(Black PR Wire) MIAMI, Fla. – It is never too early to explore a dentist career! With this in mind, Dr. Kyle Phanord attended career day on May 25, at Fulford Elementary School in North Miami Beach. During the career day, the students learned about
Augusta University is forming a School of Public Health to better focus the school’s myriad efforts in healthful living throughout Georgia.
That’s actually the focus of the field: improving health in communities and preventing or limiting disease outbreaks.
“When I interviewed at Augusta University in the fall of 2020, it struck me very odd that we are Georgia’s only public academic health center, and we don’t have a school of public health,” said Dr. Neil J. MacKinnon, AU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This school will be a tremendous addition to Augusta University.”
Addressing HIV disparity:‘Epidemic in the African American community’
AU already houses several centers and degrees that fit under the umbrella of public health, which itself is wide. The Institute of Public and Preventive Health is developing an agenda to support improved community health. AU’s Center for Rural Health has developed programs and strategies to improve access to health care services in rural areas. The statewide Area Health Education Centers help provide research, education, services and outreach to Georgia’s rural communities with limited hospital or physician access.
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AU’s College of Allied Health Sciences offers a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in applied health sciences. The Medical College of Georgia’s Department of Population Health Sciences contains several graduate programs, and the College of Education offers a health promotion undergraduate program.
“We’ve got those incredible foundation pieces,” MacKinnon said. “With this new school, we’re interested in research growth and, in public health in particular, and the community outreach part is so critical. We are truly excited about the future possibilities.”
Currently there are 68 U.S. universities with accredited schools of public health, according to the Council on Education for Public Health.
AU’s School of Public Health will be the third to be established in the University System of Georgia.
Georgia State University’s School of Public Health began in 2002. Georgia Southern University established the Jiann-Ping Hsu School of Public Health in 2004. University of Georgia’s College of Public Health was founded in 2005.
A school of public health had operated out of the Medical College of Georgia in the 1920s. According to Phinizy Spalding’s 1987 book The History of the Medical College of Georgia, only 27 men and women received degrees from the short-lived school, which he said lasted just 10 years.
“A program that had begun with such optimism and such widespread support had been the victim of improper administration, lack of initiative, involvement in politics and the economic woes brought on by the Great Depression,” Spalding wrote.
The new school will be housed on the university’s Summerville campus and is expected to launch the new school in July 2023.
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Rock Rest to be honored
PORTSMOUTH — The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire announced the unveiling of two new historical markers honoring Rock Rest., a historic home in Kittery Point, Maine, that, from the late 1940s through the 1970s, welcomed African-American travelers at a time when many accommodations were closed to them. The Seacoast NAACP Youth Council and the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will be hosting two unveiling ceremonies on Saturday, June 4. The first will be held at the Second Congregational Church in Wallingford Square, Kittery, Maine, beginning at 1 p.m. Participants will be invited to take a special bus to Rock Rest for the second unveiling immediately after the conclusion of the first event. The celebrations are free and open to the public.
Clayton and Hazel Sinclair formally opened their home as a guest house called “Rock Rest” in 1946. While in operation, the house served as a summertime refuge for Black vacationers in the Seacoast region. Although Maine and New Hampshire did not have “Jim Crow” laws at the time, Rock Rest operated in an era when it was common practice to prohibit Black travelers from staying in hotels, being served in restaurants, or otherwise accessing public accommodations in the Seacoast area.
The commemoration will begin at the Second Congregational Church with openings remarks at 1 p.m. by Rev. Dr. Lillian Buckley, a lifelong Kittery resident and musical artist. Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black: African-American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights will be present via Zoom as a featured guest speaker. Following a program of poetry, speakers, and song provided by local residents, and Seacoast NAACP Youth Council members, the participants will take a short walk to Wallingford Square for the unveiling of the first marker by JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire.
At the conclusion of the first unveiling, participants will be invited to take a bus to Rock Rest in Kittery Point. There New Hampshire author and historian Valerie Cunningham, Seacoast musician Sharon Partricia Jones, and community leader Kelvin Edwards will give participants the rare opportunity to hear stories about Rock Rest from those who remember it well. JerriAnne Boggis will join with the speakers to unveil the on-site marker at Rock Rest before closing remarks by Rev. Buckley. Bus transportation will be provided.
With this ceremony, we invite the public to come together to honor Rock Rest and the legacy of the Sinclair family in our local and national history. In placing these markers, we memorialize a part of the Seacoast’s shared racial history and help educate future residents and visitors to our region.
Celebrate Juneteenth 2022 with The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
PORTSMOUTH — The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is hosting a series of programs to honor Juneteenth 2022 from June 10 to June 20. Collectively titled The Gift: Celebrating African American Public Arts, these programs will celebrate Black artists and the power of public art to tell stories, shape history, and help to heal past injustices.
To begin this year’s Juneteenth celebrations, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire in partnership with the Prescott Park Arts Festival, will present the Disney-Pixar film Soul. Starring the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Graham Norton, the film will be shown on Friday, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. in Prescott Park. The movie is free and will be open to the public.
On Saturday, June 11, the public is invited to explore African American history, art and poetry with a bus tour to Saint-Gaudens Historic National Park in Cornish, N.H. The tour will take visitors to the home, studio and gardens of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the artist behind the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment Memorial. The memorial, crafted to honor Robert Gould Shaw and the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, many of whom died during the initial attack on a fort that protected Charleston’s harbor.
Doctoral candidate Dana Green, Public History and Art Fellow for Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park will be in attendance as a featured speaker, along with Newton Rose, the lead interpretive ranger at the park. The tour bus will pick up participants at the Portsmouth Park and Ride at 8:30 a.m., and the Concord Park and Ride at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $40 with bus pick up and $30 without bus pick up. Lunch is included. Please register by June 2.
For more information on our week of Juneteenth programming blackheritagetrailnh.org/juneteenth-celebration-2022.
Portsmouth NH 400th, Inc. announces donation and sponsorship tiers
PORTSMOUTH – Deep into planning mode, the Portsmouth NH 400th Management Team members are paving the way to a vibrant community celebration next year and have started identifying Signature Events including a 400th Anniversary parade, a community dinner and a fall air show, along with Legacy Projects meant to make a statement about Portsmouth’s past, present and future.
As the PNH400 Managing Director Valerie Rochon and Community Engagement Officer Susan Labrie explained recently to the Portsmouth City Council, “We are planning and promoting a year-long series of fun and educational events for all ages and interests, designed for the entire community to feel engaged in the celebration. We are creating ways for everyone to participate and feel connected to the community.”
Donations and sponsorships are starting to come in, via the online portal on the City website (click on the PNH400 logo at the top of the homepage, CityofPortsmouth.com) and at the PNH400 website,
PortsmouthNH400.org. Portsmouth NH 400th Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible to the extent the law allows. Check donations, made out to Portsmouth NH 400th, Inc. should be mailed to PNH400 at One Junkins Avenue, Box PNH400, Portsmouth NH 03801.
Donors are invited to contribute to this historic celebration by joining the Portsmouth NH 400 Shoalers Club by making a donation of $400, or the 1623 Revolutionaries Club with a donation amount tied to the year of settlement: $1,623. Special recognition and benefits accompany each tier.
There are also five tiers of sponsorship:
The PNH400 Lightkeeper ($50,000 level) symbolizes the power to overcome challenges and adversity, to guide a path forward. Lightkeepers support all PNH400 marketing and merchandising, allowing PNH400 to tell the stories that shed light on the city’s past, present and future. This is the most comprehensive option.
PNH400 Luminaries ($25,000 level) ignite community support through leadership. Luminaries support all programs, marketing and merchandising, influencing others to contribute to the successful year-long celebration.
PNH400 Beacons ($10,000 level) motivate community members to become ambassadors to build programs, events and projects that will ensure the City’s legacy and ignite its potential.
PNH400’s Program Captains ($5000 level) show their dedication to bringing the City’s stories to life, as the leaders who ensure each program’s success.
PNH400 Program Champions ($2,500 level) provide stewardship and inspiration as ardent supporters of, and advocates for, their selected programs.
For more information on sponsorships, donations and other funding opportunities, please contact PNH400 Community Engagement Officer Susan Labrie at email@example.com
Humana named NH Gives Matching Funds Sponsor supporting Gather’s food insecurity prevention programs
PORTSMOUTH – Gather is participating in the Annual NH Gives online fundraising event taking place June 7 to June 8. Health insurance company Humana, who partners with Gather regularly, is providing a $5,000 matching funds sponsorship during the 24-hour period of the NH Gives program, which is an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits.
“We would like to partner with Gather to continue to support our local community. Our Bold Goal initiative is a population health strategy focused on addressing social determinants of heath such as food insecurity, loneliness, social isolation, transportation and housing, to improve clinical and social health outcomes for our members. We value Gather’s commitment and efforts as they align closely with ours, and we are eager for the opportunity to provide these services,” states Nichole Karahalios, Northeast Sales and Marketing Support Executive at Humana.
The public can visit NHGives.org and search “Gather” to make donations during NH Gives. The link will become active on June 7, at 5 p.m., and be open for 24 hours.
For 200 years, Gather has been serving Seacoast residents facing hunger. Gather’s mission is to make the Greater Seacoast a hunger-free community. Some of Gather’s programs include our Pantry Market, Mobile Markets, Meals 4 Kids, Cooking 4 Community, Farm Shares 4 Families and Grow 4 Gather.
All donations to NH Gives or directly through the Gather website are tax-deductible. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for visit our website at GatherNH.org more information.
Retirement community residents raise thousands for Ukraine
DURHAM — RiverWoods Durham staff and residents have raised almost $9,000 in support of the people in Ukraine, and the number continues to grow.
It started with a staff member, Tetiana. She began offering wooden plaques of the Ukrainian flag, made by her daughter Kate, to raise money for family still living in Ukraine. Another resident coordinated a Blue and Yellow Day on April 8, offering lapel pins for sale, encouraging all staff and residents to wear blue and yellow in a show of support.
To date, $5,600 that has been raised through the sales of lapel-pin ribbons and wooden plaques.
In March, a large group of residents began working together to create the Hearts of Hope Quilt with the intention of offering it up for a raffle.
The design for the quilt is from a pattern created by international quilt designer Bonnie Hunter for the world-wide quilting community as a raffle prize to raise money for the Ukraine. Bonnie began releasing instructions weekly starting March 25.
RiverWoods Durham resident Robyn Shiely donated the fabric, coordinated the construction, and provided instruction when necessary. “When I first saw the design, I realized this was something I could teach my friends at RiverWoods Durham,” Shiely said.
The RiverWoods Durham quilting volunteers met every Friday to review the instructions and start building units. The quilt was finished in approximately six weeks.
Shiely continued, “My personal hope for the quilt is for it to start its own legacy. I hope the winner of the raffle will then take the quilt to another community (church, town hall, library, Lions Club, etc.) and start another raffle. Sort of like a ‘traveling quilt’ fundraiser for Ukraine.”
The raffle has already raised $3,250. The quilters are hoping to see that number climb over $4,000 by the time of the drawing.
Funds are being received by the organization Razom for Ukraine.
RiverWoods Durham Executive Director Kim Gaskell said, “I’m proud of the many ways our residents raise awareness of social justice issues and bring that to our community. They are truly committed to making a difference. It’s wonderful to see how their energy and efforts can have a significant impact globally.”
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A new voice is coming to the Delta. A group of Pine Bluff community activists, led by local entrepreneur Michael McCray, launched the online news site Arkansas Delta Informer May 14. The Delta Informer is Pine Bluff’s first Black-owned, independent news source and was conceived with the goal to diversify the reporting and storytelling representing Southeast Arkansas.
“In the Delta, there’s a lot of history. There’s a lot of heritage, there’s a lot of culture, and we just weren’t seeing all of that reflected in the local, and sometimes regional news sources, and so what we want to do is be a celebration of all things Arkansas Delta, so that we can balance the scales when people look at our area, our community,” McCray said.
McCray and the founders of the Delta Informer noticed what they called a glut of bad news about their community, and decided to bring more comprehensive reporting to the area. McCray says he hopes providing nuanced, solutions-based perspectives can shift the mindset of the community and shape more positive perceptions of the Delta region.
The Delta Informer’s bread and butter is history and heritage stories, told from a perspective not often heard. From blues artists to civil rights history, McCray aims to play up the wealth of Arkansas Delta culture, which he believes has thus far been under-covered.
“There are a number of heroes in our community, living and deceased, that people don’t really recognize, they don’t get the accolades and attention that they really deserve. And so we’re going to talk about all of that. Talk about all these people and all these wonderful things and the impact that people from Southeast Arkansas have,” McCray said.
McCray also noted the Delta Informer fits the tradition of other African-American newspapers. Founders saw a need for content pertinent to the Black community, and wanted to give voice to a more diverse set of issues than currently exists in local print media. The Delta Informer intends to honor the legacy of advocacy journalism from publications like the Chicago Defender and the Arkansas State Press published by L.C. and Daisy Bates.
McCray, who is CEO of the Delta Informer, partnered with Arkansas news veteran Wesley Brown, the Informer’s publisher and executive editor.
“I love news, and I love the energy that Michael and his team are bringing to this venture,” Brown said in a press release. “They came to me with a real problem of not seeing themselves and other minorities in the local newspaper in a good light or favorably. And that is the issue we hope to address with our news coverage in the Pine Bluff area and the Arkansas Delta.”
McCray and Brown will be recruiting a full-time editor, a reporter and freelancers. They hope to be a true community paper for Southeast Arkansas.
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A compromise mental health funding bill approved by lawmakers with minutes remaining at the end of the legislative session will permit a new mental health hospital in St. Paul along with $93 million to address an ongoing crisis.
Fairview Health Services needs lawmakers’ OK to replace Bethesda Hospital, just blocks north of the Capitol, with a new 144-bed mental health facility. A provision allowing the project to move forward as well as money for other mental health programs was tacked onto a related bill when it became clear lawmakers would not finish their work on time.
Gov. Tim Walz has signaled he will sign the bill, but he hadn’t as of Thursday. Walz has two weeks to sign the legislation passed at the end of session; if he doesn’t, it won’t become law and is considered a pocket veto.
In response to questions about the bill, Fairview, in a written statement, praised lawmakers and advocates who helped to push the bill over the finish line.
“There is an urgent and persistent need to improve mental health care in our region,” Fairview’s statement said. “We are currently in the public interest review process and look forward to sharing continued updates on our progress and bringing this important care online for our patients and community.”
The legislative approval includes further oversight of the proposed facility to address concerns raised by mental health advocates that it would not be accessible to those in the community with the most needs — the homeless, the poor and those with other serious underlying health conditions.
Advocates have said they would prefer additional mental health beds at full-fledged hospitals that have emergency rooms and intensive care units.
Fairview leaders have said the facility would continue the organization’s mission of charity care and be open to everyone. They acknowledged that patients with critical health needs might need to be cared for at hospitals with critical care facilities.
Under the bill approved by lawmakers, the state health commissioner must monitor the hospital and assess its mix of patients. The hospital also must have an intake area and accept patients who walk up to the facility, are transferred from other hospitals or who are brought there by ambulances or police.
“I think they tried to address the concerns people had without saying no,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Minnesota. “There’s a lot of data that they have to keep.”
WHAT ELSE IS IN THE BILL?
The last-minute mental health funding bill lawmakers passed near midnight on May 22 was added on to legislation that updates how courts will determine whether a defendant is competent to stand trial and how competency can be restored.
The mental health funding piece includes about $93 million in new money for various programs. Much of it had been part of negotiations between the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party-led House and Republican-controlled Senate for other funding bills that were not finished by the May 22 deadline.
The bill includes:
- Emergency room beds for children and teens experiencing mental health crises.
- Loan forgiveness for mental health professions and aid to help supervise those working toward licensure.
- Grants for school- and shelter-linked mental health services.
- An African American mental health center in North Minneapolis to increase access to culturally informed care.
Abderholden said mental health advocates worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to include as many “top priorities” as they could in the funding bill. Another health and human services policy bill, which included no new spending, also had some important policy provisions.
Still, a lot was left out of the last-minute compromise, and advocates hold out hope lawmakers will agree to a special session to finish their work.
“You can’t get everything that you want,” Abderholden said. “Does this solve everything? No. Does it fully address the crisis? No. But it is a good start.”
WHAT GOT LEFT OUT
One of the biggest pieces of the proposed supplemental budget that didn’t get finished was $1 billion in new education spending. It was part of $4 billion in new spending and $4 billion in tax cuts that lawmakers agreed upon in principal, but couldn’t come to terms on the finer points.
One sticking point was mental health funding for schools to help students and teachers address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Students and educators are reeling from mental health crises,” Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, the state teachers union, said in a statement urging lawmakers to come back to the Capitol to finish their work.
Abderholden echoed the need for more aid for schools.
“This does not replace the education bill, at all,” she said of the last-minute compromise. “The education bill had a lot of really good things in it. There’s certainly a lot more that we would like to see.”