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Historic Partnership in Public Health

Historic Partnership in Public Health

Birmingham, AL - April 30, 2007 — On Monday, April 30, 2007, the Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College will graduate the inaugural class of the Ministerial Public Health Certificate Program. Fifteen graduates completed both semesters of the course while sixty participants completed at least one semester.

The Ministerial Public Health Certificate Program (MHCP) was developed in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Community Health and Congregations for Public Health, Inc (CPH). According to Reverend Donald Solomon, founding member and Executive Director of CPH, “the program provides a mechanism for ministers to learn first hand about public health and the role clergy can play in addressing disease prevention and health promotion from within their churches and throughout the communities they serve.”

“A group of multidisciplinary public health professionals have integrated their faith, knowledge and experience to provide ministers with practical tools, guidance and information to use during worship services,” says Max Michael, Dean, and UAB School of Public Health. The overarching goal is to increase the minister’s knowledge of health issues and enable the development of comprehensive health ministries in their churches. After completion of a twelve hour curriculum on health promotion and disease prevention during the fall and spring semesters, participants will be able to identify and discuss national and local health statistics, identify and discuss disparity data as it relates to specific diseases and populations, explain and give examples of the role of the faith community in health promotion and disease prevention, identify ways for the faith community to bridge the gap between health and ministry, and serve as leaders in the development of health ministry programs for congregations and the communities they serve.

Students in the program comment that they have already put the information and resources to use both on a personal level and in their churches including organizing health fairs, developing sermons and making resource referrals for church and community members. The Dean of Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College, Reverend Walter Sims, says the College graduates over 300 ministerial students annually. While a select number of students participated in the curriculum this year to determine the feasibility and benefit of offering such a program, it is anticipated that this curriculum will eventually be available to all students wishing to participate.

 

 

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