Penn State Greater Allegheny to examine Black women's health in annual summit

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Penn State Greater Allegheny will begin its fourth year of the Crossing Bridges Summit when it hosts “Medical Perspectives on Black Women’s Health” at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. WPSU will produce the event and broadcast it live at The event is free and open to the public.

The Crossing Bridges Summit is a signature program at Greater Allegheny. Its purpose is to bring students, faculty, staff and community members together and to bridge racial divides in the Mon Valley. This year, the summit will place Black women’s voices at the center of its work as it examines Black women’s health from a number of perspectives. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network will serve as the Platinum Sponsors for the 2020-21 academic year.

“Our Crossing Bridges Summit committee identified this year’s theme after reading the “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Race and Gender” report (September 2019),” said Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor and chief academic officer at the Greater Allegheny campus.  “Women’s health was identified as a concern. We want to partner with local and national experts to help the campus community and the public understand the issues identified in this report, to consider how these issues are manifest in the Mon Valley region, and to identify areas where the campus can collaborate with community partners to be a catalyst for change.”

The Oct. 15 panel, the first in a four-part series, will focus on the findings in the inequity report and place a lens on Black maternal health. Johnathan White, lecturer of history at Penn State Greater Allegheny, will moderate the discussion and field submitted questions from the audience.

The panelists include Jessica Brooks, CEO/executive director, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health; Dr. Liz Miller, professor of public health and clinical and translational science, University of Pittsburgh; Jamila Please, founder, Her Birth Right; and Jada Shirriel, CEO, Healthy Start. 

In addition, Greater Allegheny will host a virtual Summit Talk at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, allowing campus and community members to discuss the panelists’ perspectives and to identify actionable items to close the health equity gap in the Mon Valley. There is no cost to attend the Summit Talk, but registration is required; visit

The Crossing Bridges Summit began in 2017. It is comprised of five pillars; the Speakers Series, Summit Talks, student-led Unity Talks, a Visiting Scholar program, and a Task Force on Racial Equity and Justice. Additional Speaker Series events and Summit Talks will be held in November, March and April. During these events, local and national experts will discuss socioeconomic, environmental, psychological and political influences on Black women’s health. For more information, visit