Having “the talk” is hard for everyone, but for African Americans, end-of-life discussions are especially challenging. Compounded by the social and economic issues that have altered the lives of families for generations, Black people are statistically shown to have shorter life spans due to comorbidities, health care disparities, and a disposition to experiencing a violent death. Add to this a long history of mistrust and fear of medical and death care institutions, many families inadequately plan for a healthy life, let alone an honorable death.
Intended primarily for African Americans and their families who wish to take first steps towards advance care planning, audiences will learn the following:
- Strategies and tools for managing conflict, stress, and grief among family members
- How to take the first steps in talking to loved ones about expressing their values and wishes
- What to do in case of serious illness such as COVID-19 or sudden death from an act of violence.
- Finding spiritual guidance at local churches and community centers
- Having this discussion with younger generations and those without a religious affiliation
This event is part of TABLE TALK, a four-part series created by and for people of color and other underrepresented communities to inspire better living, ensure greater equity in end-of-life care, and celebrate our contributions to the world. We invite people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen, and learn, but ultimately, we are creating space for these communities to thrive, educate, and spread love to their peers, families, and friends.
Corey L. Kennard, Moderator | Pastor of Amplify Christian Church and activist in the field of healthcare, Corey possesses a holistic approach (body, mind, and spirit) that serves as the foundation for his desire to see all human beings treated with dignity, honor, and respect in all facets of life. He began his active work in ministry as well as the business sector over 25 years ago. Corey earned a Master's Degree from Ashland Theological Seminary and carries out his passion for people as a daring and devoted agent of change. In addition to serving as a Pastor and healthcare activist, Pastor Corey is a Spiritual Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Partner/Board Member for several community organizations that seek to uplift the poor and vulnerable in society. As a credit to his work, he has received the Michigan Chronicle's Men Of Excellence Award as being one of the Top 50 Most Influential African-American Men in the Metropolitan Detroit Region.
Corey has been involved in the field of healthcare for over 20 years with over a decade of experience in the areas of Palliative Care and Hospice. He currently seeks to enhance the patient/family experience in healthcare settings. His work has also included leading a spiritual care team at one of Detroit's largest hospitals, and formerly serving as a Faculty Lead for Duke University's Institute on Care at the End Of Life (ICEOL) national training program called, "APPEAL." In this role, he was instrumental in co-creating a national teaching module for understanding spirituality at the end of life for African-Americans. He has provided intensive, hands-on consultation, as-well-as informative and motivational conference presentations to Healthcare Professionals and Faith Community Leaders on the importance and impact of a person's spirituality while facing illness. He had also served as a National Advisory Board Member for The Hospice Foundation of America, as a Co-Director of a Community Faith "Advance Care Planning" Project for the University of Virginia, and serves as a board member of Reimagine.
Michelle Drayton, RN, MPH | As the Director for Access and Outreach within the division of Hospice and Palliative Care at Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VSNY), Michelle Drayton, increases patient access to hospice care, particularly among African Americans through an initiative called HOPE. Michelle came to VNSNY with over 25 years of experience in healthcare management, program development, nursing and public policy. Ms. Drayton holds a Master’s Degree in public health from Hunter College and a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing from CUNY. She also holds certificates in executive management and public policy from Columbia University’s School of Business and the Center for Women in Government, respectively. Michelle successfully worked with her colleagues at VNSNY to secure a $500,000.00 grant to improve access to end of life care for African Americans and Latinos, and expand the reach of the HOPE program to the South Bronx. She is a national speaker on issues concerning health and wellness, disparities in health outcomes, health literacy and is passionate about addressing social determinants of health. Michelle has joined VNSNY’s business development department and looks forward to expanding community engagement and involvement throughout the organization through the HOPE program, and participation in the newly formed Community Engagement and Anti-Racism Workgroups.
Rev. Cynthia Carter Perrilliat, MPA | Rev. Perrilliat is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA), a faith-based program in partnership with local clinical, academic, and community organizations. The ACCA Advanced Illness Care Program™ helps persons needing advanced illness care and their caregivers address spiritual, advance care planning, health (physical and psychosocial), social and caregiving needs by empowering participants and linking them to trusted resources in the community. Since the ACCA began in 2013, the Advanced Illness Care Program™ has expanded to over 20 African American churches in Alameda County and Contra Costa County.
Rev. Brondon Reems | Rev. Reems serves as Co-Pastor of the Center of Hope Community Church--an affiliate of the Alameda County Care Alliance--and is a community activist based in Oakland, CA. He has provided Christmas dinner, warm coats and sweaters to the inmates at Alameda County Juvenile Hall; established a Prison Ministry, visiting and ministering to inmates in Santa Rita Prison weekly; and coordinates employment development internships, co-op training programs, and the Paul Reems Computer Academy and Educational Facility Training Program for youth. He works with the homeless, families in distress and individuals coping with substance abuse and emotional disabilities. He is the co-founder of the Oakland's Potters House for Young Men, a 24-hour residential care facility for young teens who have become wards of the state. For the past two years, he has developed Point Man, a ministry addressing the spiritual and emotional needs of men finding their way to Christ. Pastor Reems attended Bethany Bible College and holds a masters degree from Sacramento Theological Seminary.
Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D. | Dr. Rev. White Hammond is Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Boston, MA and the Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School (HDS). As director of the Women’s Ministry, Pastor Gloria is passionate about equipping women to become leaders in their church, their communities and beyond. In 2012, she launched the Significant Women Discipleship Ministry that coaches 130 women leaders in small groups. Her other innovations include Shatter the Silence, a faith-based network of congregations to address sexual victimization of women and men in predominantly African American communities; and, Planning Ahead, a ministry to encourage church members to begin conversations and complete their advance directives regarding their wishes for end-of-life care.
This event is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Richard Payne, an internationally-recognized expert in the areas of pain relief, palliative care, oncology, neurology, and African American advance care planning.