Penn State Greater Allegheny to conclude its Black Women’s Health Series

Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport will host its final Crossing Bridges Summit event of the 2020-21 academic year on Thursday, April 15. Panelists will discuss “Political Influences on Black Women’s Health” during a 3 p.m. live broadcast on WPSU, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network serve as the Platinum Sponsors for the event, which 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’s summit considered issues raised in “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race” 2019 report. Beginning in October 2020, the summit placed Black women’s health at the center of its work and examined the topic from several perspectives.  Throughout the series panelists considered medical, socioeconomic, environmental and psychological perspectives of Black women’s health.

“As we planned our work, we intentionally ended with a panel focused on policy,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor, and chief academic officer at Penn State Greater Allegheny. “Effective policy is informed by the needs of those it is intended to assist.  This has been year of listening; listening to the stories of women and their experiences in the communities we serve.  We believe by engaging with the women, and partnering with them, we have the potential to bring about meaningful change.”

Panelists for the April 15 event include Morgan Cephas, state representative, 192nd District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Rikell S. Ford, licensed social worker and peer coach specialist, Allegheny County Department of Human Services; Rochelle L. Jackson, director/founder, Black Women's Policy Agenda and Dr. Stella Onuoha-Obilor, vice president, Clinical Quality Highmark Health.

Dr. Johnathan White, Assistant Teaching Professor of History at Penn State Greater Allegheny will serve as the moderator.

Immediately following the panel, Greater Allegheny will host a virtual Summit Talk and engage participants in a policy writing workshop.  There is no cost to attend the Summit Talk, but registration is required.  Please visit

“Our events this year have reached a wide, national audience.  People continue to watch the archive recordings, demonstrating a desire to learn about the serious inequities faced by Black women,” said Edmondson.  “We are humbled to play a small role in bringing attention to this critical topic.”

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.  For more information, please visit