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Raise Our Voices: How Covid-19 Affects Our Community
Dr. Lisa Gittens-Williams head shot (2)
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Raise Our Voices: Welcome


October 17, 2020

MCJJ hosted a thought-provoking, candid discussion about how  COVID-19 has affected the black community and what we can do about it. The forum highlighted the topics of health, education, and economics and featuresd three esteemed guest panelists:

Lisa Gittens-Williams, MD

Dr. Lisa Gittens-Williams is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at Rutgers NJ Medical School. She is a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and is the Director of Obstetrics at University Hospital, Newark, NJ. She is a practicing obstetrician. She serves as chair of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee for ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) District III. She was responsible for spearheading regional and international projects to promote New Jersey's Maternal Health Awareness Day. She is responsible for the development of programs at University Hospital including the high risk Patient Navigation Program and Lifestyle Centering Program; these novel interdisciplinary programs create new models for care delivery, with a focus on pregnancy as an opportunity for long-term disease prevention addressing racism and racial disparities. With research and clinical interests in patient quality and safety, she is the Director of the Obstetrical Team Training and Simulation program, a simulation and communication program which brings an innovative approach to improving communication and preparing obstetrical teams for emergencies. Her clinical practice focuses on pregnancy complications such as diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, obesity and preterm birth. She serves on the NJ Perinatal Quality Collaborative. She has served as a content expert at local and national forums such as the Soledad O’Brian show, NJ Maternal Mortality Code-a –thon and Facebook Live “Ask an Ob Gyn” with NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Shaun B. Freeman, CFP

First Vice President – Wealth Management


Family Wealth Advisor | Financial Advisor

Shaun has dedicated his entire career to understanding his clients’ personal financial goals, so he may provide tailored strategies to address their unique circumstances and resources. For nearly 20 years, he has earned a reputation for providing highly customized advice and investment solutions to highly successful individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area. He listens carefully to his clients’ goals, values and concerns and works tirelessly to make a difference by providing comprehensive wealth management services with passion and integrity.

Shaun began his career at Merrill Lynch in 1998 in the firm’s notable Professional Development Program, working with high net worth individuals to create comprehensive solutions for their wealth management needs. While at Merrill, Shaun was part of the company’s Business Financial Services Group, where he worked closely with business owners to identify and implement customized cash management and lending strategies. In 2004, Shaun joined his colleagues, Michael Gabay and Kevin Lawlor, in moving their practice to Morgan Stanley for the opportunity to access the firm’s first-class knowledge across a broad range of family wealth services.

In 2000, Shaun earned the distinguished CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP) designation, demonstrating his commitment to helping clients address the complicated issues facing today’s wealthy families. Shaun takes pride in his ability to take complex financial concepts and effectively communicate them to his clients. He works diligently to demystify the planning process by understanding their aspirations and values, so he may articulate the key activities to help achieve their specific goals.

A graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. degree in Finance, Shaun resides in Northern New Jersey with his wife, Nicole, and their two children, Rashad and Nia. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing sports, reading and listening to music.

Garth Birch 

Garth Birch is an award-winning executive with 20+ years of experience in marketing and advertising. His experience also includes recruiting, mentoring, college and career planning and developing internships for college and high school students with companies like Audible, Blueprint Capital and Newark Arts Council. While it is true that most of his time has been focused on providing strategic recommendations to business leaders within the healthcare space, He have always been and remain passionate about the need to mentor the next generation of leaders. To this end, he has built a non-profit company called Real World Academy, that provides students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the real world. 

The forum was moderated by Mechelle Olidge-Evans, Esq, President of the Morris County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated with a Q&A following the end of the forum.  

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