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Turning HBCU Students into Medical Doctors

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According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 8% of medical students and 5% of physicians are Black and African American. In an effort to address this disparity, the American Heart Association, the leading public health nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has announced that 52 students from 23 academic institutions have been selected to participate in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars program.

The Association’s HBCU Scholars are enrolled in biomedical or other health sciences programs at their respective institutions. Through their participation in the Scholars program, they will study how the social determinants of health and other health disparities impact underserved communities. They will also participate in scientific research projects and present their findings at the end of the program.

“Since 2015, the American Heart Association HBCU Scholars program has helped change the trajectory of dozens of under-represented students in science and medicine by fostering their talent, preparedness and growth to pursue careers in biomedical science” said American Heart Association volunteer president Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, who is the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “As champions for health care quality and access for all, the American Heart Association is committed to building the pipeline of diverse persons in medicine and empowering the next generation of research and health care professionals.”

The program is funded by a grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, which also supports the American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) Scholars Program.

“This program plays an essential role in supporting the pipeline of Black students who will increase representation and equity in the health care field,” said Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager, Quest for Health Equity, Quest Diagnostics. “We are proud to support this next cohort of HBCU Scholars with the American Heart Association as it provides them with enriching academic and networking experiences to help them excel in their career paths.”

Accepted students are selected based on their GPA, completion of a formal application, which includes a nursing essay, and an official recommendation from their school. During the program, scholars are paired with a mentor who works in health care or is currently performing their own relevant scientific research. They will also participate in a leadership development program and are awarded a financial stipend to help cover education-related expenses. More about the American Heart Association’s HBCU Scholars initiative can be found here.

Clinical research studies published in the American Journal of Public Health suggest that patients of color may experience uncomfortable interactions and communication barriers with their health care providers due to lack of diversity and face implicit and unconscious bias from physicians and other health care professionals. These barriers, in turn, can lower patients’ trust in the overall health care system and as a result, these patients may not complete prescribed treatments or follow-up on recommended care. Addressing this issue is a vital component of the HBCU Scholars program.

Each year, the Association seeks applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors from historically underrepresented communities who are currently enrolled in an HBCU and are interested in pursuing a professional degree in biomedical and health sciences.

Education

Inaugural Convening of the Male Teachers of Color Collaborative Calls for Change

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City Education Partners’ Male Teacher of Color Collaborative held its inaugural convening, Bold Direction Towards Representation, on Saturday, July 29. Over 100 local educators of color and other education leaders gathered for the groundbreaking convening to shine a light on the underrepresentation and positive impact of male teachers of color in local classrooms. Through dynamic discussions and collaboration, attendees explored innovative strategies and best practices to increase male teachers of color representation and impact.

Over the last year, the City Education Partners has partnered with a group of dynamic male teachers of color to form the Male Teacher of Color Collaborative.

“It is vital that young boys of color in San Antonio schools are able to see themselves in their teachers,” said City Education Partners CEO Dalia Flores Contreras. “Research has shown that male students of color who have the opportunity to learn from someone who looks like them benefit socially and academically, but less than 20% of our teacher workforce are males of color. The 11 members of this collaborative are K-12 teachers from all types of schools who are uniting across the campuses to champion a positive change.”

City Education Partners (CEP) is committed to helping create a vibrant educational ecosystem in San Antonio, where public schools thrive and every child has an educational experience that prepares them to shape their own future.

One way the nonprofit aims to do this is through its teacher and leader talent pipeline strategy. They believe that every classroom needs an excellent teacher and every school needs a strong leader. CEP works in partnership with school operators and related organizations to fund programs that attract and retain teachers, as well as those who work to elevate teaching as a highly valued and desirable profession.

Keynote speakers at the convening included three-time GRAMMY-nominated musician SaulPaul, Founder of the Center for Black Educator Development Sharif El-Mekki, and the Board Chair of Essence Preparatory Public School Brian Dillard.

“I believe in revolutionizing education by dramatically increasing the number of Black educators so that low-income Black and other disenfranchised students can reap the full benefits of a quality public education,” said Keynote speaker Sharif El-Mekki, Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development. “The Fellowship – Black Educators for Social Justice is dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and developing Black male teachers. We applaud what City Education Partners is doing to increase representation so students are better served.”

This Collaborative is designed to inform and advocate for a restored teacher pipeline with strong male teachers of color representation for our students. For more information about City Education Partners and its Male Teachers of Color Collaborative, visit cityeducationpartners.org.

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Black Life Texas

Education Bias Hurting Our Kids

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By Caleb Alexander

Merry Graduation! Happy Matriculation! I never know what to call it, but it is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love seeing all the graduation pictures, from high school to college, to grad school. I love seeing the college acceptance letters, the robes, the degrees, the ceremonies, I love all of it. To me, this is Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween rolled into one. To me, this is Black Excellence.

While I love this time of year, when my people get to shine and show off their years of hard work, dedication, and academic achievement, to others, this is a time of anger, weeping, frustration, and anger.  It is a time for pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth, they hate these displays of Black excellence as much as I love them. 

By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with Florida and Texas trying to outdo each other with the assault on all things Black. Don’t be surprised if either legislature puts through a bill banning nighttime; yes, they’ve become just that obsessively retarded. The Texas Senate has just introduced Senate Bill 518, which mandates that Texas universities consider standardized test scores such as the SAT and ACT for college admissions. This comes after the Texas House passed legislation to ban DEI initiatives on Texas university and college campuses.

The reason that this is important is because it is well documented that there is an inherent bias in standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT, and that minority students underperform on these tests. According to a recent study by Fordham University, the average ACT composite score is 20. Asian students on average, scored 24.9, while Black students averaged 16.3.  In addition to the inherent racial bias in the test, there are other disparities that cause achievement gaps as well. Access to good health care, access to good schools, access to good teachers; all these things play a part in the divergence of test scores. We live in an age where Black children are three times more likely to grow up in low-income communities and in school systems where they have been the victim of interest convergence. Interest convergence is when the dominant party, who most likely controls the school boards and therefore controls the allocation of resources, steers the best equipment, best teachers, newest equipment, and most of the resources to kids of their community. 

Additionally, Texas has surpassed California as having the most R1 top-tier research universities in the country. In other words, Texas’ higher education is now the cream of the crop. As of 2022, The University of Texas had an endowment of over $43 billion, second only to Harvard. And if oil prices surge, that endowment could surpass Harvard’s, once again making the UT school system the wealthiest on the planet. The Texas A&M system had an endowment of over $18 billion. Texas is where you want to get your higher education, but those attacking DEI, and mandating that universities consider test scores from racially biased exams, are hell-bent on not letting our children get into these schools. 

So, as the season of Black excellence in education descends upon us, let’s celebrate our achievements while keeping a wary eye on the folks who are trying to deny our kids the opportunity to continue to get their shine on. Merry Matriculation! Feliz Graduation! I’ll figure it out one day…

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Black Life Texas

Judson ISD Names Former Student as Superintendent of Schools 

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On April 20, the Judson ISD Board of Trustees named Dr. Milton “Rob” Fields III as the lone finalist for the Judson ISD superintendent of schools.   

An alumnus of Judson High School, Dr. Fields has been in education for over 21 years, dedicating the last 16 years to the students and community of Judson ISD. Before being appointed as Interim Superintendent in November 2022, Fields held the position of Deputy Superintendent of Student Services and Administration. 

During his tenure with Judson ISD, he has also served as the Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Principal of Karen Wagner High School, where he was recognized as the Region 20 Principal of the Year in 2013. Fields is a veteran of the United States Air Force of over 20 years. He has a doctorate of educational leadership from Texas A&M University- Kingsville, a master’s in human resources and management from Webster University, and a bachelor’s in business administration from Wayland Baptist University.  

“It is an honor and a blessing to be given the opportunity to continue my educational journey working with the incredible students, staff and community of Judson ISD,” Fields said. “I first learned about the deep-rooted tradition of excellence in our district as a student here and I am so proud, as an educator, to have been a part of how it has evolved. I am so grateful and excited to continue giving back to the community that has helped shape me as a leader.”  

The superintendent search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates assisted the Board of Trustees with the superintendent search process. Because stakeholder feedback was a priority of the trustees, focus group meetings with staff, community, parents, and students were held to determine a leadership profile that was used as the north star while examining potential candidates. An extensive screening and interview process was crucial to narrow the field of more than 40 nationwide applicants down to the lone finalist.   

“The board interviewed very talented and exceptional public school leaders,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, JISD Board of Trustees President. “We were so pleased to see that Dr. Fields, both a product of the district and a current leader in the district, rose to the top. He possessed all the qualities identified on the leadership profile that was made by our community. He has consistently demonstrated tremendous dedication to our students and staff. We are confident in his ability to continue to lead with passion, integrity, and knowledge as he has shown during his time as the interim.”    

Judson independent school district  Following a state-mandated 21-day waiting period, the Board will vote on final approval of Field’s contract on May 11, 2023. 

Judson ISD Names Former Student as Superintendent of Schools 

On April 20, the Judson ISD Board of Trustees named Dr. Milton “Rob” Fields III as the lone finalist for the Judson ISD superintendent of schools.   

An alumnus of Judson High School, Dr. Fields has been in education for over 21 years, dedicating the last 16 years to the students and community of Judson ISD. Before being appointed as Interim Superintendent in November 2022, Fields held the position of Deputy Superintendent of Student Services and Administration. 

During his tenure with Judson ISD, he has also served as the Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Principal of Karen Wagner High School, where he was recognized as the Region 20 Principal of the Year in 2013. Fields is a veteran of the United States Air Force of over 20 years. He has a doctorate of educational leadership from Texas A&M University- Kingsville, a master’s in human resources and management from Webster University, and a bachelor’s in business administration from Wayland Baptist University.  

“It is an honor and a blessing to be given the opportunity to continue my educational journey working with the incredible students, staff and community of Judson ISD,” Fields said. “I first learned about the deep-rooted tradition of excellence in our district as a student here and I am so proud, as an educator, to have been a part of how it has evolved. I am so grateful and excited to continue giving back to the community that has helped shape me as a leader.”  

The superintendent search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates assisted the Board of Trustees with the superintendent search process. Because stakeholder feedback was a priority of the trustees, focus group meetings with staff, community, parents, and students were held to determine a leadership profile that was used as the north star while examining potential candidates. An extensive screening and interview process was crucial to narrow the field of more than 40 nationwide applicants down to the lone finalist.   

“The board interviewed very talented and exceptional public school leaders,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, JISD Board of Trustees President. “We were so pleased to see that Dr. Fields, both a product of the district and a current leader in the district, rose to the top. He possessed all the qualities identified on the leadership profile that was made by our community. He has consistently demonstrated tremendous dedication to our students and staff. We are confident in his ability to continue to lead with passion, integrity, and knowledge as he has shown during his time as the interim.”    

Judson independent school district  Following a state-mandated 21-day waiting period, the Board will vote on final approval of Field’s contract on May 11, 2023. 

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