Wendy Parker, M.D., was introduced to Rev. Anthony Lloyd, an African-American pastor in Framingham, by Beth El member Michael Brown, a longtime racial justice advocate. At Rev. Lloyd’s suggestion, Wendy helped organize a series of community conversations for African-American, Latino and Brazilian communities in Framingham on the importance of understanding covid and getting vaccinated.
Rev. Lloyd is pastor of the Greater Framingham Community Church. He spearheaded an effort to bring information about covid and covid vaccines to communities within Framingham in collaboration with Dr. Milagros Abreu of the Latino Health Insurance Program in Framingham and the Boston-based nonprofit group Health Care for All. Three educational virtual forums were held, one each for the African-American, Latino, and Brazilian communities. Speakers included Reverend Lloyd, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, EdD, Dr. Chika Vera Anekwe, Dr. Claude Alabre, Dr. Paulette Denise Chandler, and Diana Gist, R.N.
With the help of Anne Fox of the Mass. General Brigham program of Community Messengers and Dr. Lisa Sotir of MetroWest Medical Center, a different panel of physicians and a nurse from each community spoke at each forum. Presentations were made in Spanish for the Latino community and Portuguese for the Brazilian community. Wendy contacted the physicians and nurses, put together the agenda and organized each panel engaging participants in an extended Q&A.
Julia LaMotte grew up at Congregation Beth El. Now a pediatric psychologist at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Julia is developing a book giveaway program for children with sickle cell disease (SCD). As noted by Julia’s mom, Gena Blinderman, “we send our children out into the world with the values they learned at Beth El that echo back to home and community.”
Lamotte was profiled by the Indiana University School of Medicine after receiving the university’s 2022 Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Diversity Award given by the Indiana University School of Medicine (“IU Pediatric Psychologist Advocates for Marginalized Patient Populations.”)
Although SCD is the most prevalent genetic disorder affecting Black and Hispanic youth in the U.S., research for this disease receives only one-third the funding as compared to other inherited diseases. In addition to the medical complications of living with SCD, such as severe pain and sometimes strokes, children are often at-risk for learning difficulties, school absenteeism, and changes to their mood (e.g., anxiety, depression).
Julia’s book program aims to give every child with SCD seen at Riley at least one book per year, specifically focused around promoting emotional intelligence/awareness, self-esteem, coping skills, growth mindset, mindfulness, and developmentally appropriate medical information about SCD. The books are selectively curated to include predominantly Black or Latinx characters to enhance relatability for readers.
Julia is seeking to establish a Sickle Cell Story Club Fund at Riley Hospital. The minimum to start a named fund is $10,000. With the help of her parents Gena Blinderman and Bob LaMotte, and Esther Heimberg, also of Beth El, they have already secured 20% and are hoping to secure the balance through local antiracism groups, Beth El members, and continuing support from antiracism groups in Indianapolis.
To make a gift to support this program, please write a check to Riley Children’s Foundation with “Sickle Cell Story Club” in the memo. The mailing address is: Riley Children’s Foundation, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204. For credit card gifts, click here. In the field that says “Please describe where you would like to further restrict your gift,” write: “Sickle Cell Story Club (as per Chris Dial’s instructions).” Questions? Contact Chris Dial, Major Gift Officer, at 317-759-6908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.