How to Embrace Hope, Health and Healing: Verna Jones Rodwell


Alzheimers Activist

Ep. 44 - Verna Jones Rodwell held a political office for many years. Her passion  revolves around hope, health and healing whether championing programs in public office or advocating for alzheimers assistance in those areas. She had an early start as a community organizer and advocate for affordable housing and community development where she worked to improve the living conditions of Baltimore's poorest families. At age 34 she launched her first campaign for political office seeking to represent her district in the Maryland House of Delegates. She talks about the lessons learned after losing that race, but vowing to herself that she would not be defeated. She subsequently won her next four campaigns for the state legislature serving one term in the House followed by three terms in the powerful state senate. Along the way she married and was confronted with the challenges of her mother's diagnosis of Alzheimer's, which has defined her activism after retiring from political office.

Key Takeaways:

    • How to be strategic and aware of who you are when raising money to run for office
    • How to define failure as lessons learned for your future goals
    • Learn how to take care of your physical and mental health
    • The importance of getting involved in Dementia and Alzheimer's disease's research to build the needed resources

""Stay true to yourself and maintain high integrity even when you go against the grain of the establishment. Also, know when to quit." -Verna Jones-Rodwell

In this episode you'll discover:

Verna explains how she was inspired by her parents' interest in education and community service [1:57]
The qualities you need to raise money to run for office plus the organization to seek support from [5:43]
She talks about her theme of hope, help, and healing since the beginning of her public career [7:05]
The importance of staying true to yourself and maintaining integrity when in a public office [10:24]
The challenges of diminishing, lack of inclusivity, leadership issues that Verna faced in politics [12:09]
When she found a family life and learned to balance it with work [15:26]
She talks about her advocacy work with Dementia and Alzheimer's diseases [17:40]
The causes of the Alzheimer's disease in the African Americans community [19:17]
The signs and symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer's diseases [21:48]
Verna explains the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's diseases [23:08]
She explains the advocacy work she's involved with after her retirement [24:22]
How to step into who you're when running for a public office [25:59]


State Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell (Retired): A life long Baltimore resident, State Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell launched her first political campaign at age 34. She served in the Maryland legislature for 16 years making her impact through a variety of powerful committees; all of which reflected her personal values including: the MD Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee; Public Safety, Transportation & Environment subcommittee; Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; Special Committee on Substance Abuse. Jones-Rodwell, is a former chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Baltimore City Senate Delegation.

She is President of Collaborative Solutions, a consulting and training firm specializing in organizational development, multi-sector partnership building, fundraising, strategic planning, program design and evaluation. Worked with a variety of public and private organizations and agencies, throughout the nation and abroad to improve their effectiveness of program and service delivery. Including: National Congress for Community Economic Development, Inc., National Conference of State Legislatures, Goodwill of Chesapeake, Inc., YMCA of Central MD and Alzheimer's Association.

She is also an Adjunct Professor at Goucher College University of Baltimore.


She is the founder of Maryland Reentry Collaborative and co-founder and vice-president of West Baltimore Primary Healthcare Access Collabortive. 

She is a strong advocate for the alzheimers association and says: "The life altering impacts of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias have caused devastation in my family for the past three  generations.  However by creating programs to educate and support caregivers,  sponsoring legislation and advocating for funding as a State Senator and  collaboratively working with others I am turning  stumbling blocks caused by these diseases into stepping stones toward a world without Alzheimer's."


Masters of Public Administration, Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York
Certificate, Senior Harvard University, John F Kennedy School of Government


Maryland State Senator
Womens Alzheimers Movement
Daily Record Article


Christine Davenport
Julia Toronczak
Leslie Andrews

YouTube Video

Leave a Comment to Join the Discussion!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top