‘Community Conversations’ Series Culminates With Dialogue On Health

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Panelists: (Back row, l-r): Tsanonda Edwards, Above It All Inc.; Sha’Von Terrell, The Black Church Food Security Network; Brianna Billups, Fully Grown, LLC. (Front row, l-r): Quentin Vennie, wellness expert and author; Jenell Steele, registered nurse and fitness coach; Anthony Sutton and Will Walker,  Brunch N’ Burn.

Dr. David Marshall, Morgan State Strategic Communication Chair

Panelists: (Back row, l-r): Tsanonda Edwards, Above It All Inc.; Sha’Von Terrell, The Black Church Food Security Network; Brianna Billups, Fully Grown, LLC. (Front row, l-r): Quentin Vennie, wellness expert and author; Jenell Steele, registered nurse and fitness coach; Anthony Sutton and Will Walker, Brunch N’ Burn.

Publisher Joy Bramble and her colleagues could not have asked for a better finale to the Community conversation for this series, in particular, which was themed “Vision for a Healthier Baltimore.”

The three-hour forum featured seven panelists and Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, commissioner of health for the Baltimore City Health Department.

Following opening remarks from Bramble and moderator Cassandra Vincent, Anthony Sutton was given the floor. Sutton, a personal trainer with Brunch N’ Burn, led the guests through five light warm-up exercises they can do to begin their day.

Dzirasa, a native of Prince George’s County and resident of Baltimore for the past eight and a half years, sat in the front of the room with Vincent for a discussion on notable topics surrounding health in the local community.

Also, a Hopkins-trained pediatrician, Dzirasa shared her vision for a healthier Baltimore, which meant equitable access to quality medical care and services and taking a public health approach to community concerns.

She also provided tips for COVID-19 (coronavirus) prevention and preparedness, and updated the inquisitive audience on some of the initiatives and programs of the health department.

In addition, Vinny DeMarco and Stephanie Klapper of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative spoke briefly on health insurance programs that attendees could take advantage of.

Kids at The Baltimore Times 'Community Conversation'

Dr. David Marshall, Morgan State Strategic Communication Chair

Kids at The Baltimore Times ‘Community Conversation’

Concurrent with the day’s theme, Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen (District 1) spoke extensively on the trauma-related experiences that adversely affects youth. He noticed that there was no legislation in place to provide responsive care to individuals who had traumatic experiences, which prompted the proposal of the Trauma Responsive Care Act in February 2019.

The bill, later renamed the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, was signed by Mayor Bernard Young on Feb. 9, 2020 and calls for: (1) a city-wide task force, (2) training for all city agencies in the science, symptomology and responses for trauma victims and (3) each city agency to assess policies to reduce traumatization in Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities.

“I just wanted to make sure that we as a city are really responding effectively and that we’re not just ignoring this problem or putting a bandaid on a bullet wound,” Cohen said.

(Right to Left - Top to Bottom) Teara Booker founder of Well With My Soul, Quentiin Vennie wellness expert and author, Stephanie Klapper of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Tsanonda Edwards Above It All Inc.,Sha’Von Terrell founder of The Black Church Food Security Network, Brianna Billups founder of Fully Grown, LLC, Cassandra Vincent project lead of The Baltimore Times ' Communtiy Conversation' series, Vinny DeMarco of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Joy Bramble Founder of The Baltimore Times, Jenell Steele registered nurse and fitness coach,Anthony Sutton of Brunch N' Burn and Will Walker of Brunch N' Burn

Dr. David Marshall, Morgan State Strategic Communication Chair

(Right to Left – Top to Bottom) Teara Booker founder of Well With My Soul, Quentiin Vennie wellness expert and author, Stephanie Klapper of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Tsanonda Edwards Above It All Inc.,Sha’Von Terrell founder of The Black Church Food Security Network, Brianna Billups founder of Fully Grown, LLC, Cassandra Vincent project lead of The Baltimore Times ‘ Communtiy Conversation’ series, Vinny DeMarco of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, Joy Bramble Founder of The Baltimore Times, Jenell Steele registered nurse and fitness coach,Anthony Sutton of Brunch N’ Burn and Will Walker of Brunch N’ Burn

“I’m proud to say this bill was passed three weeks ago, which makes Baltimore a national leader in the movement for trauma-informed care.”

The panelists in attendance were: Sha’Von Terrell of the Black Church Food Security Network; Jenell Steele, a registered nurse and fitness coach; Will Walker and Anthony Sutton of Brunch N’ Burn; Quentin Vennie, a wellness expert and author; Tsanonda Edwards of Above It All Inc.; and Brianna Billups of Fully Grown, LLC.

After each panelist introduced themselves and the mission of their organizations, they too shared their vision for a healthier Baltimore along with their individual efforts to fulfill that vision.

Guest/participants

Dr. David Marshall, Morgan State Strategic Communication Chair

Guest/participants

Holistic health, wellness, Black health, and food disparities were among the main subject matters addressed during the panel discussion.

Eliseba Osore said she was drawn to the event because of her natural interest in engaging in health-related conversations in the city.

“I think any time you give folks a chance to come together and ask questions and talk, there’s an impact on the community,” said Osore, director of ShareBaby, a local nonprofit that provides diapers and clothing items for families in need.

“I feel like a lot of folks in our community want their voices to be heard, and so events and forums like this really give people that opportunity. So I think people, hopefully, will leave feeling more empowered or at least like they learned something.”

Similarly, Sade Brown attended the community conversation with an open mind ready to hear the various perspectives and insights for a healthier Baltimore. She said she was captivated by Cohen’s advocacy toward treating trauma-related issues in the city.

“Councilman Cohen, hearing him speak about the bill and the things that he’s pushing, especially around youth trauma, definitely piqued some interest from me because I’m from Baltimore and I’ve experienced quite a bit of trauma myself,” said Brown, a yoga instructor.

“So for him to push that, it really piqued my interest to want to know more.”

If there’s anything that the Baltimore Times Community Conversations has proved, is that there is indeed remarkable work being done in the community but it goes unnoticed because it often happens in siloes.

“The fact that there’s so many young people who attended… this conversation, it tells me that we have a lot of young people interested in the Baltimore Times,” Bramble said.

“I think talking to each other in community in a non-threatening way, in a fun way, where everybody’s ideas are accepted… makes a big, big difference and it helps community.”

RESOURCES SHARED A ‘VISION FOR A HEALTHIER BALTIMORE’ Community Conversation 03/07/20:

healthcareforall.comrxresolutions

-cdc.gov

sheperdsclinic.org (Free Health care for the uninsured)

www.brunchnburn.com, @brunchnburn_

-www.drinkmorewaters.com, @runnersun_, @morewaters.co,@nellynelle19 – resultswithnelly.com

-Google ” Elijah Cummings healing city Baltimore