FSCJ hosted the Diversity Matters: Health Conditions in Diverse Communities Symposium on March 9 at the North Campus Zeke Bryant Auditorium. With more than 200 students and faculty members in attendance, the dynamic panel of guests discussed various social issues related to education, gender and health care. The information demonstrated how these issues directly impact the economic and overall health of the various health zones within our city.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Project Director Dr. Carol Neil said, “The case for increasing diversity awareness has never been stronger than today. We should not be judged by our communication style or dress but by our differences and the richness of our character and our abilities.”
The workshop featured two prominent leaders in our community, Nicole Thomas, president of Baptist Medical Center South and Dr. Kelli Wells, director of the Duval County Department of Health.
Thomas serves as the first female ever to be named president of Baptist Health and is the chair of Women in Local Leadership for United Way of Northeast Florida. She shared an informative, yet personal, message about her experiences of progress within a major organization as an African-American woman and the importance of building and bridging healthy relationships everywhere we go.
Aside from her role as director for the Duval County Department of Health, Dr. Wells is also a family physician with a passion for public health. She spoke about the relationship between various “health zones” in Duval County and the access they have to nutritional food, money, safety, education and health care. Dr. Wells stressed the fact that everyone has a story and it is important to listen to the stories of others.
One of FSCJ’s health care students shared, “This was one of those moments where something seems so little in your life but you’re so grateful that you went to it because it absolutely changes your entire perspective…and was certainly something I needed.”