Closing Plenary and Keynote

Our 2023 Conference embraces the theme “Toward Justice: Leading with Lived Experience.” Growing inequities and criminalization of homelessness are diminishing our society and threatening the lives of people experiencing homelessness. In 2023, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Consumer Advisory Board and the people with lived expertise of homelessness who have been leaders in the movement to end homelessness. We know that people closest to the problems are those closest to the solutions.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council is privileged each year to host the largest gathering of practitioners of homeless health care and medical respite care, advocates, people with lived experience of homelessness, and researchers about homelessness in the country.



Denise Octavia Smith, MBA, CHW, PN a woman of African descent, Community Health Worker and survivor of a rare chronic disease is the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Denise partnered with global and US organizations to center CHWs’ expertise, racial equity, and authentic community-based partnership. Mrs. Smith is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care, an Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow, and a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leader. In 2013, Denise partnered with hundreds of CHWs to achieve historic community engagement and enrollment of 30,000 residents into her state’s ACA Health Insurance Marketplace. Her research interests include building trust and relationships, patient and community-level health system governance, health insurance literacy, and CHW policy leadership.

Brandon M. Scott is the 52nd Mayor of Baltimore, working to end gun violence, restore the public’s trust in government and change Baltimore for the better. Scott was unanimously elected President of the Baltimore City Council by his colleagues in May 2019. As Council President, Scott developed and released the first-ever City Council President legislative agenda, focused on building safer, stronger communities, cleaning up city government, investing in Baltimore’s young people, and centering equity. Previously, Scott served on the City Council representing Baltimore’s 2nd District. He was first elected in 2011 at the age of 27 and is one of the youngest people ever elected to the Baltimore City Council.

Bobby Watts, CEO, National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC)

Categories: Community Health Workers, Policy and Advocacy
Tags: 2023 National HCH Conference
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