April 28, 2020

Dr. Shelley Francis

Dr. Shelley Francis

In 2005, Shelley Francis, DrPH, graduated from the maternal and child health department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. In 2016, she co-founded a national nonprofit organization, EVHybridNoire, to address transportation, mobility and environmental health equity.


“Communities of color are often those most afflicted with air pollution, which translates to higher rates of asthma, chronic diseases, cancers and other respiratory issues,” Francis says. “We see the same disparities playing out now in the coronavirus pandemic with Latinx and African-American people contracting and dying from the virus at disproportionate rates.”

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a path to reducing dangerous emissions but, as Francis puts it, “In black and brown communities, there is limited awareness and few places to charge.”

In response, she collaborated with Terry Travis to launch EVHybridNoire, through which she works at the intersection of transportation, public health disparities and environmental equity. The nonprofit aims to boost awareness of clean transportation, increase the number of diverse EV drivers and address the specific needs of underserved communities via education, advocacy and data collection — ultimately contributing to improved public health outcomes related to air pollution.

Now, EVHybridNoire has been nationally recognized for efforts to mitigate the impact of vehicle emissions on communities of color. At Roadmap, the largest Emobility conference in the United States, the organization received the Community Partnership Award for their work in transportation equity and best practices.

Currently, EVHybridNoire is the largest network of diverse EV drivers and enthusiasts in the U.S. with members across the country and around the world.

“With the success of EVHybridNoire, I co-founded a second organization — EVNoire Mobility Intelligence Consulting Group — to provide consultation on best practices with Emobility and equity. I often work with public health agencies, auto manufacturers, mass transit authorities, municipalities, utilities and nonprofits,” Francis says. “Both organizations work in tandem to increase the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and transportation options by those who often are left out of the conversation. I’m excited that I have been able to leverage my public health education and work experience in maternal and child health, environmental health, epidemiology, health disparities and community-based participatory research to develop real-world, culturally informed solutions to transportation gaps while reducing air pollution and slowing climate change.”

Francis’ nonprofit has been funded by the Energy Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Cleveland Foundation and other groups. Most recently, EVHybridNoire received funding from the ZSR Foundation in Greensboro, North Carolina, to facilitate a 2-year project with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy that will engage African-American and Latinx stakeholders in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

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