To close out our focus on Black Health and Wellness this Black History Month, we’re introducing an enthusiastic, passionate place-maker. Meet Jason Avery, a dedicated member of the Woodlawn community and Senior Program Director at UAB School of Public Health. For almost 19 years, Jason has been active in Woodlawn volunteering as a member of the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association where he currently serves as the Vice President. He is a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church and proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Woodlawn United, where his passion for public health combines with WU’s mission to create a pathway to prosperity in Woodlawn through community wellness, equitable housing, and cradle-to-career educational opportunities. Jason studied Biomedical Sciences at Auburn University and later fell in love with the field of Public Health while continuing his education. Through his career, Jason’s goal is to contribute to the public’s health in a meaningful way. He currently works at the UAB School of Public Health as the Senior Program Director of The Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs Stenting-2 Trial (CREST-2). This trial is an international clinical trial that seeks to determine the best treatment for people who are at risk of stroke but are asymptomatic. His team manages all the data for the trial and serves as a coordination hub for hundreds of sites across the globe. While working to impact international public health, Jason is also passionate about improving overall health and quality of life in Woodlawn. One outlet for this passion is serving as an Urban Main facilitator with Rev Birmingham, a non-profit committed to creating and restoring vibrancy to commercial centers of all sizes. With Urban Main, Jason concentrates on place-making. He works to create quality places where people want to live, work, play, and learn. He works on projects ranging from public art, through Magic City Mural Festival, to landscaping and picking up trash. Jason says, “I believe people thrive in a clean, vibrant, and safe area. When residents feel better about their environment, they get out more and feel safe to exercise. All of this can lead to healthier outcomes.” Jason’s next goal is to fully realize and develop his small business, Cottage Noir. Cottage Noir is guided by its motto: Everyday life elevated. It is a lifestyle concept which finds the intersection of design, drink, food, and fashion. Jason has already launched an earring line with a local Woodlawn jewelry maker, hosted countless happy hours, and hosted an Indian food pop-up event. Now he has his sights set on launching a line of unisex union suits. As his efforts come to fruition, Jason sees residents and visitors utilizing Woodlawn’s murals like outdoor art galleries, residents engaging in cleanup efforts, people walking and running and all sorts of engagement and activity in the community. These shared public spaces will continue to provide an environment for community development to prosper and Woodlawn to thrive.
Month: February 2022
Woodlawn United is looking for individuals who have Woodlawn connections and love their community. $15-$20/hr. Part-time opportunity with potential for growth. Training will be provided. Duties:
- Will engage the community door-to-door and by phone.
- Inform residents about available programs.
- Assist residents with application processes and follow-up.
- Enjoy engaging with people
- Be vaccinated
- Technologically savvy
- Have transportation
As we continue sharing stories of individuals impacting Black Health and Wellness in our community, we are excited to introduce two driven, caring sisters. Meet Jada and Jordan Ashford, Urban Fellows at Christ Health Center. Jada and Jordan are twins who both graduated with distinction of high academic achievement from Auburn University in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. While applying for medical school, they are participating in the Urban Fellows Program at Christ Health Center in Woodlawn. Christ Health Center created the Urban Fellows Program to provide hands-on learning opportunities to students who are in a gap year before medical school. Urban Fellows gain experience in direct patient care as medical assistants, while contributing to research projects focused on improving health outcomes for their patients. Jada’s and Jordan’s father and grandfather served as in inspiration in their decision to pursue medicine. Their father, Rowell S. Ashford II, is an OB/GYN in Birmingham, and their grandfather, Rowell S. Ashford, is a retired OB/GYN. When their grandfather began practicing medicine, he faced hardships and obstacles due to many hospitals not granting privileges for African American physicians. He was eventually connected with Cooper Green Mercy Health Services where he was given privileges to begin his practice. Throughout his career, Dr. Ashford worked to integrate Birmingham’s medical community. He trained over two generations of OB/GYN residents at The University of Alabama at Birmingham who are now practicing physicians. He was also recognized as one of the best Gynecologic surgeons in Birmingham. In 2014 he was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame and was distinguished as an Alabama Legend by the Alabama Section of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Jada and Jordan are incredible reflections of their grandfather’s legacy and are humbled and grateful to follow in his example. Jordan is interested in a career in Pediatrics and is completing her fellowship with the Pediatrics Department. Working at Christ Health Center has been a blessing for her, and she plans to work in an underserved area when she completes medical school. Jordan has been able to serve as an inspiration to her patients and has had to joy of seeing an African American child’s face light up when they proudly told their mother they wanted to be a doctor one day too. Jada is interested in a career in Family Medicine. Her fellowship began working with Family Medicine Residents and has now transitioned to working with a Physician Assistant who mainly provides care for adults. Her fellowship has been a great learning experience in providing servant leadership through medicine. Even if it’s only a 20-minute visit, patients know they are going to see a provider and medical assistant who care about them and want to listen to their needs. Her experiences have taught her to be more aware of how environmental and social factors affect patient health outcomes. Jada and Jordan have both been accepted to medical school and will begin this Fall. Their careers will be framed by the prospective and knowledge from their fellowship in Woodlawn. They both strive to be patient and empathetic providers with a heart for service, seeing the whole person, and meeting all their needs. They are passionate about working in areas that are underserved to ensure everyone has access to the highest quality medical care. Photo credit: @saravanheckephotography
Continuing our focus on Black Health and Wellness this Black History Month, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to a passionate advocate for student health and wellness. Meet Adrianne Marbury, Program Manager at UAB Adolescent Medicine and Community Engagement Fellow at Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health (BCSMH). When you have a foundation built on faith and purpose, you learn respect for family and community. Adrianne gained this framework for thinking about and building community as she grew up attending church in Woodlawn. Her strong passions for health, racial equity, and the next generation drive her work and are grounded in her experiences in Woodlawn. In her work at UAB Adolescent Medicine as the Program Manager for Leadership Education in Adolescent Health, Adrianne helps train physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social work trainees to engage with the community by finding opportunities to develop their understanding of their patients’ backgrounds and lived experiences. Adrianne also serves as the Program Manager for the Division of Adolescent Medicine Youth Advisory Board where she provides opportunities for young people from the Greater Birmingham community to have a voice in issues surrounding their health and wellness. Along with the Youth Advisory Board, Adrianne worked to establish Birmingham Teen Health Week in 2019 to increase recognition of the unique health issues facing teens. They dedicate Birmingham Teen Health Week, hosted each Spring, to addressing those issues by providing access to services, preventative care, counseling, physical activity, nutritional guidance and educational attainment. Motivated by her passion for youth health, Adrianne is deeply invested in many areas of the community. She played an integral role in the establishment of MCH HOPES (Maternal and Child Health, Health Opportunities and Partnership for Educational Success), a mentorship program she started with Dr. Samantha Hill, M.D., MPH, and Dr. Vinetra King, PhD. The program was established 6 years ago and currently operates at Carver High School for 9th-12th grade students. As co-founders and co-operators of the program, their goal is get to know students, put the voice and needs of youth forward, and become part of what motivates the students to do better. In 2020, Adrianne was invited to serve on the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health (BCSMH). The BCSMH emerged as a response to existing concerns regarding mental health as a barrier to student achievement that were intensified through the pandemic, especially in low-income communities of color. Members of the coalition are like-minded individuals who have a heart for families, youth, and communities. They are all supporting young people and families in the community, creating a collective impact and passion, which has been a strength of the coalition. The BCSMH has worked with the Birmingham City Schools Department of Student Support Services who has been a great partner in listening to coalition members and their student voice survey. Adrianne now serves as part of the interim leadership team for BCSMH as the Community Engagement Fellow. The BCSMH leadership team is not just comprised of mental health professionals; it also includes parents and community members who look at young people and see nothing but potential. They want to see every child succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And, in order to succeed, students need to have support from parents, the school system, and the entire community. Another strength of BCSMH is representation from diverse backgrounds, whether LGBTQ, African American, or the Hispanic community. They want to make sure all voices are heard in the community and in the coalition. It’s easy for an advocate or ally to say they understand where you are coming from, but when they have not lived your experience, they don’t know. It’s important to step back and be intentional about framing things and speaking for others if they are not in the room. Working towards her purpose and passions, Adrianne has made a tremendous impact on the Greater Birmingham community. Her work has also led to many life-affirming experiences. She has become a mentor to younger people in the community. They often seek her out for help, guidance, direction, and answered questions. Adrianne says, “There is nothing better than the younger generation looking at my work and saying they want to continue it.” Learn more about and connect with the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health at: https://www.
This Black History Month, Woodlawn United is sharing the stories of local leaders supporting Black Health and Wellness in our Woodlawn neighborhoods. Meet Jamella Stroud, owner of Sacred Body Fitness. After suffering from an eating disorder in her early 20’s, Jamella discovered yoga to be an important aspect of her healing process. Yoga not only helped physically, but the practice also helped her heal mentally as she battled anxiety. Now, because of her own journey to healing and transformation, Jamella is passionate about helping other women develop both inner and outer strength. Reflecting on her personal experience and deep appreciation of yoga, Jamella realized she needed to share what she learned with others to guide them towards transformational healing. Her desire to help others led her to complete a 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification. During this process, her love for the practice grew and inspired her to pursue a Yoga Therapist Certification, which requires an additional 800 hours of training. Becoming a Yoga Therapist will give Jamella the capacity to work with the community in a unique way. Yoga Therapists work in one-on-one settings and address both mental and physical ailments through a yoga prospective. In 2019, Jamella was inspired to open her own studio, and by 2020 she was taking steps to make it happen. After hearing about the new developments happening in Woodlawn, she felt led to be a part of the community by locating her yoga and strength-training studio here. She connected with REV Birmingham and is currently working to locate the perfect space for her studio. The vision for the studio in Woodlawn is to offer meditation, vinyasa, restorative, and strength-training classes. While working towards opening her studio, Jamella currently shares her yoga experience through Sacred Body Fitness. Sacred Body Fitness reflects her personal journey of redefining and transforming her physical body. Jamela says: “A woman’s body is Sacred & Holy, it houses her most valuable assets: her spirit & mind. As she journeys to transform her Sacred Body, she will experience a mindset transformation as well when training with Sacred Body Fitness.” Yoga significantly impacts the mind, body, and spirit. Jamella experienced this transformation first-hand and now watches it unfold in her students’ lives as they gain awareness and transform their desires. One way Jamella shares her passion for yoga is by investing in the community. She teaches weekly community yoga classes at SocialVenture in Woodlawn. These classes are open to the community and are donation based. She also teaches yoga to 5th grade students in the Birmingham City School System. Even as children, these students have a lot on their minds, and Jamella is grateful for the opportunity to support them through yoga. Jamella is a strong, natural-born leader. Her transformational journey is multiplied through her passion and dedication to invest in women through yoga. As she plants roots and opens her studio in Woodlawn, her impact will continue to grow. Follow Jamella and Sacred Body Fitness online at sacredbodyfit.com, on Instagram @sacredbodyfit, and on Facebook @iamjamellastroud. Yoga is so vast. It’s more than just movement — there is breath work, meditation, and self-study. Yoga is about the union of mind, body, and spirit. Anytime one aspect is out of alignment, the physical practice of yoga brings you back to the awareness of the body’s mental, emotional, and spiritual state to see what needs to come into alignment.