Celebrate Men’s Health Month with the Joint Center! #MBKhealth

June is Men’s Health Month!  Throughout the month, the Joint Center will host a series of events promoting the health and well being of boys and men of color.

Scroll down for more details on each event.



Please join the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the American Public Health Association and the Men’s Health Network for a Men’s Health Roundtable:  Prioritizing Prevention, Planning and Health Promotion: Pathways to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of Boys and Men of Color a discussion on the nation’s progress toward meeting national objectives on the health and wellbeing of boys and men of color (BMOC):

Date: June 10, 2014
8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies
805 Fifteenth Street, N.W., Second Floor, Washington, DC


Continental breakfast will be served

The roundtable discussion will highlight best practice recommendations and update current progress of national health objectives for preventing disease and promoting health among BMOC.

Opening Remarks:

  • Georges C. BenjaminM.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association
  • Brian D. SmedleyPh.D., Vice President and Director, Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

The participants for Tuesday’s panel are:

  • Ricardo LaGrangePh.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s National Medical Center;
  • Alphonso Gibbs, Jr., L.I.C.S.W., L.C.S.W-C., Men’s Health Network;
  • Allen HermanM.D., Ph.D., Senior Staff Associate Econometrica, Inc., Co-Chair, Joint Center’s Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes;
  • Roland J. Thorpe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and
  • Jermane Bond, Ph.D., (Moderator) Research Scientist and Director, Joint Center’s Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes.

“African American and other racial/ethnic minority males have increased risk for morbidity across the lifespan and experience diminished life expectancy more than any other group,” said Spencer Overton, the Joint Center’s President and CEO. “This Roundtable discussion is part of the Joint Center’s on-going efforts to advance a research, policy, and clinical practice agenda that will prioritize the health and wellbeing of boys and men of color.”


Please join the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the American Public Health Association and the Men’s Health Network for a Men’s Health Twitter Chat:  I am My Brother’s Keeper: Strategies for Prioritizing the Health and Wellbeing of Boys and Men of Color a live discussion on the importance of prioritizing health as a key determinant for life opportunities in the White House My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Date: June 17, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Hashtag: #MBKhealth; #BMOChealth; #MensHealthMonth


During the Twitter Chat, we will discuss key issues for the health and wellbeing of BMOC:

  • Health Promotion & Prevention,
  • Mental Health
  • Family Planning & Reproductive Health


Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center


Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance June Newsletter: Continuing the Racial Equity Momentum, Summit Pictures, Program Updates and more…

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Diversity Alliance e-Newsletter | June 2014
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The Diversity Alliance seeks to dismantle barriers to ensure people of all ethnic backgrounds have equal access and opportunity to participate fully in the life of the community. 
Summit on Race and Inclusion

Over 750 people joined
the Diversity Alliance Wednesday, May 21 at Hope College for the largest Summit on Race and Inclusion the Diversity Alliance has ever hosted.
93% of attendees responded that overall the Summit was excellent/good.

97% of attendees felt that participation in the Summit increased their ability to be a partner in the racial equity movement.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Summit possible. 

Great speakers, moderators, panelists! I look forward to next year.”
“Love it! I needed it and it will make a difference in my life from this day on. Thank you”
Content and stories were fabulous.”


“Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!”


It will be hard to top but I can’t wait for next year.”
Continue the Racial Equity Momentum!

Are you REDI
Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion Workshops are customized training solutions designed to build clients’ capacity to advance diversity and inclusion. Our research-infused workshops offer an interactive experience tailored to address your organization’s specific needs.

We come to your organization for private 4, 8 or 16+ hour workshops. 

Contact diveresityed@ethnicdiversity.org for more information.

Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion Seminars  provide tailored professional development opportunities in health, education, business and faith. Individuals from various companies and organizations join us at the Diversity Alliance Offices from 8:00 am-12:00 pm for a 4-hour professional development seminar. 


Education Oct. 30, 2014| Faith Nov. 20, 2014| Business Dec. 4, 2014| Health Dec. 11, 2014| 




Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County

Action Teams Forming! Organizational Meeting June 10
The Diversity Alliance’s Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County is developing partnerships between institutions and individuals to advance inclusion and achieve racial equity in Northwest Ottawa County. This is an enormous challenge requiring intentional effort and many hands.


Become involved by serving on a Sector-Specific Action Team (business, community, education, faith, health, law and public policy). In fast moving organized meetings your Action Team will use the minds, talents and energy of participants to make things happen in the community.  

The Action Team Organizational Meeting will be June 10, 2014 at Lakeshore Middle School (located at 900 Cutler St. in Grand Haven) from 6:00-8:00 pm


Talking to Kids About Race
Talking to Kids About Race I: Internalized – Developing Healthy Identities  

The workshop explores how positive and negative messages around race effect children’s identities. Participants are provided with an activity booklet to engage in conversations about race in order to promote the development of positive racial identities.

Talking to Kids About Race II: Interpersonal – Creating Cultural Inclusion 
The workshop explores how children begin to create in-groups and out-groups and how these groups impact interactions. Participants are given tools and strategies to promote inclusion and create a mutual sense of belonging.


Mentors & Reading Program Volunteers Needed 

The Migrant Mentoring Program has an urgent need for 10 more mentors for the 2014 year of mentoring. Learn more about becoming a Mentor…
The Migrant Summer Reading program will begin Wednesday, July 9.

We are seeking volunteers to assist every Mondayand Wednesday from 6:30-8:00 pm.

For more information or to sign up as a volunteer email reading@ethnicdiversity.org.

Remembering Mentee Jose Moreno Jr. 

It is with a heavy heart we share the tragic news that Jose Angel Moreno, age 17 of Holland, a participant in the Migrant Mentoring program, passed away on Wednesday, May 21, after an accidental drowning at Holland State Park. Our thoughts are with his mother San Juanita Cervantes, his brother Luis and sisters Cynthia and Nicole Marie. Many participants in the Migrant Mentoring program were close friends with Jose and have been directly impacted by this tragedy. Please keep his family as well as his friends in your thoughts and prayers.



Upcoming Community Events

6th Annual Multicultural Festival, presented by Holland’s International Relations Commission
2014 American Civil Liberties Union West Michigan Luncheon, “Protecting the Right to Live, Love & Dream”
Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony (ACEH) General Meeting: Presentation of Able Bodies group. 
 “Willing, Able, and Very Capable”

Recent Trainings & Workshops   

Talking to Kids About Race II Workshop – Newaygo, MI  

 TrueNorth Community Services Workshop –  Fremont, MI  
Community Foundation for Muskegon County Workshop – Muskegon, MI 

Ottawa County Workshop –  Holland, MI  
5/15/14 & 5/16/14   

Talking to Kids About Race I Workshop – Muskegon, MI  
Calling All Colors    

Over 250 students from Lakeshore middle and high schools and 100 students from Kent County high schools participated in the 2014 Calling All Colors program. Students gathered for the Spring Conferences April 28th (Lakeshore middle schools) April 29th (Lakeshore high schools) and April 30th (Kent County high schools).  These conferences mark the 18th annual conference for students along the Lakeshore and the first ever high school Kent County Conference. Thank you to Grand Valley State University, Calvin College, all the school liaisons and volunteers who helped make the 2014 Spring conferences such a big success. 

Major Support Provided By:



Joint Center’s Response to My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

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Last Friday the White House announced the initial report of the “My Brother’s Keeper” Task Force, which aims to build public- and private-sector partnerships to improve life opportunities for boys and men of color.  Please click the following links to read the Joint Center’s responses:

Joint Center Statement Regarding the “My Brother’s Keeper” Report  (applauds the initial report of the Task Force, and includes quotes from Spencer Overton, Brian Smedley, and Jermane Bond)

Huffington Post commentary, White House Provides Leadership on Challenges Confronting Males of Color, by Spencer Overton (analyzes the May 30, 2014 My Brother’s Keeper Report)

ImageHarnessing the Promise:  How to Accelerate the Potential of the White House “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiativeby Brian Smedley and Jermane Bond (analyzes the historical and structural factors that contribute to inequitable opportunities for males of color, and reviews the work of the Dellums Commission)

Dellums Commission Reports (the Joint Center’s Dellums Commission produced nine reports that contained policy recommendations to improve life paths for young men of color, many of which have been adopted in places like Oakland, California and Chicago, Illinois.  The Joint Center is currently reconvening the Dellums Commission to collaborate with the efforts around My Brother’s Keeper.)

How Fund Firms Battle Secret Racism via Ignites

View this article below on Ignite website. 
People Feature: How Fund Firms Battle Secret Racism

How Fund Firms Battle Secret Racism

Article published on May 5, 2014
By Clare Trapasso

Racism in the button-down world of financial institutions is rarely as blatant as L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged remarks, which included asking his girlfriend not to bring black people to the team’s games.

But the choices that fund managers, analysts and marketing team members make in whom to meet for lunch, tee off with on the golf course or recommend for an open position can be just as damaging, experts say.

“There is still significant discrimination in the workplace,” says Michael Wenger, senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “If we hear these things when they are taped, there are likely to be other instances in major corporations where such remarks are made … but we never know about them.”

Principal employees at the 2013 Capital CIty Pride. By Blind Photography.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 801 complaints of racial discrimination and 675 alleging sex discrimination in the financial sector in fiscal year 2013. The agency also received 15 gender identity, transgender and sexual orientation complaints in the industry in the first nine months of the year.

Many financial firms have addressed discrimination by creating zero-tolerance policies for racism, sexism and homophobia in the workplace, offering workshops on bias and setting up diversity councils for employees.

Prudential Financial, a Newark, N.J.-based company with roughly 47,000 employees, encourages staff to report incidents to their managers or human resources, or by calling in to a confidential ethics hotline.

The claims are investigated internally. Employees who are deemed to have violated the company’s policies can receive a verbal or written warning, be required to complete a program on unconscious biases, or be terminated, depending on the severity of the offense.

“Most of the time we find the issues really relate to people not getting along or people just misunderstanding each other,” says Michele Green, chief diversity officer and VP at the company.

Discrimination in the workplace typically rears its head in racist, sexist and homophobic remarks, says David Leonard, an ethnic studies professor at Washington State University, Pullman.

“These are often said in small groups in spaces where it is assumed that they are all of the same mind-set,” he says.

He recommends that employees make it clear to the speaker that the remarks are neither funny nor acceptable.

Even today, minorities, women and members of the LGBT community are often held to different standards than their white male peers, experts say.

“[Supervisors] often treat black employees less well than white employees when it has to do with things like time off,” Wenger says. “They’re less likely to be forgiven for making a mistake. They’re more likely to be judged more harshly on evaluations.”

Minorities often have a harder time landing the job and advancing through the ranks.

Workers typically find jobs through their personal and professional networks, which can exclude minorities, says John Powell, director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

And managers often try to fill open positions with workers similar to those already employed by the company to ensure a “cultural fit.”

“It’s not necessarily someone saying a black woman can’t do this job,” Powell says. “It’s who you have lunch with, who you play golf with.”

Discrimination in the workplace is not as overt as it was 10 or 20 years ago, says Nicki Gilmour, CEO of The Glass Hammer, an online magazine for professional women.

“People are too smart for name-calling,” says Gilmour, who is also an organizational psychologist specializing in diversity at financial firms. “But that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. The problem has gone underground.”

In the financial sector, banks are taking the lead on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality issues, says Gilmour. Fund management companies are lagging behind.

“Banks have really looked at it as a talent retention driver,” she says. Fund firms “haven’t spent as much time programmatically addressing it.”

Each division of Wells Fargo has its own diversity group to make employees feel supported.

“Team members do their best when they feel they’re included,” says Karla Rabusch, president of Wells Fargo Advantage Funds and co-chair of the division’s enterprise diversity and inclusion council.

Recently an employee spoke for Black History Month about growing up in a segregated school system in Alabama during a video conference that was available to anyone within asset management.

“Once people have more knowledge, education, awareness about various aspects of diversity, they think about it more,” Rabusch says. “Sometimes people have unconscious biases. They may not recognize they’re treating someone differently.”

Principal Financial Group has seven employee resource groups for its roughly 14,000 employees. They include groups for African-American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT, veterans, disabled employees and new hires. The firm also has a network for women leaders and women in technology.

“Diversity is not something we create or cope with,” says Kerry Gumm, director of human resources at Principal. “It’s something that we capitalize on.”

EVENT: Ladders of Opportunity- Making the American Dream a Reality for Boys and Young Men of Color

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Ladders of Opportunity:
Making the American Dream a Reality for Boys and Young Men of Color
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
(Light refreshments served at 8:30 a.m.)

National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW, Thirteenth Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Please join the American Institutes for Research, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies andCollege Bound for a panel discussion about the Obama Administration’s initiative, My Brother’s Keeper.

Welcome and Opening Remarks:
The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums
Former Member of Congress
Andrew Ujifusa, State Policy and Politics Reporter, Education Week
Brian D. Smedley, Vice President and Director
Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Darren Woodruff, Principal Researcher
Education Program, American Institutes for Research
Kenneth Ward, Executive Director
College Bound
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative currently is bringing together leading foundations and organizations to design and develop “ladders of opportunity” for boys and young men of color.   Panelists will identify problems and suggest clear recommendations for pressing issues affecting today’s young men of color.

Please click on the link to register for this event.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/making-the-american-dream-a-reality-for-boys-and-young-men-of-color-registration-11546545027?ref=ebtnebtckt


Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center

RWJF Interview with Alameda County PLACE MATTERS Team: Addressing the impact of displacement on communities of color

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PLACE MATTERS is a national initiative of the Joint Center, designed to build the capacity of local leaders around the country to identify and improve social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health. Interviews with six of the PLACE MATTERS teams were featured last week in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s NewPublicHealth blog. Follow along as we post excerpts throughout the week on why #PlaceMatters is key to eliminating health disparities.

Below is an excerpt from the Alameda County, California PLACE MATTERS team:

Among the critical issues the Place Matters team is currently focused on are displacement, the built environment, and development and how those impact health, according to team communications lead Katherine Schaff…

“The Bay Area is undergoing rapid transformation and growth and development and we’re really trying to insert ourselves into multiple parts of that process to think more critically about how we’re developing our communities,” she said. “We’re also looking at displacement and gentrification and the impacts on communities, especially communities of color that might have been displaced multiple times over multiple generations and dealt with repetitive trauma that has had profound health impacts.”

A community-based organization, Causa Justa::Just Cause, recently released areport on gentrification and displacement, with the Alameda County Public Health Department and the Place Matters team contributing health impact research and data and policy analysis.

“This is one of the first instances we know of in the country where a community-based organization and a health department have worked together to define gentrification and displacement and analyze the impact at a local level, recommend policies that can be advanced to prevent displacement, and examine the links between gentrification, displacement and public health,” she said.

Click here to read the full interview, or click here to check out the entire PLACE MATTERS series.

Morgan McLeod is the Program Assistant and New Media Strategist at the Joint Center