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Carle Participates in Moore Equity Walk


Electronic Winter 2021  |  Issue 49
 

Carle Participates in Moore Equity Walk
By Arden Barnett, MD

At first, I didn't think we could do it this year. Now as the year closes, it was a highlight of 2021.
 
The APA in late spring established the Moore Equity in Mental Health 5K, to support a new APA Foundation effort. It is the Moore equity in Mental Health Community grants initiative. This new program is to support individuals and community organizations that work to improve mental health care for black and indigenous youth and youth of color.
 
The Illinois Psychiatric Society (IPS) did establish a team to participate in this inaugural 5K. Given Covid-19 restrictions though, the 5K was to be virtual and we were to run, walk, or roll in the 5K in our local communities, without a single large gathering of participants.
 
The reasons not to do it this year seemed obvious. There were only six weeks given to plan for it before the race, and all planning would have to be done locally, and there would be insufficient time to develop interest and support for the event. Then I saw an informational notice where I worked in Champaign at the Carle Physician Group on their website. The DEI committee had posted information about Bebe Moore Campbell and her commitment to the mental health needs of minority children in the US. This was such a worthy endeavor; how could we not participate?
 
Given the lack of time, a system-wide notice could not be sent to Carle Health members to participate. However, Carle Psychiatry and the residency training program, with only 48 hours’ notice, did respond and develop a team to walk the 5K route in Champaign. A resident from each year in the training program participated, as did a staff member and a faculty member. The 5K was enjoyed by everyone who participated.
 
Our team in Champaign along with others in Illinois, were active in raising funds to support this cause, which led to Illinois being one of the top states in the APA that participated in and contributed to the 5K. Only Texas and Ohio had greater participation than IPS. Nationally, $87,499 was raised from this inaugural 5K, for the community grants.
 
Afterwards, everyone went to a local restaurant in town to relax and talk about the 5K, and begin posting online about the event.
 
When asked why he dedicated a Saturday morning to this event, co-chief resident Brian Tong, MD said, “It's important for psychiatrists to be visible in their support for populations vulnerable to disparities and support efforts to reduce inequities in mental health.”
 
First-year resident Osas Uduevbo, MD added, "Regardless of how slow I run, the distance and sweat, being part of a good cause, remains one of a life's best experiences."
 
Second-year resident Christine Farag, MD commented, “I participated in the Moore Health Equity 5K to help support mental health awareness and advocacy for children, adolescents and young adults of color! It was a pleasure to show support for equity in mental health services along with my colleagues from Carle Psychiatry.”
 
So, even though the decision to have people participate in this 5K through their local communities began as an outgrowth of Covid-19 restrictions, it ended up being a wonderful idea. There was more participation and excitement and community awareness about this 5K because it did occur locally. I hope this approach continues for future events.
 
There already is interest to support next year’s 5K in our broader Champaign community, and with a date of July 9th set for it, we can start planning earlier in 2022 to meet our goal of 100 participants for next year.
 
I would challenge other Illinois psychiatrists and training programs to establish in 2022 teams to participate in their own cities, towns, or neighborhoods. You will find it a surprisingly rewarding experience.
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