Purpose and Passion: Impacting Youth Health

Woodlawn United

February 11, 2022

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.bhamstudentmentalhealth.com/. 


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