Scholar and physician use storytelling approaches to address health disparities April 12 – News


For this UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine Virtual Mental Health Monday, Brandi Shah, M.D., UAB physician, creative writer and digital storyteller, and David Fakunle, Ph.D., public health scholar-practitioner and professional storyteller, will speak.

Mental health.3Health disparities have a profound impact on public health and the overall well-being of our communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, health disparities are “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.”

A physician and a professor will share their unique approaches to addressing health disparities in a virtual University of Alabama at Birmingham event.

Brandi Shah, M.D., UAB physician, creative writer and digital storyteller, and David Fakunle, Ph.D., a public health scholar-practitioner and professional storyteller, will speak on “Addressing Health Disparities: Empowering Communities Through Storytelling.” By listening deeply to the patients and communities they serve and using storytelling techniques to empower and amplify their stories, this type of approach can play a role in policy change and ultimately catalyze a national shift toward health equity, they say.

The Virtual Mental Health Monday will be at 6 p.m. Monday, April 12, via Zoom. It is presented by the UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine. Register online to reserve your spot to this free event.

Fakunle is a “mercenary for change,” employing any skill and occupying any space to help elevate everyone divested from their truest selves, especially those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. He is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine, and associate faculty in Mental Health in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Fakunle’s interests include stressors within the built environment, societal manifestations of racism, and the use of arts and culture to strengthen health, equity and ultimately liberation.

Shah is a family medicine physician who specializes in adolescent and young adult health. She is the inaugural director of the Office of Identity, Inclusion and Collective Conscience in the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine. She is also a stalwart advocate for sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. Before her medical career, she was a lifelong creative writer, and most recently a burgeoning digital artist and storyteller. Combining her passions for storytelling and health justice, her ultimate vision is to create a community storytelling lab for health justice that can serve as a “third place” where people of all identities and backgrounds can congregate, affirm, collaborate and reclaim stories about health and resilience for catharsis, collective voice, public awareness, advocacy and social change.

The UAB Arts in Medicine Virtual Mental Health Monday Series is made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Encompass Health.


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