On November 15, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2019 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. We will highlight the ten honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

Heroes19_Venise Curry 2_smName: Venise Curry

Occupation: Regional Director of Communities, New California Education Fund

Nominated by: Central Valley Health Policy Institute

Dr. Venise C. Curry strongly believes in the adage “strength in numbers” and lives by it each day, advocating for some of the most disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley region. As a native of Fresno, Curry has a personal stake in the promotion of health and health equity for those that reside in the region. It is more than a job to her, but rather a responsibility.

Although Curry is a formally trained psychiatrist, she has instead concentrated her efforts on medical, social and environmental justice work through community organizing, civic engagement, communicating with policy makers and sharing her expertise on panels and committees. 

Her work has been far reaching, particularly in west Fresno, where she was instrumental in landmark policy changes, such as the Parks Master Plan, which supported green community parks in urban areas. Her commitment to local and statewide issues pertaining to healthcare access, education and land use has had long-lasting results.

Curry also served on the Maternal and Child Health Expert Panel and later helped create the African-American Infant Mortality report, which provides recommendations on how to decrease low birth rate, preterm birth and infant mortality among African-Americans in Fresno County.

Today, Curry is the regional director of Communities for a New California Education Fund. In 2011, she began as a door-to-door canvasser and phone banker for the organization. She worked her way through the ranks, eventually leading the Civic Engagement Project team. As a direct result of her leadership, voter turnout was increased throughout the region and policy and system change in Fresno County has become a reality.

“Dr. Venise Curry is truly an advocate and champion for the most disadvantaged in our region, whether they are in the womb or as citizens whose voice matters, she helps bring a voice to all.” – Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner and Emanuel Alcala, Central Valley Health Policy Institute

The 2019 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 15, 2019 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.