Center for Ethnic Studies to Host Mini-Conference focusing on Health Impact of COVID 19 on Communities of Color

Published: March 24, 2021
By: UW-Parkside Communications

SOMERS, Wis. – The UW-Parkside Center for Ethnic Studies will host the virtual mini-conference titled, “The Health Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color.” This event will take place on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 beginning at 3:30 p.m. CST.

This conference features two panel discussions with local leaders in healthcare and community-based organizations and a keynote presentation by Dr. Ryan Spellecy of the Medical College of Wisconsin, entitled “Repairing the Breach between Biomedical Research and the African-American Community in Milwaukee.”

Dr. Spellecy, who is the Ursula von der Ruhr Chair in Bioethics, professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Medical College of Wisconsin, will explore the historical perspective of people of color and the U.S. medical system, both nationally and regionally, in his address.

The first panel will address the physical and mental health impacts of COVID-19 on the communities of color and will be moderated by Brandon Hutchins LPC of UW-Parkside Student Health & Counseling. Topics to be addressed include the impact on people living with addictions, physical health effects and impact on maternal health. Panelists include:

  • Lea Acord, Ph.D.,Retired Dean of the College of Nursing, Marquette University
  • Wallace Brandies, Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, Racine Vocational Ministry
  • Preneice Love, Community Strategist–Racine, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Alison Sergio, Executive Director, Health Care Network

The second panel will examine the successes and challenges of COVID 19 vaccines from the perspective of public health and on the ground community workers. This panel will be moderated by UW-Parkside senior, Molinna Bui, a Pre-Med Student, EMT and Peer Health Educator graduating May 2021. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Jen Frieheit, Director, Kenosha County Division of Health
  • Cecilia Garcia, Lead Community Health Worker, STOP COVID-19 Project (City of Milwaukee) and All of Us Wisconsin
  • Renee′ Sartin Kirby, Ph.D., Director, Student Health, Counseling, and Disability Services, UW-Parkside
  • Elizabeth Markham, Ph.D.,President, Wisconsin Nurses Association

Other hosts for the mini-conference include the Alan E. Guskin Center for Community and Business Engagement and Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with Opening Our Hearts and Minds to End Racism Series facilitated by Dominican Center for Justice Resources.

For details on the mini-conference schedule and further information on the speaker and panelists, go to the Center for Ethnic Studies Annual Conference website. The event is free and open to the public, but participants must RSVP to attend at


Media Contact:

Kenneth French

Associate Professor

Geography and Anthropology Department

Scroll to top