Roxbury Community College (RCC) held a two-day Health, Wellness and Healing Forum, September 29 and September 30 at the College. It was the latest event in a yearlong celebration of RCC’s 50th anniversary. The Forum was an intentional space for the community to prioritize physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing. Free and open to the public, the forum provided local people of all ages with space to engage in critical conversations about mental health, discover sustainable routines and practices for healthy living, and get moving.
U.S. Paralympian April Holmes, who calls defining moments such as health challenges, personal losses, and work issues "train moments," shared her insights on resilience and overcoming adversity at the Forum. Holmes lost her leg in a train accident in 2001 and went on to win medals in track at the Paralympic Games in 2004, 2008, and 2012, including a gold medal in the 100M race. “Those trains are going to keep coming in life,” she said. “The question is what are you going to do about it? As long as you make up your mind that you are going to make it, then I believe you will make it.” The author of the book The Winning Way, Holmes founded the non-profit April Holmes Foundation that provides scholarships and medical equipment to those with physical and learning disabilities. She’s also the Co-Founder and CEO of HeroHangout, a groundbreaking live video streaming app that revolutionizes fan-engagement, delivering immersive and interactive experiences for audiences worldwide.
After Holmes’ speech, Michael Turner, Executive Director of the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center (RLTAC) announced that Roxbury Community College Foundation (RCCF) was selected as a member of the 2024 Bank of America Boston Marathon Official Charity Program. Five runners will be on the 2024 RCCF Marathon Team. Funds raised will support the RCCF’s mission of raising critical funds for two projects which impact the health and wellness of both RCC students and the greater Massachusetts community: RLTAC and the new Wellness Center at RCC.
Roxbury Community College Interim President Jackie Jenkins-Scott and former MA State Senator Dianne Wilkerson moderated a thought provoking fireside chat about inequities in health care. “We have made some progress, but not enough,” said panelist Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. The panel also included Dr. Kevin Tabb, President and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health; Dr. Alastair Bell, CEO of BMC Health System; and Dr. Claire-Cecile Pierre, Vice President of Community Health Programs at Mass General Brigham.
Among the list of possible solutions were continuing to have dialogues like the one at RCC to give community members a louder voice in healthcare. “We need to partner with the community. We need to hear what you need,” said Dr. Tabb. Other ideas talked about were recruiting and supporting people from underserved areas for healthcare jobs and addressing economic challenges that impact health.
The event also included a total of five panel discussions, a Day of Play with activities for community members of all ages, and Wellness Festival at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.