Rev. George Nicholas on the 2019 Igniting Hope Conference


Pastor Nicholas was featured in “Building a community with better health for all” , produced in 2018 by the University at Buffalo for the African American Health Disparities Task Force

Rev. George Nicholas, MDiv, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist; and Convener,
African American Health Disparities Task Force on the 2019 Igniting Hope Conference

“Last year our main goal was to begin to get the community to understand that: 1) There are some significant health disparities based on race specifically for African Americans in this region. 2) To put into the public conversation that the root causes of these disparities are the social determinants of health. 3) To get information and input from the community residents – the people who attended the Conference – and to see their reaction to the data, but also to give recommendations about how to address some of these root causes. 4) We also wanted to make the community aware that there is a broad-based coalition of citizens that include activist clergy; the University at Buffalo; AARP, ECMC, Hope Buffalo, Millennium Collaborative Care; NeuWater & Associates, LLC; Population Health Collaborative and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and that we are around the table having conversations about how to address these issues. And then finally, we wanted to state publicly our desire to establish ‘The Buffalo Center to Eliminate African American Health Disparities’ to work on research, policy and programmatic advocacy around these issues,” said Rev. Nicholas.

“This year we will briefly re-state the conditions, and also talk about some direct actions we have taken as a Task Force, including working with Hope Buffalo on obtaining a REACH grant; and the results of the mini conference we held around Black History month that focused on education and the abusive practice of municipalities of fining black and brown people which directly impacts the constituency that we are working with. In addition, our conversation with the University has intensified regarding looking toward establishing an interdisciplinary center within the academic apparatus of the University that would focus health disparities because we know that social determinants of health are the drivers. So, continuing to engage the schools of Law, Business and Education is critical,” added Rev. Nicholas.

“This year’s conference is also going to specifically focus on the development of the ‘The Buffalo Center to Eliminate African American Health Disparities’ that will be community-based. We will discuss our emerging partnership with the University on an interdisciplinary center, but also continue our primary focus on establishing a community-based Center that will deal with research, advocacy and policy. So, we’re excited about this and hope to be making a major announcement about The Buffalo Center at our Conference this year,” continued Rev. Nicholas.
“Anyone who thinks that it’s not a good thing to be living in a community where black people are suffering inexcusable poor health outcomes, and whether that be hypertension, diabetes or poor maternal health outcomes for black women, should come to this conference, “concluded Rev. Nicholas.

“We’re really trying to build a movement,” he continued. “We’re not trying to displace folks who have been working on this field for a while, but we’re really trying to move the needle and create health equity in our community. We know it really requires a broad-based coalition of people that will use their resources in the fields of not only medicine, but in the fields of economics, education, criminal justice, housing, environmental, and many more.”



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