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Melanin and Medicine Event Was a Hit!

Build 2 Lead hosted it's 2nd annual Melanin and Medicine Event on February 22nd! Students, community members, volunteers, and partners gathered at Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS) to celebrate black history month with this inspirational event.

Melanin and Medicine was designed as part of Build 2 Lead's Legacy Programs to help connect, inspire, and empower BIPOC youth and community members by creating a space for youth and members of the medical community to network, share experiences, and celebrate our community. The Melanin and Medicine Event featured a key note speaker, healthcare and holistic wellness presenters, workshops, the TJHS Black Student Union Talent Show, food, a networking event, and vendors.

Our keynote speaker was Veronica Thierry Mallett M.D. MMM. Veronica is a dynamic health care leader, currently serving as the Chief Administrative Officer for the More In Common Alliance (MICA). This historic partnership between the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Common Spirit Health (CSH) will prove to be transformational for increasing diversity in the healthcare work force. Her work is closely tied to the mission of Build 2 Lead and we were grateful to have her as our keynote speaker!

Workshops and panels were presented by healthcare professionals who aimed to inspire students to consider healthcare careers. Panels included sharing experiences in the healthcare system as BIPOC professionals, the various career options within healthcare, and how to navigate college and post-secondary training to find a career. Students also learned about stress management, self-reflection, and finding your "why". We are so grateful for all the presenters and panel members and truly appreciate their passion to ensure that our BIPOC youth and young adults can truly become generational gamechangers within their families and communities!

Events like Melanin and Medicine are critical experience for our youth! Through legacy events like these students are exposed to new career paths and inspired by people who have made and impact in their community. Witnessing and networking with BIPOC leaders can help shift what a student sees as possible or open up a new area of interest. One student said,

They talked about their experiences and made me feel like good and it was impactful making me kinda want to do something medical. The vibe was cool when we got to do something hands on.”

Without this experience, students who are now considering the medical field wouldn’t have otherwise. As an organization, Build 2 Lead is working to actively develop community-based systems change initiatives within the systems of criminal justice, healthcare, and education through our B2L Legacy pathway.

After the event, Build 2 Lead conducted a post-event survey and here are some of the results:

  • 64% of the participants who answered the survey were between the ages of 16-18. 33% were between the ages of 12-14.

  • 86% of the participants were male and 14% were female.

  • 58% of participants rated their experience at the event a “5” out of a 1-5 rating scale. 29% rated it a “4” and 13% rated it a “3.”

  • 61% of the participants rated their experience in the workshops a “5” out of a 1-5 rating scale. 33% rated it a “4” and 6% rated it a “3.”

The event was a huge success and we are so grateful for the participation and partnership of the students, guest speakers, presenters, panel members, partners, and vendors! Build 2 Lead can't wait to host an even bigger and better conference next year!

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