Pernessa C. Seele - Career


Seele went to New York to work at Rockefeller University in the immunology of malaria. Then she took a job at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in cancer research. Still in her twenties, she moved out of that to do what she called "little jobs".

In the early 1980s, the biological mechanisms of AIDS were still unknown, but the medical community was becoming aware of an epidemic crisis. Seele felt called to use her immunology degree in a different way. Seele developed one of the first AIDS education programs, held at a methadone center. She worked at Harlem Hospital as an administrator in the AIDS Initiative Program. Confronted with the needs of patients and their families in the wards, she decided to try to organize the large Harlem religious community in their support.

Harlem religious communities at first associated the disease with downtown gay men.

"Religious leaders like Frederick Williams and Preston Washington credit a fiery former immunologist, Pernessa C. Seele, for changing the way they see the disease. As an administrator at Harlem Hospital, Ms. Seele grew weary of watching dozens of patients die alone, without the spiritual support of their congregations."

In 1989 Seele met with leaders of 50 churches, mosques, and Ethiopian Hebrews, to ask them to come together in prayer and education, for the first Harlem Week of Prayer. Religious congregations were encouraged to include education programs on AIDS and its prevention, as well as to create support for patients and their families. Her leadership was supported by major religious leaders in Harlem: Dr. Preston Washington, Dr. Frederick B. Williams, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Dr. Calvin O. Butts, Bishop Norman N. Quick, Dr. James A. Forbes, and numerous others.

By 1991, 100 congregations participated in the annual week of prayer, as the Harlem community came to realize that HIV/AIDS was their disease, too. The Harlem Week of Prayer and mobilization began to receive national attention. Seele was invited to churches and public health groups in other cities to speak about it.

Seele's effort to address public health issues through communities of faith received technical assistance and support from the federal government. She received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand the program to six pilot cities. The CDC recognized the potential of the movement to prevent HIV/AIDS and support patients. Seele incorporated the Balm in Gilead, Inc., to create an organization with non-profit status.

By 2003 the organization reached 10,000 churches, and 70 community organizations had been created to implement its programs in the United States, some African nations, and the Caribbean. Through a cooperative agreement with the CDC, the Balm in Gilead, Inc. operates the Black Church HIV/AIDS National Technical Assistance Center. For years CDC has provided funding and technical assistance to communities of faith to mobilize efforts in education and prevention of HIV/AIDS.

In 2004 Seele and her organization launched the African American Denominational Leadership Health Initiative. It was a partnership between the Balm In Gilead and the women’s societies and councils of three Black religious denominations: the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. It was designed to build the capacity of these denominations to address cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS and other health issues in Black communities.

Read more about this topic:  Pernessa C. Seele

Other articles related to "career":

Van Morrison - Caledonia
... The name "Caledonia" has played a prominent role in Morrison's life and career ... out already by 1975 that Morrison has referred to Caledonia so many times in his career that he "seems to be obsessed with the word" ... interested in his paternal Scottish roots during his early career, and later in the ancient countryside of England, hence his repeated use of the term Caledonia (an ancient ...
Derek Walcott - Biography - Career - Oxford Professor of Poetry Candidacy
... Ruth Padel, also a chief candidate, was elected to the post ... Within days, The Telegraph reported that she had alerted journalists to the harassment cases ...
Enoch Powell - Personal Life
... settled and happy family life that was essential to his political career ... with William Gladstone over Irish Home Rule in 1886 as the pivotal point of his career, rather than the adoption of tariff reform, and contained the famous line "All political lives, unless they ... his constituents before loyalty to his party or the sake of his career ...
Kelly Osbourne - Career - The Osbournes
... Both she and the Osbourne family have been parodied in Channel 4 comedy, Bo' Selecta in which the rubber-masked Kelly, played by Leigh Francis, has her own show and is always being censored for swearing with bleeps ... In March 2009, Osbourne returned to television with the rest of the Osbourne family on Osbournes Reloaded. ...
Johnny Bench - Major League Career Statistics
... Bench had 2048 hits for a.267 career batting average with 389 home runs and 1,376 RBI during his 17-year Major League career, all spent with the Reds ... He retired as the career home run leader for catchers, a record which stood until surpassed by Carlton Fisk and the current record holder, Mike Piazza ... In his career, Bench earned 10 Gold Gloves, was named to the National League All-Star team 14 times, and won two Most Valuable Player Awards ...

Famous quotes containing the word career:

    My ambition in life: to become successful enough to resume my career as a neurasthenic.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)

    Like the old soldier of the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.
    Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964)

    Work-family conflicts—the trade-offs of your money or your life, your job or your child—would not be forced upon women with such sanguine disregard if men experienced the same career stalls caused by the-buck-stops-here responsibility for children.
    Letty Cottin Pogrebin (20th century)