Women leaders share community health insights

March 8, 2019

Susan Brown Davis, Nadine Marsh-Carter, and Connie Pechura, Ph. D. joined the board of the Jenkins Foundation this year.

The Jenkins Foundation, a pace-setting philanthropic organization addressing the health needs of Greater Richmond and governed by a board of all women, welcomes three new board members this year: Susan Brown Davis, Nadine Marsh-Carter, and Connie Pechura, Ph.D. We asked these women for their insights into our region’s most emergent health need. Here’s what they had to say:

Susan Brown Davis: In my experience working with several different foundations, I’m struck by how our community’s need for children’s mental health services is greater than the resources we currently have to address it. While we have some great organizations providing services and advocacy for children’s mental health – ChildSaversVirginia Treatment Center for Children and Voices for Virginia’s Children come to mind – I see a need to increase the number of medical professionals and community health navigators to ensure families know their options and how to access them. We have to get our children healthy.

Nadine Marsh-Carter: Our most emergent health challenge is the impact of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) in the lives of children and families. Trauma and ACEs impact the physical, mental and emotional health of people from all segments of our community, leading to significantly higher rates of chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart and circulatory diseases, and mental illness.  We must be more proactive in addressing trauma and ACEs because treating trauma can ameliorate these tragic outcomes. Trauma is best treated and resilience developed in the context of healthy relationships and family stability. By creating and supporting healthy families, we create healthy communities.

Connie Pechura, Ph. D.: Identifying a single pressing health issue in the Richmond area, for me, is an almost impossible task. In the current environment, however, I believe lack of access to quality care for mental health and substance use disorders is a key issue for health in the region. By quality, I mean use of individualized assessment and treatment planning that allows for the full range of evidence-based treatment choices tailored to the individual needs. In addition, quality demands that providers and programs, which are unable or choose not to provide the full range of options, at the very least fully disclose all options to patients so patients can make informed choices about their care.

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