Expertise and experience:
1. Advising and mentoring Amherst College students and young alumni who seek to explore and pursue careers in health.
2. Teaching (until December 2010 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and as adjunct lecturer at UMassAmherst School of Public Health), mentoring, advising, dialogue, organizing, advocating, and experience to learn, practice, and pursue health in all its dimesnions. Has included courses on health disparities, and cultural and linguistic competence,
internships, independent study, research, seminars to build leadership capacity of young people and future public health work force.
Synthesizing research on social determinants of health, resilience, traumatic childhood experiences, racism, chronic stress, and conditions for productive dialogue that will have a significant impact on future public health practice.
3. Translating this research into humane MCH and public health practice to improve the health of women and children, with systems that honor families, communities, and cultures.
4. Integrating cultural understanding and respect as a key strategy to end health disparities.
5. Changing the language of public health and medicine to better reflect our ideals and purpose.
6. Bringing multiple stakeholders together to untangle complex public health challenges and take collaborative action to solve them.

1. Inspiring a new generation of leaders in public health and service through a wide range of local, national, and global opportunities.
Until January 2011, consultation to individuals, communities, organizations to build capacity in the above, by
a) Inspiring keynotes, presentations, workshops.
b) Organizing forums to build essential but previously unlikely partnerships.
c) Serving as catalyst for intergenerational and cross-cultural dialogue.
c) Writing papers and grants.
3. Organization and facilitation of interactive meetings with broad stakeholder participation to unite diverse parties and spark action to create public health equity.

For more information, contact:

"A smile is the light in the window of your face, which tells people that your heart is at home."
- Kolawole Bankole, M.D, M.S

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Somalian Community Health in Lewiston, Maine

Working with an extraordinary community organization in Lewiston, Maine, United Somali Women of Maine, in coordination with Lisa Sockabasin at the Maine state public health department and Rachel Salloway , a senior at Bates College, we are honored to be part of a community-based project to improve the health of the Somalian community in Maine. While the project focuses on immunizations, it has a broader context of listening to and learning from the voices and stories of Somalian women in Lewiston. In open dialogue, they are sharing their health experiences in Maine, including their own perceptions of illness, the extent to which they are honored and respected in their health care, and suggestions for systems wide improvement.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Future of Home Births in the United States

On March 21-22, 2009, we co-faciitated with Future Search Network Co-Director Sandra Janoff a planning meeting for a Future Search Conference on the future of home births in the United States. Fifteen people, representing physicians, nurses, midwives, and mothers, gathered at the University of California at San Francisco Obstetrics-Gynecology Department for the start of a dialogue to constructively listen to each other's perspectives and discover common ground on this issue. Leslie Cragin, Director of Midwifery at UCSF and Saraswathi Vedam, Amherst College graduate and 2008 Honorary Degree recipient, took the lead in bringing this diverse group together.

Cultural Competence Workshops

We continue to design and offer innovative approaches to the learning and experience of cultural and linguistic competence. With Lisa Sockabasin, we will give four in-depth highly interactive workshops to the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program in Maine; and we are in the midst of a series of workshops with an extraordinary group of Maine youth leaders with disabilities, in collaboration with Maine Support Network and co-facilitation by Mallory Cyr.

The Language of Public Health

We are working this semester with Alyssa Pagano, an English Major at Bates College, to write the first of a series of papers on the need to change the language of public health so that it is less bureaucratic jargon, has fewer acronyms, uses fewer violence related metaphors, and generally is more humane and inclusive of multiple and diverse stakeholders. Our goal is to humanize the language of public health so that it more accurately reflects and expresses the fundamental purpose and underlying ideals of our noble profession.

Amherst Public Health Collaborative Update

A group of Amherst and University of Massachusetts students gathered on February 23, 2009, to follow up on the January 24 all-day event that marked the foundation of the Amherst Public Health Collaborative. Since then, students have created a mission statement (see below), a blog site (, a launch event on April 10 7:30-9:00 pm ("AIDS, Amherst, and Activism" with guest speaker Dr. Bruce Walker, at Converse Hall at Amherst College. Further, there is a great interest in expanding the already flourishing mentoring program. I want to express my gratitude to all who have taken the initiative to be part of this exciting model for college students to translate their knowledge and ideals into leadership and action.

Mission Statement

"The Amherst College Public Health Collaborative (ACPHC) brings together college students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners and health care providers in order to engage in and promote issues of public health and social justice in the Pioneer Valley. ACPHC seeks to create long-term partnerships between community organizations and students, create a resource network for students interested in the field and highlight the importance of public health in the wider community. By including all relevant stakeholders, ACPHC aims to positively affect the health of the people living in the Pioneer valley, as well as to deepen the relationships between college students and local community by meaningfully engaging students in community health projects and by providing a means for students to apply classroom knowledge to the world they live in."