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Esperanza F. Cantu, Wayne County

Esperanza Felicidad Cantú is the director of Health Initiatives at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, where she partners with community organizations and public health agencies to improve community health. Originally from Monte Alto, Texas, she has worked in areas including community health planning, quality improvement, coalition building, and data and research for ten years. Prior to United Way, she led a citywide strategic planning process among nearly 2,000 residents, community agency representatives, and healthcare stakeholders to address community health priorities. The National Network of Public Health Institutes recognized this work at the 2019 Open Forum for Quality Improvement and Innovation in Public Health for integrating health equity into community assessment and planning. She serves on the City of Detroit Public Health Advisory Commission, which advises the Department of Health on policy matters affecting the health of Detroit residents, and liaises between the Department and the community in addressing health concerns. Furthermore, she serves as the Treasurer of the statewide Hispanic and Latino Commission of Michigan, which advises the Governor, Legislature, and other state departments about priorities of the Hispanic and Latino population, and develops a unified plan of action to serve her community. She is a Senior Health Equity Fellow through the Atlantic Institute and George Washington University and completed a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Population Health Fellowship through the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority. She holds a master's degree in public health through the University of Michigan's executive health management and policy program, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Kalamazoo College.