February is Black History Month, and SCU joins in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.
According to BlackHistoryMonth.gov, It was 1925 when the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) first conceived and announced Negro History Week to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans, to civilization. It wasn’t until a year later in February 1926, that the event was first celebrated during the birthday week of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming. Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; progressive whites, scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.
In the 1960s, the Black Awakening dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.
Fifty years after the first celebration, the week long event was expanded to a month in 1976, when President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since 1976, each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history, all year.
SCU has announced a renewed second year of membership with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH partners with corporations, schools, community groups, publishers, universities, cultural institutions, and many other organizations. ASALH and its partners seek to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community through cooperation and collaboration.
SCU’s membership includes, with the support of the ASB, assisting SCU community members with attending ASALH conferences and events with little to no cost. For information about ASALH events, visit their website, at: asalh.org/new-calendar/. Many of the talks are free, but if current SCU students would like attend a paid talk, please email StudentServices@schs.edu, for financial assistance.
Brianna Hadley graduated with the SCU Master of Science: Physician Assistant (MSPA) Class of 2022. She was the recipient of SCU’s first Health Equity Award, presented at the commencement ceremony.
“I have always been drawn to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), so winning the Health Equity Award meant that my now Alma Mater saw my efforts and truly inspires me to continue on this path of promoting diversity wherever I go, especially as a PA. My DEI experience initially started when I was an undergrad and I received a full-ride scholarship as a Multicultural Advancement Scholar at Central Michigan University. I was able to obtain an 18-credit cultural competency certificate in addition to my scholarship. My cultural competency certificate taught me that every culture has its own unique struggles and it is important to honor those struggles and embrace our differences because they actually make us a lot more alike than different.”
Brianna says that she was exposed to healthcare at a very young age and remembers one very impactful day. “When I was in pre-school, my mom went back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. I still remember her first bring your child to work day at the huge hospital where she worked. It was a great experience and it definitely motivated me to pursue healthcare at a young age. I was first introduced to the PA profession in high school through a pre-med class that my school offered.”
The diversity of work and ability to move laterally throughout the profession is what led to Brianna to pursue a career as a PA. “I have always loved medicine but I felt like picking one specialty for my entire career could lead to burnout. I was very attracted to the fact that as a PA, I can start in a field such as cardiology for example, and transition to behavioral health, later. As a patient, I prefer when my care comes from a PA as they tend to provide great patient education. In addition to that, I love seeing providers that look like me when I am a patient.”
Now that she’s graduated, Brianna plans to move back to Michigan to practice as a PA. “I am still deciding exactly what specialty I would like to start in, however, I am feeling very optimistic about what is to come! I definitely have plans to be on the DEI board wherever I work and continue to promote health justice and increase minority applications in healthcare fields. Later on, I would love to become a PA educator as well.”
Quintin Howze is a Term 3 Doctor of Chiropractic student. He says it was his gym that inspired his interest in a career in chiropractic. “I began to see how both the gym and the chiropractic practice complimented each other, and could bring a network of deeper and more solid health to others,” said Quintin. “After graduation, I would like to open my own practice with a few doctors through my gym. I would like to expand beyond the current location that I am in and spread my gym and chiro practice across the states and eventually to other countries. Beside helping a range of specialty groups to sports athletes, I’d also love to do work for the homeless and for those in third-world countries!”
Quintin sees the underrepresentation in the chiropractic field as an opportunity to “spread awareness of not just good health, but also that any good and impactful dream is possible! I was inspired through my work at the gym, my clients, and how impactful this profession can be through my gym members, my community, and those around the world, even.”
For Quintin, “diversity is all about culture and gathering experiences that one could not by themselves have gathered otherwise. It’s important in healthcare because their are a variety of situations and challenges that come up; however, one’s ability to network not just knowledge, but a livelihood of wisdom and human concern tends to bring wide-spread foundational solutions.”
Kelson Kwaku Sarfo is a Term 3 Doctor of Chiropractic student. “I decided to become a Chiropractor because preventative health and healthcare is something about which I am passionate. Too many people in underserved communities have received the message that preventative health services are the luxury and privilege of certain groups. I want to make Chiropractic care more accessible to groups that have traditionally been under represented in terms of service. The chilling realities of health inequities in this country are glaring, I intend to be part of the movement to tackle these for the health of all.”
Kelson says another reason for his career choice is that he doesn’t see many people like himself within the field. “As a Black man, a non-traditional student, immigrant, father and husband, I have had to work extremely hard to access particular educational and professional opportunities. I believe that representation in healthcare is crucial for improving health outcomes and reducing inequities.”
He is also interested in having a role in education, after becoming a board-certified chiropractor. “I intend to provide public health and preventative health education for people underserved communities. I want to inspire other minority students to see programs like DC as possible for them, too. As a non-traditional student, I am proud of the fact that I have navigated various challenges but have persisted in pursuing my passion for health. I hope to pass on my future knowledge and expertise to the next generation of healthcare professionals.”
As we honor Black History Month at SCU, Kelson asks, “how can we compassionately and competently serve a diverse population when those within the profession do not mirror this diversity? People’s lives experiences impact their health journeys and vice versa. We need more health professionals who understand the unique challenges faced by various populations/groups.”
A piece of Black History is right here, at SCU. Dr. Simone Jordan is one of just three Black chiropractic radiologists in the world. “It makes me feel really proud that I made it through one of the most rigorous, stringent residency programs under the umbrella of Chiropractic, especially when there are thousands of other chiropractic professionals around the world. I hope my journey helps inspire other people who look like me, to go into this field. I’m here to help and provide any resources I can, to anyone!”
Dr. Jordan said she knew chiropractic was her calling. “I wanted to get into healthcare since before I can remember, so I always knew I was going to be in some form of healthcare, or another. I have three cousins who are nurses and one is also an instructor at a nursing college. Seeing them pursue and achieve their dreams drove me to pursue the same. In high school, I went to a leadership conference in Atlanta, GA held at different teaching institutions where I got to see and shadow so many healthcare professionals, but most importantly, there were professionals who looked like me, so that instilled in me that I can become that, too!”
Going to her undergraduate health center chiropractor at USC is what solidified Dr. Jordan’s choice in a career in chiropractic. “Seeing our USC chiropractor in the health center exposed me to what chiropractic is, and what it can be. I really enjoyed the alternative, whole-body, whole-person health approach that chiropractic took.”
After graduating from USC, Dr. Jordan enrolled at SCU for the Doctor of Chiropractic program. “My experience at SCU as a student was amazing. I met the best faculty members, the greatest students, I made lifelong friends, here. SCU helped me break out of my shell and really step up and become the person I knew I could be, and reach my full potential. At one point in my DC program, I went on a humanitarian trip to Bolivia with about 10 other students. We saw around 1,000-1,500 patients in a week. That experience made me realize I was right where I need to be, and that opportunity that SCU provided for us, and for our Bolivian patients – who had no money – instilled the necessity of this integrative, whole-person healthcare community, and of the necessity for integrative, whole-person healthcare for everyone, worldwide.”
All of this led to where Dr. Jordan is, now, as a chiropractor, assistant professor, and chiropractic radiologist, at SCU. “Since I graduated from SCU, I went immediately into our Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Residency that was at the time, still here on campus. I dedicated four years of my life learning all things imaging. X-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasound, you name it. Once I passed my board exams, I officially became a diplomat of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology, where I am a board certified Chiropractic Radiologist. The majority of my life now is in teaching students and also providing expert radiology consultation to doctors, all over the nation. I have a tele-radiology practice. It’s distance imaging, so they can send me any imaging files through a portal system that I have. I’m able to provide a real-time report to support patient treatment plans, across the nation.”
Dr. Jordan says that teaching has been a surprisingly amazing component of her career. “I never thought of myself as a teacher of any kind, but seeing the moment my students have that lightbulb moment, seeing them enjoy it, and seeing them understand how to apply the concepts they’re learning in the outside world, that just makes my heart smile so much. I don’t think I’d want to anything else, now, besides teach students! Some of the students will send me emails at the end of the term that make me cry.”
As we honor Black History Month at SCU, Dr. Jordan says that “diversity in healthcare is extremely important because no longer are we in a society where we have a homogenous nature of all doctors being a white man, or all nurses being women. We’re now in a healthcare realm where our healthcare providers should mirror what our nation looks like. It also provides that added comfort for patients to see someone who looks like them, given that their similarities in culture, in language, in orientation, helps to provide more equality and equity for patients.”