7:03 PM / Wednesday May 31, 2023

4 Feb 2022

Montgomery County to host virtual panel discussions on Black health and wellness 

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February 4, 2022 Category: Stateside Posted by:

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -– Montgomery County’s Black History Month Committee invites the community to attend a four-week long virtual series of panel discussions for Black History Month. This year’s program will focus on the national theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” as established by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH).

“As a physician, I saw firsthand just how different outcomes could be for Black and Brown patients because of longstanding, race-based barriers to opportunity — something only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “During Black History Month, we have an opportunity to shine light on these disparities — from higher rates of maternal mortality to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 — and renew our conversations around how we can work to achieve greater equity.”

Four panels will be held each Wednesday in February from noon to 1:30 p.m.:

Wednesday, February 9 – Topic: Maternal and Infant Health

Panelists – Nia Coaxum-Morgan, MPH, CHES; Autumn Nelson, CNM; Anika Dargan, MSN, RN

Performance by Angel Cobbold of Montgomery County Juvenile Probation

Wednesday, February 16 – Topic: Mental and Spiritual Health

Panelists – Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, Dr. Toni Warner-McIntyre, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region CEO Marcus Allen

Wednesday, February 23 – Topic: COVID-19 Impacts on the Black Community

Panelists – Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium Founder Dr. Ala Stanford and Associates

Performance by Pine Forge Academy

“Montgomery County is committed to racial equity and ending healthcare disparities that have historically negatively impacted Black and Brown communities,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr., vice chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “This series provides a platform to learn from one another, connect and gain access to critical resources needed in the Black community.”

The panel discussions will be hosted via Zoom. Interested participants can register for each panel discussion at” During each week’s discussion, panelists will be asked questions as it relates to the event theme and weekly topics. There will be an opportunity for registered participants to ask questions at the end of each event. 

“Each year, Montgomery County staff and members of the community take the opportunity to collectively celebrate and appreciate the complexities of African-Americans throughout history,” said Lynne Willis, Montgomery County Health and Human Services employee and Black History Month committee member for 17 years. “The pandemic has again allowed us to share this annual tradition by expanding the program virtually throughout the month of February.”

 Affectionately known as the Father of Black History, historian Carter G. Woodson initiated Black History Week on February 12, 1926, which for many years was celebrated in February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In the mid-1970s, Black History Week expanded to Black History Month.  These events are open to the community. The four events will also be livestreamed on the Health and Human Services Facebook page. 

For more information about the program, contact Lora Gonzalez at: (610) 278-3677. 

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