NASHVILLE, Tenn. The ultimate goal of health equity is to eliminate inequities and health disparities altogether. It’s a mission supported by the Faith and Health Collaborative, a group of stakeholders partnering to advance health equity in congregations and communities.
To this end, On May 17, 2019, the Faith and Health Collaborative and Nashville Health Disparities Coalition (NHDC) spotlighted the efforts of four faith-based organizations at the Faith-Based Health Equity Awards Luncheon.
“It is our pleasure to honor the work of these awardees,” MVA Executive Director and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Vice President for Health Equity Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI told everyone who gathered at Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center (MWCHC) for the event.
“Most in the room know that this work happens all the time in the faith community, but oftentimes it goes unacknowledged,” MVA Program Manager Jacquelyn Favours, MPH, agreed.
Faith-Based Health Equity Awardees
Community advocates, clinicians and researchers congregated at MWCHC to recognize Celebration Christian Center, Inc., Fountain of Life Ministries, Preston Taylor Ministries and Triumphant Church Nashville. In addition to public recognition for their work, all four organizations received $1,000 to be put towards their work to impact health equity.
The Faith-Based Health Equity Awards are awarded to faith-based organizations based in Davison County that have successfully promoted health equity and leveraged partnerships with community organizations, health care systems, community leaders and/or academic institutions to promote health and well-being. Priority is given to organizations involving youth.
- Celebration Christian Center enacted the Team Live program and trainings to improve academic experience, anger management, social interactions, music therapy and nutrition.
- Fountain of Life Ministries established the Gentlemen And Not Gangsters (GANG) program, which provides mentoring and alternative solutions to positively impact youth involved in Nashville gangs.
- Preston Taylor Ministries created the PTM Sports program to decrease risks for negative outcomes and increase overall wellness by emphasizing perseverance, teamwork, self-regulation and a sense of purpose.
- Triumphant Church Nashville put in place several ministries from the Global Outreach Community Corporation to impact youth at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Each awardee also donned a plaque stating “In recognition of your efforts to improve the health and well-being of the community and for your promising work in advancing health equity.”
“The awardees recognized today may not have had the most robust list of resources, but have found ways to effectively address health through strategic partnerships,” Favours, added.
“There’s something at the core of our being that tells us we’ve got to do something,” the Rev. Aaron Xavier Marble commented in the event’s keynote address. “There’s a ‘do something-ness’ in our essence.”
Marble, who pastors Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville and holds a Master’s of Divinity in Pastoral Leadership Degree from Cincinnati Christian University, stressed that children are always the most vulnerable in any society. He urged everyone to remember that dutiful adults have the greatest impact shaping youth.
“You can’t claim to love a heartbeat in the womb and not care about heartbeats outside the womb,” he noted, referencing recent events in various states. “The question I leave you is, will you be dutiful and determined to make a difference.”
About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.