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Absera Melaku

Absera Melaku is the Vice Chair of the Board at Avodah. 

She is a public health practitioner with a specialized focus in health equity and social justice, adolescent health and youth development, and community-based public health programming, implementation, and evaluation. Currently, she serves as Assistant Director of Training and Communications for the University of Chicago Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS). In this role, Absera supports advanced training, research, and outreach at the intersection of health economics and public policy. Prior to joining CHeSS, Absera was Program Manager for the University of Chicago Center for Global (CGH), where she directed its long-term strategy, developed numerous education programs and initiatives, and worked closely with various stakeholders to identify areas of research that have potential for interdisciplinary inquiry and collaboration in global health. In addition to her engagement with Avodah, Absera sits on the advisory council of Innovation80 and serves as a mentor for UpStart’s Jews of Color Career Development Program. Absera received her Master of Medical Anthropology and Master of Public Health from Case Western Reserve University.

As a public health practitioner, I often consider how poverty and ill-health are inextricably linked – how socioeconomic status is one of the most powerful predictors of disease. I am so honored and thrilled to serve Avodah, an organization whose very core is rooted in antipoverty action in service to the most vulnerable in our community, and to develop leaders and activists committed to equity and justice.”