Community leaders and members joined the RiverBend Growth Association’s Community Conversation on Diversity & Inclusion event Thursday, April 15, 2021 featuring Jaqui Melton, MBA from the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence at Barnes Jewish Hospital.

This month’s event was the second part to a three-part series titled “Introduction to Community Health.”  Melton will continue to facilitate. Over the course of this series, social determinants of health will be covered including topics on Education, Neighborhood, Social Network, Health, and Economic Stability. This is a free event to attend via Zoom. The recording of March 18th and April 15th and other RBGA events can be found at:

Join the RBGA on May 20th as we wrap up this series. This event is presented and hosted by the RiverBend Growth Association and sponsored by Alton Memorial Hospital.

“This is a great opportunity for all community members to join us in a safe place to have tough and hard conversations as we continue to provide leadership required to attract, promote, and support new and existing enterprise growth throughout the Riverbend Community,” said RBGA’s Director of Member Services, Trish Holmes.

“If we are truly going to make equitable change in and for our communities, it is necessary to include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in every part of our work. Carving out the time and space to have, what can be, difficult conversations for many of us, is the only way we can work towards repairing harm and building a better world—together. Thank you all for being a part of the change,” adds Melton.

Melton is an experienced group facilitator and curriculum developer, with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital, health care, and education industries. She is skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Conflict Resolution, Fundraising, Leadership, Research, Community Building and Event Organizing. She is a strong community and social services professional with a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Secondary Education. A Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) focused on Educational Leadership and Social Justice is in progress.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Organization for the communities of the Riverbend. As a Chamber of Commerce, we actively promote activities between our member businesses. As an Economic Development Organization, we work closely with state, regional, county, and local officials to develop new employment opportunities. The Growth Association serves the following communities in southwestern Illinois: Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Elsah, Foster Township, Godfrey, Grafton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana, Wood River, and Wood River Township. The mission of the Growth Association is to provide leadership required to attract, promote and support new and existing enterprise growth throughout the Riverbend community.