Velisa Perry's profile photo

Velisa Perry

Executive Director , United Health Organization

Velisa Perry's profile photo
Location: Detroit, MI
Start Year: 2022
TRHT Pillar: Racial Healing and Relationship Building


Velisa L. Perry is a highly organized and dedicated executive director of the United Health Organization. Working closely with many social foundations and community organizations, she tackles key issues related to oral health that will improve overall health, counter racism, and eliminate social determinants of health. Velisa believes that a healthy nation mustn’t choose who needs help.
Velisa always says, “When the world gets a cold, Detroit gets pneumonia.” For example, African Americans and other people of color in Detroit were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 because of a lack of resources and reliable information.

At the United Health Organization, one of Velisa’s key achievements was to continue to be a supportive force in bringing the initiative Project Healthy Living (PHL) to the communities, a nine-county mobile “pop-up” service offering comprehensive preventative health screening events. The service was provided at over 45 requested locations in approximately 10 weeks.

A very significant program to Velisa is when she partnered with a like-minded organization to create an initiative of the three-year run program Helping Our oWn (HOW). The HOW program aims to bring healthcare, dental care, showers, hot food, clothing, barbers, beauticians, nail technicians, local entertainment, and over thirty other organizations offering resources to those who are homeless. Velisa believes we are responsible for the least of them.

Future Focus

Velisa is excited to announce her team collaboration with grassroot, state, and national partners on a pilot project that is scheduled to launch in late summer 2022. This pilot project, the first of its kind in the area, will integrate primary care, medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse disorders, psychiatry, and dental services all in one locale, serving one of the most marginalized communities in Michigan. This collaboration will revolutionize how community-based primary care is delivered in urban communities and will bring care to people in a more equitable environment.

Post-Institute: Transformative Action Plans

Velisa, along with the Wayne County Oral Health Coalition, has been a staunch advocate for community-led initiatives, focusing on preventive and restorative oral health care. Her efforts also aim to enhance the Medicare reimbursement rate and facilitate dental screenings for children. Through effective advocacy and educational endeavors, Velisa successfully addressed the community’s needs and is now working to further these efforts through a three-year project, the Dental Medical Integration Pilot Program: Community Smile Center. Positioned centrally in Detroit, the center offers oral health screenings and general hygiene services to enhance access to dental care. The program is currently in its grant planning phase, and Velisa plans to expand it to other cities.

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Culture of Health Leaders Institute for Racial Healing

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program