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February 1, 2013
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate celebrates Black History Month

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— How Upstate Medical University values diversity, and how that value impacts the communities it serves, is the theme of Upstate’s monthlong Black History Month celebration in February. The celebration includes a host of informative, insightful and entertaining events.

According to Tree Carter, chair of Upstate’s Faculty and Staff Association for Diversity, Upstate defines its value of diversity as respecting people by treating all with grace and dignity and embracing diversity.  “Our Black History Month events will recognize people who have positively impacted diverse ethnic populations in Syracuse and abroad,” she said. “The events also will give voice to diversity issues that affect our community as well as those of our global neighbors.” Those issues, she adds, include infant mortality in the black community, civil rights of people with disabilities, and putting science to work for women’s health, to name a few.

Upstate’s Black History Month events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. They include

Opening Ceremony. Wednesday, Feb. 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Campus Activities Building. Upstate President David R. Smith, MD, will offer a keynote address. Upstate nurse practitioner Geralyn Hall, and the Rev. Phil M. Turner, pastor of Syracuse’s Bethany Baptist Church, will be recognized for improving the quality of life for underserved populations. The celebration also includes a free lunch, featuring soul food with a healthy twist by Chef Bleu (Will Lewis), and  entertainment. Maxine Thompson, assistant vice president for Upstate’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, will offer remarks regarding the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The Rev. Joseph Smythe of Upstate’s Center for Spiritual Care will give the benediction.

Walk the Talk Diversity Lecture: Disability Civil Rights Law and Policy. Wednesday, Feb. 13. Noon to 1:30 p.m. in 2231 Weiskotten Hall.  Peter Blanck, PhD, will examine the basis of discrimination against people with disabilities and discuss the history of the discrimination and review studies that explore why people engage in this discrimination. The federal laws that culminated in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA’s definition of disability and how it has been interpreted and studied, will also be discussed, as well as remedies available for various ADA claims and the procedures required to pursue them. Blanck has co-authored books dealing with disability civil rights law and policy. He is a professor at Syracuse University and chair of SU’s Burton Blatt Institute. Among his numerous leadership positions, he is  trustee of YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network aand chair of the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC).

Sarah Loguen Fraser Day: Infant Mortality in the Black Community. Friday, Feb. 15. Noon. Medical Alumni Auditorium, Weiskotten Hall. Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH, commissioner of health for Onondaga County, will present the keynote address. Morrow also holds appointments at Upstate as assistant professor of public health and preventive medicine and pediatrics. Sarah Loguen Fraser Day also will honor Claudy Zulme, Class of 2013, College of Medicine, as recipient of the Sarah Loguen Fraser scholarship. Refreshments will follow the address.

The Student National Medical Association Dinner Dance. Friday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m. to midnight, Sophistications Jazz Café, 441 S. Salina St., Syracuse. Tickets are $10 for students; $15 or general public. For information or to purchase tickets, contact or call 315-708-2746.

28th Annual Elizabeth Blackwell Day: Putting Science to Work for Women’s Health – the Next Generation. Wednesday, Feb. 20. Lecture: Noon, Medical Alumni Auditorium, Weiskotten Hall. Reception: 1 p.m., atrium, Setnor Academic Building. The lecture will be presented by Janine Clayton, MD, deputy director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health in the Office of the director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to her current post, she was the deputy clinical director of the NIH’s National Eye Institute. A board-certified ophthalmologist, her research interests include immune-mediated diseases of the cornea and conjunctiva, women’s eye health and the standardization of outcome measures for diseases of the anterior segment. Clayton has a particular interest in ocular surface disease and discovered a novel form of disease associated with premature ovarian insufficiency which affects young women.

For more information about Upstate’s Black History Month events, call 464-5234 or 464-5433.

Caption: At last year’s Black History Month celebration, Chef Blue (Will Lewis), left, serves collard greens to Drenye Chandler and Alana Jo, members of the singing group Precious Lilly. In the background are Chef Blue’s assistants, Johnny Hayes and Jackie Policastro.

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