you said, we spend so many days, pretty much every day in the building. And some people literally work every day out the church. It’s like what’s going to happen if they don’t have any support? What are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to get what they need if they don’t have the support? Being able to help churches to be able to put that together and have a plan in place is really key to what I do. I love it. 

[00:26:44] Dr. JW: Yeah. And we have the research that shows, having these plans in place work. Program planning and implementation works. It’s just about how do we get it done? How do we make this happen? 

And I’m in Jackson and, of course, we’ve had the Jackson Water Crisis and all of that. And that has been part of people’s plans, is helping – the churches were instrumental. Instrumental during the water crisis. The water crisis is ongoing. Been going on for years. But the parts that you all see in the news, the churches kept this city going, kept things together. Because they could step in. They could jump in. They know their congregation. They know how to get their congregation water. They know who on the [inaudible 00:27:32] list. They know who can’t get water, who can’t go to the water distribution sites. They know who’s available to help. And people love their church. 

[00:27:44] EH: Yeah. Especially [inaudible 00:27:45]. 

[00:27:49] Dr. JW: They are going to come help and serve and do what needs to be done for their church. And so, and it’s also about meeting people where they are.

[00:27:58] EH: Exactly. 

[00:28:00] Dr. JW: If the people are at the church, you have to find a way to build those connections and go to the church. 

[00:28:04] EH: Yeah, very true. 

[00:28:06] Dr. JW: Even if you don’t believe the same thing that they believe. 

[00:28:10] EH: Exactly. 

[00:28:12] Dr. JW: It’s still so important to – you’re doing your job. Your job is to help that person or help that community, serve that community no matter what the difference in beliefs are, right? 

As we’re getting ready to kind of just wrap up this conversation, which has been amazing, by the way. 

[00:28:33] EH: Yeah. I’ve enjoyed this time. 

[00:28:35] Dr. JW: Yeah. Last question. Of course, the signature question. What brings you joy in your work? 

[00:28:43] EH: What brings me joy in my work? For me, joy is seeing other people get what they need. If I’m able to play a hand and somebody receiving the help they need, the services they need. Getting whatever that they were looking for through the work, physical hands, boots on the ground. Whether it’s me physically doing something to help them with any medical condition or just connecting them to a resource or another connection or just providing something to them, that brings me joy. 

Because I know for a fact on earth, like, we all have a purpose. We all have something we’re created to do. And I was created here to connect people to others. I was created to be a leader, and serve people and to love people. As long as this joy that I have I can exude to others, that’s what literally brings me joy in everything that I do. 

[00:29:41] Dr. JW: Let the church say amen. 

[00:29:42] EH: Amen. 

[00:29:44] Dr. JW: Mm-hmm. All right. If people want to get in touch with you, how can they connect with you and contact you? 

[00:29:52] EH: If anyone wants to connect with me, I can be reached via Instagram. Currently, my Instagram is _erickakay or you can connect with me on LinkedIn. My name is Ericka Horne. And I have my MPH and my CHEST certification. You’ll find me with both of those on there. 

[00:30:18] Dr. JW: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for coming on, being the guest. You have now officially been elevated to homie status. 

[00:30:26] EH: Okay, homie. Let’s go. 

[00:30:28] Dr. JW: I might have to get a badge or something, like stamp of approval. 

[00:30:33] EH: Yeah. 

[00:30:35] Dr. JW: This is going to wrap up. Another great episode of the Public Health Joy podcast. 


[0:37:16.0] JW: I am so grateful for this time we get to spend together. If you enjoyed this episode, I need you to subscribe, rate, and leave a review. For more information on transforming public health research into positive community impact, visit This is where research meets relationship and I’ll see you next time on The Public Health Joy Podcast.



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