The Racial Equity Coalition's Health and Wellness Committee put together a Minority International Student Panel on Healthcare in Athens. This panel will highlight some of the health care experiences of minority international students. 

Students will be able to share their experiences with health care in a different country, specifically in rural America. 

“The goal of our committee was to raise, not only awareness, but also understanding of what health providers can do to begin to address (international students) strategically and, also, to make a really great impact within our local area and within their region,” Brandi Baker, co-lead of the Racial Equity Coalition and the Health and Wellness Committee, said.

If You Go

What: Minority International Student Panel on Healthcare in Athens

Where: Virtual

When: Friday, April 2, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

The panelists, so far, include Ethel Anyani-Boadum, Samba Bah, Aggrey Willis Otieno Odhiambo and Shauna Torrington-Griffith. The set-up of the event will be a Q&A with moderator Vanessa Morgan-Nai, coordinator for Multicultural Advising and African American Student Success.

The event was created in order to raise awareness around issues that have historically impacted racial ethnic minorities in Athens and, especially, in Appalachia. 

“I think it's very important to learn about what the student population is experiencing with regards to their own health because we're focusing on people who are either from here or have lived here for a while,” Shei Sanchez, grants and communications manager at Sisters Health Foundation, said. “We also want to be aware that we're serving. We're trying to serve everyone.”

Sanchez believes it’s important for the people of Athens to see beyond who they are and reach out to others that they can learn from. 

“I feel it's (Athens) a welcoming county for all, and I would like that aspect to be part of the health care system,” Sanchez said.

This concept sparked the Health and Wellness Committee’s idea of making April the first Athens-based Minority Health Month. The panel is the first part of a three-part series in making this month possible. 

The second is the state report card overview through the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, or HPIO. HPIO is going to focus on explaining what the state health report card is and, specifically, how it relates to racial equity in the state of Ohio.

The third will be a roundtable that will look at developing strategies to address racial health disparities within local health organizations.

“The international student panel is also going to be a great opportunity to shine light and a lens of what our international communities of color are experiencing,” Baker said.

Baker, Sanchez and Morgan-Nai believe it is important for international students to find a safe and supportive place for health care.

“It's going to bring about a different perspective that maybe people haven't really thought about,” Morgan-Nai said. “Athens is growing, which means that you're going to have more and more international students coming in, and it will be very helpful to hear what their stories are, what their experiences are, so that we can continue to provide them very good health care. I really encourage everyone to come and hear from these students and give their stories or find a way to just connect with them. Most of them are already in their own little world so knowing that there's a larger community than Ohio University will be very helpful to know.”

Those interested in attending the event can register online.

@kkayyben

kb084519@ohio.edu