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New leadership for Louisville’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods

New director is Monique Williams; new faith-based liaison is Steven Kelsey
Monique Williams, left, and Steven Kelsey.
Monique Williams, left, and Steven Kelsey.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Tuesday new leadership for the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN).

Monique Williams, who is director of Youth Violence Prevention Research Center at the University of Louisville, has been named as OSHN’s new director, and Dr. Steven M. Kelsey, a retired Louisville Metro Police Officer and Louisville minister, has been named its Faith-Based Liaison.

“The Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is a vital part of our city’s public safety work, and Monique and Steven are excellent additions to the team,” the mayor said. “They share our goal of creating a city of safe neighborhoods, where everyone is secure, supported, free of violence, and prepared for lifelong success.”

Metro Council President David James added, “Adding these two professionals to the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods will help move our city in the right direction toward safety.”

Monique Williams
Williams joins the OSHN team with extensive experience as a public health community-based researcher and practitioner. She’s spent the last six years of her career at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, where she was recruited to assist with growing the community-engaged research arm of the school, and to lead its Youth Violence Prevention Research Center (YVPRC).

She will continue working with the YVPRC in her new role.

“Monique Williams is uniquely qualified for this position,” said the mayor. “She not only has expertise in approaching violence prevention from a public health perspective, but she also has the leadership and management skills necessary to take OSHN to the next level.”

“Monique has an excellent reputation for her research in public health and youth violence prevention. I’m confident that she will implement creative programming and build community partnerships to help us elevate our systemically marginalized neighborhoods,” said Vincent James, who oversees OSHN as the city’s Chief of Community Building. “We are fortunate that she will be joining our team.”

Williams, a 2020 doctoral candidate at U of L’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences, said she is excited about the opportunity.

“Our work at UofL’s YVPRC and our focus on root causes has highlighted some major needs in youth violence prevention work, both locally and nationally,” she said. “I look forward to working with the OSHN team to translate that work into innovative strategies for violence prevention that will ultimately improve communities across the nation.”

Dr. Steven M. Kelsey
Dr. Steven Kelsey is a retired Louisville Metro Police Officer, owner and president of the Fresh Start Educational and Counseling Center Inc., a founding senior pastor of Spirit Filled New Life Church Ministries and licensed clinical mental health provider.

As OSHN’s Faith-Based Liaison, he will develop, refresh and grow a coalition of faith-based organizations interested in promoting peace in alignment with the mission and vision of OSHN. He will also organize responses to shootings and homicides, alongside our community’s faith advocates.

“As a local minister, counselor and former police officer honored for lifesaving and valor, Steven brings a unique ability to help us build bridges and strengthen trust in our communities,” said the mayor.

Chief James added, “Steven is a trusted community builder. We need messengers like Steven in our neighborhoods who can provide mentorship to our youth and partnerships with our faith-based communities.”

Kelsey said he is eager to provide counsel and mentorship to those who might have difficulty discovering their gifts and skills, especially among young people.

“Our city is hurting right now, and I’m passionate about bringing a message of hope and healing to our youth and community partners,” he said. “I’m grateful to the mayor and chief James for allowing me to continue making a difference in so many people’s lives.”

Fischer created the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods in March 2013 – one year after a triple homicide prompted him to convene a group of community, city, and business leaders to begin developing strategies for reducing violent deaths throughout the city of Louisville.

OSHN is currently elevating its work in youth engagement and leadership, expanding its Ambassador Program, and continuing efforts to make Louisville a Trauma Resilient Community.

Both Williams and Kelsey begin their new roles Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.