Posted on

Dr. Bullard ranked among top urban planning professors

Dr. Robert Bullard Dr. Robert D. Bullard, distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at TSU, was ranked 11th in the top 25 rankings of urban planning faculty in the United States and Canada. Professor Bullard’s book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality” was ranked 8th on the top 25 rankings of cited publications by urban planning faculty. The rankings were compiled by Tom Sanchez of Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs using Google Scholar Citations. Click here for the complete rankings.

About Dr. Bullard:

Robert D. Bullard is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He has been described as the father of environmental justice. He received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.

Posted on

Activist Converge On Southlawn Neighborhood For Day of Black Love

 

By: Kofi Taharka

On Saturday, March 25, 2017 close to a dozen community organizations united to serve the Southlawn Palms Apartment complex. Hundreds of residents came out to receive free food, clothing, health screenings, games and face painting for children. Speakers, music and barbeque filled the air as children played on the newly donated basketball goal.  Over forty volunteers staffed different stations providing services for the residents. The Southlawn community has been in the news over the past few years for the proposed “gang injunction” that would have banned over 90 Black men for life from the area. Due to community push back the effort was thwarted. Activist targeted the area for outreach to help quell crime and violence.

One of the lead organizers, Malik Muhammad, National Vice – Chair of Organizing and Training for the National Black United Front (NBUF) stated “We have to be in the streets serving the people, we have the solutions to our own problems, we are our own saviors.” Spearheading the effort were NBUF, The People’s New Black Panther Party, Melanated Men of Action and Black Lives Matter Houston, Texas. Groups that supported the effort included: The People’s Patrol, The Houston Unity Tribe, The Nation of Islam Mosque #45, The Local Organizing Committee for The Million Man March, No More Blood Shed and The Black Women’s Health Project.  A community gardener Brother Kelvin led residents in a gardening exhibition. A peace march wound through the neighborhood along with a community clean up that helped to cap a day of Black Love.

Posted on

Queendom Come, Inc. Joins with Other Houston Organizations to Launch Awareness and Educational Campaign #ProtectOurDaughters Against Sex & Human Trafficking

.

HOUSTON – Queendom Come, Inc. (QCI) will host a press conference Thursday, March 30, 2017, at 4 p.m. to launch its #ProtectOurDaughters campaign to address sex and human trafficking in the Houston area. Sex trafficking had become the new “slavery” and has taken national attention when a dozen of black and Latina girls went missing in Washington, D.C. this month. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Houston is one of the largest hubs for human trafficking in the nation and the largest hub in Texas Houston has over 200 active brothels, with two new openings each month. Houston is a popular entryway for internationally trafficked persons due to its two large, international airports and the Port of Houston, which is the largest international port in the United States and the thirteenth busiest in the world.

Age is the primary factor in vulnerability. We are seeing our daughters becoming victims to this modern-day slavery. Pre-teen or adolescent girls are more susceptible to the calculated advances, deception, and manipulation tactics used by traffickers/pimps – no youth is exempt from falling prey to these tactics.  Traffickers target locations youth frequent such as social media sites, schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters and group homes. Runaway or homeless youth, as well as those with a history of physical and sexual abuse, may have an increased risk of being trafficked.

QCI has launched an educational and awareness campaign that targets women, adolescent girls and their parents in the Houston and surrounding areas. QCI has collaborated with other organizations in the community and women leaders such as, Green House International Church Co-Pastor Sandra Deckard of Greenhouse International Church, Kathy Griffin Grinan of “We’ve Been There Done That”, Valerie Muhammad of the Nation of Islam MGT & GCC, Calandrian Simpson-Kemp of the Village of Mothers, Jinaki Muhammad of the National Black United Front, Attorney Sadiyah A. Evangelista of the Ministry of Justice Millions More Movement,  Deric Muhammad and Pastor E.A. Deckard of No More Blood Shed Movement and Deloyd Parker of SHAPE Community Center. A town hall meeting will be announced at the press conference.

WHERE:        National Black United Front 2428 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004

WHAT:           Queendom Come, Inc. Awareness and Educational Campaign #ProtectOurDaughters

WHEN:           March 30, 2017, 4:00 p.m. CST.

WHO:             Queendom Come, Inc.; Greenhouse International Church, We’ve Been There Done That; Village of Mothers, National Black United Front, Nation of Islam MGT & GCC,                                  MOJ Millions More Movement, No More Blood Shed, SHAPE Community Center

Posted on

Precinct One youth and seniors programs receive federal grants totaling nearly $150,000

Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved nearly $150,000 in federal grants for Precinct One programs that assist young people and senior citizens.

 The nonprofit Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Inc. was awarded a $42,024 Community Development Block Grant for the Harris County Aquatics Program, $28,993 for Discovery Camp and $58,502 for the Summer Games.

The Seniors Drama Program received a $20,000 grant. The program, directed by playwright Thomas Meloncon, provides acting and dance lessons. Seniors participate as actors, understudies and costume designers. Throughout the year, they perform plays that raise awareness of crucial issues affecting seniors.

 Created in 1986, the Street Olympics implements and sustains year-round programs that provide training, support and resources that lead to healthy and productive lives for Houston-area youth.

The Aquatics Program offers swimming lessons and competitive swimming for youth. In July, Learn-to-Swim students compete in a friendly competition at the Harris County Aquatics Center.

 Discovery Camp, which runs through the summer months, offers children ages 6-13 a one-day adventure that includes educational activities, games, crafts and projects that give them hands-on experience to help understand nature in natural settings at Challenger Seven Memorial and Deussen parks.

 The Summer Games gives youth at participating agencies a chance to compete in traditional street games such as kickball, jacks, hopscotch, Hula Hoop and foot races. The best participants at the agencies – which include Houston Parks and Recreation Department sites, YMCAs, churches and other youth centers – earn the right to compete at the Final Event in August at NRG Arena, where they can win medals. For more information, call 713 991 6881.

Posted on

City Pursues Strategies for Homeless, Panhandlers

Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 2nd announced what he termed  a more holistic approach to reducing homelessness and invited the community to help implement it.  The mayor’s plan involves expedited efforts to permanently house the homeless, more shelter beds, new public health and safety regulations and an anti-panhandling awareness campaign.

“Houston has achieved significant reductions in homelessness in recent years, but I am committed to doing even more,” said Mayor Turner.  “It is simply not acceptable for people to live on the streets; it is not good for them, and it is not good for the city.  We will tackle this complicated issue, and we will do it humanely with a meaningful approach that balances the needs of the homeless and the concerns of neighborhoods they impact.  We will need everyone’s patience and help to make it work.”

At the center of the mayor’s plan is expansion of The Way Home, the coordinated housing initiative of 100 public and private organizations that has reduced overall homelessness by 57 percent over the last five years.  Another 500 chronically homeless individuals will be placed in permanent supportive housing within six months.  Coupled with this aggressive goal, the community, often with direct city support, is continuing to invest in new permanent supportive housing units, but more apartments are still needed. The mayor is calling upon apartment owners and landlords with vacant units to step forward and be part of the solution.

Another 215 shelter beds will come online in August when the new Star of Hope campus on Reed Road is finished.  In addition, the city is pursuing creation of one or more secure and professionally managed covered outdoor spaces with restroom facilities where up to 75 individuals could stay temporarily.

“In this city, we are not going to abandon our most vulnerable,” said Turner.  “The goal is to get as many people as possible into permanent housing or shelters, but even with all of the assistance being offered, there will still be people who choose to stay on the streets.  It would be wrong to tell these people they cannot be here or there without providing a suitable alternative.  I am inviting the community and City Council to help identify locations in their districts we can use as temporary outdoor shelters and for feeding the hungry.”

The city will continue weekly cleanups of encampments to address health and safety concerns while the homeless are transitioning to shelters and permanent supportive housing. The Houston Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is expanding so there can be increased interaction and assistance for the homeless. Another component is a new ordinance outlawing tents on public property.  This ordinance will prohibit people from putting up tents but will not make it illegal to sleep outdoors.  There will be a 30-day transition period during which HPD’s HOT team will work to compassionately redirect people in encampments to housing alternatives.

“This is a best practice across the nation and is based on public health and safety concerns,” said Turner.  “We cannot have people setting up tent cities where there are no restrooms or other accommodations to meet basic human needs.  Not only is it unsanitary, but it also deters from the goal of getting people into permanent supportive housing.”

The Texas Department of Transportation is assisting by installing “no camping” signs at freeway underpasses and is working to allow the city to have access to the underpasses for parking and economic development, an idea Mayor Turner has wanted to pursue since seeing something similar during last year’s trade mission to Mexico City.

The mayor’s plan also takes aim at panhandling with a new ordinance prohibiting obstruction of roadways and an anti-panhandling media campaign involving TV, radio, print and social media ads, street signage, billboards and a way to donate to service organizations via text and online giving.  The campaign, which is being funded by 15 management districts, urges residents to help bring about “meaningful change” by donating their “spare change” directly to organizations that provide services.  The public awareness campaign will be coupled with a pilot program to connect panhandlers to employment opportunities.  The signs and ads are expected to be up and running within a month.

The mayor noted that a lot of homeless have mental health issues and have repeatedly fallen through the cracks of the social service system.  He stressed the importance of increased funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and said that he had directed this issue to be added to the city’s legislative priorities in Austin.

“Our existing programs and the expanded ones I have outlined lead all major cities in dealing with a nationwide problem,” said Turner.  “This is a realistic, holistic approach that provides meaningful solutions.  By offering multiple choices and a little bit of tough love, we hope to convince more of our street population to get off the streets.  This plan also provides strategies for easing the pressure in neighborhoods.  We will never totally eliminate homelessness, but with the entire community’s help, we can reduce it even more.”

Six years ago, Houston had a homeless population of more than 8,500.  Today, that number has dropped to around 3,600.  Less than one-third of these people are living on the streets.  The rest take advantage of shelter beds.

Posted on

The Other Culprit in the Epi-Pen Price Gouging Scandal? The FDA.

By Sandip Shah

Ordinary Americans, reporters, and even a congressional panel heaped scorn on pharmaceutical company Mylan after it raised the price of its epinephrine injector set from $100 to more than $600.

Mylan deserves criticism for making it harder for patients to afford the injectors they need to prevent fatal allergic reactions. But Mylan isn’t the only culprit in this scandal. The FDA is sitting on a huge backlog of generic drug applications. Such bureaucratic lethargy enables companies to form monopolies and gouge consumers.

Policymakers could solve the problem by giving the FDA the mandate and resources to clear this backlog. Instead, they’re training their fire on innovative drug companies that have nothing to do with this price gouging. Their proposed crackdown on these firms wouldn’t stop abusive pricing practices, but it would stifle innovation and deprive patients of lifesaving new medicines.

Price gouging is only possible when companies face no competition. The FDA has created just such a scenario. In October, a full 2,996 generic drug applications were pending approval or review. At least two of those would have offered allergy sufferers an alternative to Epi-Pens.

But the FDA has stalled both applications. The agency complains that one product uses a slightly different design than Epi-Pen, and that the manufacturer of the other product left some testing data out of the application.

This nitpicking is ridiculous. Researchers developed epinephrine in 1901. It’s now off-patent — as are the older, perfectly effective, designs for injectors. The only thing stopping companies from creating an inexpensive, generic epinephrine injector is FDA lollygagging.

Other firms have taken advantage of the agency’s delays. Turing Pharmaceuticals infamously hiked the price of Daraprim, a medicine used to treat AIDS patients, from $13.50 to $750 overnight. The drug hit the market 62 years ago, so its patent expired long ago. Likewise, Valeant Pharmaceuticals increased the prices of the off-patent heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress, by 525 percent and 212 percent.

These companies got away with upping their prices so dramatically because they knew the FDA would take years to approve competing products.

When manufacturers introduce generic drugs to the market, prices plummet. The introduction of a second generic drug cuts brand-name drug prices in half, on average.

If policymakers want to prevent price gouging, they simply need to enable the FDA to approve applications far quicker than the current average of 47 months.

Instead of enacting these targeted solutions, many of our leaders are on the warpath against the research firms that spend billions of dollars to create innovative new medicines. They’re calling for all manner of direct and indirect price controls.

Inventing and bringing a new drug to market is a risky and expensive endeavor. It costs about $2.6 billion and takes 10 years.

When a company does strike gold — developing a unique product and gaining FDA approval — restricting competition for a limited time makes sense. Patents give the company a chance to recoup its massive investment in research and development, and ultimately reinvest its profits in developing other new treatments.

Price controls would take away the financial rewards of drug development.
It’s worth paying for truly innovative drugs. But once medicines go off patent, there’s no reason for consumers to continue shelling out top dollar. Speeding the generic drug approval process would introduce competition, slash prices, and prevent rapacious behavior.

Sandip Shah is the founder and president of Market Access Solutions. He spent nearly three decades working at large pharmaceutical firms, where he developed pricing and reimbursement strategies.

Posted on

The Environmentalist War on Science

By Jeff Stier

EPA officials just discarded the central conclusion of a report they’d been working on for five years to appease green extremists. Although early drafts found no evidence that fracking has had a “widespread, systemic” impact on drinking water, the final report claims there isn’t “enough information to make a broad conclusion.”

How absurd. An honest look at the science should have environmentalists waving the white flag in their fight against fracking. It’s time for the EPA and green crusaders to quit this political charade and recognize that fracking technology has boosted the economy, helped wean America off imported oil and gas, and dramatically reduced CO2 emissions.

In 2015, a draft of the EPA’s report found fracking operations have not “led to widespread, systemic impact on drinking water.” The science in the report hasn’t changed. But the EPA, under pressure, adjusted its conclusion to suit critics to the left of the administration, who would have been left without a leg to stand on in their efforts to sow doubt about fracking safety.

The findings weren’t surprising. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson conceded she’s “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he has “not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.”

Green activists and their Washington allies were quick to contest the draft report, ignoring that EPA researchers relied on more than 950 sources for their report. Do environmentalists really expect us to believe the agency, no friend of the oil and gas industry, is in the pocket of Big Fracking? The academic community is in agreement on fracking; only activists are fracking deniers.

For example, a Duke University study in Arkansas found that shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing had no impact on groundwater.

Scientists analyzing the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania found fracking activity harmless, concluding there was “no evidence for direct communication with shallow drinking water wells due to upward migration from shale horizons.”

This year, a three-year study by the University of Cincinnati found that fracking did not affect water supplies — despite researchers’ best efforts to find a link. Lead scientist Amy Townsend-Small said her team was planning to keep the results under wraps because their funders were hoping the “data could point to a reason to ban” fracking.

Attempts to undermine fracking threaten America’s ability to tap into energy benefits. In 2012, oil and natural gas production saved the average U.S. household at least $1,200. All told, the industry supports almost 10 million jobs and represents 8 percent of the U.S. economy — and those figures are predicted to grow, especially if OPEC keeps its promise to reduce production.

Moreover, fracking has strengthened America’s energy independence. As the world’s leader in oil and natural gas production, the United States can scale back its energy purchases from less-friendly nations.

Despite the green movement’s outrage, fracking is helping the environment. The boom in gas and oil production has enabled us to substitute natural gas for coal. As a result, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions hit their lowest level in nearly three decades.

Environmentalists should stop denying science. Fracking boosts our economy, strengthens energy independence, and protects our environment. It’s a shame that, like the most extreme green activists, the EPA is only willing to embrace science when it serves an anti-fossil-fuel agenda.

Jeff Stier is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division.

Posted on

 HeartLinks Impacts Houston’s heart health

(January 27, 2017) – The Health and Human Services Facet of the Western Area of The Links, Incorporated is hosting an awareness reception honoring the “HeartLinks to Heart Health” Program on Friday, January 27 at 7:00 pm at The Health Museum, 1515 Binz, Houston, Texas.

“The purpose of the event is to recognize the Texas Spring Cypress (TX) Chapter and the Missouri City Chapter of The Links, Inc. for their work with the Heart Truth and the American Heart Association and to increase awareness of the importance of monitoring one’s health to prevent heart disease,” explains Dr. Wanda Mott Russell, Western Area Health and Human Services Director. The evening will feature presentations by Jackie Pope of the Texas Spring Chapter and Jarmese Roberts Morris of the Missouri City Chapter who will share information on the impact made in the greater Houston area as a result of their programming. Mary Clark, National Chair of the HeartLinks Program will receive an award from Roxann Thomas Chargois,

Western Area Director. “The HeartLinks to Heart Health Program was created in 2008 by Dr. Kimberly Jefferies Leonard. This signature program was created to raise awareness of their risk of heart disease. For more than a decade, the Western Area chapters of The Links have created both sustainable and effective programs,” Mary E. Clark, HeartLinks National Chair, disclosed. “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and people need to be aware of what they can do to prevent it. There are lots of activities in the city and throughout the nation for the community to get involved. The Health Museum has a great heart exhibit.

The community can attend an event like the 5th Annual Dr. Evelyn E. Thornton Hip Hop Healthy Heart Awareness Affair at Texas Southern University on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It’s about learning about things that one can do to make a difference like healthy cooking, adopting a more active lifestyle, and learning the warning signs. The ‘Red Dress’ event is free and open to the public” said Mott Russell. For more details about the annual Red Dress event, call 832.930.1545.

Posted on

Keisha N. Brown (KB) named Executive VP, President and Chair of new health and wellness practice

 

LOS ANGELES — LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS (LC), a multicultural integrated marketing communications agency, announces the promotion of Keisha N. Brown (KB) to executive vice president and chair of the new Health and Wellness Practice. As chair of the practice, KB will drive creative solutions for all of the agency’s healthcare clients.  With more than two decades of healthcare experience working with clients on a local, regional and national level, LC is excited to launch their Health and Wellness Practice with a skilled professional that works across all disciplines and cultures.

“I look forward to leading the new Health and Wellness Practice at the agency and utilizing my experience and passion to make a difference in the lives of African Americans and Latinos,” said KB.  “I have worked on health care accounts for more than 20 years, and understand the challenges that impact behavioral change to make our communities healthier and people live longer.”

KB brings a wealth of experience, insight, and maturity to the Health and Wellness Practice. She has worked with corporate, not-for-profit and government clients, including American Cancer Society, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Novartis and the Office of National Control Drug Policy, to name a few. Relying on her keen understanding of health disparities and cultural nuances amongst African American and Hispanic communities, KB has successfully executed award-winning campaigns with multi-million dollar budgets and led multidisciplinary teams. She now manages the advertising and marketing account for Covered California, educating African American consumers about their services and maximizing the number of Californians enrolled in health insurance coverage. In addition, under KB’s leadership, the team will focus on entities such as hospitals, healthcare plans, not-for-profit, government, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies

“KB is the biggest success story of the agency’s internship program,” said Mr. Kim L. Hunter, President, and CEO of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS. “She is the epitome of what an IMC specialist is and does. KB is one of the few communicators that has a good understanding of the three disciplines (advertising, marketing, and public relations) and how they intersect with one another to create a truly holistic campaign.”

 

As a 21-year veteran of the firm, KB is an integrated marketing communications specialist that has successfully executed integrated advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns for clients such as L.A. Care Health Plan, The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Martin Luther King Jr., Community Hospital.

Throughout her career, KB has been recognized for her work and expertise in multicultural communications. Most recently, the firm received the Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Association (HPRMA) Golden Advocate Award for the launch of the L.A. Care Covered

The campaign, a project headed by KB. Johnson Publications, the publishers of Ebony and Jet magazine, also named KB “One of the Most Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications” and PRWeek Magazine featured her in a roundtable discussion regarding diverse viewpoints on multicultural communications.

The Los Angeles native holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in business administration from Howard University in Washington, DC.