Natalie S. Burke

As an advisor to institutional executives; government and philanthropic leaders; communities aspiring to change, and everyone in between—Natalie S. Burke, President & CEO, guides people and organizations to solutions, plans, and common language necessary to succeed and make the world a more equitable and healthy place.  As a strategist she focuses on strengthening the connective tissue that forms those organizations (i.e., people in relationship).  That understanding guides her work with leaders across sectors who seek to innovate through will-building and perspective transformation.  Currently, Natalie is President & CEO of CommonHealth ACTION, a national public health organization based in Washington, DC.  She serves as co-director for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Culture of Health Leaders National Program Center and she directs the Baltimore-based, Kaiser Permanente Institute for Equitable Leadership.  In addition, she serves on the Equity Advisory Group for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  Since the mid-90s, she has held leadership positions focused on creating opportunities for health through community, organizational, and systemic change. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Government and Politics, Natalie has participated in the Emerging Leaders in Public Health Fellowship (hosted by the University of North Carolina’s Schools of Business and Public Health) and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service Lead the Way Fellowship for entrepreneurial leaders in the nonprofit sector.


Opening Keynote: “What Happens When Equity is the New Solution to Old Problems? We Get Uncomfortable.”
Wednesday, January 9th, 1:30pm

Since the inception of our nation, inequities in systems and institutions have been persistent, avoidable threats to our communities, to our families – to our children.  They reflect flaws in the economic, social, and moral fabric of our country – intentionally rooted in systems of privilege and oppression.  To end those threats, we need to find new solutions to old problems.  That requires leaders across all sectors, disciplines, and in communities to challenge deeply held beliefs—particularly regarding power in unjust systems.  It requires us to challenge ourselves and the role we play in the production of health, wellbeing, and quality of life.  It starts by making our systems and institutions equitable, diverse, and inclusive; using an equity lens to view policies and programs; and questioning the equity impact of practices we too often hold sacred.  Ultimately, it requires each of us to experience the discomfort of self-reflection and change while being brave enough to do that willingly—to seek it.  We have a choice.  We can stay as we are and perpetuate inequities and disproportionalities or we can embrace equity, and give every child the opportunity for their best possible life.  Let’s Get Uncomfortable.