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Public health, faith advocates join at annual Balm In Gilead conference
National forum Nov. 19-22 in Charlotte
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 11:49 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

The Balm in Gilead brings together public health and faith community leaders for its annual national conference in Charlotte Nov. 19-22.

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The Balm In Gilead is bridging public health and faith at a national conference in Charlotte.

More than 500 participants from the faith, medical and corporate communities are expected for the sixth annual Healthy Churches conference Nov. 19-22 at the Sheraton hotel in Center City. The conference brings together some of the nation’s top public health and faith leaders to build alliances to strengthen the capacity of faith communities to address health disparities among African Americans.

“For more than 30 years, The Balm In Gilead continues to be a forerunner in addressing health issues that disproportionately affect African Americans,” said Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead Inc. “Every year, we take several steps forward to close the information and application gaps in some of our hardest to reach African American communities.”

The nonprofit Balm In Gilead develops educational and training programs designed to establish sustainable, integrated systems of public health and faith principles to improve health outcomes for people in urban, rural and remote communities.  

“Body, soul, mind, your mental health – all that is needed to be a complete person,” said conference Chair Bishop Horace Smith M.D., senior pastor at Apostolic Faith Church and a doctor at Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. This conference addresses all of this.”

The conference’s objective is to strengthen the skills and leadership capacity of ministers and congregations who work with church health ministries and auxiliary groups, including the kitchen/culinary teams, ministry nursing units, transportation teams, deacon and missionary groups.

Gospel artist Israel Houghton will headline the Best Practice Awards Dinner.

Kafui Dzirasa MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University will give the State of the Union on Black Mental Health address. The conference’s opening preacher will be Bishop James B. Walker, presiding prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

The key presenters include Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, Obesity Medicine Physician Scientist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., Paul Abernathy, director of FOCUS Pittsburgh and Renita J. Weems of Ray Of Hope Community Church in Nashville, Tenn.


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