J. Elisha “Eli” Burke grew up in rural northeastern North Carolina in an area with little local access to medical care and prevention. Dr. Burke is a Richmond resident has been involved in health promotion initiatives to improve the health of underserved populations, particularly African Americans since 1994. As an active board member for several health organizations, he is often the non-scientist helping health agencies understand the perspectives of the poor and marginalized as an essential part of their efforts to improve health outcomes for all citizens. As an ordained minister, former pastor and currently a nonprofit director and Interim Ministry Specialist he is focused on Christian Education as the foundation for taking care of ourselves – body, mind and spirit. He is the author of Faith Beyond the Pews: An Experience in Christian Education
Kathy grew up in Mt. Airy, NC and lives in Blacksburg, VA. She has worked with Dr. Burke and BGCVA for over ten years, first with Balanced Living with Diabetes from 2009 to 2016. Spending time with congregation members in 33 BGCVA churches for the diabetes program was so rewarding and inspiring, and she was sad when that project ended. Our participants wanted programs for families to keep their kids healthy. It took almost two years, and four grant proposals, but we finally got the opportunity to serve 24 churches with both healthy lifestyle and financial management programs! Kathy is so happy to be spending time with BGCVA families and coordinators again. The traveling is worth it to be among and serve such special people.
Ms. Bev hails from Danville, VA. She worked with Virginia Cooperative Extension under the SNAP Ed Program for 15 years in Danville City and Pittsylvania County, where she taught nutritional education to seniors and young families using research-based information from Virginia Tech. She also volunteers with Extension when needed. Ms. Bev joined EHF in 2016. Her favorite part of the program is meeting new people and helping them learn new ways of doing things to make life better.
The Reverend Tonia M. Burruss
Center for Public Health Practice and Research, Virginia Tech
General Board Member & Chair, Christian Education commission
Baptist General Convention of Virginia
Rev. Toni is a lifelong Town of Ashland resident and has served the Lord in various capacities and ministries within her church and community. She has supported and worked with the Baptist General Convention for many years and currently represents the Convention by serving on the EHF Advisory board and team. She enjoys watching and participating with church members while they learn healthy eating and lifestyles and have fun doing so. In addition, she has witnessed congregations grow closer and change their culinary habits in their hospitality ministries.