Elevate: A Fellowship Advancing Public Health Leadership for Transgender Women of Color


The Elevate Fellowship advances transgender women of color in the South by effectively increasing their leadership capacity to navigate and improve public health systems. This program, rooted in skills building and professional and leadership development, consists of one intensive in-person training and three interactive webinars that lead to an increase in competencies improving health outcomes within the Black and Latinx transgender community.

Participants will receive a stipend upon completion of the fellowship and may apply for Continuing Education (CE) credits.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 1.1 million Americans currently living with HIV and approximately 40,000 new infections every year. While HIV affects Americans from all walks of life, the virus continues to disproportionately impact members of the LGBTQ community. Transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 22%. 

Elevate Fellowship 2020 Curriculum 

  • Knowledge of Public Health Systems - Arianna Lint 
  • Organizational Leadership - Ruby Corado 
  • Stigma: 90 Minutes of Learning Through Conversation, Activity, and Self Reflection - Tori Cooper 
  • Community Building & Self Care - Valerie Spencer 
  • Policy & Advocacy - Venton C. Hill-Jones


Elevate Fellowship; Trans women of color; Ariana Lint

Elevate Fellowship; Ruby Corado; Tori Cooper; Trans women of color

2020 Elevate Faculty 

Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby; Elevate Fellowship
Ruby Corado — She/Her/Hers

Ruby Corado was born in El Salvador. She has devoted the last 25 years to advocating for the inclusion of trans and GNC people in mainstream society. Ruby is a self-made, tireless advocate and leader for social justice, and her hard work has helped gain legal protections in Washington, D.C. She has fought for LGBTQ human rights, transgender liberation, immigration equality and access to heath care and fought against hate crimes/violence and many other disparities and issues facing the communities that she represents. Ruby is now the Executive Director of Casa Ruby, D.C.'s only multicultural LGBTQ center.

Valerie Spencer; Elevate Fellowship
Valerie Spencer — She/Her/Hers

Valerie Spencer is a healer who has coupled her intuition with the gift of communication for over 20 years, focusing on health disparities as it relates to transgender persons and others within LGBTQ communities of color. She has worked with the federal government, health departments, universities, conferences and community-based organizations around the country. Her work spans from community engagement, behavioral health consultation and, of course, those key note addresses she is famous for. The directive she gives herself is simple, to make the complex comprehensive. Valerie Spencer holds a master's degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and is preparing to pursue doctoral studies in holistic psychology.

Arianna Lint; Elevate Fellowship
Arianna Lint — She/Her/Hers
Arianna Lint is the Executive Director of Arianna's Center, a community-based organization that provides advocacy, education and training, case management and linkage to care for transgender men and women in South Florida and Puerto Rico, and is also part of the National Board of Translatina Coalition, Prevention Access Campaign and the Well Project. She is a refugee from Lima, Peru, and law graduate of Universidad de San Martin de Porres. Arianna has spoken at dozens of trans and HIV-related conferences and she worked consulting for the White House's National HIV/AIDS Strategy and CDC. She is an outspoken advocate for trans women living with HIV and the need of expanding PrEP access to the transgender community.

Tori Cooper; Elevate Fellowship
Tori Cooper — She/Her/Hers
Tori Cooper is a consultant and Prevention Specialist at Positive Impact Health Centers in metro Atlanta. She eared a Bachelor of Arts degree in human services and is matriculating toward her Master of Arts in public health. She has over 30 years of experience in HIV, first serving as a volunteer near the beginning of the epidemic and eventually making a full career change to focus on the HIV epidemic. Tori is committed to ensuring health and financial equity for the transgender and HIV communities.

Venton Jones; Elevate Fellowship
Venton Jones — He/Him/His
Venton C. Hill-Jones represents a new generation of national leaders committed to advancing health equity and social justice through 15 years of experience implementing innovative programs, public policy, leadership development and training. Since the beginning of his career, Venton has been a tireless advocate on the front lines of reducing health disparities, particularly HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South. In addition to the skill sets above, Venton brings non-profit management, events management and community organizing and development experience. Currently, Venton serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network (SBPAN.)

HRC Program Staff

J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall; HIV and Health Equity; Elevate Fellowship
J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, HRC Director of HIV and Health Equity — He/Him/His

Meghan Kissell; Project One America; Elevate Fellowship
Meghan Kissell, Director of Project One America — She/Her/Hers

Rishard Butts; HBCU; Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Elevate Fellowship
Rishard Butts, HBCU Program Manager — He/Him/His

Keo O'Neal; HRC Foundation; Elevate Fellowship
Keo O'Neal, Foundation Assistant — He/Him/His