Ulysses Burley recognized for ELCA work in minority health care

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Candice Hill Buchbinder

Dr. Ulysses Burley, program associate for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) strategy on HIV and AIDS, has been selected as one of the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health. This is the first year the award is being presented.

The National Minority Quality Forum aims to eliminate disparities in health care in minority communities. The forum provides assistance to health care providers, administrators, policy makers and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities.

“This is special for me considering my difficult and prayerful decision to depart from clinical medicine fulltime and reimagine public health in this faith-based context of a more holistic approach that focuses on spirituality, relationships, community and the social determinants of health in my work with the ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS,” said Burley. “This award is a victory for the tireless and sometimes unseen work for health equity that happens outside of hospitals and laboratories, and inside the homes, churches, and communities of those in greatest need.”

Burley and other award recipients will be recognized at the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust’s awards dinner in Washington, D.C., in April, which is National Minority Health Month.

Burley is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Although his primary training is in scientific research and clinical medicine, Burley has dedicated much of his time to social justice advocacy through the church and community. His primary work with faith groups has been in the area of HIV and AIDS awareness, but it also includes mass incarceration, gender and racial justice, food security, and peace in the Middle East.

“The ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS is a strategy that focuses on and is committed to key populations of greatest impact which overwhelmingly include people of color,” said Burley. “Despite the fact that the ELCA is an overwhelmingly white church, it recognized the need for cultural competency in the work of HIV and AIDS and made way for me, a young male of African descent, to move this ministry forward, and now that work has been recognized as some of the most important work being done in this country around improving the health of minority communities.”