Home / Localpage 15

Local

Full Circle: How I Discovered a Passion for Public Health

Quiana Lewis

Quiana Lewis

(Quiana Lewis joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2014 as a program associate, working to build a Culture of Health by helping all American residents attain stable, affordable health coverage.)

By Quiana Lewis

I am one of the more than 22,000 alumni whose careers have been shaped and lives changed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP).

For me, medicine was a logical decision: my academic performance in science was good, I liked interacting with people, and I didn’t want to be a lawyer.

Clearly, my perceptions of medicine and careers in health were limited.

Then came my SMDEP summer at UCLA, one of the most transformative experiences of my college education. A pipeline program for students who typically are underrepresented in health care fields, SMDEP exposed me to the study and practice of medicine and dentistry that enriched my understanding for both fields. I shadowed physicians, received enrichment in core science subjects, and learned how to excel in medical and dental school. I also received hands-on laboratory experience to create dental models and conducted health screenings at community fairs.

The unexpected lessons from the program, however, were the ones that stuck with me most.

The core science classes were structured using case-based learning methods. This was a departure from the didactic way I was used to learning science. The curriculum used patient case studies to teach biology, anatomy, and physiology. The lessons were investigative in nature and discussion-based. We discussed not only patients’ medical issues, but also the socioeconomic factors affecting them. This piqued my interest. Until then, I had not thought deeply about the impact of systems on the health of individuals. Throughout that summer, I read books and journal articles about the social determinants of health, medical anthropology, and epidemiology. The more I read, the more questions I posed, and the more I realized this was the career path for me.

After SMDEP, I continued to explore the vast world of public health at school and in subsequent summer programs. I graduated from Fisk University, and went on to obtain a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. Since graduate school, I have worked in state and local health departments, community organizations, and health consulting firms.

My public health journey has come full circle. I discovered my passion for population health with the help of RWJF, by way of SMDEP. Now, as an RWJF employee, I work with the Foundation to build a Culture of Health across the nation.

Without SMDEP, I might never have discovered my passion.


 

SMDEP is currently recruiting for its 2015 summer program through March 1, at 12 sites across the country, including Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Duke University, Howard University, Rutgers University, University of Texas, UCLA, University of Louisville, University of Nebraska, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.

For more information, visit http://smdep.org/apply-to-smdep/

 

Valentine’s Day Contest: True Love Story Contest for Military Couples Heats Up!

Four Prong Diamond studs 14k white goldLos Angeles-based online jewelry company nu day jewelry co. is hosting their 1st Annual True Love Valentine’s Day Contest this year that exclusively benefits military couples! Couples can enter to win a piece of jewelry (of their choice) for their loved one worth up to $500!!! 

The submission theme this year is exclusively for military couples (serving and retired) and their love stories, which have demonstrated how their love has conquered all. nu day jewelry co. founder Jess Nepstad will select the winning entry, and the winner will receive the fine jewelry piece of their choice (worth up to $500) just in time for Valentine’s Day.  A runner-up entry will also be chosen with a prize worth up to $250.

Entries may be submitted by the couple themselves or a friend or family member can submit a story about a deserving couple they know who should win. To enter, submit the story in less than 1,000 words to admin@nd-jc.com.

An excerpt of the winning story will be posted on the nu day jewelry co. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. No purchase is necessary and all participants must be at least 18 years old.  All entries must be submitted by February 10th. Once they are notified, winners will then have 24 hours to respond with their jewelry choice and claim their prize or their win will be voided and another winner will be chosen. The chosen jewelry piece will be shipped out to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day at no extra charge to the winner.

For additional information about nu day jewelry co. please contact us at press@nd-jc.com.  To connect through our social media, follow nu day jewelry co. on Facebook: nudayjewelry Twitter: @nudayjewelryco and Instagram: @nudayjewelryco.

Afro-Brazilian Dance Group DanceBrazil Debuts Gueto and Buzios Performances in Los Angeles

dancebrasil

Artistic Director Jelon Vieira infuses Afro-Brazilian movement, contemporary dance and Capoiera

Three performances only!  February 6-7, 2015

BEVERLY HILLS, CA- Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (“The Wallis”) will bring DanceBrazil (Jelon Vieira, Artistic Director), an Afro-Brazilian dance group, to the Greater Los Angeles Area for three performances only, February 6-7, 2015, in the Bram Goldsmith Theater. The program includes the West Coast premieres of Gueto, choreographed by Vieira to music of Marcos Carvalho, and Búzios, choreographed by Guilherme Durarte to music of Leo Jesus.  The program also features Viera’s 2013 Fé do Sertão, also set to music by Carvalho.  The company will also conduct masterclasses in Afro-Brazilian movement (February 5) and Capoeira (February 7).

For over 30 years, New York City-based DanceBrazil has thrilled audiences across the United States and throughout the world with its dazzling artistry, which is inspired by the cultural tapestry of Brazil. Whether in the streets or on stage in the most prestigious theaters, the dancers of DanceBrazil never fail to enthrall audiences with the company’s unique fusion of Afro-Brazilian movement, contemporary dance and Capoeira, the traditional dance form that had its origins from African slaves from Angola and Mozambique and evolved in colonial Brazil. Afro-Brazilians represent the largest ethnic group in Brazil, approximately 49.6%, and are the largest Black population outside of Africa.

DanceBrazil will premiere two pieces new to Los Angeles audiences: Gueto (“Ghetto”), a testimony to the abiding vitality and humanity that sustain the people living in the many marginalized, disenfranchised communities in Brazil and around the world, and Búzios, which explores the role that “jogo de búzios,” an enigmatic and mystical game of divination, plays in everyday life in Brazil.

The company will round out its program with its 2013 dance Fé do Sertão. Sertão, a largely rural area of Northeastern Brazil is known for its extremely arid climate and brief growing season, which has also helped foster its strong faith and the close-knit communities that support one another through many lean months of the year. Viera’s piece honors that community with a dance that fetes the esteemed Festival of São João, which celebrates the end of the rainy season and the annual corn harvest.

Artistic Director Jelon Vieira – one of the staunchest proponents of Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music – founded DanceBrazil in 1977. Initially formed from grassroots workshops at the Clark Center for the Arts in New York City, Vieira and Loremil Machado were among the first artists to bring traditional Afro-Brazilian dance to the United States. Alvin Ailey, who would join his board of directors in 1980, was the one who suggested the name and in its early days helped focus the objectives of the company.

For 38 years, Vieira has led the company in breathtaking performances for audiences in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as in his home country of Brazil. In 2008, he was awarded one of 11 National Heritage Fellowships, the United States’ highest honor for those in the folk and traditional arts.

The New York Times said, “the performers of DanceBrazil exist in a ravishing, hard-working paradise … what matters here above all is the gorgeously full physicality of movement, allied to music.  The beauty and style of these dancers is already a treat to the senses.  Legs maintain powerful extensions like searchlights.  The pliancy of those torsos is often breathtaking — not just in the way backs tip so powerfully and freely this way and that, but also in the ways that shoulders or stomach muscles contract and pulsate rhythmically.  The dancers glow enthusiastically as they let rip at highest energy.”

DanceBrazil is also offering student masterclasses with a limited number of places held for the public.   On February 5 at 6pm, an Afro-Brazilian Class (all ages welcome) is based on the traditional and contemporary dances developed in the northeastern state of Bahia. The movements are based on the gesture of the Orixás dance, the energetic Maculele and the beautiful samba de roda and other influences from the folkloric dances in the region of Bahia. The class will be accompanied by live drumming.

On February 7 at 11 am, a Capoeira class (all ages welcome) will concentrate on the Afro-Brazilian art form which combines fight, dance, rhythm and movement.  Capoeira was originally developed by Africans brought to Brazil as slaves in the 1500s. The class will introduce basic movements (ginga) with emphasis on the roda (circular formation) – where the dialogue between players takes place and becomes a conversation through movement which can take on many shades of meaning.  Students will be introduced to the instruments used in Capoeira (berimbaus, pandeiros and atabaque) and songs that are sung in the roda. For more information that celebrates the Afro-Brazilian culture, visit afro-brazilian.com.

Tickets are available at www.thewallis.org or by calling 310-746-4000 or in person at The Wallis Ticket Services located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.