The Center for Healthy Communities Thanks Dr. Hattie Myles

On Friday, March 31, 2017, Dr. Hattie Myles is retiring from her role as the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Educational Enrichment at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.  Over her long tenure with the University, Dr. Myles has led many critical initiatives. The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) is particularly thankful to Dr. Myles for her service as Co-Core Director of the Community Outreach Core for the Center for Healthy Communities’ Center of Excellence in Health Disparities. For over 10 years Dr. Myles has spearheaded the CHC’s Pipeline Program which has encouraged, supported, trained, and mentored high school and undergraduate students from health disparate communities as they have pursued college preparation, undergraduate and graduate education, and career paths in the biomedical professions. She has made a tremendous impact on the lives of countless students. We are proud of all she has accomplished and wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement.

The College of Medicine is hosting a retirement reception for Dr. Myles on Friday, March 31, 2017, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Terrace on the second floor of the USA Student Center.

To learn more about the many ways Dr. Myles contributed to the USA community read the article posted by the Med School Watercooler on March 23.

CHA’s Go Red

CHA eventHeart Disease is the leading cause of death for women nationwide and it is often linked to other chronic diseases such as diabetes. Go Red for Women  is an annual month-long advocacy campaign developed by the American Heart Association with the goal of “encouraging awareness of the issue of women and heart disease” and “challenge women to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk.” Continuing an annual tradition as part of 2017 Go Red for Women, Community Health Advocates (CHA) have worked with partners to sponsor events around the topic of women and heart disease.

On February 4th, CHA Barbara Hodnett hosted the hosted the Annual Go Red for Women Tea with the Good Samaritan Health Ministry at Bethel A.M.E. church. Kierra Giles, a student at UMS-Wright, spoke to the group about the importance of taking a proactive stance on heart disease.

CHA Ernestine Pritchett hosted a Go Red event at St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church on February 11th. Speakers included Dr. Bobbi Holt-Raggler, Shelia Ross, and Reginald Andrews. They covered the topics of

  • Hypertension and hypotension
  • Stroke and stroke prevention
  • Living with a battery operated heart

An event hosted by CHA Gloria Carter on February 12th at Revelation Missionary Baptist Church featured Dr. Barbara Mitchell speaking with participants about heart disease. Health screenings were provided after the event.

The Annual Go Red Heart Disease program at the Greater Allenville A.O.H. Church was hosted by Yolanda Anderson, Sharon Pugh, and Dr. Bobbi Holt-Raggler on February 16th.  Dr. Brenda Rigsby with ABClinic Family Cares, Inc. spoke on heart disease prevention and management, and Dr. Jackie Smith gave a presentation on how to manage stress.

See our website for more information on the CHA program.

CHA Interview with Gloria Carter, RN

chaheartThe Community Health Advocate (CHA) program invites community members to actively cooperate with the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC)  in identifying health priorities and developing strategies for addressing those priorities to individuals living within health disparate zip codes of Mobile County, AL. Recently, long serving CHA, Ms. Gloria Carter, shared a little about her experience in the program.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

        I am a proud graduate of Lillie B. Williamson High School, class of 1968. I completed my LPN studies at Southwest State Technical Institute (now Bishop State Southwest Campus) in 1970. I completed my Registered Nursing Degree at the Providence School of Nursing in 1974. Additionally, I completed my Bachelors in Science degree in Health, Arts, and Education from the College of St. Francis in 1988. My work history includes Pediatric Intensive Care, Cardiac Care, Medical Surgical Nursing, and Dialysis. Combined, I have over 36 years of experience in Nursing and the Health Care Field.

        I am the proud mother of 2 beautiful daughters, Kimberly Carter and Shameka (Micheal Jr.) Crusoe. I am also the proud grandmother of 4 grandchildren (3 boys and1 girl).

        I am very active in my Christian Faith as I am a lifelong member of Revelation Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor David Frazier. I have serve (d) in the following capacities: Health Ministry President, Matrons Auxillary, Senior Mission, Church School, and Youth Counselor.

  1. How did you become involved as a CHA?

I became involved with the organization around 15 years ago after having a group meeting with Dr. Harvey White.

  1. Why did you decide to join the CHA’s?

I decided to become a CHA as my beliefs aligned with Center for Health Communities and their mission of bridging health disparities within the faith based community and the entire community as a whole.

  1. Can you tell us about projects that you have been involved in.

        I have participated in quarterly health seminars, health screenings once a month, community health fairs, and many other volunteer service projects as requested by various organizations.

  1. What has been your greatest experience as a CHA?

        My greatest experience has been being able to network and partner with other health entities in spreading health education and wellness in my community.

  1. What are community needs that you are concerned about?

        I believe that one of the greatest needs is making the community aware and accessible to resources in order that we might decrease obesity, diabetes, strokes, and other health concerns in children as well as adults.

  1. How do you see the CHA program addressing these issues in the community?

        The CHA Program can continue to address these issues in this community by allowing the CHA’s to continuing to network, partner, and present under the leadership of Dr. Crook, Dr. Hanks, Dr. Myles, and Ms. Patterson. Additionally, the CHA Program can continue the opportunity to attend educational programs in order to present this information to the community that we serve to keep them abreast of new information.

Travel Ban Spotlights U.S. Dependence On Foreign-Born Doctors

From the article by Lauren Silverman on Kaiser Health News:

Patients in Alexandria, La., were the friendliest people Dr. Muhammad Tauseef ever treated. They’d drive long distances to see him, and often brought gifts.

“It’s a small town, so they will sometimes bring you chickens, bring you eggs, bring you homemade cakes,” he said. One woman even gave him a puppy. “That was really nice.”

Tauseef was born and raised in Pakistan. After going to medical school there, he applied to come to the U.S. to train as a pediatrician.

It’s a path thousands of foreign-born medical students follow every year — a path that’s been around for more than half a century. And, like most foreign-born physicians, Tauseef came on a J1 visa. That meant after training he had two options: return to Pakistan or work for three years in an area the U.S. government has identified as having a provider shortage. He chose to work with mostly uninsured kids at a pediatric practice in Alexandria, La.

“That was a challenge,” he said, “but it was rewarding as well, because you are taking care of people who there aren’t many to take care for.”

The U.S. medical system depends on doctors like Tauseef, said Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association. He worries that President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, which is now on hold after a federal appeals court ruling.

“International medical graduates have been a resource to provide medical care to areas that don’t otherwise have access to physicians,” he said. “With the current uncertainty about those physicians’ immigration status, we don’t know whether or not these areas are going to receive care.”

According to the AMA, about 280,000 international medical graduates practice in the U.S. today — that’s about one in four doctors. Some are U.S. citizens who’ve gone abroad for medical school, but most aren’t.

“They don’t all have permanent visas and so a lot of them are concerned about what their status is going to be, whether they can stay, whether they can go home to visit family and still come back, and the communities they serve have similar questions,” he said.

And the care is top-notch. A study just published in the journal BMJ shows Medicare patients treated by doctors from foreign medical schools get just as good care — and sometimes better — than those treated by U.S. medical graduates.

Read the full article.


Strengthening the Community Engaged Research & Scholarship “Tool Box”

On January 13, 2017, The University of South Alabama Center for Healthy Communities is hosting its 2nd Forum on Community Engaged Scholarship entitled Strengthening the Community Engaged Scholarship “Tool Box”. 

One aim of this forum is to increase awareness of Community Engaged Scholarship and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) occurring in our Region. To that end the forum will include an interactive poster session that will highlight community engaged projects, processes and efforts.  The CBPR Dissemination Planning Committee invites proposals for the poster session from faculty, researchers, students, and community partners as well as from teams that are composed of a combination of multiple presenter types.

Visit the Center for Healthy Communities website for more information.

Register to attend the forum.

Download the call for posters.


Meet Candis Patterson

head shot-candis correctedCandis Patterson joined the CHC Community Engagement Core as a Health Education Specialist in May 2016. She supports the Community Health Advocates in their endeavors to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities in Mobile County.

A native of Meridian, MS, Candis received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Mississippi State University in 2008, and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Health Education from Mississippi University for Women in 2015. Candis is also credentialed as a Certified Health Education Specialist through the NCHEC.

When asked why she wanted to work with the CHC, Candis responded, “I’ve always wanted to play a role in educating the community on how to live a healthy life. I personally believe that we can all have the best of health if we have the knowledge and tools to be healthier individuals. Unfortunately many communities lack education on healthy living, and that is where the Community Health Advocates play a vital role. The CHAs are passionate about getting information to people who would not otherwise get the information”.

Health Equity, a new peer-reviewed open access journal, launching Fall 2016

From the announcement on EurekaAlert!:

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers announces the launch ofHealth Equity, a new peer-reviewed open access journal that will address the urgent need for authoritative information about health disparities and health equity among vulnerable populations. Content will range from translational research to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of disease and illness toward the goal of optimal outcomes and ultimately health equity for all. Health Equity will launch an inaugural issue in fall 2016 and will be published open access to ensure broad and timely distribution of information without barriers to access.

As described by Healthy People 2020, vulnerable populations “have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.” Health Equity will serve as a primary resource for organizations and individuals who serve these populations at the community, state, regional, tribal, and national levels.

Informed by population needs, the Journal will contribute to the empowerment of communities to identify and solve pervasive problems related to health and wellness, and will be a critical and timely source of information for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers; policy makers; psychologists and social workers; educators; and researchers; among others.

Health Equity is being launched with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to ensure that it is accessible as widely as possible and to provide a framework for achieving health equity for children, families, and communities by reducing and ultimately eliminating disparities in health and their social, economic, and environmental determinants.

Read the original announcement.

Learn about NIMHD’s Vision and Agenda

Recently,the national Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) posted a 14-minute video of the director, Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, outlining the mission, vision, and research strategies of NIMHD.

Visit NIMHD’s Conversations Leading to Insights on Policy and Sciencinclude:

  •  Proposed Changes to the Common Rule: Regulations on the Protection of Human Research Subjects, Wednesday, October 21, 2015
  • NIH Precision Medicine Initiative, Monday, August 31, 2015


Roots of Health Inequity

Roots of Health Inequity, an online-learning collaborative developed by the National Association of County and City Public Health Officials, offers participants the opportunity to explore the root causes of inequity in the distribution of disease, illness and death. Although the target audience is local public health department staff, anyone interested in these topics can participate in the free course. To encourage deep thinking about issues of health and inequity, the course content helps participants explore five critical questions:

  • Where Do We Start? Explore the relationship among changing the culture of our organizations, engaging community members, and negotiating with political pressures strategically (UNIT 1: Where Do We Start?). This unit provides Continuing Education by participating in specified activities.
  • What Are “Frames” and How Do They Influence Public Health Practice? Consider how “mental models” or “frames” influence public health work. Discuss how values, assumptions, and interests affect the capacity for addressing health inequities (UNIT 2: Perspectives on Framing).
  • What Can History Teach Us about the Role of Public Health and Public Health Practitioners? Explore the transformation of public health during the last 150 years, including the forces that advanced or limited the field (UNIT 3: Public Health History). 
  • What Are the Root Causes of Health Inequities? Examine the importance of class structure, racism, and gender inequity in the development of health inequities (Unit 4: Root Causes). 
  • What Are the Principles of Social Justice? Explore the principles of social justice and ways to influence the institutions and agencies that generate health inequity. (Unit 5: Social Justice).

A full index of course content can be downloaded from the Roots of Health Inequity website.

Moving Toward Inclusion

From the article by Namandje Bumpus on Science Careers from the journal Science:

In the ongoing discussions about the lack of diversity in science, it can be easy to focus solely on demographics. And although improving the numbers is a necessary start, it is not enough to truly solve the problem. Many graduate programs, for example, are making concerted efforts to recruit students from historically marginalized groups, including African-Americans, Latinos, and students with disabilities, but this approach will only succeed if faculty members, administrators, and the scientific community at large also consider the environment that the students are being recruited into, and how to make those spaces truly inclusive arenas where a diverse group of scholars can thrive.

In other words, diversity and inclusion, while commonly conflated, are not the same. Inclusion speaks to whether individuals have equal access to opportunities and empowerment. Within the context of graduate education, for instance, it means going beyond focusing exclusively on the number of students belonging to particular populations and moving toward creating a culture in which students from historically marginalized backgrounds feel that they are truly part of the fabric of the institution. This transition is critical if we in the scientific community want more students from historically marginalized groups to pursue careers as scientists after they complete their training. To put it plainly, if students don’t feel included in the academic and scientific communities, they are more likely to leave science, and the diversity problem will remain unsolved.

…We in the scientific community must make active efforts to ensure that graduate students of all backgrounds have similar opportunities to visualize themselves as scientists by making sure they have access to people they can relate to. For instance, in addition to crucially important long-term efforts at the institutional level, such as improving hiring processes and developing programming around understanding biases, academic departments can also make an immediate and powerful impact with their regular seminar series. These talks are a great opportunity to showcase scientists of varied backgrounds and experiences—but if not planned with enough care, they can have the opposite effect by creating a monolithic vision of who can be a scientist.

Read the full article.