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SMU Faculty Share Health Expertise with Oakland Church Community

Dr RoccoWhen Samuel Merritt University (SMU) faculty members Richard Rocco, PhD, and Christina C. Lewis, PhD, launched the pilot version of the Community Learning Forum (CLF) on the SMU campus, they were met with great enthusiasm but low attendance.

“Drs. Rocco and Lewis came up with the great idea to offer sessions on health topics that would be of interest to the people in Oakland communities,” said Irma Walker-Adame, Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs, California School of Podiatric Medicine. “After scheduling a couple of sessions that resulted in limited attendance, I mentioned that often it is uncomfortable for people to venture into a foreign environment. So, why not take the information sessions to the people in a setting in their own environment where they would be more comfortable – like, a church?”

Walker-Adame connected the faculty members to Sharon Burleigh, a doctor of podiatric medicine who is part of the health ministry at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland. The 5,000-member church and Samuel Merritt University are not strangers to one another; the Podiatry program participated in Allen Temple’s Annual Health Education Fair, and more recently the Allen Temple Men’s Chorus performed at the SMU Black History Month Celebration.

Since last fall, SMU has hosted 10 forums at Allen Temple. Topics have included asthma, herbal medicines, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and the urinary system.

Read the entire article in the May issue of SMU eNews.

pictured: Dr. Richard Rocco and Dr. Christina C. Lewis