Representatives of NEOMED took an active role as sponsors and participants in Cleveland State University’s third TEDx event Friday, Oct. 20, on the CSU campus. In keeping with the national TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk format, the event featured short presentations by local luminaries like MetroHealth president Akram Boutros (“What’s Love Got to Do with It?’’) as well as Honey Bell-Bey, a youth advocate and prevention specialist who founded The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word—a performance troupe for adolescent males. Among the varied presentations, Mississippi Charles Bevel treated the audience to a bit of the blues.
But TED created the TEDx events to spark deep discussion, and it was the event’s willingness to tackle humanity’s toughest questions that compelled a group of high school students representing NEOMED’s Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) program to engage attendees during intermission with their HPAC projects and discussions regarding one of the biggest barriers to health for the underprivileged: the social determinants of health. Joined by HPAC leaders Gina Weisblat, Ph.D. and Erik Porfeli, Ph.D., and supported by a complement of videos and posters, the high school students talked with attendees about how HPAC programs improved community health.
HPAC member Khai White, a senior at Cleveland’s John Hay School of Science and Medicine, talked about his experience using yoga and art therapy to counter a culture of violence. His classmate India Bell explained how she brings her classmates a program called Mind, Body and Soul that promotes holistic health and gives girls a chance to talk about the stresses of adolescence. “We’re not all Kim Kardashian,’’ she said. ‘’We come in all shapes and sizes. I want girls to band together.’’
Dr. Weisblat and Dr. Porfeli, who were still riding high from an earlier presentation that day of a $100,000 check from State Farm for an HPAC program at Crestwood High School, also engaged business executives as well as civic and former public officials about our community’s health concerns. The discourse was encouraging and prompted Dr. Porfeli to say to one of the event’s organizers, “HPAC will be ready for the TEDx mainstage next year.”