Living Your Truth conversations in courage

Living Your Truth – Conversations in Courage

Living Your Truth is a series of conversations with those on the front lines, who bravely and gracefully live the truth of their hearts within their formidable lives. Hosted by the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative Council, and convened by The Sophia Institute, it is our hope their words inspire and challenge each of us to find our own truths. Listen to them speak personally and passionately about their work for social justice, racial equity, and transformative change.

Speakers: Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert Ph.D. and Dr. Thaddeus Bell

Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert Ph.D. Dr. Thaddeus Bell

Our Speakers

Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert

The goal of Dr. Hughes-Halbert’s research program is to identify sociocultural, psychological, genetic, and environmental determinants of cancer health disparities and to translate this information into sustainable interventions in clinic and community-based settings to improve cancer outcomes in racially and ethnically diverse populations.  Dr. Hughes-Halbert is a nationally recognized expert in cancer prevention and control among diverse populations and her research is supported by numerous grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.   Previously, she was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute Advisory Council.  Dr. Hughes-Halbert is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair for Cancer Equity, Hollings Cancer Center
Associate Dean for Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement, College of Medicine
SmartState Center for Cancer Disparities
Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Thaddeus Bell

Dr. Thaddeus Bell has been a community and statewide leader in medicine for many years. A graduate of South Carolina State University, a historically black university, and of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (1976) Dr. Bell has been designated as a distinguished graduate from both institutions. He is a graduate of Atlanta University Graduate School with a master’s degree in science education and is a graduate of the School of Aerospace Medicine San Antonio, Texas certified Fight Surgeon U.S. Air Force. He is a retired Major Air Force reserved. He served in operation Desert Storm.

In 1980 he cofounded the Elijah Wright Cross-Family Health Center, a free clinic for the underserved people in the rural community of Cross, SC. He was the only physician in Cross for 10 years. The Cross-health center is now a part of the Franklin C. Fetter health network a federally funded center which Dr. Bell assisted in making happen.

Dr. Bell joined the faculty of MUSC in 1993, serving as Associate Dean for Minority Affairs in the College of Medicine for 17 years (1993-2010). Dr. James B Edwards (President of MUSC) appointed Dr. Bell Director of the University’s Office of Diversity in 1996, a position he held until 2004. In those positions, he created many programs to improve the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of African American students at MUSC.

During his tenure at MUSC as a student, faculty member, and administrator Dr. Bell became very disturbed about the apparent disparities in health at MUSC, South Carolina and the nation. Theses disparities were apparent to him his entire journey throughout his career

He was inspired to address health disparities in South Carolina and focused on health literacy in the black community. To that end, he found Closing the Gap in Health Care (CGHC), which is a non-profit organization aimed at decreasing health disparities by providing health education for African Americans and other underserved populations. He began to address the health issues of African Americans in health seminars, lectures, barber and beauty shops, and health fairs. throughout the state of South Carolina. Radio commercials were suggested to reach a larger target audience.

The Closing the Gap in Health Care Inc is the parent organization for Thaddeus John Bell Endowed Scholarship for African American Students at MUSC through the Community Foundation of Charleston and has an endowed scholarship which will be given to a student in perpetuity. This scholarship is already assisting African Americans students in the health care professions. The Low Country Jazz Festival helps to raise funds for the scholarship, and in 2012, this event was voted one of the top 20 festivals in the South.

Our Moderator

Lauren Sausser

Lauren Sausser is a reporter and editor at The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. She previously worked for news outlets in Georgia, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., including The Associated Press and MTV News. Sausser was named Journalist of the Year in 2017 by the S.C. Press Association and has won national awards for her investigative work from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Health Care Journalists. She was part of a team of reporters whose work was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2016. Sausser graduated from Clemson University with an English degree in 2005 and from Columbia University with a graduate degree in journalism in 2010.

The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative

The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, convened by The Sophia Institute, seeks a just, sustainable, and thriving community where all people are empowered to fulfill their human potential. With its 37 member Council and multiple Engagement Partners, the SJRE Collaborative works from the inside out to recognize a healthy, diverse, and inclusive community grows out of an acknowledgement of interdependence and shared humanity. By addressing the challenges that emerge from structural and institutional racism, the SJRE Collaborative is working to transform Charleston into a more just and equitable place to live, work, and thrive.

More information about the Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative can be found by contacting its co-chairs Barbara Kelley-Duncan at and Carolyn Rivers at

This is a free event. Registration is requested to help with planning.

Living Your Truth from The Sophia Institute on Vimeo.

The Living Your Truth Forums

May and September 2017

Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III and Judge Alex Sanders, former President of the College of Charleston. Moderator: Carolyn Murray of Cn 2 on May 16, 2017 and also in Sept, 2017 for a continuation and at their request. Sept was moderated by Pierre Manigault of the Post and Courier Foundation.

November 2017

Dr. Millicent Brown and Mr. Armand Derfner, moderated by KJ Kearney.

January 2018

Mrs. Lucille Whipper and Ms. Linda Ketner, moderated by Patricia Williams-Lessane.

March 2018

Mr. Henry Smythe, J.D. and Judge Arthur McFarland, J.D. moderated by Rev. Joe Darby.

May 2018

Mr. Darrin Goss and Mr. Brian Duffey moderated by Rita Scott.

September 2018

Rev. Dr. Kylon Middleton and Mr. Thomas Tisdale, J.D. moderated by Dr. Roof.

October 2018

Senator Marlon Kimspon and Rep Peter McCoy moderated by Madeleine McGee.

November 2018

Mayor John Tecklenberg and Dr.Damon Ford moderated by Ms. Marion Gill.

January 2019

Mrs. Melissa Maddox-Evans, JD and Rev. Bill Stanfield moderated by Amanda Lawrence.

May 2019

Dr. Melvin Brown and Dr. Andrew Savage, moderated by Dwayne Green.

Click here to for the complete Sophia Institute Calendar of Events.


Sep 17 2019


06:30 PM - 08:30 PM

Visitor Planning

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Mt. Zion AME Church


Mt. Zion AME Church
5 Glebe Street, Charleston, SC 29401 United States

Presenting Faculty: