The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is excited to announce Omari Richins, currently a community health fellow at the Mat-Su Health Foundation in Alaska, will join the Trust this fall as a Health Improvement in North Carolina program officer.
Omari will join the program team as the Trust focuses on its mission of improving health outcomes for North Carolina residents and works toward thriving communities and residents, equitable access to care, and equitable health outcomes. Specifically, Omari will work deeply in community, build relationships across sectors, and participate in grantmaking that focuses on improving the health and well-being of residents with low incomes, communities of color, and areas that have been marginalized. He will also support the Trust’s work around Healthy Places NC, a 10-year, $100 million effort to improve health in some of the state’s most vibrant yet under-resourced rural counties.
“We are thrilled Omari is joining our team at the Trust,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “He is a passionate public health professional who brings innovative ideas to the table around community engagement, rural health, equity, and how philanthropy and public health intersect to affect systems change.”
At the Mat-Su Health Foundation, Omari most recently assisted in managing grants up to $350,000 to respond to community health needs related to COVID-19. He also researched and developed the Mat-Su Youth Homelessness Needs Assessment and managed the evaluation of three public health programs. He developed Photovoice—a community-driven project that gave residents the opportunity to take photos and write captions describing their feelings about health issues—as part of the Mat-Su Borough Community Health Needs Assessment. The innovative project was presented at the Alaska Public Health Summit and profiled in multiple news outlets.
“Philanthropy offers me an opportunity to use my public health knowledge and skills to change the systems that have hurt people for too long,” said Omari Richins. “I am excited to join a foundation that centers its grantmaking on long-term impact and equity. The values of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the enthusiasm of the team are an ideal fit as I continue to work for systems change that can improve people’s lives.”
Prior to accepting the Mat-Su Health Foundation fellowship, Omari was the community initiatives assistant planner for WellFlorida Council Inc. where he researched and developed community health assessments and surveys. He also authored the Rural Health Whitepaper focused on health inequities in rural Florida while serving as the rural health advocacy and policy intern at Suwannee River AHEC. In 2019, Omari created a website, The Public Health Millennial, to build community and dialogue among public health professionals and students.
Omari holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Tampa. While in graduate school, he was a member of the Public Health Honor Society and was the president of the Public Health Student Association. He also served on the Heroin and Opioid Task Force in Marion County, Florida. Omari grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and completed high school in the Sultanate of Oman. He is looking forward to residing in North Carolina.