Women United and United Way of the Mid-South regretfully announce the postponement of “Candid Conversations: COVID-19 Vaccinations” on Thursday, February 11, due to unforeseen and changing circumstances.  We understand the critical nature of this conversation, and we have confirmed a new date of Thursday, February 25, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CST.

We will continue to offer two ways to be part of this Candid Conversation on our new date of Thursday, February 25, at 6:00 p.m. CST.

Want to register and receive reminders and a calendar invite?  Click HERE to receive a link to join the conversation OR just join the conversation HERE on our website!


National and local health professionals engage in an honest conversation about COVID-19, the virus, the vaccine, and our community.

Women United and United Way of the Mid-South will assemble a Town Hall for all Mid-Southerners to learn more about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccinations available to the public. “Candid Conversations: COVID-19 Vaccinations” will be led by keynote speaker, Dr. Barney Graham, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of the NIH Vaccine Research Center and Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, and will feature an impressive panel engaged in an honest conversation about the vaccine and its role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. In partnership with Local24 Memphis, The Commercial Appeal, National Civil Rights Museum and MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, this dialogue will provide the answers our community needs to understand the virus, address current myths about the vaccine, and receive up-to-date medical information about the vaccine, its distribution, and how it can work as one of the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent further disease.

“At United Way of the Mid-South, we feel compelled, in our role as a convener, to set forth an open forum for this important discussion,” said Rev. Kenneth S. Robinson, MD, President & CEO, United Way of the Mid-South.  “To stop this pandemic, the Mid-South needs to use all available prevention tools. There are many in the community who have concerns about the vaccine, and desire a deeper understanding of the role the vaccine can play in keeping ourselves, our families and friends, and our neighbors safe and healthy and our community productive. Our United Way offers that opportunity to learn the facts, so individuals can make informed decisions.”

“The concerns of the community, especially the African American community, surrounding the COVID-19 vaccination are legitimate,” said TaJuan Stout Mitchell, Chair of Women United. “I believe our fears can be conquered when we are equipped with information and educated with facts. I am pleased that Women United and United Way of the Mid-South have collaborated with experts in the field of healthcare to provide timely information that helps us to make sound decisions for ourselves.”

This event is free and open to all.  Attendees are encouraged to listen and learn from this virtual conversation.  The presenter is Barney Graham, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of the NIH Vaccine Research Center and Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory. The event will include a panel discussion, moderated by Wendi Thomas, Founder and Editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, and will feature these panelists:

Wendi C. Thomas

Wendi C. Thomas

Founder, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism

Barney Graham, MD, PhD

Barney Graham, MD, PhD

Deputy Director of the NIH Vaccine Research Center and Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory

Dr. Graham's Bio

Dr. Graham is Deputy Director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center. He has a BA from Rice University, an MD from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he also completed Internal Medicine residency, chief residencies, and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases. His primary interests are vaccine development for viral diseases, viral pathogenesis, mechanisms of immunity, and pandemic preparedness. He directs basic laboratory research, contributes to the pipeline of new VRC vaccines, and provides oversight of candidate VRC vaccines and antibodies in advanced development including those for HIV, Ebola, and Chikungunya. His laboratory explores the structural basis for antibody-mediated viral neutralization, investigates basic mechanisms by which T cells affect viral clearance and immunopathology, and has developed novel vaccines for RSV, influenza, Zika, and coronaviruses including the first COVID-19 vaccine and monoclonal antibody to enter clinical testing and that have now achieved Emergency Use Authorization.


Rev. Dr. Keith Norman

Rev. Dr. Keith Norman

Pastor, First Baptist Broad; VP, Government Affairs, Baptist Memorial Healthcare; Member, Memphis – Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force

Rev. Dr. Norman's Bio

Dr. Keith Norman serves as Senior Pastor of The First Baptist Church Broad Avenue and as the Vice President of Government Affairs for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation. He synthesizes both of these ministries daily in pursuit of fulfilling his purpose in Christ. As the pastor of First Baptist Church-Broad, he shepherds one the largest Christian churches in the city of Memphis impacting positive change in the life of the congregants and the community at large. Dr. Norman’s primary responsibilities at Baptist include establishing and maintaining relationships with government officials and strengthening Baptist’s community outreach partnerships to make healthcare more accessible to all people.

Dr. Norman has a unique background, preparing him to serve in diverse ways through many organizations. Currently, he serves on the boards of  the Better Business Bureau of The Mid-South, Memphis Minority Business Consortium, The Orpheum, Seeding Success, Inc.,  Tennesseans for Quality Education, The Tennessee Historical Commission, The American Heart Association and The Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission to name a few. He is a former board trustee at Christian Brothers University and is a former commissioner of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Norman is the immediate Past President of the Memphis NAACP chapter and serves on the NAACP National Board of Trustees. He also served as The Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman during the election of President Barack Obama. Norman had the privilege of visiting the White House during the Obama Administration where he received The Champion of Change Award, April 4, 2012.

Dr. Norman has received numerous awards and citations for service of which he prefers not to mention but rather that his grandparents and his mother encouraged him to serve others before himself. In this way he states “you never get caught up on your own press, the good or the bad.”

A graduate of Morehouse College, Norman has several additional educational designations from Harvard School of Divinity, The Wharton School of Business and an earned a doctorate degree from Memphis Theological Seminary where he published his dissertation which outlines strategies for urban community development in Memphis, Tennessee.

Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC

Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC

Director, Shelby County Health Department; Associate Professor, UTHSC, College of Nursing

Dr. Alisa Haushalter's Bio

In 2016, Dr. Haushalter was appointed Director of the Shelby County Health Department. As a seasoned public health nurse and leader, Alisa has dedicated her career to creating conditions that promote health and well-being for all people. She brings more than thirty years of experience to her role; having led an array of public health programs and initiatives. In 2007, Alisa earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree with a specialty in Public Health Nursing Leadership from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing where she is an Associate Professor of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies.  She serves on several local boards and committees including the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, United Way of the Mid-South and Church Health.  She is president-elect of the Tennessee Public Health Association.  Alisa has received several honors including the 2017 Tennessee Nurses Association Nursing Excellence Award in Administration, the 2017 John W. Runyon Community Health Nursing Award, the 2014 Nemours Transformational Nursing Leader Award and the 2012 Middle Tennessee March of Dimes Public Health Nurse of the Year Award.


LaTonya B. Washington, MD, MBA

LaTonya B. Washington, MD, MBA

President, Bluff City Medical Society; Physician Advisor, St. Francis Hospital Memphis; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, UTHSC

Dr. LaTonya B. Washington's Bio

Dr. LaTonya B. Washington is the President of the Bluff City Medical Society, the premier organization for physicians of color in the Memphis metropolitan area, and a subsidiary of the National Medical Association. Dr. Washington is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and is currently the Physician Advisor at St. Francis Hospital Memphis. She maintains active clinical hospital privileges at St. Francis Hospital and Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare. She received a Bachelors of Science from Tougaloo College and Doctorate of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. She completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she was chief resident in her final year.  She obtained a Masters of Business Administration at Auburn University to enhance her training in the business aspect of medicine. Dr. Washington is passionate about bringing awareness to social injustices, identifying and improving health inequities through improving health literacy and healthcare access, and the need to increase diversity in healthcare by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine.  Dr. Washington is committed to educating the community on health related topics, most notably COVID-19, a topic of which she has spoken on numerous occasions since the start of the pandemic and serving as a medical media correspondent for the Memphis and Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Taskforce just to name a few.  Dr. Washington’s personal mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of those around her through education, empowerment, and action.

Lisa Piercey,MD, MBA, FAAP

Lisa Piercey,MD, MBA, FAAP

Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health

Dr. Lisa Piercey's Bio

Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, was honored to join Governor Bill Lee’s cabinet upon his inauguration in  January 2019, as the 14th commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. Preceding her public  service, Dr. Piercey spent a decade in health systems operations, most recently as Executive Vice  President of West Tennessee Healthcare, a public, not-for-profit health system with over 7,000  employees servicing 22 counties. Dr. Piercey is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in  both General Pediatrics and in the specialty field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. She has remained active in evaluating children for suspected abuse and neglect and serves in a volunteer capacity as Medical  Director for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center and faculty member at Vanderbilt University  School of Medicine. Professional awards include Senior Healthcare Executive of the Year (2016), Rural  Healthcare Executive of the Year (2017), and the WestStar Make-a-Difference Award (2018). 

She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Lipscomb University, her M.D. degree and Pediatrics residency  training from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, and her M.B.A. from Bethel University. Both Dr. Piercey and her husband, David, an industrial safety specialist, are west Tennessee natives and have four children. In her personal time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, drumming, and competing in triathlons.


Nathaniel Boutte, PharmD

Nathaniel Boutte, PharmD

Pharmacist, Walgreens

Dr. Nate Boutte's Bio

Nathaniel “Dr. Nate” Boutte PharmD has been serving his community for over a decade in a variety of roles under the umbrella of Pharmacy. His professional career started as a staff pharmacist at a Walgreens in the heart of Memphis working closely with both HIV patients and underserved communities. 

From staff pharmacist to pharmacy manager to preceptor to mentor and everything in between. Currently serving as a Registered Store Manager for the specialty branch of Walgreens known as Community, focusing on removing barriers for both patients and providers  in HIV,Oncology,Organ Transplant, and Hepatitis C. 

If you know Dr Nate you know that he loves taking care of patients, and his “what’s best for the patient?” philosophy drives his decisions. Always teaching teams that he leads, while Identifying talent in team members and putting them in the best place to maximize their skills and assist more providers and patients. Always ready for the next opportunity and constantly looking for ways to reach more providers and patients to wow them with genuine care!

The only thing that he loves more than taking care of  patients is spending time with his family. From his wife and two kids to his 3 sisters he knows that nothing is more valuable than time itself. Which explains why he is so passionate about getting his patients the care they need, so they can have more time with their families as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey and submitted questions for the Candid Conversations: COVID-19 Vaccinations.
For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccine, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov or the Shelby County Health Department’s website at www.shelby.community.  United Way will also post a FAQ as more information becomes available.


We are offering two ways to be part of this Candid Conversation.

Want to register and receive reminders and a calendar invite?  Click on the button below to receive a link to join the conversation. OR… Just join the conversation HERE on our website!