Criminal Law and Justice

Beyond Crisis Response: Health and Justice

August 8, 2022  • Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

On this episode of Shades of Freedom, we take a look at the intersections of the health care system and the justice system. For many communities, both systems rely on emergency or crisis response approaches, which can lead to unhealthy, and unjust, results for individual and neighborhoods. What is justice within health care? What would constitute health within the justice system? We’re joined by Tasha Blackmon, President and CEO of Cherry Health, a major provider of health services in Grand Rapids, MI, for a view into what it means to create health justice in one mid-sized American city.

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Guest Biography

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tasha Blackmon is a dynamic, collaborative leader, mentor and coach who brings more than 20 years of business operations experience to her role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Health, Michigan’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center. Cherry Health provides integrated health care services to over 55,000 patients in Barry, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa and Wayne counties in Michigan.

During her 16 years with Cherry Health, Blackmon has championed health justice through aggressively disrupting healthcare disparities. Her experience comes from an operational perspective, having established high standards of care utilizing a health equity lens to treat an individual’s health needs holistically, rather than symptomatically. She has led numerous large-scale expansion and development projects and held six positions within Cherry Health before becoming CEO in 2018.


About Shades of Freedom

Shades of Freedom, from Thelogo for Shades of Freedom podcast Aspen Institute Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, amplifies and uplifts promising efforts aimed at reducing mass incarceration, and looking at the ecosystem of related inequalities that surrounds and perpetuates incarceration.

The podcast can be found on all the major platforms, including Apple, Google, and Spotify. You can also listen from the series home page or listen to the current episode at the top of this page.

The Shades of Freedom podcast, hosted by Dr. Douglas E. Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, is named after and inspired by the book Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics and Presumptions of the American Legal Process, by Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.