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Carla Hall Impacted Campus and Community for Healthier Hearts

Carla Hall explains a recipe to April Woodard in front of expert panel.“Eating Our Way to Healthy Hearts: Closing the Gap in Black Health Disparities” was a lively dinner discussion with celebrity chef Carla Hall, moderator April Woodard, and expert panelists, held in the Dorothy B. Brothers Auditorium, including overflow conference room seating, in the Student Center on Thursday evening, Feb. 16. The event was presented by the Riverside Health System, Truist, and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and was hosted by the Center for Public Health Initiatives at NSU and the NSU Center of Excellence in Minority Health Disparities.

Carla Hall looks on with panelists.The expert panelists were Dr. Jill Comess, Program Director of Food Science and Nutrition, NSU; Mekbib Gemeda, VP Diversity and Inclusion, EVMS; Mark Johnson, VP Community Development Manager, Truist; Dr. Felicia Mebane, Executive Director, Center for Public Health Initiatives, NSU; Frankye Myers, Senior VP Chief Nursing Officer, Riverside Health System; and Quetel Sellers, VCU Graduate Student and Administrative Resident, Riverside Health System.

A picture of Carla Hall's okra soup.The event informed the audience of Hampton Roads locals and answered questions about preventing and managing hypertension, high blood pressure and eating in ways that promote heart health. It also examined the obstacles that result in health disparities in Hampton Roads, especially by communities of color, and what steps could be taken to achieve health equity. Norfolk State University live-streamed the event on its Facebook page at

A picture of Carla Hall's blackeyed pea salad.The event’s keynote was a cooking demonstration by Hall that illustrated how soul food can still be enjoyed in a traditional, tasty manner yet made in heart-healthy ways. It included many techniques and explanations, along with some funny, entertaining moments. The audience was served samples of the dishes during the cooking demonstration.

After the event, participants received a copy of "Carla Hall’s Soul Food Everyday and Celebration," which she signed for many who were present.

A picture of Carla Hall's book titled "Carla Hall's Soul Food."A recording of the event is available on Norfolk State University’s YouTube channel at


Learn more about Carla Hall at