E. Hill De Loney, MA (Guidance Counseling), MA (Psychology), Hon PhD, a longtime community partner of MICHR, passed away on May 9, 2024, in Flint, MI, at age 85. Dr. De Loney played a critical role in MICHR and was a pillar of community-based participatory research. She was an invaluable guide to MICHR from the beginning of our CTSA journey in 2007 until her passing and was always a strong voice and advisor for including community leadership in our work.

Words cannot express Dr. De Loney’s impact on MICHR, especially the Community Engagement (CE) program. She served on CE’s Coordinating Council, which met from 2008 to 2015. She played an integral role in MICHR’s inaugural Community Advisory Board.

“Dr. De Loney was a long-time trusted advisor to MICHR leadership. She provided us with years of insightful guidance to ensure we centered the community in our work. Her contributions to MICHR’s work in community-engaged research will be irreplaceable,” said Dr. Julie Lumeng, MICHR Executive Director.

Dr. De Loney’s valuable advice stemmed from her impactful legacy as a community leader. Among a great many other accomplishments, she helped organize Flint’s first Juneteenth celebration in 1972. Her legacy will be honored at Flint’s Juneteenth Freedom Fund Youth Dinner on June 16, 2024, as part of the Traditional Flint Juneteenth Celebration, which will take place June 1 – 19, 2024.

As the director of the Flint Odyssey House Inc. Health Awareness Center, she dedicated herself to addressing the health and human service needs of local residents. She played a leading role in various local, state, and national programs, including the Detroit-Genesee County Community-Based Public Health Consortium. Additionally, she had a crucial role in developing and implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) project, which aimed to improve understanding of health disparities, their causes, and prevention strategies.

In 2021, the University of Michigan awarded her an honorary doctorate for her significant contributions to community-based public health initiatives in Flint, across the state, and throughout the nation.

“Dr. De Loney was more than a community leader – she authentically cared about people. She was both maternal and iconic. She led with love, and you felt that when you were in her presence. She will be missed both professionally and personally by so many,” said Dr. Erica Marsh, MICHR Associate Director.

While her passing leaves a void in our work, her life emboldens our commitment to uplifting voices and promoting equity. We will ensure that Dr. De Loney’s legacy endures in the collective efforts we continue to make toward enhancing community health. We are grateful we were able to benefit from her wisdom for so many years.