The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) kicked off a citywide campaign to teach the public how to provide mental health first aid.
The Mental Health First Aid program is designed to teach community members how to identify, understand and respond to a person experiencing a behavioral health problem or crisis.
“So many of the people in our community do experience mental health problems at some point,” said Arthur C. Evans, director, DBHIDS said during a kickoff event held at Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“We believe that it’s appropriate for people to be able to know what to do and recognize when people in their communities are having issues and problems and know how to respond to them.”
DBHIDS partnered with the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare to bring MHFA training program to Philadelphia.
During an interactive kickoff event, more than 100 city, corporate and non-profit officials were given an overview of the MHFA program.
In order to become certified in MHFA, individuals must compete in interactive 12-hour course that provides an overview of the signs of behavorial health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders.
“MHFA is an initial course — both to teach people about mental illness and reducing the stigma around mental illness — but also be give people strategies on how to help until, if appropriate, professional help can be involved,” said Bryan V. Gibb, director of public education, National Council for Community Behavorial Healthcare.
Gibb stressed that the course does not teach people how to treat or diagnose mental illness.
During the course, taught by certified instructors, participants will learn the ALGEE action plan which includes: Assess for risk of suicide or harm; Listen non-judgmentally; Give reassurance and information; Encourage appropriate professional help; and Encourage appropriate professional help; and Encourage self-help and other support strategies.
The course will be rolled out to citywide public safety employees, corporations and non-profit organizations. A second MHFA orientation event for community members will be held on March 5, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Municipal Services Building.
The five-day MHFA Train the Instructor course will be offered to the general community March 26–30 and May 7–11.
Philadelphia is one of the first cities to implement the MHFA on a large scale. DBHIDS will collaborate with the Drexel University School of Public Health to evaluate MHFA in Philadelphia.
Research shows that MHFA leads to increased awareness and reduced stigma about mental illness.
First created in Australia in 2001, MHFA has since expanded to 18 countries. After being piloted in the United States in 2007, the program is now taught in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Within the past four years, 45,000 people have taken the MHFA course.
Lauren Alycia Kidd, also known as “Little Lauren,” was a home health aide.
Kidd died June 5, 2012, after a seven-year battle with lupus. She was 26.
She was born June 6, 1986, to Lisa and Joel Kidd.
Kidd was educated in the Philadelphia parochial and public school systems. She attended Preparatory Charter High School and graduated from University City High School in 2000. She attended Star Technical School and Philadelphia Job Corps where she completed the medical office assistant program in 2003.
Her family said Kidd was a joy to be around and she had a generous and kind spirit. She was not one to “hold her tongue” but she was always there to help, her family said. She was always ready to “take the kids” when she could.
Kidd had a special relationship with Christ and attended church with both of her grandmothers and her mother.
She enjoyed her Saturday morning dance classes and participating in the Philadelphia City Year program for Young Heroes while in school. She also loved to cook.
Kidd held various positions of employment. She worked at Save-A-Lot and ShopRite markets. Her most recent employment with Reliance Home Health Care as a home health aide gave her the most enjoyment.
She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Lenora Kidd and her grandfathers, Donald McCray II and Frank Battle.
In addition to her parents, Kidd is survived by her daughter, Ameena; godson, Miles; grandmother, Lillian McCray; best friends, Rita, Talea, Lavette, Lanieka; special friend, Aaron and other relatives and friends.
Services were held June 15 at Pinkett Tabernacle Friendly Church, 1915 North 21st Street.
Local firm provides energy-saving upgrade
Participating in the renovation of the Byrne Green Federal Complex enabled Mark Ulrick Engineers Inc. (MUEI) to work one of its largest projects to date.
MUEI, a Center City-based engineering firm, was awarded a $400,000 contract by the Keating Building Corporation for the HVAC and electrical design portions of the Byrne Green Building air handling unit replacement and photo voltaic cell installation in April 2010.
Funded with $22.7 million in Recovery Act stimulus dollars, the entire project converted the William J. Green Federal Building and James A. Bryne U.S. Courthouse into energy-efficient buildings.
MUEI was charged with replacing 32 multi-zone air handling units that were original equipment in Green Federal Building at 600 Arch St. The company’s services included HVAC load calculations, electrical load calculations, energy modeling, systems design and construction administration.
“This is our third largest project. This is our 25th year and for us it was a good project,” said Mark B. Washington, principal of MUEI.
“The teaming arrangement we had with Keating worked well. The stimulus money projects have afforded the opportunity to have some of our largest projects to date.”
The project enabled the company to bring Walter Brown, a mechanical designer, on board. Due to the economic downturn, Brown had been laid off from a larger architectural/engineering firm based in Philadelphia.
MUEI specializes in electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection engineering.
Regional officials of the U.S. General Services Administration marked the completion of the Byrne Green Federal Complex renovation with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Thursday at the Green Federal Building.
The renovations of the Green Building entailed the replacement of HVAC components with high performance equipment, the installation of a sustainable roofing system and lighting upgrades with energy efficient fixtures and occupancy sensors.
The renovations of the Byrne courthouse involved renovations of public restrooms to include water conservation fixtures, lighting upgrades with energy efficient fixtures and the installation of solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.
“This is really the kind of thing that makes a difference in terms of comfort and energy consumption to ensure that these two buildings can perform their public services for many years to come,” David H. Ehrenwerth, GSA regional administrator said in regard to the renovations.
Independence Blue Cross has launched a $10 million foundation geared toward transforming health care in the Philadelphia region.
The IBC Foundation targets three areas: caring for the community’s most vulnerable; leading innovative approaches to health care and developing the health-care workforce of the future with an intense focus on nursing education.
“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we announce the launch of the IBC Foundation,” said IBC president and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty.
“Building upon our deep commitment to our community, the foundation is poised to build healthier communities and spur innovation. By caring for the most vulnerable people in our community, enhancing the quality of health care for all and supporting groundbreaking innovations in health care, the foundation will help drive change in health care in our region for generations to come.”
The foundation’s creation was announced Thursday afternoon during the launch of IBC’s Nursing For Tomorrow Forum held at WHYY headquarters on Independence Mall.
Lorina Marshall Blake, IBC vice president of community affairs, will head the foundation.
The new foundation will focus on caring for the most vulnerable in the Philadelphia region by helping the uninsured get quality health care and supporting seniors and their caregivers. The newly created Blue Safety Net will provide $2 million in grants in 2011 to private nonprofit clinics that care for the uninsured and underinsured.
IBC announced foundation grants totaling $1 million to 15 clinics serving 70,000 patients in all five counties in the region.
The foundation’s second area of impact is directed at enhancing health-care delivery and will focus on developing the health-care workforce needed for the future. This work will concentrate on strengthening the region’s nursing workforce through a new $1.5 million initiative called Nurses For Tomorrow.
Nurses for Tomorrow will improve the quality of care in the region by increasing the supply of nurses and nurse educators through $1 million in scholarships awarded through 27 undergraduate nursing programs and 12 graduate nursing programs in the Philadelphia region. The Nurses for Tomorrow initiative will support the creation of three fellowships over the next two years to drive innovation in nursing education. The initiative will also establish continued education for nursing deans, nurse educators and administrators and support the development of a web-based resource for all area nursing schools.
“We are very excited about this new foundation and expanding our partnership with IBC ever further,” said Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, who joined IBC officials for the foundation’s launch.
“What can’t be overlooked is that IBC is not only continuing to support nursing education through scholarships, but again is leading the way in a manner no one else has thought to do.”
The foundation is launching a new Innovation Grant program that will provide $1 million to support projects and research that significantly advance the practice and delivery of health care. The foundation’s first Innovation Grant was awarded to the National Nursing Centers Consortium to enable area nonprofit clinics to use electronic medical records to provide more efficient and safer patient care.
The foundation’s website is now accepting applications for Innovation Grants at www.ibxfoundation.org.
Hilferty was joined at the foundation launch by Mayor Michael Nutter and Drexel University President John Fry, who highlighted IBC’s long partnership with Drexel.
Texas police are hunting a suspected serial rapist who appears to be targeting alumnae members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Four sorority members in their mid-50s to early 60s were raped in their suburban Dallas homes over the past 11 months.
The most recent attack occurred around 9:15 p.m. Oct. 21 in Corinth, Denton County, police said. Besides that attack, two of the rapes occurred in Plano and the other in Coppell, both of which are in Dallas County.
As of Monday afternoon, police did not have any new leads. The Plano, Coppell and Corinth police departments are investigating.
“We don’t know the association of the victims to the suspect, but we are diligently working with the other agencies involved to see if we could get some new leads and new information on the case,” said Andre Smith, a Plano police public information officer.
Plano police released photos and video of a man who could be connected to the attacks.
According to Plano police, the suspect is described as a Black male, late 30s to early 40s, 5 feet 7 to 6 feet tall, 250 to 300 pounds with a heavy build. He has a thin, well-trimmed beard and possibly a receding hairline, police said.
All of the assaults occurred at the victims’ residences and during the assaults, the suspect indicated that he knew information about them.
In an official press release posted to the organization’s website, Delta Sigma Theta urged members in the Dallas area to take precautionary measures. The organization has been cooperating with Dallas law enforcement agencies.
“Since receiving news of these incidents, our primary concern has been the safety of our members,” said Delta Sigma Theta national president Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre.
“While it is not yet confirmed that these victims were targeted because of their affiliation with the sorority, we are erring on the side of caution and are advising our members in the Dallas area to take the necessary precautionary measures. We encourage members to be alert, remain aware of their surroundings and to call the police if they see anything suspicious or feel threatened.”
The organization encouraged members to follow safety precautions issued by law enforcement agencies until the suspect has been captured. Members of the sorority in the Dallas area were advised to remove sorority paraphernalia from their vehicles, key chains, homes and offices. They were also encouraged to refrain from wearing clothing or accessories that identify them as members. Members were also reminded to be aware of their surroundings and ensure that their homes are locked and secure at all times.
Additional safety precautions include removing personal information, including day-to-day whereabouts, from Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.
“Delta Sigma Theta has a strong presence and long history of service in the Dallas area and worldwide,” said Butler-McIntyre.
“To think that our members are being targeted is disturbing and extremely disheartening. Until the individual responsible for these crimes is brought to justice, we will continue to remain in close communication with one another and law enforcement officials in the respective jurisdictions.”
Pennsylvania’s preterm birth rate is improving but there is still work to be done.
The state earned a “C” on the 2011 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, an assessment that compares the state and the nation’s 2009 preliminary preterm birth rates with the organization’s goal of 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020.
Since 2006, the state’s preterm birth rate has dropped from 11.8 percent to 11.5 percent, according to the March of Dimes.
“It points out that even though we’re made some improvements in reducing preterm births we still have a way to go, which is why the March of Dimes is so important both in educating about prematurity and being able to support research into the causes of premature births,” says Dr. Larry Kaiser, president and CEO of Temple University Health System.
Kaiser noted that Philadelphia sees higher numbers of premature births because of its large proportion of uninsured women.
“We know that uninsured women have a higher incidence of premature birth and sometimes that is because of health-related problems and sometimes it’s a result as a lack of prenatal care,” he said.
“We’ve done a pretty good job with smoking during pregnancy and reducing the number of late preterm births but there’s still a higher incidence in the uninsured.”
Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and babies who survive an early birth often face breathing problems, cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. The problem costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Jay S. Greenspan, a neonatologist and chair, March of Dimes program services committee says tackling prematurity takes a multi-prong approach.
“The problem is very complex, so unlike some other problems that the March of Dimes has tackled such as polio or spina bifida, this has many aspects to it that even go beyond a medical issue to a social issue and a disparity issue.”
Greenspan noted that the rates of prematurity are directly linked to the health of the nation’s women of childbearing age.
“The healthier the young women are in the country, generally, the lower the prematurity rate,” Greenspan says.
“Combating prematurity includes living a healthy lifestyle, combating stress and thinking ahead about becoming pregnant.”
To help address the issue in Pennsylvania, the March of Dimes is investing $4.2 million for a range of new programs.
Dolores T. Smith, March of Dimes, state director of program services, gave an overview of some of pilot projects that will impact Philadelphia.
Under one project, postpartum education is being offered to mothers of preterm newborns in an effort to reduce repeat preterm birth. This program is underway at the neonatal intensive care units of Abington Memorial, Thomas Jefferson and Pennsylvania Hospitals.
“We recognize that the woman at highest risk for pre-term birth is a woman who has already had a pre-term birth,” said Smith.
After women are educated about their risk factors, they are encouraged to visit a maternal fetal medicine specialist who can assess their medical records and closely monitor them before and during their next pregnancy.
Through other programs, the March of Dimes will fund efforts to provide interconceptional education during well-child pediatric visits; participating medical providers in Philadelphia will be trained on providing group prenatal care as well.
In addition, March of Dimes is funding research projects at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
The March of Dimes says its 2020 preterm birth goal can be achieved by giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage, implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, getting preconception and early prenatal care, progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding elective Caesarian sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth.
As a part of Prematurity Awareness Month, the March of Dimes Pennsylvania Chapter will hold Day of Gratitude events at hospitals and neonatal intensive care units across the state.
The March of Dimes and organizations from Australia, Africa and Europe will observe World Prematurity Awareness Day on November 17.
An estimated 13 million babies are born preterm, and of those, one million die as a result of their early birth, according to an October 2009 March of Dimes report.
Throughout November, the following buildings and bridges in Philadelphia will be lit purple as a symbol of hope to the babies and families fighting premature birth: One Liberty Place, Strawberry Mansion Bridge, The Ben Franklin Bridge, The CIRA Centre, PECO Energy Building, Two Liberty Place and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
A challenging economic environment has led Advance Bank to close the former Berean Bank branch in West Philadelphia.
The Baltimore-based banking institution closed the branch, located at 5228 Chestnut Street on October 14.
Berean, started in 1888, was among the oldest, continuously operated African-American financial institutions in the country when financial difficulties led it to merge in 2003 with Advance, which has a similar background.
Denise Jones Fraiser, Advance Bank’s senior vice president, said bank officials are not making any further comments about the branch closure.
However in a letter to customers, Jones Fraiser outlined the bank’s reasons for closing the branch.
“Our plan when merging with the former Berean Bank was to expand within the Baltimore and Philadelphia markets. The current economic environment does not support our original expansion plans. Because of a sustained decline in our national and the local economy, and a lack of sufficient business opportunities, we made the very difficult decision to close the Berean branch and to focus on building our Maryland operations where we have a larger network of branches,” Jones Fraiser wrote.
Deposits in the branch have fallen from $44.7 million in 2003, the year of the merger, to $19.3 million in June 2010, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The branch closure comes at a time when Black-owned banks have been losing traction. The number of Black-owned banking institutions has fallen from about 54 in 1994 to less than 30 in 2011.
“There are just fewer and fewer Black-owned banks although the demographics are compelling — a growing population and more highly educated growth rate,” said William Michael Cunningham, CEO of Creative Investment Research, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based firm that specializes in minority banking.
Cunningham said Black-owned banks were hurt when mainstream banking institutions realized that African Americans had a large buying power.
“They discovered that there was a great deal of buying power within the African-American community,” said Cunningham.
“The white banks determined that they wanted to get that money,” he said, noting that these same banking institutions starting targeting African-American consumers with subprime mortgages and predatory loans.
Customers can still contact Advance Bank regarding their concerns around their checking/savings accounts and loans. Customers can transfer their account to the bank’s home office in Baltimore. They can also have funds wired into their account from another financial institution and their accounts can be accessed through telephone banking, online banking or at an ATM.
Customers who seek to close their account can mail their request to the bank’s headquarters at 4801 Seton Drive, Baltimore, Md., 21215.
Customers who have mortgage loans with the bank must mail their payments to: Payment Processing Center, P.O. Box 986, Newark, N.J. 07184-0986.
For customers who have commercial loans, payments can be mailed to 4801 Seton Drive, Baltimore, Md., 21215. For information about commercial loans call 1-866-550-0400.
For customers who have checking accounts, the bank will continue to honor checks as long as the account is kept open and there are sufficient funds to cover the checks.
For customers who have scheduled automatic payments from their checking accounts, do not need to take action if they decide to keep the account. Customers who decide to close their account need to contact any merchant with which they have scheduled automatic payments and provide them with account information at their new bank.
Customers who have direct deposit do not need to take action if they decide to keep their account with Advance. Customers who decide to close their accounts need to contact any agency with which they have scheduled a direct deposit and provide them with their account information at their new bank.
For general inquiries call 1(866) 550-0400.
Wilma Jean Coker was a seamstress who specialized in elegant formal wear.
Coker died Sept. 24, 2011. She was 83.
Coker was born Aug. 15, 1928 to Elder David Wesley Young and Asliee Wilson Young in Franklin County, Ala.
She was educated in the Alabama public school system. After high school, she attended Hampton Institute in Hampton, Va.
During her undergraduate years, Coker pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served on the court of the Fidi Amici social club. She majored in home economics and received a bachelor’s degree in 1951. After graduating, Coker taught school until shortly after she married.
While in high school, she met the love of her life, Millard Paul Coker Jr. The two hometown sweethearts dated for a couple of years until they were joined in marriage on Dec. 24, 1953, in Florence, Ala. They moved to Philadelphia in 1954. From this union, a son, Millard Paul Coker III, was born.
Coker had an amazing sense of style and was a gifted seamstress. Upon settling in Philadelphia, she pursued this passion.
She started her own dressmaking business, specializing in elegant formal wear and wedding gowns. Coker was known throughout the Philadelphia fashion community for her exceptionally fine work.
For many years she was associated with boutique owner, Berta Sawyer, who, among many, sought Coker for her expertise in fashion and alterations, as well as friendship.
Coker loved family and friends. She was a devoted wife. She shared with Millard the mutual joy of socializing with friends, entertaining and preparing wonderful family meals and holiday dinners.
She actively supported his passion and participation in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. serving as a Quette. She utilized her appreciation for beautiful clothing to help organize luncheon fashion shows to benefit the fraternity’s student scholarship program, as well as her church. She was a longstanding member of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, where she served on the hospitality committee.
As a dedicated and caring mother, Coker served as the den mother for her son’s Cub Scout troop. She nurtured his talent in photography through her genuine interest in pictures, organizing a substantial collection of photographs and albums that she proudly displayed. She welcomed daughter-in-law, Maxine, to whom she was so generous. Making her wedding gown was truly a labor of love. Coker was overjoyed with the addition of her only grandchild, Allison.
In addition to sewing her beautiful outfits, she willingly volunteered at her school — baking pies, binding books, making costumes and even sewing a life-size deer for a class play.
In the months preceding her death, Coker faced the challenges of declining health with dignity and grace.
She is survived by her husband, Millard Paul Coker Jr.; son, Millard Paul Coker III; daughter-in-law, Maxine Kilson Coker; granddaughter, Allison Coker; and other relatives and friends.
A viewing will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. Saturday at Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, 6141 Greene St. Services will follow at 10. Burial is in Chelten Hills Cemetery, 1701 East Washington Lane.
The students of William H. Harrison Elementary School are now sporting new winter coats.
On Monday morning, the students eagerly filed into the school’s auditorium, where they were presented with the coats by the Bright Hope Baptist Church’s Trustee Auxiliary.
The children beamed as they tried on their new outerwear, ranging in color from light green, pin and purple for the girls to blue, green and orange for the boys.
Bright Hope’s Trustee Auxiliary has been donating coats to Harrison students for the last five years. The church adopted the school under the leadership of its pastor emeritus, the Rev. William H. Gray. This year marked the first time, though, the Trustee Auxiliary provided enough coats for all of Harrison’s students.
“This year we’re giving every child a coat,” said Auxiliary President Betty C. Drayton-Johnson.
For Harrison principal Stefan Feaster-Eberhardt, the donation was timely, because some of the school’s students did not have coats.
“I’m just excited that all my children will have coats this year. They’re ready for the winter,” said Feaster-Eberhardt.
“It gives the children a chance to see that somebody cares about them - and through the giving perhaps one day they will give back. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the church.”
Located at 1012 W.Thompson St., Harrison has 160 students in grades K-8.
Conicelli Autoplex in Conshocken donated the coats. Bright Hope Deacon Garfield Jackson says Conicelli has donated almost 1,000 coats to charitable agencies throughout the area.
“They’re a family-oriented business and this is just one of the many things they do for the community,” Jackson said.
Paul S. Terry Jr., former president of Terry Funeral Home, died March 7, 2012, at Chestnut Hill Hospital, after a short illness.
He was 73.
Terry was a graduate of West Philadelphia High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, Oxford, Pa., and completed Eckels College of Mortuary Science. Upon graduation in 1960, he became a member of the family business.
Terry Funeral Home dates back to 1938 when his father, Paul S. Terry Sr. and mother, Frances E. Tyson Terry, started the family owned business in Pleasantville, N.J. Terry assumed the role of head funeral director in 1974 when his father became adviser to the operation. After his father’s death in 1986, Paul Jr. became president, and operated Terry Funeral Home with his younger brother Thompson Terry Sr. who preceded him in death in 1997. In 2000, he sold the business and retired. Terry Funeral Home had taken on a new president, Gregory T. Burrell, and Terry remained as a consultant until 2009.
Though the funeral home was the main focus in Terry’s life, he did make time for family and many service and social organizations. In 1987, Terry married his wife, Nellie Booker Terry; they enjoyed a rich life together until her death in 2011. They delighted in travel and being seen during the social season at fundraisers and galas.
Though Terry was a native Philadelphian he was very proud of his ties to his descendants in Pleasantville, N.J., and Reading, Pa. It was at Charles Evans Cemetery that Terry always made a point of maintaining the family plot for all holidays. The site dates back to the early 1800s.
He was most known for his work with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Guardsmen, The Frontiersman, The Commissioners and the Olde Philadelphia Club. As a member of the Olde Philadelphia Club, he was voted in as vice president. He was the first person in the club’s history to be voted into office, under the age of 35.
He is survived by his nephews, Thompson Terry Jr. and Gordon Terry; cousins, Edward Terry and James McKee; stepdaughter, Faye Campbell; and other relatives and friends.
The first viewing will be held March 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Terry Funeral Home, 4203 Haverford Avenue. A transition service will be held March 18 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church, 647 North 42nd Street.
A second viewing will be held March 19 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church. Funeral services will follow at 11. Burial will be in Charles Evans Cemetery.