Cornell Wright, MPA
Executive Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Cornell Wright is a subject-matter expert, consultant, advisor, and presenter in the areas of health equity, health disparities, minority health, and community engagement/outreach. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Wright has extensively focused on health disparities and minority health issues over the course of his career. His previous positions included Outreach and Screening Patient Navigation Coordinator for the Duke Cancer Institute Office of Health Equity and Disparities; Interim Director of Community and Multicultural Health Initiatives for the American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate; Program Manager for the Center for Health and Healing, Inc. (a nonprofit affiliate of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina); and Project Coordinator for the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Minority Health Careers Initiative (a grant funded by The Duke Endowment). He also worked on a lower gastrointestinal surgery unit at UNC Health Care Systems.

Mr. Wright has earned various certifications, including patient navigation certification from the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute; certification from Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Diabetes Self-Management Program; and certification as a CPR/basic life skills healthcare provider.

Mr. Wright is an active member in the health community. His membership on faith organizations, community groups, boards, committees, and professional organizations that address the health needs of the community at large have included the following groups:
  • North Carolina Alliance for Health Professions Diversity 
  • North Carolina Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (a clinical research study focusing on prostate health at Duke University and East Carolina University) 
  • Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Advisory Panel on Communication and Dissemination Research 
  • HHS Regional Health Equity Council (Region IV) 
  • North Carolina American Indian Health Board 
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Barber and Beauty Shop Health Initiatives 
  • Duke University Cancer Community Advisory Board 
  • North Carolina Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Man/Woman of the Year Nominating Committee) 
  • North Carolina Triangle Affiliate of Susan G. Komen (grant reviewer) 
  • Carolina Community Network (grant reviewer) 
  • North Carolina Division of Public Health (member of cancer, maternal/child health, and other conference/event planning committees) 
  • The Baptist Informer (contributing writer) 
  • American Public Health Association 
  • National Association of Health Services Executives 
  • Society for Public Health Education 
Mr. Wright co-founded the Student Coalition Against Tobacco Use at North Carolina Central University while completing a graduate school internship. An American Legacy Foundation grant supported his internship to increase advocacy for tobacco prevention and control among Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The student coalition was responsible for the enactment of a new educational policy that required campus residence halls to become entirely tobacco-free. As an AmeriCorps Fellow, he assisted with the “Picture Me Tobacco Free Photovoice Project” to help African American churches in North Carolina to adopt and implement tobacco-free church ground policies.

Mr. Wright was a contributor to the Let’s Talk About SELF: Study of Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids video in 2011. The video won the 2010-2011 National Institutes of Health Plain Language/Clear Communication Bronze Award. He was a recipient of North Carolina Central University’s inaugural “40 Under 40” Alumni Award in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the field of health. He was a recipient of the Patient Services Award by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2013 in recognition of his commitment to working with communities and individuals in the provision of health services and resources.