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  Valda Boyd Ford  
About Valda Boyd Ford, MPH, MS, RN  

Captivating and motivating, yet humorous, Valda Boyd Ford is a much sought after professional speaker, consultant and author. For over thirty years Valda has worked in over 40 countries to improve health, decrease disparity and vulnerability and improve leadership abilities. She has worked with groups as varied as CEOs of international corporations to tribal chiefs or college students.

Mesmerizing her audiences with her commanding presence, her authoritative presentations, and her mix of styles, Valda uses humor, stories and a solid use of data to get the message across. She is a living library of case studies compiled from the expansiveness of her international travels and cross-cultural experiences.



Even the most jaded of audiences and those who have been insulted by typical "diversity trainings" have been thrilled with Valda's matter-of-fact style. She says that her goal is to have people think critically about why they have biases and prejudices and then work to develop comprehensive, structural and long-lasting change in the work place, in the community, or in the world. For Valda, there is no "shame and blame" or Kum ba yah teaching. She talks to real people about real problems and offers real solutions.

Her love for cultural competency began when she worked in Saudi Arabia for a few years. She worked with people from 33 different countries who had been recruited by people who thought that skill sets alone were all that was needed. Instead she saw that simple variations in understanding could create dangerous conditions for patients and stressful conditions for colleagues.

Valda grew up during a time of segregation and went to segregated schools for the first nine years. After that there was forced integration in her small Southern town. Valda was able to thrive in her new environment and has often remarked that living in segregation gave her the opportunity to understand just how easily and how deeply preconceived notions can become and how institutionalizations of those thoughts can be hard to break down.


For over twenty years Valda has worked to decrease the likelihood that communities will suffer because of vulnerability or paternalistic thinking. Unfortunately, Valda's younger son died at age two because of miscommunication and medical negligence. She is driven to educate the community about their rights and responsibilities as it relates to health and wellness, whether from an individual or community perspective. She has worked on infant mortality reduction and collective impact initiatives for over twenty years.


Womens health and women's leadership are Valda's main topics within the sphere of diversity, vulnerability and inclusion since so many women came to her for guidance or direction. When a 74-year old woman spoke with her about the challenge of being a widow who was being encouraged to love again Valda realized just how vulnerable the woman was. Because of that incident and the loss of a loved one to HIV Valda began specializing in building sexually healthy societies all over the world.

As a public health expert and sex educator, Valda leads thought-provoking, engaging and frank exchanges with her audience on topics such as sexual literacy and vulnerability across the lifespan and across cultures.


Valda has successfully opened and run four entrepreneurial ventures. She started her career as a Registered Nurse and has used the critical thinking and ability to lead systems of care into other aspects of her life.

As Assistant Professor at Creighton University School of Nursing, Valda taught Population-based Healthcare and Human Diversity and Social Issues. And as Director of Community and Multicultural Affairs at the University Nebraska Medical Center, she developed partnerships and collaborations to provide and promote strategic thinking and executive-level cultural competency training for regional and national corporations.

Valda's career has taken her to Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and eventually the Caribbean, where she developed her own cardiac, stroke and physical rehabilitation center - the first facility of its kind in the region. Valda realized the financial and social hardships of the patients when sent 1000 miles to the mainland for care. She developed a center that capitalized on the value of having exceptional care rooted in cultural and linguistic diversity near at hand.

Inspired by her experiences in the Caribbean and the Middle East and because of a high demand for her advice and training, Valda created the Center for Human Diversity (CHD). CHD uses innovative approaches in finding solutions to cultural disparities as well as customizing effective workforce assessments to developing community-based programs for vulnerable populations to HIV and STD prevention strategies for teens and adults.


After providing several keynote presentations for women's health events Valda noted that women who were poor, new immigrants and refugees and those who had little flexibility with work schedules were rarely at the events. Valda created a program to get the most disenfranchised women together with other women who were successful. The program was called the Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar. It brought women out for a night of learning about their health in a relaxed and culturally appropriate setting. From that program, the Living, Laughing and Loving series was created. She is having the same type of women's health and empowerment series in her hometown.

Because of the barrage of questions and concerns from women in attendance about their sexual health and because of the high and unrecognised risks for STDs and HIV, Valda developed programs to answer questions and offer guidance. The natural next step was Sex Is Not for Sissies! According to Valda, "You can't be a coward if you're going to have sex!" and she wanted her audiences to know that "great sex and safe sex can come together."


Valda recently authored and published her first romance novel, SINS: Secrets and Lies to enhance the SEX IS NOT FOR SISSIES workshops. Her extensive stories of learning about culture all over the world, sometimes the hard way, will be featured in the soon-to-be released book, Don’t Touch the Monk and Other Stories of Global Faux Pas. Additionally, she is one of the featured writers in the recently released book The Speaker Anthology: 101 Stories that have Inspired and Motivated Audiences from Coast to Coast. Valda has contributed chapters to two medical textbooks on diversity and ethics, Cultural Proficiency in Eliminating Health Disparities and Health Care Services, Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Underserved Populations: Patient and Provider Perspectives. Valda holds a Master of Public Health Policy Analysis and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Nursing Administration from Creighton University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston Salem State University.

Valda's ability to cross cultures and speak in her down-to-earth style has taken her to over 40 countries abroad including China, Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Wales, Poland, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Australia. In Africa and Asia she has worked long-term with refugees of war and survivors of natural disasters.

Valda is presently President and CEO of the Center for Human Diversity and host and executive producer of Valda's Place - a long-standing cable television talk show. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, the Global Speakers Federation, and Toastmasters International. Valda has received numerous community, state and national honors and awards for her work.. One example was recognition as Humanitarian of the Year and Volunteer of the year in consecutive years as Director of Refugee Initiatives for Unite for Sight.

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