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Dr. Faith Mitchell

“Pioneering researcher tells the story of Black-American's in the early 20th century through postcard correspondence.”


About Me

Dr. Mitchell, author and health researcher has released her most recent work Emma's Postcard Album. This historical memoir is the product of pioneering research that tells the story of Black-Americans in the early 20th century through Mitchell's grandmother Emma's postcard correspondence.  Dr. Mitchell offers a first-of-its-kind story telling model that connects historical data, research and community narrative.

After Mitchell finds the postcard album among her late mother's possessions, she began to ask herself:

  • Who were these people her grandmother was corresponding with?
  • What was she leaving and where was she going?
  • What was it like being a Black girl, coming-of-age at the beginning of the 20th century?
  • And is there a story here?

What she found is that there was absolutely a story to be told. Mitchell's work up to her initial discovery of her grandmother's postcard album was the necessary prerequisite training for the research and story that she is sharing with the world.

Mitchell has a doctorate in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written or edited numerous policy-related publications and is the author of Hoodoo Medicine, a groundbreaking study of Black folk medicine, The Book of Secrets, Part 1, a semifactual supernatural thriller, and Emma’s Postcard Album, Black Lives in the Early Twentieth Century, a memoir and social history. She cochairs the advisory group for the John A. Hartford Foundation and Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, chairs the board of The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation, serves on advisory committees for the National Collaborative for Health Equity and the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies, and on the editorial board of Health Affairs.

Dr. Mitchell's career spans over three decades. She's served as president and CEO of Grantmakers In Health, a DC-based national organization that advises, informs, and supports the work of health foundations and corporate giving programs. Before that, she held leadership positions at the National Academies (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine), the US Department of State, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation.

Faith Mitchell is an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute working with the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and the Health Policy Center. She oversees Urban’s American Transformation project, which looks at the implications—and possibilities—of this country’s racial and ethnic evolution. Over several decades, her career has bridged research, practice, and social and health policy.

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Dr. Faith Mitchell

Faith Mitchell is an author, anthropologist, health researcher, and Black historian. Her books and articles advocate for health equity and social justice.

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