Welcoming Theresa Lyons, Our New Healthy & Equitable Communities Grant Administrator

Wow! Did we have fun in February. The Health Committee kicked off the month with The Bettye Davis Summit on February 10, hosted our first hybrid (in-person and online) Community Conversation on the 18th (you can watch the replay here), and met with representatives from the Office of Health Equity at the CDC.

We’re catching our breath for March, but don’t worry, we still have plenty to do. If you’re looking for a way to get involved in making a difference in your Alaska Community, join us. We meet every three weeks on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm via Zoom. Our next meeting is April 2. 

Here’s what’s happening:

Gail Jackson announced she is starting a Sister Circle for African American women and girls (ages 11+) of the African Diaspora at Umoja Coworking Space. Disclaimer: The Sisters Circle is a program by Gail Jackson, not an ABC or an ABC Health Committee event. 

Healthy and Equitable Communities Grant: Expanding Access to Health for Black Alaskans: Outreach, Education, and Treatment. We’re excited to be working with Theresa Lyons on health-related projects for this grant between April and June:

April: Two events at UAA, Rasmuson Hall 316, on April 20

  • Youth conversation with Alexis Chandler, M.Ed., who has developed a curriculum addressing trauma for young people.
  • Family conversation with LaShanda McGowan, Clinical therapist. 


  • Black Leaders Panel discussion in May delving into personal experiences with health care to empower Black Alaskans to own their health and work in partnership with providers.
  • Visit health fairs, churches, and community groups, presenting a message of whole-person wellness to our Black community: food and fitness, personal and family well-being, and community empowerment.

June: COVID clinic at Juneteenth at the Park Strip

Community Conversations:

  • April 14: To honor Black Maternal Health Week, we are contacting healthcare providers, OB-GYN specialists, and Doulas in Alaska to host a panel discussion on this critical topic.
  • May: We’re exploring the exact date for our May conversation and will focus on Mental Health. We are considering hosting another hybrid in-person/online event and will share details as soon as we have them.

The Barbershop Project. This panel discussion was such a huge success at The Bettye Davis Summit that we are continuing to work on it. Amana Mbise and Jewel Jones are leading the project to continue to explore the intersection of Barbershops and our community and how we can support these social and community activity hubs.

WWAMI Community Advocacy. ABC is participating in a WWAMI Community Advocacy Panel on March 19. The topic is Racism in Medicine. 

The WWAMI School of Medical Education collaborates with six universities in five northwestern states (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) and the University of Washington School of Medicine.

This is an open Zoom meeting with the following learning objectives:

  • Describe local efforts by community-based organizations to improve specific health outcomes or address barriers to health care access in their communities.
  • Assess the significant challenges these organizations face and the support (if any) they receive from public health entities, medical facilities, or professionals.
  • Propose and debate how medical doctors and other health providers can and should partner with community members and community-based organizations (CBOs) to improve patient- and population-level outcomes and overcome systemic bias and oppression.