Monday, October 6, 2008

The African American Health Initiative

Over the next several months, several SIUE students affiliated with the Black Studies program will participate in The African American Health Initiative. The initiative seeks to raise awareness about health issues confronting African Americans by having students participate in establishing a network of information sharing.

At the start of the program, the participants selected a group of family members and friends to receive postcards featuring health information. Each month, the participants select from one of three postcards focusing on a health issue to send to their designated recipients. The participants then have follow-up conversations to further discuss the health-related topics.

Ideally, this initiative will assist participants and recipients in becoming more knowledgeable about the health challenges facing African Americans in particular. We’re also hoping this program will assist us in gathering information on how to effectively utilize grassroots organizing to raise awareness about health concerns.

Pharmacy professor Lakesha Butler and I began envisioning and designing this initiative last spring. We had been discussing possibilities about collaborating on a project to address health needs of citizens for some time.

And so one (or maybe two, three, or more) of our brainstorming sessions gave us the foundation for what has become The African American Health Initiative. Professor Butler’s knowledge relating to a wide range of physical conditions and medical issues has already given our initiative depth and relevance.

We’re now looking forward to what our project affiliates learn as they communicate with the recipients of the health information each month.

Visit the Black Studies web-site to get a look at this month’s African American Health Initiative postcards.

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