The former Dr. Stephaine Michelle Hale was previously a Harvard Medical Faculty physician, a Neonatologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center [BIDMC] and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics. Her interests focus on disparities related to neonatal outcomes in the United States as well as on equitable care and quality improvement within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with emphasis on those centers serving vulnerable populations.
Dr. Walker’s goal is to be an advocate for the healthcare of all children and to develop successful programs and influence policies that will improve the health and survival of infants and children in underserved communities across the nation.
She has been the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2006-2007, the Presidential Scholars Award at Harvard University in 2006-2007 and the Dr. Milton Rosenbluth Fellowship at Cornell University Medical College. The Fellowship through Cornell enabled her to spend two months working in Argentina in various pediatric hospital and clinical settings. She was also selected to represent BIDMC as a Fellow in the 2008 Partnership, Inc. Program.
While residing in the Northeast, her record of volunteerism included mentoring teenage girls interested in science in Boston, mentoring pregnant teens at Inwood House in New York, and teaching STD/AIDS educational programs to youth in Philadelphia and New York City schools. While studying in the South, Dr. Walker mentored teens in Nashville’s “Lifting as We Climb” Program. In addition, she has and continues to mentor numerous undergraduate, medical, dental and public health students as well as medical residents and Fellows as they move about the country.
Dr. Walker, a native of Los Angeles, California, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1997 and her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 2001. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2004 and a fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles in 2006. Afterwards, while a Harvard University Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Minority Health Policy, she completed a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2007. Currently, on faculty at Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital, she is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and a Neonatologist.
In May 2009, she married Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III. As Mt. Zion’s First Lady, Dr. Stephaine—as she is fondly called—strongly believes that “. . . unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required . . . .”(Luke 12:48, KJV).Therefore, shortly after arriving in Nashville,she partnered with Bishop Walker and collaborated with other visionaries in the Nashville community who share her passion for health policy, health disparities and community action to seek solutions and to improve both the access to and the utilization of health-related resources. Believing that finding one’s calling is about making the community in which one lives better, she launched Full Circle Health Community Coalition in early 2010 to bridge the gap and to bring together diverse partners to improve the health of residents living in underserved communities.
In 2010, Dr. Walker, alongside her husband, founded the non-profit, Drs. Joseph & Stephaine Walker Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is primarily advanced through scholarships for students, through mentorship and through community outreach. The Foundation is committed to helping people help themselves and to helping those in the world around them lead productive and satisfying lives.
That same year, Dr. Walker also co-authored a best selling book with her husband entitled Becoming a Couple of Destiny, which chronicles lessons on life balance and transparency in marriage.
Targeting obesity and health literacy, by actualizing the 2011 Mt. Zion Vision of the House: “Healing the House in 2011,” she also committed to ChurchFit, a Mt. Zion fitness and health awareness program that was announced nationally in January 2011. Mt. Zion Baptist Church revealed that ChurchFit was in partnership with Full Circle to help the 25,000-plus congregation revive fitness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle, thus promoting and improving its members’ overall health and wellness. In 2013, Dr. Walker was appointed Overseer of the Mt. Zion Health Care Ministry.
Needless to say, both Bishop and Dr. Walker agree that their most joyous accomplishment to date has been the birth of their beautiful daughter, Jovanni Willow Walker, who was born in May of 2012.
“After all, identifying your life’s purpose and through it, being able to make a positive impact on the world around you,” Dr. Walker often says, “is what life is really about!”