INFORMATION RUNS DEEP—Panelist and organizers of the Health Awareness Symposium. Dr. Taunya Tinsley, Atiya Abdelmalik, MSN,RN, CWPC, Rev. June P. Jeffries, Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore, Lorraine Starsky, RN, BSN and Jerry Allen. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)


Women of all ages and walks of life converged on the William Pitt Union at the University of Pittsburgh campus ready to find practical ways to regain their physical, emotional and spiritual health and thrive through the “Take it Back” symposium.

“The mission for this conference is to begin a movement to empower and equip African-American women to take back the responsibility and authority of their own personal health and well being,” said Rev. June Jefferies, who founded the symposium along with Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore. “This conference is the beginning of ownership over our own bodies.”

Sponsored by the Heinz Foundation, the first annual “Take It Back” symposium was held May 7 and featured professionals from varying health arenas to arm participants with life-saving information.

Panelists for the event included Lorraine Starsky, the Chronic Disease Prevention Public Health nurse for the Allegheny Health Department who spoke about diabetes; and Dr. Taunya Marie Tinsley, a counselor, educator and associate professor at California University of Pennsylvania. The symposium was moderated by Rev. Linda Williams-Moore, pastor of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh’s Bridgewater section.

“Our goal was to invite women to come and engage in dialogue with medical, emotional and spiritual authorities,” Jefferies said. “We wanted to put something in their hands and in their hearts to motivate them that no matter what they are up against, you have the power to make a difference in your life and welfare.”

The “Take It Back” symposium is under the umbrella of “The Gathering,” which is a collaboration between Moore’s group, Sisters Saving Ourselves Now and

Jefferies’ Sister/Sista Ministries. Both have banded together to strengthen the whole African-American woman.

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