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Emerging nonprofit professionals tackle healthcare inequality

YNPN, an organization designed to support young professionals in the nonprofit field, is holding a Conversation Starter about health equity with Shannon Wilson this Thursday.

Conversation Starter: How Health Inequality Affects Our Community

Thursday, July 18th

8 a.m. to 9 a.m.


Heart of West Michigan United Way

118 Commerce Ave SW

Room #100

Grand Rapids, MI


Event Details

Register online

The May Conversation Starter thrown by YNPN.

The May Conversation Starter thrown by YNPN. /Heather Kaweck

Shannon Wilson, executive director of the GRAAHI.

Shannon Wilson, executive director of the GRAAHI. /Courtesy of GRAAHI

The May Conversation Starter focused on Dan Pallotta's TED talk.

The May Conversation Starter focused on Dan Pallotta's TED talk. /Heather Kaweck

This Thursday The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids (YNPN) invites nonprofit professionals and interested community members to this month's Conversation Starter: "How Health Inequality Affects Our Community." The conversation will be about health equity and led by guest presenter Shannon Wilson, Vice President of the Alliance for Health and the executive director of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI).

YNPN's Conversation Starter series is a monthly networking and development opportunity for young professionals in the nonprofit field. Each month they bring in an experienced guest speaker to lead a discussion about a relevant issue.

Conversation Starters approach an important topic in the nonprofit field, or even a topic related to the personal or professional growth of nonprofit leaders, and create a discussion about it. It's an opportunity to meet people in the nonprofit field and stay connected with some of the bigger issues in the sector. The Conversation Starters in May and June have discussed Dan Pallotta's controversial TED talk about charities and salary negotiation for nonprofit professionals, respectively.

This month Wilson will discuss issues of equity in the healthcare system and how that is affecting our society. Wilson is a local expert on the healthcare system and how race plays into it. She's spent a good portion of her career studying how a person's ethnicity affects their experience in healthcare.

Tracy Van Solkema, programming co-chair of YNPN, says that the Conversation Starter series along with YNPN luncheons and unique events are important resources for the development of young nonprofit professionals.

"Especially for young professionals, many nonprofit organizations do not have the budget for professional development," says Van Solkema. "We provide an inexpensive way to grow professionally and personally, and collaborate and network with others."

Since coming to Grand Rapids in 2007, YNPN has become a major player in the city's unique nonprofit environment. Van Solkema says YNPN connects over 2,500 young nonprofit professionals in the greater Grand Rapids area. They're able to provide free or inexpensive programming thanks to the support they receive through local sponsors and membership fees. Check out their website to see some of the benefits their organization has to offer young professionals working or interested in the nonprofit sector.

The "How Health Inequality Affects Our Community" Conversation Starter will be Thursday, July 18 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Heart of West Michigan United Way. Those interested are encouraged to register to secure their seat.

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