Fikayo Kayode is Health Promotion Coordinator at Dalhousie.
Dalhousie's Student Health Promotion Office launched its first-annual Black Health Awareness Week (BHAW) today, which will run from February 6-10 on Halifax campuses.
The goal of the week is to collaborate with partners on student-centered health promotion programs and educational opportunities focused on anti-Black racism in the physical health and mental well-being of Black individuals.
Additionally, the initiative aims to create a sense of belonging where students feel they matter by integrating diversity and inclusiveness into Student Health Promotion offerings to reflect evolving student needs and identities at Dalhousie.
The week acknowledges that the health needs of Black individuals are often dismissed and/or misrepresented in Canada’s health systems and aims to bring awareness to this reality.
New events and existing opportunities will amplify the amazing work that Dalhousie students, staff, faculty, and community members are already doing around these topics of Black health and well-being.
Some key events:
- The first event to kick off the week is Road to Healing — A Spiritual and Emotional Health Workshop, delivered by Crystal Enthusiast and Teaira Cain. This session will recognize and promote the diversity of health practices that exist within our Black communities. To be inclusive of Black folks and consider how intergenerational traumas/wounds can affect our physical bodies, thinking about and practicing alternative ways to enhance well-being, outside of Western medical health practices, is important. When and where: February 8 at CHEB C140 from 6-8pm.
- A panel discussion on “Centering Black Canadian Health” — a new course offering by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences taught by Michelle Patrick and Dr. Barb Hamilton-Hinch (Course Code - HLTH 2000) — centres on topic areas of Black joy, the health effects of systemic racism, trauma-informed care, and more. Panelists will be discussing some key aspects of this course and emerging research in Black Canadian health which will bring to light work being done in the academic areas of Black health as well as the experiences of Black Canadians giving and/or receiving healthcare in spaces with ongoing colonizing practices. When and where: February 9 at the LeMarchant Place (LMP) Atrium from 6-8pm.
- Black Health Awareness Week will wrap up on February 10th with a Black Health and Wellness Resource Fair, which will feature Black-led and Black-owned businesses and health initiatives from both Dalhousie and wider Nova Scotia community. Representatives from the Nova Scotia Brotherhood and Sisterhood, Dalhousie Black Student Advising Center and the Health Association of African Canadians, will be present This Fair will aid in our goals for the week of creating a space for Black Dalhousie students to become familiar with some of the health-focused and Black centered people and resources that are available to them. Join us and get to know various health services available for Black folks. When and where: February 10, LeMarchant Place Atrium from 3-6pm.
The first annual Black Health Awareness Week is about acknowledging and practicing health from a holistic sense, inclusive of mental, physical, financial, and spiritual health, and identifying ways in which anti-Black racism impedes the health and well-being of Black folk through non-inclusive social systems. It is also about shining light on and increasing access to the work members of our communities are doing to help alleviate issues of systemic racism directed toward Black people within Canada’s healthcare systems.
Click here for more information and programming of Black Health Awareness Week. If you would like to get involved in groups on campus that are Black-focused, we have also compiled a list of these groups you can join, contribute to, or support.
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