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Dedication to Public Health Comes First for HEALTH Research Institute’s Shante Fossie



For Immediate Release: April 8, 2024; Houston, Texas


For HEALTH Research Institute’s Shante Fossie, serving in the realm of public health is a mission that comes straight from the heart. Fossie serves as Program Manager for HEALTH Research Institute (HRI), and she spearheaded the H-Town CHAT initiative which explored roadblocks and solutions to health equity and chronic disease prevention in Houston. 


“My parents inspired me to go into the community and assist others,” Fossie said. “My parents are the reason behind my drive and determination--not only educating myself, but also educating others. They wanted to make sure that every one of their children was set up for success.” 

In her newly expanded role for HRI, Fossie is now overseeing the relaunch of the HEALTH Webisodes and the curation of a community newsletter. Directed by the HEALTH-RCMI Community Engagement Core, HEALTH Webisodes are short 5-6 minute “webinars/videos” intended to educate and bring awareness of timely health topics relating to the HEALTH-RCMI mission. 


“It’s been fun meeting and having conversations with our Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) members, our investigators and affiliates.” Fossie said. “They are excited to do a video and disseminate it out, so that community members know where to go if there is a question or to get resources. CRAB members, our Investigators and affiliates are excited to create their own script.” 


Fossie currently has several HEALTH Webisodes in planning phase, including a cervical cancer prevention webisode featuring Dr. Chakema Carmack, an alcohol awareness webisode featuring The Council on Recovery’s Director, Diane Arms, and a mental health webisode featuring Director, Shanta Atkinson, with Buckner International. 

 

What drives Fossie in public health endeavors like the Webisodes is the opportunity to advocate for community members and leaders in Houston’s Third Ward and Fifth Ward. 


“It’s about being transformative and advocating for the community--creating these sustainable partnerships and helping assist with that,” Fossie said. “It’s important to collaborate with community leaders and shadow them. The work of the HEALTH-RCMI is not just research. It’s about community engagement--implementing and employing advocacy work to better assist community members.” 

The design of the community newsletter is now in the works, featuring community leaders and member spotlights, resources, events, and volunteer opportunities. 


“The Community Engagement Core is so excited about the newsletter,” Fossie said. “We need something that goes straight to community members, and they can use the information. Through H-Town CHAT, we registered and surveyed community members, and now we can use that information and add resources for them within the newsletter. We want to do a spotlight on a community members, community leaders, community organizations and HRI/HEALTH-RCMI team members who are making a lasting impact.” 


Fossie emphasized that she was also excited about the chance to create more community forums and listening sessions.  


“When I started to do community forums, a.k.a. ‘listening sessions’, the first thing we did was an analysis of what is needed,” Fossie said. “We could think they need insurance, but they might actually need knowledge about doctors who they can go to. It’s not about what we think the community needs, but about hearing them and amplifying their voices to create change. Not only do I want to employ change, but I want to inspire community members to become change agents and advocate for themselves.” 


Fossie credits her parents for helping foster a deeper commitment to public health and community service. 


“My parents owned a non-profit, and they provided therapy and services specifically for people who had substance abuse issues,” Fossie said. “I worked to make sure people had educational materials on Hepatitis C and HIV. It was the work that my parents did in their community that enticed me to want to continue my work in the future.” 


-Alison Medley 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Alison Medley at 713.320.0933 or email 

 

 

 

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