Montgomery Community Media, February 13, 2023, Liz Feldman
A groundbreaking effort is under way to try to break the cycle of chronic diseases in families and communities of color in Montgomery County. The non-profit group Global Sustainable Partnerships, with help from the Black Physicians and Healthcare Network and Howard University School of Medicine, has created a unique program that will enroll 40 high school students in an after-school, 9-week course at Howard University School of Medicine. It begins on Feb. 22.
The goal of the course is simple; to provide young people with the knowledge and the skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle. However the course will provide much more than teaching students the importance of choosing healthy foods and exercise. Students will learn to become self-advocates by learning about the importance of getting yearly checkups including dental and eye appointments. While the students are learning these new lifestyle skills, they also will take on the role of a teacher or mentor. Each student will be paired with a family member or someone in the community who is struggling with a chronic illness. Those students will work in their communities to affect change by sharing their knowledge.
“The reason this program is so important is because it does so many things, which I’m just so excited about. One, it exposes students about chronic illnesses that plague black and brown communities, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, you name it. And a lot of our family members have it. And so we do not want these kids to grow up, and have the same fate,” Kimberly Fogg, founder and CEO of Global Sustainable Partnerships said.