Several Fort Valley State University students will better understand the disease lupus should they encounter an individual afflicted with the ailment during their careers as public health professionals.
Cultivating Healthier Options In Communities Everywhere (C.H.O.I.C.E.) International is a non-profit organization that educates and promotes preventive measures to individuals on healthy living. The organization provided a web-based virtual lecture on lupus viewed by more than 37 students in FVSU’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program this past spring and summer.
Dr. Oreta Samples, director of the MPH Program and associate professor, supervised the lecture that is part of the Research Methods course she teaches.
“The collaboration between C.H.O.I.C.E. and Fort Valley State University will help bridge the gap between public health professionals that are in the field and communities dealing with real people with real health problems,” Samples said. The FVSU educator added that being aware of signs and symptoms associated with lupus could lead to early detection, reduce misdiagnosis and increase care with proper resources.
Statistics furnished by the Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans are afflicted with the disease, and more than 16,000 new cases reported annually. Lupus hits mostly women of child bearing age (15-44), and women of color are two to three times more likely than Caucasians to have lupus.
“By raising awareness among students on the auto immune disease lupus and the disparities among African-American women, they (students) may become public health advocates to those seeking information,” Samples said.
The FVSU educator also said that by attending the virtual lupus lectures, students could be better prepared to handle public health inequalities and chronic illnesses they may encounter during their careers.