On Oct. 2, a community-based movement determined to educate and empower metropolitan-area women about their health choices celebrated its first anniversary. Divas, MPH (Making Our People Healthier), is an all-female health outreach organization that offers educational resources about HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, stress management and more throughout the District.

The group convened at FunXion, the city’s first “fit” restaurant and lounge, for the celebration, which included a membership drive and the launch of their “Just Be” initiative. The new campaign charges participants to “Be educated. Be empowered. Be effective” and according to Qualamiya Hall, CEO of another community-based organization, Divas, MPH provides invaluable resources for local women.

“The ladies of Divas, MPH inspired me to start a movement of my own. I’ve always had a vision to do something to help my community, but watching these young ladies take their cause so seriously let me know it was possible for me to do so as well. Our communities need strong leaders who simply want to help, and that’s what you will find with Divas, MPH,” Hall, CEO of Landover, Md., -based Diverse GEMS (Growth, Encouragement, Mentoring, Success), said in a statement.
Founded by “divas” Tennille Daniels, Janesia Simmons, Erica Jeffreys and Maaden Eshete, the organization began with a viewing of {Crisis in the Crib,} a documentary highlighting the issue of infant mortality in the African-American community.

The close-knit group of women went on to host the first annual S.O.S – Saving Our Sisters, a half-day summit about the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS among African-American women; Life and Lemonade—a panel discussion about mental health and stress prevention, social media campaigns – such as Pretty in Pink and Good DEEDs (diet and exercise to end diabetes), weekly blogs and a newsletter.

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