From health professional to founder of an electric vehicle nonprofit organization: the Dr. Shelley Francis story

Stephen Nartey May 23, 2023
Dr. Shelley Francis co-founded the nonprofit organization, EVHybridNoire, to tackle the transportation, mobility, and environmental health challenges facing the black community. Photo credit: Gillings School of Public Health

Most black communities have often battled with carbon emissions because of the structural positioning of their settlements and the means of transportation available in their communities. Consequently, they are part of the population that is most likely prone to higher rates of asthma, chronic diseases, cancers, and other respiratory challenges.

This reality troubled the mind of Dr. Shelley Francis, who is now a leading figure in sustainable transportation and equity. As a doctor in public health, the reports she encountered while working at the maternal and child health department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Health impressed on her the desire to join the path of change makers.

To address the problem, she co-founded a nonprofit organization, EVHybridNoire, to tackle the transportation, mobility, and environmental health challenges facing the black community. Dr. Shelley saw electric vehicles as the solution to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on people, worrying about the public health threat it has become.

She partnered with Terry Travis to launch the nonprofit, through which she is creating a sustainable and equitable future. The organization aims to provide a platform for drivers of micro-hybrid electric vehicles and enthusiasts across the United States and other parts of the world to engage and embrace the use of electric cars.

Under Dr. Shelley’s leadership, there has been a zealous promotion of e-mobility best practices. She has been instrumental in the advocacy for the implementation of sustainable solutions in the use of electric vehicles. Aside from that, she works towards accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles and supports efforts at providing the needed infrastructure for its widespread use.

She hopes that these efforts will fast-track the transition from traditional fossil fuel vehicles to electric transportation alternatives, and believes that the benefit of sustainable mobility must be accessible to all communities, especially marginalized and underrepresented populations.  

Dr. Shelley is recognized as one of the impactful innovators in the environmental sector by the Progressive Change Institute and serves on the Electric Vehicle Association National Board. Her contributions have earned her the position of director at Georgia’s Department of Public Health.

She has also taught at the Ohio State University and other institutions including the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University of Morehouse School of Medicine as a result of her immense expertise.

Her extensive experience and academic background show her commitment to sustainable transportation, energy systems, and environmental justice. Dr. Shelley hopes to create a more just society where everyone has access to clean transportation options, according to the University of North Carolina.

Overall, she has built a legacy where minority communities will have fewer challenges accessing alternative transportation solutions because of the wide network her organization has created for a diverse network of EV drivers. Her expertise, passion, and dedication have made her an influential figure in the pursuit of a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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