For Immediate Release         Tuesday December 15, 2009  


Community Leaders complete CDU Academic Boot Camp

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science congratulated more than a dozen longtime community professionals who recently completed a rigorous “Academic Boot Camp”—a program designed to bolster the university’s commitment in underserved communities.

“You should be applauded for your commitment to improving the health and well-being of the South Los Angeles community,” Dr. Keith Norris, Charles Drew’s Interim President, told an audience Friday in the university’s Keck Auditorium. “We value our partnership with community leaders, such as you, and welcome your continued collaboration in transforming community health through education, research and service.”

Dr. Norris said the university benefits greatly when it taps into the vast resource of community professionals with experience in solving day-to-day problems in South Los Angeles. He said that leaders participating in the “Academic Boot Camp” may eventually end up as members of a community faculty, sharing their well-grounded approach to solving health problems with the next generation of health professionals. That way the institution benefits and so does the community.

“This is a win/win situation,” said Loretta Jones, CEO and Founder of Healthy African American Families, who encouraged the university to start the collaboration and participated in the first boot camp.  “This way, we get better health care by building leaders for tomorrow.”

The idea, Dr. Norris added, is to train health professionals who “treat patients in the community like they are relatives.”

Dr. Richard Baker, dean of CDU’s College of Medicine, said the university was establishing a groundbreaking collaboration.

“This is a proud day,” he said. “We can say we can walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Dr. Baker said the “Academic Boot Camp” is an example of the kind of “community engagement” found in the university’s mission statement: To conduct education, research and clinical services in the context of community engagement to train health professionals who promote wellness, provide care with excellence and compassion, and transform the health of underserved communities.

Dr. Laurie Richlin, director of Office of Faculty Development for CDU, said the community leaders who participated in the boot camp participated in a rigorous training regiment originally designed for CDU faculty members.

“We are going to partner with the community professionals,” she said. “These are professional members of the community who run organizations and write grants. They are stars in the community and we are partnering with them to bring their expertise together with ours.”

The community faculty program was conceptualized by Loretta Jones who worked with Dr. Nell Forge, CDU’s director, division of Community Engagement, on the initiative. Participants included Lettise Bell, a community member; Shirley Gadiok, of Charles Drew University; Andria Hancock-Crear, California Family Health Council, Inc.; Andrea Jones, Healthy African American Families; Felica Jones, Healthy African American Families; Aziza Lucas-Wright, Avalon Carver Community Center; Dretona Maddox, Los Angeles Urban League; Cleo Manago, AmASSI Wellness and Cultural Training Center; D’Ann Morris, Los Angeles Urban League; Norma Mtume, Shields for Families; Janette Robinson-Flint, Black Women for Wellness; Pluscedia Williams, a community member; and Angela Young-Brinn, Healthy African American Families.

  For more information, please contact:
John L. Mitchell
Media Advisor at
Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Telephone: (323) 563-4981 or cell (323) 681-4225

1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
p 323 563 4987  f 323 563 5987

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