Renee Mahaffey Harris


Renee Mahaffey Harris is a committed advocate for the underserved and marginalized populations in Greater Cincinnati and the region.  She started her journey in eliminating health disparities with the Health Gap in 2008 and is now the President and Chief Executive Officer.  Harris leads The Health Gap in its mission to lead the efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities through advocacy, education, and community outreach.  During her tenure at The Health Gap, Harris has co-led the creation of the Food Desert Task Force, jointly implemented the City of Cincinnati Health In All Policy, and launched several groundbreaking community-based health initiatives including the Black Women’s Health Movement.

Before joining The Health Gap, Harris held executive leadership roles in the private sector including her tenures as Vice President of Community Development with PNC Bank and Director of the Greater Cincinnati Local Initiative Support Corporation.  In the public sector Harris worked in leadership roles with former Ohio Secretary of State Sherrod Brown and former Congressman Charles Luken.

Harris’ serves as a member of the National Council of Black Health Ohio Statewide Health Disparities Collaborative, the Greater Cincinnati Oral Health Coalition, The Taft Lecture Series and has served on numerous boards including the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council, Cincinnati Parks Foundation the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, Home Opportunities Made Equal and the YWCA.

Harris was once named one of Ebony Magazine’s 50 Leaders of The Future. She is also a recipient of UC Health’s MLK Humanitarian Award for her work during the COVID-19 Pandemic and embodying the Dr. King quote: An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.



  • UC Health MLK Humanitarian Award Winner, 2021
  • Ohio Governor Mike Dewine’s COVID 19 Minority Strike Force
  • Health Policy Institute Equity Collaborative
  • Ohio Health Disparity Policy Committee
  • Chaired Health In All policy Development City of Cincinnati
  • Black Women’s Health Movement
  • Mount St. Joseph Health & Wellness Advisory Board
  • Hamilton County Oral Health Coalition
  • Governor DeWine’s’ Recovery Ohio Minority Health Working Group
  • Health Collaborative Community Advisory Board Gen-H Steering Committee
  • Baptist Ministers Conference Community Outreach Award
  • Ebony Magazine 50 Leaders of the Future, 1995
  • The Cincinnati Herald – Nefertiti Award Winner
  • Transformation of Mission-based Health Care Community Advisory Board
  • Taft Lecture Series Advisory Council
  • UC College of Medicine – MPH Community Advisory Board
  • OAACHD (Ohio African-American Coalition on Health Disparities), President
  • Health Equity Advisory Board for the Health Policy Institute of Ohio
  • Ohio Coalition of Health Council- Leadership Team
  • Ohio Health Disparities Collaborative Coalition – Policy Committee
  • Giving Black Cincinnati Advisory Committee
  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Government Affairs Council
  • Cincinnati Parks Foundation Board
  • African American Leadership Development Program – Class II
  • Ohio Commission on Minority Health Expert Medical Panel
  • Applause Image Maker Award – Emerging Leader Award recipient
  • Ohio Statewide Health Disparities Collaborative
  • United Way and Community Chest Regional Leadership Team
  • Chair United Way Neighborhood Vision Council
  • Co-Chair United Way Government Relations Committee
  • Greater Cincinnati Boys & Girls Club Board
  • Greater Cincinnati Urban League Board
  • YWCA Board of Directors
  • UC Real Estate Advisory Committee
  • Member of former Greater Cincinnati Port Authority
  • SUMA Board of Directors
  • DCI Small Business Committee
  • 1997 Outstanding Young Woman of America

and others



  • RWJF National Childhood Obesity Team
  • American Cancer Society
  • Cobb Institute
  • National Council on Black Health
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Ohio Statewide Health Disparity Collaborative
  • National Medical Association
  • Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)