For over two decades Black Health Alliance has worked to bring people and organizations together to advance the health and well-being of Black people. Our work is community-led and deeply rooted in our commitment to health justice, equity and systems change.

Black communities have a strong legacy of self-determination and taking action to improve our health and well-being. Whether it is responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, anti-Black racism in healthcare systems, decade-long work responding to economic inequality or developing critical interventions that many communities rely on, we continue to push for equitable systems that impact our health.

While this strong legacy of action has resulted in significant gains, and many promising practices, what remains clear is that we are facing extraordinary challenges in every sphere of life. 

As we engaged with our peers and communities to develop this Strategic Plan, we were heartened and inspired by the innumerable ways Black communities continue to demonstrate care for each other, imagine new ways of being, and work to build and enact a healthier future for Black people.  


We join with communities across the country in envisioning “a Canada where Black communities, in all our diversity, thrive and enjoy optimal health and well-being”.     

We are cognizant that the issues we tackle are complex and cannot be solved by a single entity, individual or organization. This Strategic Plan represents our roadmap to achieve the deep and meaningful impact and transformational change we hope to see in collaboration with and on behalf of the communities we serve.


We are excited to unveil the four strategic priorities that will guide our work from 2022 to 2025:

Amplify the voices of diverse Black communities, deepen our engagement and grow our presence across the country

Facilitate solutions for change by becoming a community hub for, research, knowledge, policy and solutions

Lay the groundwork for a National Black Health & Well-being Strategy

Build a strong, reputable, and sustainable organization

Paul Bailey

Executive Director

Lydia-Joi Marshall

Chair, Board of Directors

A Renewed Purpose

When we undertook this planning process, we were excited to create space to gather feedback on our vision, mission and values. We wanted to have a clear compass to guide our actions and a way to mobilize our mission. To this end, we are delighted to present our refreshed foundational statements:


A Canada where Black communities, in all our diversity, enjoy optimal health and well-being, and thrive.


As influencers, enablers and convenors, we work to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.

Values & Principles


We recognize that our common ancestry and shared experience of facing anti-Black racism and colonialism serves as an anchor to building healthy and resilient communities. As such, we strive to centre the needs, histories, cultural expressions and lived experiences of Black people in all our diversity through our work. We acknowledge that Black people’s social identities are multiple and interlocking and that health inequities must be viewed and addressed through an intersectional lens which includes, but is not limited to; race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, and immigration status.

Social Justice:

We centre social justice as a fundamental principle in our work and recognize the multiple and compounding ways that our identities and social locations intersect with our health and wellbeing. Our work is grounded in an anti-racist, anti-oppressive framework and a commitment to ensuring an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. We actively seek to dismantle systematic barriers that impact our health. We specifically strive to centre Black two-spirit, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender-expansive, and non-binary, as well as Black Muslim and Afro-Indigenous communities in our work.


We believe that to improve the health and well-being of Black communities, we must collaborate and work in partnerships. Strong partnerships are founded on common objectives, values, reciprocity and accountability. To achieve collective impact, we rely on common agendas, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, and continuous communication and backbone support. We see partnership as integral to community and capacity building and we believe that by leveraging our strengths and ingenuity cooperatively, we can dismantle barriers.

Catalytic Leadership:

We strive to ignite our communities and be at the forefront of driving change, and delivering results. We believe that leadership begins with a strong shared vision and a commitment to build networks and engage seasoned and emerging leaders across sectors. We are committed to promoting and fostering Black leadership, centering our agency and platforming our voices to deliver results and impact.

We are the Black Health Alliance

What we do

We centre Black communities in defining the challenges and barriers affecting our health and well-being. We provide a platform for Black people to establish a common voice around systemic problems, and we work to co-design and mobilize the tools, skills, partnerships and investment needed to implement solutions that improve health outcomes across Canada.

Who we serve

We serve all Black people and recognize our diversity as our strength. We understand that despite our many differences, we are united by our shared history, ingenuity and resourcefulness and that together, we will find lasting solutions to the systemic and structural barriers tha compromise our health and well-being.

Our approach

We invest in the community through an approach that starts with listening to communities. We ensure every solution we co-create is built on a foundation of solid data, a shared vision, and moves quickly from idea to implementation — always with the goal of systems-level change.

Theory of Change

We have a strong legacy of working to understand and respond to community needs, bringing people together, and mobilizing for action. We build on this strong legacy as we move to reshape our organization, with a stronger sense of shared purpose and direction to actualize our mission.

Our partners in the community have told us that there is a need for us to take bigger and bolder action toward improving population health approaches that focus on Black people. To that end we believe that:


We understand that the greatest opportunity we have to improve health outcomes is by focusing on the social and structural determinants of health


That there is deep expertise and insight in Black communities about what is needed to improve health outcomes

Then our role is to

  • Listen deeply to, and engage with, Black communities across our diversity
  • Bring people together to align on vision, priorities, and impact
  • Surface, access, generate and interpret evidence and promising practices to guide our work
  • Co-create actionable, culturally responsive and appropriate solutions to shift systems to improve health outcomes
  • Work collaboratively to mobilize the tools, skills, partnerships and investments needed to deliver results

So that

Black communities have the environments, resources and supports we need to be healthy and thrive

Our Strategic


Amplify the voices of diverse Black communities, deepen our engagement and grow our presence across the country.

Black communities must be at the centre of defining the barriers and solutions to improving our health and well-being. As such, we will strive to cement BHA as an expert and leader in Black health and well-being by deepening our engagement with Black communities and organizations across Canada. We will work to amplify their voices while continuing to develop and maintain mutually reinforcing strategic partnerships with other relevant organizations and networks.

1.1 Convene and amplify the voices of Black communities

We will increase our commitment to convening and coordinating Black communities, Black leaders, Black-led and Black-focussed organizations working on health and well-being to support advocacy, cross-learning, capacity building and the development of a pipeline of empowered, knowledgeable advocates.

1.2 Build meaningful partnerships with communities

We will develop and maintain strategic outcome-based partnerships with health and social justice organizations nationally to strengthen our ability to serve Black Anglophone and Francophone communities across the country.

1.3 Establish a national presence

We will clarify what it means to become a truly national organization, and identify and implement changes to be made to the governance structure, operating model, staffing, and programming to realize that ambition.

Facilitate solutions for change by becoming a community hub for research, knowledge, policy and solutions.

We have decided to refine and streamline our focus while keeping communities at the forefront of our work. As we build towards becoming a community hub for research, knowledge, policy and solutions, we will build on existing tools, models and methods to improve our impact and that of our partners and collaborators.

2.1 Refine domains of change

We will refine our domains of change and the corresponding activities. We will continue to scale down activities that no longer align with our strategic direction and scale-up activities that support our new strategic priorities. In addition, BHA will further define the way we approach activities such as community engagement, policy engagement, and health promotion. We will work to ensure our activities align with our systems-level focus, organizational approach and methodology for working with communities to deliver results.

2.2 Become a community hub for research, knowledge, and policy focused on Black health and well-being

In addition, we will build on our expertise in community-driven research, community engagement, and convening, we will strengthen and expand our niche as a community research, knowledge and policy hub. The research, knowledge and policy hub will produce and house high quality research, data collection and analysis, and evidence on the health and well-being of Black communities. We will further develop and share accessible, timely and digestible findings from our work with policymakers through targeted publications. We will continue to leverage our reputation for excellent, timely and high-quality community-based actionable research.

2.3 Build a solutions lab model

We aim to build out a “solutions lab” as a key function for how the organization will support the implementation of activities that will serve to improve the health and well-being of Black populations. Guided by a results-based approach, we will track and document the impact of the organization’s work on the health and well-being of Black populations over time.



Lay the groundwork for a National Black Health & Well-being strategy.

Anti-Black racism is increasingly being recognized as a public health crisis but without reprioritization and reallocation of resources, we will continue to be stymied by inaction. A national Black Health & Well-being Strategy that is adaptable, decentralized and actionable is long overdue. Co-ordinated and coherent effort is needed to build, implement, and monitor a nationwide strategy.

3.1 Support the development of the growing Black health ecosystem and champion the development of a nationwide Black Health and Well-being Strategy

We will support and participate in the burgeoning Black Health Ecosystem developing in Canada, and champion the development of a Black Health and Well-being strategy that is responsive to the geographic, cultural, gender and sexual diversity of Black people in Canada.

3.2 Develop an organizational approach to influencing policy, systemic and community based change at municipal, provincial and federal levels

We will bring our voice, expertise, knowledge and political acumen to inform and influence decision-makers at policy-making tables and ensure that policies reflect the unique needs and lived experiences of Black populations. We will also develop our capacity to track and monitor progress and hold duty bearers accountable for their commitments.

Build a strong, reputable, and sustainable organization.

Patterns of philanthropic under-investment and anti-Black racism have long served to undermine the operations and capacity of Black-led organizations and thwart their impact. Funders sometimes lack the nuanced understanding and lived experience to be able to identify and fund promising approaches. Without core funding, many Black-led organizations are unable to build the very capacity that is a precondition for sustaining funding. To deliver on our mission, we will bolster and scale-up our governance and operations; and develop a fund development strategy that supports our sustainability, and resiliency.

4.1 Strengthen and develop the operational and organizational infrastructure

We will develop and implement back-bone systems (HR, finance systems; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; as well as internal and external communication systems) to support current and future operational needs. Review the work of the organization to re-calibrate staff responsibilities and workloads and adjust compensation to be in line with industry standards and maintain high levels of employee engagement.

4.2 Strengthen communication and visual identity

We will develop a communication strategy that raises awareness of our work and highlights our history, achievements, and successes while creating a consistent and recognizable visual identity. We will track, document, and communicate the impact of the organization’s work on the health and well-being of Black populations over time. We will also develop metrics to track: reach; quality and usefulness; uptake and; use of our communications products and activities.

4.3 Build internal capacity

We will build staff teams, internal capacities, and tools to deliver on our mission, including measurement systems that demonstrate impact.

4.4 Fortify the governance structure

We will continue to strengthen and diversify the composition of the Board of Directors. Ensure that the Board is fostering the development of new and emerging leaders from across the country and at the intersections of multiple identities. Ensure that the Board is prepared to manage an executive leadership transition.

4.5 Move towards sustainability

We will develop and execute a fund development strategy that ensures a diversified stream of revenue and multi-year funding commitments to stabilize and sustain core operations.


The Planning Process

Since our founding, we have played an important role in convening community members and community leaders. In September 2021, our Board of Directors initiated a planning process to renew the foundational statements, determine our overarching longer-term direction, and identify strategic priorities to guide the organization over the next 3 years. Our strategic planning process was an opportunity to bring the community together to help us set our intentions for the future.

1. Research Process

From October – December 2021 our consultant team led a research process which included: 

  • Establishing an external Advisory Committee
  • Internal document review
  • A literature review
  • An environmental scan
  • Assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Online surveys 
  • Consultations with stakeholders from across Canada

2. What we Heard

Consultations undertaken for the development
of this strategy specifically identified:


  • Visionary leadership, highly engaged talent and meaningful community engagement
  • Commitment to uphold the value of “nothing for us without us” and in the spirit of genuine support and collaboration
  • A trusted, relevant organization with a timely mission
  • Explicit and unapologetic focus on Black communities
  • A strong track record as a champion, community-based convener, catalyst and promoter of health and well-being


  • We are not well-known by communities outside the Greater Toronto Area
  • There is a need to pursue greater focus and articulate measurable goals, objectives and deliverables
  • Our operational infrastructure needs to be strengthened to scale with sustainable revenue streams
  • We are highlighting and attempting to uproot deeply entrenched systems of oppression that will not cede power easily
Through these community consultations and an assessment of the context in which we work, we got the feedback we needed to establish a clear theory of change, renew our foundational statements, and determine our strategic priorities for the next three years.

3. Strategic Planning Sessions

In March 2022, our Board of Directors and Staff
participated in two strategic planning sessions to:
  • Confirm refreshed foundational statements
  • Agree on the overarching theory of change
  • Develop strategic priorities to guide the organization over the next 3 years
The strategic plan was approved in September 2022, and we are confident that these priorities will advance our mission and strengthen our ability to deliver action and measurable impact


We would like to thank those who gave their time and energy to help us envision the future for BHA. Individuals from across the country actively participated as key informants, in focus groups and through online surveys. We see you and appreciate you!

Under a mandate from BHA’s Board of Directors: Lydia-Joi Marshall; Amoye Henry; Dr. Christopher Morgan; Ngozi Iroanyah; Samiya Abdi; Abdul-Aziz Garuba Jr.; Phil Gagnon-Joseph; Tatenda Musewe; Sume Ndume-Eyoh; Renee Raymond and with support from There Management Consulting, the Sustainability Committee led the strategic planning process for the organization. None of this would have been possible without their commitment and guidance.

We were also fortunate to have the support of an external Advisory Committee as part of our commitment to broader accountability and to leverage their extensive expertise and insights. A huge thanks to Dr. Wale Ajiboye, Sharon Davis-Murdoch, Dr. Winston Husbands, Dr. Notisha Massaquoi, Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Camille Orridge, Angela Robertson, Paulette Senior, Douglas Stewart, and Dr. Roberta Timothy.

Importantly, we want to acknowledge our staff team and the laser-focused leadership of our Executive Director in bringing this project to fruition. This team shows up every day and does the work necessary to realize our mission and for this, we thank you.

Lastly, we want to acknowledge and thank our donors and funders. Without your generous and consistent support, our work to drive health justice would not be possible.