Meet Our People

The Ubuntu Center is comprised of core research and administrative staff, a strategic council and Ubuntu Movement Fellows.



Dr. Sharrelle Barber is a social epidemiologist and scholar-activist whose research focuses on the intersection of “place, race, and health” and examines the role of structural racism in shaping health and racial/ethnic health inequities among Blacks in the United States and Brazil. Dr. Barber is a faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health. Deeply rooted in the rich legacy of “Black Women Radicals” from the South, the legacy of activism of her beloved alma mater, Bennett College, and experiences that have taken her to cities across the United States and Brazil, Dr. Barber seeks to use empirical research and scholarship to make the invisible visible and mobilize data for action.

Dr. Barber has authored peer-reviewed articles in leading journals including the American Journal of Public Health and Social Science and Medicine. Over the past 5 years, she has served as Principal Investigator on several externally-funded research projects and has secured over $3 million dollars in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association. Dr. Barber has also lectured and taught nationally and internationally about the impact of racism on health inequities and serves on the Group for Racial Equality (GRacE) International Advisory Board for the Lancet.

During the COVD-19 pandemic, Dr. Barber provided expert commentary on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Black communities for local, national, and international media outlets including the NY Times, Smithsonian Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR and Al Jazeera. In March 2020, she convened a group of public health experts from Harvard (FXB Center for Health and Human Rights), UCLA (Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice, and Health), and other academic institutions across the country to serve as an advisory committee to the Poor People’s Campaign, providing justice-centered public health expertise for the movement as it engaged in collective action and advocacy.

Jennifer Ware

Deputy Director

Jennifer Ware was born and raised in Philadelphia and is a proud Girls’ High Girl. She is the daughter of Dorothy and Richard, the sister of Jackie, the mother to two beautiful sons, Harlem and Davis, and the partner to Jared. Her passion in life is to unleash the power of collective action for social change that will lead to the liberation of all people.

She holds a Master of Public Health, from Simmons University, has worked to advance racial equity in southern Oregon through the coordination of a governor supported regional health equity coalition, and is the co-founder of the Southern Oregon Racial Equity Coalition (REC) formed following the killing of Michael Brown. What started as a storytelling space for Black and brown community residents grew into an organizing and co-learning space for BIPOC residents and comrades. Alongside members of the REC, Jennifer worked to develop a racial equity toolbox to aid individuals in leading conversations about the impacts of racism. She also co-led community conversations and action planning sessions to develop strategies to dismantle interpersonal and structural racism in the area.

While in Oregon, Jennifer was awarded the Dolores Huerta Woman in Social Justice award in 2015 and the Racial Equity Coalition was awarded the Inspiring Organization of the Year in 2016 by Oregon Action/Unite Oregon. Jennifer’s time in Washington, D.C. focused on addressing the inequities in breast and prostate cancer survival for Black and LGBTQIIA residents. This involved training Washington, D.C. medical providers and medical students on the importance of leading with health equity and inclusion in all policies and practices.

Now back in her hometown of Philly, Jennifer is committed to using her skills and experiences to partner with and learn alongside Black residents in Philly and globally to develop action plans to demand repair of historical and current harms while supporting the healing necessary for our well-being.

Tanisha Barnes

She was part of a team that fought for heat and safe housing in various Brooklyn housing projects. She mentors young girls between the ages of 12 – 18 on how to increase their self-esteem by talking with them, shopping with them and teaching them basic computer skills.

Tanisha has always been a creative spirit and received her undergraduate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and is graduating in Spring 2022 with her Bachelor of Arts in Non-Profit Communication. She plans to pursue her MPH degree in Health Equity and continue to fight the good fight.

Her dream has always been to run a nonprofit organization geared towards providing clothing and resources to the underprivileged who need support to get back on their feet. Tanisha plans to continue to do all she can for the betterment of the Black community in particular the youth. “The youth are our future, and we have the responsibility to prepare them to become young warriors and leaders as we continue to disrupt old ideologies, dismantle systems that are not in favor of our people and destroy old ways of thinking.”

In the words of her Shero Assata Shakur, “Part of being a revolutionary is creating a vision that is more humane. That is more fun, too. That is more loving. It’s really working to create something beautiful.”

Dr. Irene Headen

Irene Headen, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Black Health

Community Health & Prevention

Loni Philip Tabb

Loni Tabb, PhD, MS

Associate Professor

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Leah Schinasi

Leah Schinasi, PhD

Assistant Professor

Environmental & Occupational Health

Nina Sun

Nina Sun, JD

Deputy Director

Global Health

John A. Rich, MD, MPH

John A. Rich, MD, MPH

Professor and Co-Director

Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice

Michael O’Bryan

Michael O’Bryan



Edna Maria de Araujo

Edna Maria de Araujo, PhD

Professor and Co-Chair

ABRASCO Racism Working Group

Movement Fellows

Tommy Caison

Tommy Joshua Caison

Rachel Mayes

Rachel Mayes

Emanuelle Góes

Ubuntu Drexel University