Black History Month 2022: A Focus on Black Heath and Wellness

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The Montgomery County Council hosted its annual commemoration for Black History Month on Feb. 15, 2022, focusing on Black health and wellness. The commemoration included a proclamation presentation and video interviews highlighting Black leaders who have had a positive impact on the health and wellness of Montgomery County.  

The complete commemoration live stream and the accompanying video presentation, Black History Month 2022: A Look at Black Health and Wellness, are both available to watch on YouTube. 

Black History Month in Montgomery County is a time when we join together to honor the contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans across our nation, state and county. Black history is American history and African Americans have shaped the success of our society.  

This year's commemoration recognized contribution in four key areas of health and wellness: nutrition and fitness, equity in health care, representation in health care, and mental health support in the black community, including the Black church as a healer for the African American community. 

Nutrition and Fitness

Fit Fathers Foundation founder and executive director Kimatni Rawlins is working to create better Black health outcomes through fitness and nutrition.

Equity in Healthcare

American Public Health Association executive director Dr. Georges Benjamin gives information on how to combat healthcare inequities and improve Black health. 

Representation in Healthcare

Holy Cross Health president and CEO Norvell V. Coots, MD, explains how a historical mistreatment of African Americans has created distrust in healthcare and why Black representation in healthcare matters.

Mental Health 

Many African Americans are skeptical of mental health therapy, often suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in silence. Kingdom Fellowship AME Church Rev. Kendra Smith and @American Public Health Association Dr. Georges Benjamin talk about mental health support for Black residents. 

Black Church as Healer

The church has long been a cornerstone of the African American community. Kingdom Fellowship AME Church leaders describe how the church continues that history by providing health and wellness services. 

The Council would like to extend a special thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s commemoration, including; Dr. Sundra Mann, chief of staff, Kingdom Fellowship AME Church; Rev. Kendra Smith, executive director, Kingdom Global Community Development Corporation; Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director, American Public Health Association; Kimatni Rawlins, founder and executive director, The Fit Fathers Foundation; Charlene Day, registered nurse, African American Health Program; and Dr. Norvell Coots, president and CEO, Holy Cross Health and Maryland Region of Trinity Health. 

The Council has been hosting commemorative events to honor Black History Month since 2015. Last year’s commemoration focused on African American Changemakers who are leading, healing and shaping Montgomery County.