IRVINGTON, NJ — Mayor Tony Vauss and the Irvington Department of Health and Senior Services are launching the first Health and Wellness Lecture Series for Black History Month in February.
This free series is open to the public and will bring expert speakers to Irvington to discuss the impact of health inequalities, disparities, stigmas and how they should be addressed.
“The idea came from myself and my public health nurse,” Sonya Whyte, director of the Irvington Department of Health and Senior Services, said to the Irvington Herald via phone interview on Friday, Jan. 17. “I decided that we wanted to bring awareness about some of the health disparities, and we came up with a lecture series about the three important topics affecting the health of the black community, which are postpartum care for women, mental health and health disparities and the impact of slavery.”
Throughout the month of February, speakers will bring attention to these topics. All lectures run from 2 to 5 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, Estherlene Phanord, the health educator at the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health, will speak on “Postpartum Care, Sourcing for Health Resources and Health Disparities Among Women”; on Saturday, Feb. 8, Mikal Nash, a professor of history at Essex County College, will speak on “Health Disparities and the Impact of Slavery”; and on Saturday, Feb. 15, Torian Easterling, commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will speak on “Rising Above the Stigma of Mental Health.”
Whyte said this event is important for residents of Irvington.
“Health care should be available and accessible, no matter your age and circumstance,” Whyte said. “A healthy community is a safe community. My goal is to create programs and to address health disparities within Irvington.”
Whyte stressed the importance of her program in informing people about sustaining good health.
“I’m excited about this event,” Whyte said. “This is our first. Again, as a health director, I want to create programs that are stable. Next year, we hope to do the same program. We’re hoping this will be a sustainable program. It’s really important that we stress to people that it’s free. It’s up to us, as a health program, to inform people and have information available to people to be able to sustain good health, whether it’s a flier, information session or lecture series.”
The events will be hosted at the Irvington Senior Citizen Community Center at 1077 Springfield Ave., Irvington. For more information about the upcoming lecture series, contact the Irvington Department of Health at 973-416-7760. The Irvington Department of Health is located at Irvington Town Hall Municipal Building, 1 Civic Square.