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Celebrating Black History Month in 2024

Concorde Staff

Concorde Staff

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Updated February 27, 2024. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
Celebrating Black History Month 2024 Employee Spotlights

Concorde Career College is honored to announce a series of Black History Month employee spotlights. Get to know some of our associates and what Black History Month means to them.

 

 

Gladys "Gigi" Woods, Concorde Admissions Representative Dallas Campus

Gladys "Gigi" Woods

Admissions Representative
Dallas Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: My own life experience of not having many people encouraging me that I can achieve certain goals.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: Being the first in my family to complete my Master's and owned a business.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Embracing the heritage, strength, and culture from my family line.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Having more black history being taught in school.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: So people can see that we are able to achieve careers more than the norm and to be comfortable in the healthcare setting.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: My great great aunt Clementine Hunter who is a known folk artist in Louisiana.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Anyone that wants to have a career in healthcare are very special people. You have to have a heart of gold and a willingness to do whatever you can to help someone. Though the road may not be easy, but it will always be worth it. Galatians 6:9


 

Heather Mattioli, Concorde Financial Aid Administrator Portland Campus

Heather Mattioli

Financial Aid Administrator
Portland Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I grew up poor in Detroit but excelled academically and my friends and community faced the same financial difficulties. However, my treatment vs my friends was significantly different. I benefited from white privilege, my friends did not. And it was this implicit bias that motivated me to try and remove these inequitable barriers to education.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I'm most proud of my published research in the Journal of Financial Aid on the topic of implicit bias in financial literacy in higher education. My research and work looked at the impacts of implicit bias on marginalized groups in college.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month to me is a celebration and call to action that reinforces my deeply held belief that racism should be eliminated in this country. Moreover, white folks should be dedicating themselves to eliminating structural racism and implicit bias.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Some ways people can commemorate and celebrate Black History Month include educating themselves. Education is and always will lead to a better understanding and appreciation of folks. This can be accomplished by attending events, getting involved in community actions, supporting black-owned businesses, community engagement, art, and music.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: I feel it is important to have representation within the healthcare career industry because lives depend on it. One just has to look at mortality rates in this country and it becomes glaringly obvious that folks are not receiving the care that they are entitled to and deserve. Without representation communities suffer and that is unacceptable.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: There are so many African American folks that inspire me. I named my son after Cassius Clay and my daughter after a Toni Morrison character. Angela Davis is a hero of mine as well. Then we have all the artists from the Harlem Renaissance, James Baldwin being one of my absolute favorites. And let's not forget Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, MLK Jr., and Cornel West.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Please don't give up!!!! Representation matters and there are folks that desperately need this next generation to eliminate racial barriers to healthcare.


 

Dr. Tara Brasfield, Concorde Online Success Coach and Military Central Liaison Jacksonville Campus

Dr. Tara Brasfield (aka Dr. B)

Online Success Coach/Military Central Liaison
Jacksonville Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: After working in proprietary institutions for the past 12 years in various roles, I quickly learned my greatest passion is working with students and I wanted to do this while working in Academics. After completing my Doctoral degree and Master's in Higher Education, I made the decision to work in the Academics department.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: Personally, I am most proud of my Doctoral degree and my second Masters in Higher Education. However, I am proud to say I have helped hundreds, if not thousands of students reach their goals while working in education. There is nothing more gratifying than witnessing our students' successes.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month means to uplift and support our marginalized community of individuals who have fought, died, and strived to become seen and heard as a human being, and person. It is also a time to reflect on what our ancestors experienced, reflect on where we are now, and where we aspire to be in the future.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Those who are interested in celebrating or commemorating Black History Month, should seek information that covers the history of our culture. Watching documentaries, reading books, asking questions.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: Representation of every culture should exist within the healthcare industry. The reason is patients of differing cultures may shy away from seeking care if they do not see someone that represents their culture. Having someone with a similar background may ease patients’ anxieties and increase their overall satisfaction of care they receive.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: There are so many African American individuals in history to choose from, but I have to say Shirley Chisholm. She was the first AA woman elected to U.S. Congress in 1968. This is during a tumultuous time in our history due to the unrest of those against The Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Vietnam War. Shirley Chisholm defeated all odds and still became an elected official in Congress. Today, I wonder who will be the next Shirley Chisholm?

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Always be humble, graceful, and someone who is trustworthy. When you are ready, give back by helping the next generation of Black students to become great healthcare professionals. Mentor those Black healthcare professionals to do the same to create a domino effect.


 

Kedra Scott, Concorde Test Proctor Memphis Campus

Kedra Scott

Test Proctor
Memphis Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: Change influenced me to pursue a career in my current role as Test Proctor. My previous career started here at Concorde I graduated in 2003 from MOP but decided to go a different path into teaching elementary kids from there to the College.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I am most proud of my determination to change, the opportunity I was given, and to know I work for a company that offers growth.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: To me, Black History Month means equal opportunities. It means rather black, white, blue, or green we all are equal as human beings. We all breathe the same air. We all live and we all die. No one can stop me from growing and learning and achieving my goals.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: We can commemorate/celebrate by not forgetting that these opportunities where not always there for Black Americans. We should offer this in our teaching and learning on a daily basis. We as people seem to forget what our family members and loved ones did for us and had to suffer through to get us here.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: I think it's important to have representation in the healthcare industry because we need diversity everywhere we need to see people who resemble us doing great things.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Mary Church Terrell was one of the first Black teachers.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: I would say be open to change don't give-up. And remember No matter what anybody tells you, we can do whatever we set or minds to do.


 

Whitney Wahsington, Concorde Administrative Assistant- Dental Hygiene Grand Prairie Campus

Whitney Washington

Administrative Assistant- Dental Hygiene
Grand Prairie Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: My love and passion to serve others and the still sweet voice of the Lord is what influenced me to pursue this administrative opportunity in the Dental Hygiene department at Concorde.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: Each day I'm most proud of being a resource for students and staff. Assisting in pushing the needle forward and serving them in the overall process of getting closer to their goals that will ultimately change the trajectory of their lives is an accomplishment in itself.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Personally, Black History Month means learning about, highlighting, and honoring the individuals and collectives who stood (and stand) selfless, regardless of ridicule, for freedom and equality. Their boldness should be exemplified in each of us every day.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: People can commemorate Black History Month in the following ways:

  • Remember and acknowledge black history while celebrating those who brought and are bringing forth change.
  • Support a black-owned business.
  • Use your voice/platform to stand against laws/policies/etc. that support systemic inequality, racial disparities, and bias.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: It is important to have representation within the healthcare career industry to produce more positive outcomes for patients, workers, and future healthcare workers. Research also shows an increase in life expectancy for Black patients who receive healthcare from Black representation.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: While many African Americans inspire me, I will shed light on Harriet Tubman. I am inspired by her tenacity and consistency. She was the epitome of a true hero (shero). And much like Tubman, I am also a woman of many hats. Whether healthcare, entertainment, or the beauty industry, my primary vision and life purpose is helping as many people as possible through every gift/talent.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Follow your heart, always do what's right even if the odds appear stacked against you. Never hold yourself back, you can do hard things, you can do BIG things, you are the change you've been waiting for. All things are possible through Christ if you believe.


 

Dennis Garcia, Concorde Dental Hygiene Program Director Dallas Campus

Dennis Garcia

Dental Hygiene Program Director
Dallas Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I enjoy sharing information with patients and with my students.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I am the 1st male dental hygienist to graduate from Collin College.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: It's a time to reflect on how we as a society can do better to make sure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: By doing volunteer work.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: You as a healthcare provider can influence those in your sphere to go to the doctor or dentist.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Lawrence Fishburne

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Always continue to better yourself so you can better the lives of others.


Black History Month Celebration 2024 Employee Spotlights

 

Dr. Joseph Graves, Concorde Career College

Dr. Joseph Graves

Program Director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Memphis Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: My parents helped me value education at an early age. This influenced me to become a physical therapist. Throughout my career, I've been in different leadership positions but being a program director has allowed me to influence the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I am most proud of the impact I have made in people's lives. As a clinician I was able to help people recover from their injures and improve their quality of life. Now, I impact the lives of my students but helping them reach their goals of pursuing a career in healthcare.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month serves as an opportunity to honor the legacy of those who came before us and to celebrate the black excellence that lives on today.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Supporting businesses owned/and or operated by African-Americans, learning about black history, enjoying soul food, donating to support HBCUs.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: It is very important to have representation within healthcare. Patients have a better experience with healthcare when the provider looks like them.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: I am always inspired by the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man of faith who was dedicated to a mission that was so much bigger than him. To me, that is very inspirational.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.... Consider how you can serve your community and make a difference with your skills as a health professional. 

 


 

Preeya Brookins, Concorde Career College

Preeya Brookins

Admissions Representative
Grand Prairie Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role? 

A: I wanted to be Part of someone's History by helping them change their Future.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: The ability to redirect the path of someone's life.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: It means that If you stay focused and determined, you will see change.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: By taking the time out to appreciate those who started this Journey

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the health care career industry?

A: Because people have worked very hard for their title(s)

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: ALL of them.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: Don't let the Dream Die! 

 


Black History Month 2024 Employee Spotlights

 

Keisha Jenkins

Keisha Jenkins

Registered Respiratory Therapy Instructor
San Antonio Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: Throughout my years of being a Registered Respiratory Therapist, I had the opportunity to learn from wiser colleagues. The impact they left on my life has motivated me to want to leave that same impression on those coming after me.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: Within my career, I am most proud of becoming the first person in my family to have a Bachelor's degree. Being a single mother at an early age and coming from a background of a single mother with no college degree, statistically, the odds were held against me. With my career, I have traveled and had the opportunities of new experiences.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month means so much. The fact that it has only been 64 years since the civil rights movement allows me to appreciate where I am today. The opportunities that I have today are only because of those who paved the way for me.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: A way that people can commemorate Black History Month is to recognize what it truly means. As stated before, we as African Americans have come a long way and have more opportunities than what our ancestors envisioned. When others truly understand and continue to appreciate this, it motivates us to continue dreaming far beyond our limitations.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: While working as a young RT, one thing that inspired me to want to learn more and advance my career, was seeing and talking with elder African American RT's. Hearing their accomplishments inspired me to want to inspire others and want to further my career. Having representation not only brings about a sense of understanding and relatability but can also be a person's WHY at times.


Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Michelle Obama is a woman of poise. She carries herself well as an African American, a Wife, a First Lady, a Mother and Woman who wants people to take care of themselves. She is an author and came up with a diet plan for people to eat better and she also pushed for physical health initiatives. She is a wonderful woman from the south side of Chicago who went to the Princeton University and Harvard Law School and when her husband served as President, she remained humbled and became one of the world's greatest woman role models. She continues to inspire many young African American females today.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: While pursuing your dreams, you may come into trials and tribulations. As you are going through it and ready to give up, think about our ancestors and the fight they had to endure. Think about their restless nights, the lack of respect they experienced as human beings and their willingness to overcome the odds for healthcare workers like me. They paved the way for us. Ask yourself, who are you paving the way for? What can you leave the next generation of Black healthcare professionals? Don't give up! You are the reason for someone else's "yes" today.

 


 

Samara Andrews

Samara Andrews

Senior Financial Aid Advisor
Orlando Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I love Educating students about a subject or interest. What inspired me to be in the professional field of Financial Aid is a lot of students don't understand it and as a result they don't pursue furthering their college education. I took on this role because I Iike educating students of all races about the resources available through Financial Aid so they can achieve their dream goal. It touches my heart to see the impact this makes on their lives.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: What I am most proud of in my career right now is to see when a college graduate walks across the stage, knowing I’ve assisted them in receiving Financial Aid to complete their education. This is so awesome to me. I want students to understand that receiving Financial Aid can inspire and help you to be successful and achieve your career goals.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: What Black History Month means to me personally is hearing Black stories and voices of professional African American achieve their goals. I was brought up in a family full of educational backgrounds. I attended Bethune Cookman University where I was able to learn  about Black Culture and be part of one of the Best College Bands in the world as a Marching Wildcat at Bethune Cookman College. I achieved my Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication/News Broadcasting Production. I had the opportunity to intern at a television station learning on and off camera production skills. By achieving this degree, I developed skills to speak at church functions, communicate and participate in Public Speaking and most of all educate students, helping them earn a great education.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: 
1. Explore podcasts 
2. Support Black businesses 
3. Educate yourself on Black History
4. Support Black led non-profit organizations
5. Watch Black History Films

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: It is important that we have representation within the healthcare career industry because it shows we care for patients with compassion and empathy for others.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Mary Mcleod Bethune inspires me because she took an interest in education, which is my passion. She’s  a beautiful African American Woman who opened a HBCU college to educate Blacks in receiving a great college education, and I was one of them!!! Oprah Winfrey also inspires me. She is one of the world’s powerful Women because she worked for her dreams. Her best quotes are: “Turn your wounds into wisdom,” and “your challenges are your gifts.”

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: Always believe in yourself, never let anyone tell you, you can't. Yes you can!!!! As Black healthcare professionals, you are the manifestation of the dreams for our generation and the next. Be a leader, not a follower. Black skin in not a badge of shame but rather a glorious symbol of greatness. As the famous Mary McLeod Bethune quotes, “Without faith, nothing is possible.”

 


 

Michele Davis

Michele Davis

PN Substitute Instructor
Kansas City Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I did not grow up wanting to be a nurse, it's a calling for me. I started working as a patient-care tech in dialysis and loved working with patients. They were all like family no matter what culture they were from, and I wanted to encourage and champion them in their journey. I love providing care so much that I continued my career as a PCT, LPN, RN, MSN, and as a post-graduate, obtained  MSN APRN board-certification so that I could do my part in closing the gap in healthcare disparities within all communities.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I received two Daisy Awards in my career for going above and beyond in my nursing care.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month allows the community to tell our true history and not the HIS-STORY being told that is oftentimes not reflective of the true nature of the people which is true in all brown cultures but more in the black community because of the abolishment of slavery (my opinion). It seems it has become the mission of pro-slavery groups to portray blacks in art, news, and other outlets of information with a negative one-sided view of black people. Black History Month allows a true history of the people and not a projection of what others say and choose to portray.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: By telling the true story, and volunteering to read the true history and accomplishments of the culture in elementary schools. Developing a conscious effort to be open-minded and learn about the people and culture. Fact-checking information that is being delivered.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: To close the disparities in healthcare for brown people. So many do not trust a healthcare provider who does not look like them and refuses to be seen or follow the healthcare plan because of the lack of trust and concern that they will be treated like guinea pigs and experimented on without their full knowledge.


Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Mary Seacoles is known for her nursing care of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856).  From Jamaican descent, she was hated because of the color of her skin. Florence Nightingale, considered the pioneer of modern nursing and who also practiced during the Crimean War, would not allow Mary Seacoles or any other woman of color to join her in the field of nurse training. I find it ironic that a social reformer and someone who suffered as a woman and felt the suppression of the day would deny access to another woman because of the color of her skin.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: "It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

 


 

 

Anita Jones

Anita Jones

VN Director of Nursing
North Hollywood Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I pursued my career as a nurse educator because I have a desire to shape the future of nursing education, contribute to the positive development of nurses, and influence the quality of patient care.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I am most proud of not only achieving multiple master's degrees in nursing but also my PhD in ministry.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black history embodies the richness of culture, heritage, and traditions that have been passed down through generations. It serves as a source of inspiration, empowering me to embrace my identity, celebrate diversity, and advocate for social justice and equality.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Get involved in community service projects or volunteer opportunities that address issues impacting the Black community. This could involve mentoring youth, supporting educational programs, or contributing to social justice initiatives.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: Black representation in nursing is essential for promoting culturally competent care, addressing health disparities, inspiring future generations of healthcare professionals, building trust with patients, and advocating for equitable healthcare practices.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Harriet Tubman. I admire her courage to not only escape slavery but also help hundreds of others do the same.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: Remember that you are part of a legacy of resilience, excellence, and compassion. Your contributions to the healthcare field are invaluable, and your voice matters. Keep shining brightly and advocating for a healthier, more equitable world.

 


 

Alexandria Nelson

Alexandria Nelson

Campus Administrative Assistant
Southaven Campus

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: The position was suggested by my predecessor, I was introduced to something that quickly captivated my interest, sparking a passion that I would later embrace wholeheartedly and actively pursue. 

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: I am proud of the smooth transition from GES to CAA.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: It signifies acknowledgment—a moment dedicated to recognizing the often-overlooked strides, innovations, honorable instances, and exceptional achievements. 

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Host events that celebrate Black art, music, and culture, such as art exhibitions, musical performances, or film screenings. Encourage employees to share their favorite works of art, literature, or music from Black creators.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry? 

A: Black medical needs are frequently overlooked, a reality I can personally attest to through my own experiences. 

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Issa Rae was born in 1985; she inspires me b/c she didn't start as a teen in the industry. Her contributions to the industry began at a stage when most are still finding their footing. She's authentic and innovative.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: Remember to give back to the community, our community. We need more people to stick around rather than come up and abandon us. Share the knowledge, share the growth.

 



 

Text reading Employee Spotlights Celebrating Black History Month with images of employees in colorful boxes

 

Garris Walker

Garris Walker

Surgical Technology Instructor
Concorde Career College Dallas

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I recognized the importance of enlightening others about the role of a surgical technologist and guiding them to prepare for a rewarding career in the field. 

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

Recognize that I played a role in assisting someone who required surgical intervention to enhance their life, whether it was for emergent or cosmetic purposes.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: For me, it holds great significance, acknowledging that I've accomplished things my ancestors never had the opportunity to do. I believe they would take pride in my achievements. Black History Month is a dedicated period to honor and celebrate the accomplishments, contributions, and history of Black individuals and communities. It's a chance to bring attention to the challenges and successes that have influenced Black history, and my family history while promoting a greater comprehension and admiration for the cultural richness it entails. 

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: The biggest for me would be to Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about significant figures and events in Black history. Read books, watch documentaries, and explore online resources to gain a deeper understanding. 

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry? 

A: This diversity helps address health disparities, ensuring fair healthcare outcomes. It also improves access to care, especially for communities facing barriers. The presence of diverse healthcare professionals serves as inspiration for underrepresented individuals, encouraging them to pursue careers in the field. Diverse teams contribute to better research and innovation, creating effective treatments for all. This inclusivity actively combats unconscious biases in healthcare delivery. Patients trust healthcare providers who share their background, essential for positive health outcomes. 

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of health care and education? 

A: The primary factor is health literacy, prompting me to return to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science that centers on the principles and practices of public health. This degree equipped me with the skills needed to actively contribute to public health initiatives, tackle health disparities, and advocate for community-level wellness. 

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: "onward and upward" 

 


 

Rita Crayton

Rita Crayton

Academic Dean
Concorde Career College San Antonio

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: Education was stressed in our household growing up; however, I sort of fell into education after completing my bachelor's degree. 

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

I am most proud of finishing my bachelor's degree after a 15 year gap. During that gap, I was a military spouse and became the mother of two. It was a big decision to go back to school and finish my degree and ultimately pursue graduate degrees as well.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month gives us an opportunity to educate, inform, highlight and celebrate a people who have historically been marginalized. It is an honor to pass on personal and historical experiences and knowledge.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Use social media to support and disseminate the history of the Black community. Social media provides us with a platform to celebrate and congratulate globally. Share your stories of moments or experiences that are indelible in your mind. You might be surprised at how experiences break down barriers and build bridges.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: The human condition is fragile. Representation is key to building ethical and equitable systems and programs. It is an important factor in research and compassionate care. It is difficult to care for someone with compassion if you do not have a basic affinity with them as human beings regardless of the differences in skin color, religion, culture, etc.

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of healthcare and education?

A: African Americans are generally at higher risk for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, according to the Office of Minority Health, part of the Department for Health and Human Services. As an institution producing Allied Health professionals, it behooves us to ensure that we incorporate a basic knowledge of disease control and compassionate care throughout our programs. Engagement in dialogue regarding relatable experiences that may occur during externship and clinical experiences. Really embodying an open-door policy where students and graduates alike may come in for guidance and discussion.

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: I am always inspired by the resiliency of my people. At times it brings me great joy to hear the stories of Harriet Tubman, Phyllis Wheatley, Collin Powell, etc. Other times, I am grieved to see history repeating itself with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, etc. Ultimately, I understand the benefit and the weight of legacy. It is imperative that we speak life into our children and build bridges that in the future will become paved paths. Today, WE need to provide inspiration and guidance for those who follow behind us.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals? 

A: Remember whose shoulders you stand upon. While you have done the work to earn the degree, certification, etc., someone else weathered the storm so that you might have the opportunity to do so. Lastly, remember who you intrinsically are and never forget why you chose this career field in the first place.

 

 


 

Erica Antwine

Erica Antwine

Senior Campus Administrative Assistant
Concorde Career College San Antonio

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: My God Mother was an Instructor at our Aurora campus and informed me about the Externship Coordinator position. She felt I had an extreme amount of knowledge and experience I could share with students, as well as network opportunities that would benefit our students. I applied for the position and fell in love with not only my position but also the students and how excited they were to soak up all the information I had to give. I held that position for 4 years and transferred to the Admissions Coordinator role for 4 years, I enjoyed learning the front-end process and all that our Admissions Team does to get our students to the class room. In 2018 my family moved to San Antonio, TX, where I took on the role as the Campus Administrative Assistant. I must admit this has been my favorite position as I have interaction with all the staff and students!

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: The number of students that I had the opportunity to work with as the Externship Coordinator was very rewarding and I was also excited to see them graduate and working in their prospective fields.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: It is important to know your history, pay reverence, and homage to those that came before us. We as a people have come so far with so much adversity but we still have so more to achieve.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Learning more about Black History and the great contributions African Americans have made over years and throughout our nation.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: Allows patients to build trust which in turn builds a rapport with healthcare providers.

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of healthcare and education? 

A: I feel obesity is one of the largest concerns in the black community, Education along with providing the tools to maintain a health lifestyle would benefit. 

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Oprah Winfrey 

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: You are a demonstration of your heritage, work hard to accomplish your goals, don't look back, and don't give up!

 


 

Tamika Briggs

Tamika Briggs

Admission Rep
Concorde Career College Memphis

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: To provide encouragement and support to my students. To give back with Real and True testimonies on how I overcame things that were meant to hold me back and keep me down. To ensure them that you can have whatever you want in life and that you can be whoever you want to be in life not who people make you out to be!

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: To be able to establish a very strong connection and relationship with each and every person whom I have the pleasure to meet.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black history means to me the ability to celebrate me and my culture and all the things my ancestors fought for.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Simply by supporting the cause.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: As a culture we need more of us in upper management to help lead and teach and inspire our youth that they too can help the community by being an example to those that will come after them. 

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of healthcare and education?

A: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol 

We can address them by explaining the importance of eating healthy and exercise. 

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Rosa Parks - Because she helped initiate the civil rights movement in the United States when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black health care professionals?

A: WORK HARD, STAY HUMBLE! NEVER LOSE HOPE AND FAITH THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW! CHOOSE HAPPINESS! 

 


 

Sharlene Muhammad

Sharlene Muhammad

Sr. Graduate Employment Specialist
Concorde Career Institute Orlando

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: My motivation for pursuing a career in education comes from my previous job as an assistant to campus staff. During my time there, I witnessed firsthand the challenges that students faced as they decided to change their lives. If I could make a difference in at least one student's life, it would make me immensely grateful. I value each student as an individual, and I believe that each one has something special to offer. As Sr. GES, I am able to help each student see themselves as a successful healthcare provider by holding up a mirror to reflect their potential.

Q: What is something in your career that you're most proud of accomplishing?

A: As a Senior Graduate Employment Specialist, my primary objective is to assist students in starting their careers in the healthcare industry. I am responsible for ensuring that my office meets the necessary accreditation standards, which have been successfully achieved since I took on this role. This achievement has enabled me to significantly assist hundreds of students in finding employment opportunities in their respective fields. The satisfaction of helping students achieve their career goals is something that I am most proud of. Seeing our students complete their journeys from the classroom to career is most rewarding.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: Black History Month is a time to reflect on the pioneering work and leadership of the Black community, to celebrate and honor the legacy of these leaders who have paved the way for future generations to follow. It is an opportunity to support the advancement of the Black community in the face of ongoing racial injustice. It is important to remember that Black history should not be confined to a single month but should be celebrated year-round. This is a time to pause and reflect on how we can be the best advocates and allies we can be. We should also celebrate culture and history authentically.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: Here are some ideas for celebrating Black History Month: 

1. Read books written by Black authors or have a movie night featuring films produced by Black actors or filmmakers. 

2. Explore the history and meaning of conscious Black music. While learning about Black music, take the opportunity to visit a Black-owned business and enjoy the music playing in the establishment.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: This country is highly diverse and having representation will create balance. There is a medical correlation between better results, treatment, and recovery when being treated by someone that represents your culture.

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of health care and education?

A: Some health issues that the Black community faces include diabetes. This condition can be treated by making better dietary choices and providing additional education through community outreach. Additionally, mental health issues lead to thousands, if not millions, of deaths in the Black community. Access to affordable healthcare is essential when addressing these health issues. 

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: Maya Angelou and Benjamin E. Mays. Maya Angelou overcame adversity to achieve great things, while Benjamin E. Mays gave me a clear perspective on the importance of timing and taking action. Their stories remind me to keep moving forward. 

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: To the next generation - When you make up your mind to make changes, life is going to come at you. This builds confidence. Guard your motivation. This will give you the strength to go forward when the road to success seems impassable. You have a lot to accomplish, don't allow one difficult situation to take you off course. Identify someone who will encourage you to keep going. Remove those influences that keep you stagnate and complacent. If you keep moving constantly, objects (life) will have a harder time to harm you. 

 


 

Raynel Kinchen

Raynel Kinchen

Online Success Coach
Concorde Career Institute Miramar

 

Q: What influenced you to pursue your career and current role?

A: I am so passionate about education and promoting learning through co-curricular activities. My love for schooling is from childhood, but my passion for higher education started when I became involved in my sorority in college and that led to student leadership roles.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you personally?

A: It's a time to lift Black voices and celebrate the diaspora. The celebration of the journey of us as a people.

Q: What are some ways people can commemorate/celebrate Black History Month?

A: I think the biggest thing people can do is stay engaged. Black History is alive and it's rich and it's vivid and it's every day. If you see some interesting new-to-you fact bout a black person - jump down the rabbit hole and learn more! Don't be afraid to marvel and wonder at new information and share it with others. I intentionally fill my social media news feeds with people with diverse voices for example and I think that's one easy way to start.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to have representation within the healthcare career industry?

A: The most compelling argument that I see come up at least weekly is the high rate of deaths amongst pregnant black women. Representation in their healthcare services can work to change that because someone who identifies with you would recognize when your concerns are being ignored and validate and escalate on your behalf. There is an anecdote - I would love to cite the source directly but can't find it right now- a non-black health care professional recommended a psych eval on a black female patient because she kept "hitting herself" on the head. A black health care professional saw this note and started asking the relevant questions. Immediately she realized that the patient was merely scratching an itchy scalp by patting the area of her head where she could not directly reach. Having that type of extension is not a universal experience and people who grew up in another community with no exposure to this would reasonably have this response to it. However, that has serious consequences for the patient and their care and their ability to trust the health care professionals who have now viewed them as mentally incompetent over something as trivial as hair. This is just one example of how necessary black voices are in healthcare.

Q: What are some of the health issues facing Black communities and how can we help address them within the spaces of healthcare and education?

A: Just encouraging more black health care professionals and empowering them to speak up, but also making it safe for them to feel comfortable to exist in any setting. 

Q: Which African American person from history or today inspires you?

A: This year I would give a spotlight to Fantasia Barrino-Taylor because she was a teen mom, a survivor of assault who struggled to read to a nationally known American Idol vocalist to an international superstar of film, music, and Broadway. I think she is a testament to what can be accomplished with self-belief, talent, and perseverance.

Q: Any words of advice or wisdom for the next generation of Black healthcare professionals?

A: It is not enough to have a dream it is essential to put your full weight of effort behind that dream and create a foundation of people and systems that will work to support you in that dream.

 

Celebrating Black History Month

 

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  1. Program length may be subject to change dependent on transfer credits and course load. Please refer to current course catalog for more information. Concorde does not guarantee admittance, graduation, subsequent employment or salary amount.

  2. Professional certification is not a requirement for graduation, may not be a requirement for employment nor does it guarantee employment.

  3. Financial aid is available to those who qualify but may not be available for all programs. Concorde does not guarantee financial aid or scholarship awards or amounts.

  4. Clinical hour requirements and delivery may vary by campus location and may be subject to change. Concorde does not guarantee clinical site assignments based upon student preference or geographic convenience; nor do clinical experiences guarantee graduation, post-clinical employment or salary outcomes.

  5. Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing these examinations are not controlled by Concorde, but by outside agencies, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Therefore, Concorde cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take these exams, at all or at any specific time, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.