The African American Faith Community, in addition to being the epicenter of traditions of worship and faith development, has been the hub of resources, information, activism, and multi-layered partnerships within and on behalf of the African American community at-large.
In keeping with that tradition, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, (CDU)’s CTSI and the CDU Mervyn M. Dymally (MMD) School of Nursing, has partnered with New Vision Church of Jesus Christ’s outreach and worship auxiliaries to provide a host of services to the 90011 zip code area (one of the most under-resourced zip codes in Los Angeles County).
Under the coordination of CDU’s Community Faculty member, Aziza Lucas-Wright, M.Ed. (also the First Lady Emeritus of New Vision COJC) and MMD’s Professor Ana Cortez, the two entities have provided services to over 500 community members at events entitled, “Love-In-Action” and “Prayer-In-the-Park.” The students, under the supervision of Professor Cortez, administer blood pressure screenings and disseminate wellness promotion and health services for referral print materials.
In addition to being an ongoing feature at these events, the CDU MMD School students “show up” every third Sunday (Wellness Sunday) at this progressive church to conduct blood pressure screenings and awareness activities for its worship service participants.
On the third Sunday of February, Professor Cortez and student, Bantale Ayisire, not only provided the blood pressure screening service, they delivered a brief, yet profoundly relevant talk on the far-reaching effects of uncontrolled blood pressure – leading to numerous participants staying beyond worship service to have their blood pressure read and recorded.
Of this relevant and potentially life-saving community service by the MMD School of Nursing partnership, Senior Pastor of New Vision Church of Jesus Christ (currently operating at Avalon Carver Community Center, 4920 So. Avalon, LA, 90011), Attorney Monique Woodert writes, “As a Servant Leader, I am always concerned about not only the spiritual well-being but the psycho-social and physical health of the congregation. To that end, it has been a blessing of enormous proportion to have the nursing students come on a Sunday and provide educational lectures, materials and health and wellness checks to the congregation. The nursing students connect contextually and educationally to the individuals that they serve and are well received by the church members. It is my sincere belief that their presence and presentation is saving lives.”
There is an ongoing commitment by Professor Lucas-Wright and Professor Cortez to continue these outreach efforts to the church as well as to South Park homeless encampment citizens directly across the street from the Church. The combined mission statements of CDU, the MMD School of Nursing and New Vision Church of Jesus Christ converges to form a much needed safety net for this community.
For those faith-based institutions seeking to become involved with Academic/Community-Partnered Research and Development, please contact Aziza Lucas-Wright at: [email protected].