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UBUNTU: “I Am Because We Are”: Building a Professional Community for Black Ladies in Public Health

10 Aug

“Public Health provides an aspirational combination of interdisciplinary work, purpose that far exceeds profits, and an opportunity to make real, tangible, change in the world. For Black women, choosing a career in Public Health often guarantees these ambitions juxtaposed to unique complexities of identity and the profession.

Consider a black woman working in Public Health, undoubtedly, she understands [and is constantly reminded] of her membership in populations often disproportionately affected by disease and death. Simultaneously, she bears witness to the occupational penalty, documented as wage gaps and concrete ceilings, despite extraordinary educational achievements. Consequently, these misfortunes are exacerbated with additional intersections of marginalized identity (disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, immigrant population, etc.).

If the data about our population tells us anything, it’s that health and occupational inequities are real experiences for Black women. However, we address these issues as mutually exclusive paradigms that should neither coalesce nor affect public health success. While this is expected, Black women are left to navigate these issues alone.

Black Ladies in Public Health (BLiPH) grew out of this double consciousness. BLiPH created a place nestled between the professional and personal woes of occupational and health inequity. We provide safe-space that does not yet exist in the broader world. BLiPH is the sanctuary where we unpack issues out in the open, through healthy discourse and transformational thinking. We are honest and vulnerable in ways that are restorative to the collective; even the things left unspoken are often understood. We strive to add a more personable approach to engaging and elevating members. We have curated an environment where our identity, our experiences, our education, and our vision are central to the solutions that will transform our realities. We are literally leveraging our status as Black Ladies in Public Health to positively impact the health and success of Black Ladies around the world.”

Dr. Jasmine Ward

Black Ladies in Public Health (BLiPH) was conceived August of 2016, by Dr. Jasmine Ward to create a virtual space to cultivate relationships and promote collaboration in public health scholarship and service. However, the most valuable characteristic of BLiPH became (1) the restorative nature of personal and professional discourse about issues related to public health and (2) the collective resolve to place self-care central to the ideology of the group.

Now approaching the second anniversary, BLiPH is working towards the vision of realizing a more engaged, valued, and empowered membership! BLiPH engages approximately 7,000 members on five social media platforms and fourteen private groups. Top representation comes from cities such as Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, New York, NY, Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Chicago, IL, Houston, TX, Birmingham, AL, New Orleans, LA, and Boston, MA. Most members are based in the United States, however, approximately 10% represent the global community of public health. Top represented countries outside of US include South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Kenya, Canada, Botswana, Ghana, and Uganda.

BLiPH has formally hosted nineteen local networking events, five webinars, several live sessions, and a signature networking social during the 2017 APHA conference. Moving beyond the networking and professional development activities, 2018 ushered in new beginnings, including the start of BLiPH research and service initiatives. One early example includes a digital marketing campaign conducted in February and March of 2018, during Black history and women’s history months, respectively. The campaign — the E.V.E. Awards — was a first attempt to officially recognize and honor Black Ladies in Public Health, past and present.

As the founder, Dr. Ward has been recognized for her commitment to digital social solutions that support collective impact. In 2018, she was accepted to seven professional public health conferences and several community events across the United States. She received national press recognition, a variety of awards, and most recently, a grant to pilot BLiPH focused research. Representing BLiPH, Dr. Ward has provided consulting and technical assistance to public and private-sector organizations with training focused on social media engagement, grant writing, and cultivating cultural competence in public health workforce development.

BLiPH is beta testing, evaluating, and improving our new-forever home; BLiPH.org. BLiPH.org is positioned to catalyze the growth of the BLiPH network and support the actionable pursuit toward the elimination of occupational and health inequities. BLiPH continues to develop innovative digital strategies to address and engage collective interest of the membership. Activities include:

  • Demystifying the work of public health professionals (particularly in the Black community),
  • Recognizing current and historical contributions of our foremothers,
  • Forming professional/leadership development opportunities,
  • Creating access to culturally responsive public health training,
  • Building mentor/mentee relationships,
  • Crowdsourcing public health solutions,
  • Defining health policies,
  • Hosting networking events,
  • Addressing issues that disproportionally impact the health of Black people, women, and more specifically, Black women.

Be sure to look out for BLiPH at the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) 2018 conference in San Diego, where they will highlight organizations using digital platforms to address public health through a social justice lens. We will also host the second annual BLiPH networking social at Sparks Gallery on November 11th, immediately following the APHA opening session. (Doors open at 7pm)Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – @BLiPH16, #BLiPH16 or #BliPH

For more information about BLiPH please email Dr. Jasmine Ward at ladyjward@bliph.org.

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Highlighted Stories: Just Released – New 4th Edition of the Women of Color Health Data Book from the the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

1 Apr

The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) is pleased to announce the publication of the Women of Color Health Data Book, 4th Edition.

The Women of Color Health Information Collection presents data on race/ethnicity and disease. Through data, clues about how culture, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and geographic location contribute to the health status of women of color can be identified. In order to explore sex differences, scientists need data about the similarities and differences between women and men in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions.

Learn more about women of color and their unique health needs, and how the Women of Color Health Data Book, 4th Edition, can assist clinicians in providing person-centered care for diverse populations of women. Please be sure to check out the Data Book, pull-out Data Book collections on breast cancer and HIV/AIDS, and a podcast from the Academy of Women’s Health. Also visit ORWH Director Dr. Janine Clayton’s blog for a commentary introducing the Data Book.

For more information on women’s health, visit the NLM Women’s Health Resources website.

Created in a partnership between the National Library of Medicine Outreach and Special Populations Branch and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health, this page presents topics pertaining to women’s health collected to support the mission of the Office of Research on Women’s Health to promote research in the field.

Black Women for Wellness 2014 Conference: Get Smart, Before You Get Sexy (Los Angeles, CA)

16 Jul

Each year Black Women for Wellness (BWW) holds an annual conference to provide an open forum and space to highlight the health status of black women and girls. The complex lives of black women has been written about by the likes of Maya Angelou to Melissa Harris Perry.  Black women’s presence, space, bodies have been analyzed and critiqued and although no experience is the same, there is a certain amount of shifting that Black women do that affects the type of interactions and experiences we have with others in our society.  With constantly shifting to the ideals of society, black women’s health is being compromised both physically and emotionally.  Given the disportionately high health issues black women face, and the urgency to address black women’s health, BWW is focusing this year’s  conference on transforming silence into action, framed in a discussion around reproductive and sexual health, rights and justice.

Get Smart B4U Get Sexy
Making Sex Smart and Smart Sexy
Tuesday Sept. 23, 2014
Time: 8:30 am – 5pm

Location:
The California Endowment
1000 N. Alameda
Los Angeles, CA 90017

To register for the conference: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-women-for-wellness-annual-conference-get-smart-before-you-get-sexy-tickets-12020897829?aff=eac2

Online Conference on Uterine Fibroids

9 Jun

The Fibroids Project (http://www.fibroidsproject.com/) started with one simple mission, “Make Life Better for Women with Fibroids”. I’m happy to say that we held true to that mission and we are about to host the first live Online Virtual Fibroids Conference on June 14th. This will create an unprecedented opportunity for women to connect with leading national and local physicians from the comfort of their own home or, on the go, on their mobile device.

Uterine Fibroids is an issue that impacts 70% of women and accounts for 50% of hysterectomies per year in the US. African-American women are disproportionately impacted with severe symptoms of fibroids.

We believe that patient education is the key to providing women with more options. We would like to offer our conference at a discounted rate to your members.

 

*The conference is $29 and we have created a special promotional code, which will drop the price to $15 for your network. The discount code is: @FibroidsProject

 

Registration: http://www.fibroidsproject.com/register

Website/Infographic: http://www.fibroidsproject.com/

When: June 14th – 9am – 2pm EST

Where: Online

 

SAAPHI Scientific Webinar Featuring Dr. Cheryl L. Woods Giscombe — April 30, 2014

28 Apr

The Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) Scientific Committee presents “Innovative strategies for investigating and reducing stress related health disparities in African American women.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 1:00-2:30PM (EST)

Guest Speaker Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, PMHNP Assistant Professor School of Nursing University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar Dr. Cheryl Woods Giscombé’s research focuses on stress-related health behaviors, psychoneuroendocrine biomarkers, and sociocultural contextual factors that contribute to health disparities in African Americans. She developed the Superwoman Schema Conceptual Framework which explicates how obligations to present an image of strength and provide support for family members, friends, and the community may contriImagebute to emotional suppression, neglected self-care, stress exacerbation and stress-related morbidity in African American women including obesity, diabetes, lupus, depression, and substance abuse. Dr. Giscombe also developed two instruments: the Superwoman Schema Scale and the Using Food to Cope with Stress Scale. Recently she has led an NIH-funded research project examining the influence of mindfulness meditation on stress and health in African American adults with pre-diabetes. She aims to develop and implement culturally-relevant stress management interventions that can be widely adopted in community and healthcare settings. Dr. Giscombé’s research has been acknowledged with the “Brilliant New Investigator Award” from the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science and the “Leader in the Field/Early Career Award” from the American Psychological Association.

To Participate Webinar Registration at: http://saaphiscientificwebinar-apr30.eventbrite.com Contact: saaphiscientific@gmail.com

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SAAPHI WEBINAR: Innovative Strategies for investigating & reducing stress-health related disparities in African American women” April 30, 2014 1-2:30PM (PST)

6 Apr

SAAPHI WEBINAR: Innovative Strategies for investigating & reducing stress-health related disparities in African American women

Be sure to register for the upcoming SAAPHI webinar entitled “Innovative strategies for investigating and reducing stress- related health disparities in African American women.” Our featured guest speaker will be Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, PMHNP.

Webinar Registration at: http://saaphiscienticwebinar-apr30.eventbrite.com
Contact: saaphiscientific@gmail.com