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News Release

Moravian College co-sponsors black women’s health symposium

(Bethlehem, Pa.) – A Symposium on Black Women’s Health will be held on Saturday, April 24 at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (W. Packer & Vine Streets, Bethlehem). This day-long event features presentations by prominent black women’s health advocates and physicians. The symposium is being held for the second time in two years in the Lehigh Valley.

This year’s theme is “Reaching Out…Changing Lives: I’ve found a deeper love and it’s me!” The goal of the symposium is to provide a culturally sensitive forum that raises the awareness and understanding of the prevention, early detection, and treatment of health issues related to breast health, heart disease, depression, and mind/body/spirit wellness.

Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m., with the first session beginning at 9:15 a.m. Sharon A. Brown, symposium co-coordinator and director of institutional diversity at Moravian College, will open the conference with an overview of the current state of black women’s health and health care. Dr. Robin Skrine, a breast cancer surgeon at the Breast Care Specialists practice in Allentown will address the group in a session titled “Breast Health.”

Next on the itinerary is “Sharing Our Stories: Lessons for Life,” with a panel of breast cancer survivors, Dr. Taffy Anderson, an OB/GYN with St. Elizabeth’s Women’s Care in Reading, Pa. and Mitt Joyner, Ph.D.

After lunch, Rev. Michele D. Balamani, an ordained church elder and licensed psychotherapist in Maryland, will present “When the Sun Don’t Shine: A Conversation about Depression.”

Elder Emily D. Gunter will present “Mind, Body, and Spirit Wellness.” Gunter is the founder and president of Gunter Development Enterprises, Inc. (Durham, North Carolina). Rev. Balamani will also lead the closing session titled “I’ve Found a Deeper Love and It’s Me.” The symposium will conclude at 4 p.m.

Moravian College is the principal sponsor of the symposium. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (Philadelphia Affiliate) awarded a grant to the Black Health Coalition to support part of the symposium costs. This is one of 24 grants totaling $1.3 million given to regional organizations by Komen’s Philadelphia Affiliate.

The symposium planning committee is a collaborative effort of local and regional health care advocates including Shelba Scheffner, Eastcentral Area Health Education Center; Dee Mathis, American Cancer Society; Sylvia Parker, Luzerne Health Center; Edith Banks, Parish Nurse; Alice Dalla Palu, Coalition for a Smoke Free Valley; Robin Skrine. Lehigh Valley Women’s Center; Marian Dietz, Allentown Health Bureau; Marcie Grello, National Institute’s Cancer Information Service; Valerie Bell. Pennsylvania Department of Health; Kati Brown, Pennsylvania Department of Health; Karen Hicks, Women’s Health Educator; Mabel Humphrey, Shiloh Baptist Church; Diane Maalouf , Pennsylvania Department of Health; Natalie Maier, Gateway Health Plan; Gwyn Parker, Dun & Bradstreet; Karen Schiavone, American Cancer Society; Mary Ward, Eastcentral Area Health Education Center; Helen Willis, Lehigh Valley Sickle Cell Support Group; Shildia Jones, and Keisha Gallagher Walker.

Registration for the symposium is $15 and includes breakfast, lunch, and refreshments. For pre-registration, contact 610-625-7847. Scholarships are available.