Leading Legal, Public Health Advocate Joins Wilson Center as Executive Director

Yvette Garcia Missri, a leading legal and public health advocate for racial and social justice for over 20 years, joined the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law this week as the Executive Director.

Garcia Missri most recently served as the Litigation Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending, where she used litigation strategies to combat abusive lending practices. There, she authored several amicus briefs in federal and state courts, represented organizational plaintiffs against federal agencies, and led national policy reform efforts to close the racial wealth gap.

“I am honored and beyond thrilled to join the extremely talented Wilson Center team and bring my passion and advocacy for racial and social justice to improve the lives of people affected by the criminal legal system,” Garcia Missri said.

Prior to joining the Center for Responsible Lending, Garcia Missri served as an administrator for the Orange County Department on Aging, where she helped lead the County to become North Carolina’s first World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly County. She also led and implemented a County level five-year strategic plan, and created and managed multiple enduring programs to combat poverty and improve mental health outcomes for vulnerable older adults.

Garcia Missri also worked as a gender-based violence legal services attorney in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., including at Merrimack Valley Legal Services, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and the Office of the Attorney General for D.C.

“We are so grateful and excited that Yvette Garcia Missri has joined the Wilson Center as our new Executive Director,” said Wilson Center Director Brandon Garrett. “Yvette brings to us a depth of litigation experience, a public health background, and policy and regulatory experience that will add so much to the Center. We look forward to all of the impactful work that we can do together.”

Garcia Missri received her J.D. from Boston College Law School, her MPH in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and her B.A. in Philosophy from George Washington University.

“With the Center’s incredible body of work and strong national momentum for meaningful change, the Center is ready for its next phase of growth,” she said of the new position. “And I am excited to help lead the Center as we take on bold and innovative efforts to improve criminal legal and behavioral health outcomes for all people.”