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To help us highlight our mission, Saunteel Jenkins and Dr. Eleanor Walker will join us at the event to share their stories.

Saunteel Jenkins

Chief Executive Officer, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW)

Saunteel Jenkins has been the Chief Executive Officer of The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) since 2014. THAW, an independent nonprofit organization, provides utility assistance, energy efficiency assistance, and case management services to Michigan residents in need. Since 1985, THAW has provided nearly $230 million in utility assistance to over 313,000 struggling Michigan families.

Before joining THAW, Jenkins served as a member of the Detroit City Council from 2010 to 2014. In 2013, she was elected President. She was the first council member in over 90 years to be elected by the body.

Jenkins also served as Director of the Residential Treatment Program at Mariners Inn, a Detroit homeless shelter for men fighting addiction; and Director of National Business Development for Platform Learning, a private education company that provided tutoring services to children in under performing schools across the country.

Jenkins is currently on the Board of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC); Henry Ford Hospital and Health Network and the Kresge Foundation: She also serves as a member of Wayne State University’s Helping Individuals Go Higher (HIGH) Program Advisory Board and Wayne State University’s School of Social Work Board of Visitors.

In 2020, Jenkins was diagnosed with Stage 3, triple-negative breast cancer. Today Saunteel is a humble and grateful survivor. She wants to help spread the word about the importance regular screenings, early detection and access to treatment.

Saunteel Jenkins has a true heart for service and is dedicated to empowering others and improving the quality of life for people throughout Michigan.

A proud Detroiter, Jenkins received both her Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University. She lives in the Detroit with her husband and best friend, Carl Bentley.

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Dr. Eleanor Walker

Henry Ford Health System

Dr. Eleanor M. Walker is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. and a Radiation Oncologist who believes in approaching cancer care holistically. Dr. Walker is very active in Integrative medical research. She has been the PI for many research projects most notably a Komen study using acupuncture for vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients. Also for the ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapies Education) trial to study the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention during and after cancer treatment for Breast and Prostate Cancer Patients.

Recently, Dr. Walker received a grant from Pfizer/American Cancer Society to reduce prostate cancer disparities among Black men. She is also the coPI of the PAACT project funded by Genentech aimed at dramatically improving representation of the Black community and other minorities in cancer clinical trials. This community-based research initiative is a collaboration with the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center (Detroit URC) that will address various barriers to trust and participation in clinical trials.
She earned her BS in BIO/MBio from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Walker received her MD from Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating she proceeded to do her internship in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University and her residency in Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

After completing her RO residency Dr. Walker joined the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI. Dr. Walker holds many leadership roles at HFHS:

  • Director, Breast Radiation Oncology

  • Medical Director for the Center for Integrative Medicine

  • Henry Ford Cancer Institute Council, DEIJ representative

  • Institutional PI for NRG Oncology research group

  • Institutional PI for MROQC (MI Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium).

  • HFHS Health Equity Scholar and Health Disparities Ambassador

Motto: To treat my patients as if they were my family.

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