Rev. James Burroughs III, Chief Executive Officer

Rev. James Burroughs III is founder and CEO at North Carolina Health Equity Project, Inc. He received his training in molecular and structural biochemistry from North Carolina State University at Raleigh, where he also co-authored an influential article on regulatory control of secondary metabolism in Aspergillus flavus in the journal Molecular Plant Pathology.[1] Immediately following his research in Raleigh, James worked in the biotech industry as a molecular biologist in regulatory science for one of the top global biotech companies, based in Basel, Switzerland. Despite this success, James felt unfulfilled and entered seminary, following which he was appointed as the first African American pastor at one of the largest, predominantly white congregations in the Piedmont-Triad. During this time, James also was appointed by local city and county government officials to serve on various quasi-judicial boards. He went on to establish a nonprofit for civic and voter engagement.

James’ executive leadership experiences in industry, government, and pastoral settings provide him unique insight, skills, and competencies that allow him to navigate the evolving landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of science and policy. He founded North Carolina Health Equity Project, Inc., in December 2020, to address and ameliorate health disparities, illustrated by the tremendous and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 among minority communities.

Currently, James leads North Carolina Health Equity Project, Inc., as Chief Executive Officer, directing long-range strategic goals and partnerships for the nascent organization. His expertise in molecular biology, combined with his passion for cross-racial reconciliation, ideally suit him for this position.

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[1] Beyond aflatoxin: four distinct expression patterns and functional roles associated with Aspergillus flavus secondary metabolism gene clusters - PubMed (

Previous Governmental Appointments

  • Commissioner, Board of Adjustment, Guilford County

  • Commissioner, Parks and Recreation, Guilford County

  • Commissioner, Historic Preservation Commission, City of Greensboro