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

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amherst Public Health Collaborative May 2009

By Richard Aronson

As the academic year winds down, it's time to celebrate the creation of the Amherst College Public Health Collaborative and to honor the graduating seniors who have played a leadership role in its founding and initial events: Jodie Simms, Annah Kuriakose, Romain Cames, Surya Kundu, and Katerina Byanova. Also, many thanks to the Amherst Career Center, the Center for Community Engagement, the Five-College Culture, Health, and Science Program, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Public Health Club, Tapestry Health, Holyoke Health Center, Teen Clinic at Wm. J. Dean Technical High School, Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampshire County, Providence Prenatal and Women's Health Center in Holyoke, and many others. We are delighted that Jamie Cohen '11, Keemi Ereme '11, Lili Ferguson '10, Ethan Balgley '12, and Sarah Schear '12 have already taken on a leadership role for the transition to next year.

Here is the Mission Statement of the Collaborative:
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.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Culture and Language Workshops for Maine WIC

Richard Aronson and Lisa Sockabasin, Minority Health Director for Maine, will present two all-day workshops in June and September for staff of the Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). This is part of a three-year federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to strengthen the capacity of WIC to deliver humane services and policies that demonstrate cultural and linguistic competence and show respect and honor for the dignity of all WIC children and families. We view this as an exciting new step to infusing research on racial and ethnic MCH disparities (James Collins, Michael Lu, others) into our workshops on cultural and linguistic competence. It will also incorporate the work that Aronson and Alyssa Pagano have done this year on the discourse of public health. Here is an overview of the workshops:

Understanding the Impact of Culture, Language, and Discrimination on WIC in Maine and Equipping WIC Providers with Tools to Improve Services to Families

June 12 (Augusta) and 30 (Bangor), September 21 (Augusta) and 30 (Bangor), 2009

Purpose: To strengthen the capacity of Maine WIC Agencies to provide leadership that honors and respects culture and language in: 1) Direct services to families; 2) The organization as a whole; and 3) The improvement of health outcomes and reduction of health inequalities in the WIC population.
Learning Objectives and Agenda:
Day One
1. Increase participant understanding of personal and organizational bias and prejudice, and how it may affect the relationship between the WIC agency and the community, and between WIC providers and the families who receive WIC services.
2. Increase understanding of how to address such bias and prejudice in order to better understand and respect each other and the families who receive WIC services.
3. Define culture and language.
4. Increase understanding of how culture and language affect the provider-family relationship and the extent to which a WIC agency is able to improve the health of the WIC population it serves.
5. Increase knowledge of how severe traumatic events and chronic stress affect birth outcomes and contribute to maternal and child health disparities.
Day Two
1. Increase knowledge of how laws and public policy, including the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, can help WIC agencies strengthen their culture and language related services to families.
2. Identify essential elements to increase cultural and language respect in the WIC provider-family relationship, and develop a preliminary plan to put those elements into action.
3. Learn why organizational self-assessment is important, identify essential components of such an assessment, and develop a preliminary plan to carry out such an assessment.
4. Explore how to integrate all of the above into the skill sets and leadership of Maine WIC Agencies and the goal of improving the health of the WIC population, including all aspects of its policies, procedures, administration and VENA implementation plans.
Facilitators and Presenters: Richard Aronson and Lisa Sockabasin
Method: The sessions will consist of a combination of presentations, and small and large group activities and dialogue, using Future Search principles.