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Johnson C. Smith University Partners with Lupus Foundation of North Carolina

Charlotte, N.C. / March 30, 2021 - A new partnership between Johnson C. Smith University and the Lupus Foundation of North Carolina is raising awareness of the autoimmune disease and addressing racial disparities among Black women.

“Lupus, primarily occurs in women and about 90 percent are women of color,” said Jenny Prince, CEO of the Lupus Foundation of North Carolina.

With COVID-19 highlighting health disparities for people of color, Prince and her team have been searching for ways to help address some of the disparities for lupus. Through a connection with Jenny Ward, senior vice president, Community Relations Manager at Bank of America and member of JCSU Board of Visitors, the initial conversation of a partnership began.

“We at this foundation had been wanting to reach out to either HBCUs or historically African American sororities,” Prince added.

On March 31, 2021, the organizations will host their inaugural event, Lupus and Women of Color Lunchtime Chat, moderated by Tamiko Ewell-Sulton, licensed practical nurse of JCSU’s Health Center.

“I've been a nurse for 27 years. You never know everything so every opportunity I get to be a part of a committee where I learn about something, I love it,” Sulton said. “This event gave me the opportunity to study lupus and learn more specific information about the autoimmune disease, which helps me to be a better resource for the people that I serve.”

As Prince highlighted, some of the symptoms of lupus are often ignored, especially among college students who may attribute fatigue to late nights, but this event aims to address those issues and point out the common symptoms. 

The panel will consist of multiple people including volunteers, a police officer who will share her personal journey of living with lupus, a rheumatologist with Levine's Children Hospital and Latrelle McAllister, vice president for Administrative Services at JCSU. Attendees can expect to learn about lupus, the common symptoms and treatment for the autoimmune disease.

The partnership will benefit the University’s Health Center, which will use the foundation as a resource to provide faculty, staff and students who may have lupus or become diagnosed with the disease, what they need to be functional.

“It’s a good topic for us to address, especially at an HBCU. I think a lot of times people have health issues, and they don't seek health care, which is why some girls are not diagnosed at all,” Sulton emphasized.

Prince hopes the partnership with JCSU will make an impact and would like to host future events with the University, including something during Lupus Awareness Month in May.

To stay up to date with the latest partnerships and initiatives in the Health Center, be sure to follow them on Instagramand Facebook.

Lupis event flyer

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