(Courtesy photo)

By AFRO Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to not only focus on the physical aspect of our health but also our mental, emotional, and financial well-being.

On Oct. 3, the Baltimore County Upsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority held their second annual Health & Wellness Summit. However, this year due to the pandemic, the event was held virtually, a first for the chapter.

Upsilon Epsilon Omega (UEO) set out to “educate the community by increasing their health awareness and economic advancement during these unprecedented times,” stated UEO President Kendra Brown.

The summit, held over a two hour span, featured a panel of experts from various organizations and black-owned businesses including Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch of Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and Shawn Hart of Hart Wealth Strategies, who started the program off as the keynote speakers.

The summit was broken into three breakout sessions after the keynote speakers including Black Businesses: Surviving and Thriving During and Post COVID-19 which was lead by Marian Saunders White, president of the Refinery and Regan Farley, owner of the Regan Farley Agency, a Public Relations firm based out of Baltimore.

The second breakout session discussed in detail was Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19: Thriving Vs. Surviving and featured Mrs. Andrea Brown, the executive director of the Black Mental Heath Alliance.

The final breakout session was Two Pandemics: Racism and COVID-19 by Dr. Lisa Cooper, Professor and Director for Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity and Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute.

“Health care disparities have plagued our communities for generations. There are significant racial disparities in access to health coverage and in health outcomes presently. Additionally, the racial wealth gap is constantly widening in America,” Brown explained.

“Both the health disparities and the racial wealth gap must be reduced, and as a chapter we are doing our part to ensure our community is informed and equipped with tools to turn the tide, take back our health and wealth, and forge paths to positive outcomes.”

To learn more about the Upsilon Epsilon Omega chapter and upcoming events, please visit: www.akaupsilonepsilonomega.org

To watch the summit in its entirety, readers can find videos at the links below:

Keynote Session

Breakout Session: Two Pandemics: Racism & COVID-19

Breakout Session: Black Business Surviving & Thriving

Breakout Session: Emotional Wellness During COVID-19