UC Riverside to Host Inland Empire Black Health Expo

Free event to be held Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 and is open to the entire community


The Black Health Expo will be held on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Members of region’s African American community are invited to attend the Inland Empire Black Health Expo on the campus of the University of California, Riverside on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Highlander Union Building.

There is no cost to attend the expo, but those who plan to attend are asked to RSVP online at http://go.ucr.edu/bhe. Free parking is available in Parking Lot 1. The full event flyer is available for download.

“The purpose of the expo is to create an environment specifically dedicated to improving health care disparities in the African American community,” said fourth-year neuroscience major Maryam Bello, the president of African Americans United in Science (AAUS) at UCR. “I hope it serves as a catalyst that drives African Americans and healthcare professionals to become more involved in improving minority health disparities.”

The expo will include workshops and speakers, community resources, information on Ebola, health screenings including blood pressure, health-related vendors, presentations on fitness, heart health, mental health, infectious diseases and more.

“A lot of people don’t realize the simple changes they can make to better their lives,” fourth-year biological sciences in anthropology major and Vice President of AAUS Dijon Gatewood said. “I hope that through this expo, we can help the black community become more aware of the importance of health.”

Two panels will address disparities in mental health services for African Americans. The first is a plenary session at 11 a.m. in HUB 302 that will address everyday challenges faced by young African American men and how they feel re-victimized when receiving mental health services. This session will include the screening of a video, “Beyond the Beats & Lyrics,” presented by the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), which is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and aims to improve access to and the quality of mental health care for underserved minority groups.

Panelists are:

  • Terry Boykins, chief navigation officer at Street Positive, an organization that works to narrow the academic, economic and social achievement gap of under-served youth.
  • Terrence Stone, founder and CEO of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, which aims to improve the lives of young people through education, employment, health, mentoring, and community service.
  • Several African American men between the ages of 18 and 26 who will discuss issues they have faced, such as attracting significantly more interest from law enforcement and, from mental health service providers, over-medication and intrusive counseling.

A workshop at 1:30 p.m. in HUB 367 will focus on disparities in mental health services for African Americans outlined in a report, “We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System: Pathways into the Black Population for Eliminating Mental Health Disparities.” That report, prepared by the California Reducing Disparities Project, is part of a multi-year effort by the California Department of Public Health to identify community-defined solutions and practices to eliminate disparities for major populations (African Americans, Asian-Pacific Islanders, Latinos  and Native Americans) and groups (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning).

Panelists will include:

  • Nicki King, a youth and family development specialist emerita in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis. She is project lead for the second phase of the African American CRDP, which is public dissemination of the findings.
  • Carolyn Murray, professor of psychology at UCR. She helped conduct the statewide survey, and previously conducted a longitudinal study of socialization processes within African American families, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely, chair of The Group, a grassroots advocacy organization that addresses issues affecting residents of Riverside, especially African Americans.

“African American males are underserved and inappropriately served by the system,” says Nicki King, one of the panelists. Studies show they are less likely to receive treatment unless they are incarcerated, she said, which changes the purpose of treatment from therapeutic to control.

The expo is sponsored by AAUS, in conjunction with Healthy Heritage Movement, UCR African Student Programs, J. W. Vines Medical Foundation, UCR School of Medicine, Riverside Community Health Foundation, the Black Voice News, Western University – College of Allied Health Professionals, PhRMA, PepsiCo, Colgate, Schools First Credit Union, African American Health Initiative, Inland Empire Black Nurses Association, and African-American Family Wellness Advisory Group (AAFWAG).

Organizers said they hope the expo will become an annual event.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Ken Simons, director of African Student Programs
Tel: (951) 827-5750
E-mail: ken.simons@ucr.edu

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