Breaking Distance by BFF – The Covid-19 Pandemic (Ep. 1/ Part 1)

Listen First Episode Part 2

Our first episode will cover the Covid-19 pandemic. Epidemiologist and BFF Ambassador Rebekah Frimpong leads a panel and Q&A on the true nature of the virus. The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco. At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact. The goal of this panel and Q&A is to demystify the virus and offer tangible and reliable advice on combatting Covid-19 while maintaining our humanity and compassion as one human race. Can art and artists have a positive impact on the crisis?

EPISODE NOTES

Thursday, April 2nd Featured panelists include:

  • Rebekah A. Frimpong, MPH, President of CR8:BLK, Doctoral Candidate DrPH
  • Jacqueline Douge, MD, MPH, FAAP
  • Sarpoma Sefa-Boakye, M.D.
  • Gilbert Frank Daniels (Artist – Photojournalist)
  • Raj Shah (Artist – Design/Marketing)
  • Joseph Otsiman (Artist – Actor)
  • Lisa Russell, MPH, World Health Organization COVID-19 Arts Curator (Artist – Filmmaker)
  • Miguel Carter-Fisher (Educator, Visual Artist)

Rebekah A. Frimpong, MPH, President of CR8:BLK, Doctoral Candidate DrPH

Rebekah A. Frimpong, MPH is a dedicated mother, and a Ghanaian-American award winning filmmaker, scholar, researcher, creative strategist, and published author/writer. Rebekah spends her spare time as a mentor to youth and as a community activist fighting for women’s rights and global health issues. Rebekah grew up with a great appreciation for the arts thanks to the exposure her mother provided her at an early age. In her youth, she studied tap dance, ballet, and was a saxophonist in jazz orchestra for seven years. It was this exposure to the arts and her experimentation with painting, crafts, and poetry that led to her developing a passion for the arts and serving the arts community. Rebekah currently works in emergency response helping people recover after disasters and continues creating art working as an independent documentary filmmaker.

Jacqueline Douge, MD, MPH, FAAP

Dr. Douge is the Medical Director for the Bureau of Health Services in Howard County Health Department. She is a pediatrician with a public health background and degrees from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health and Rutgers University. She is also the host of What is Black? Podcast. 

Sarpoma Sefa-Boakye, M.D.

Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Public Speaker and Global Health Expert

Sarpoma Sefa-Boakye, M.D., is a Cuba trained USA, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician and Global Health Medical Expert. Voted Top Doctor San Diego in 2017, and well known for her International work which has been featured on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World News, National Public Radio (NPR) All Things Considered and most notably for receiving honorable mention by former Secretary of the United States Colin Powell to complete her Doctoral Medical training in Cuba.

As an undergraduate at the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A) Dr.Sarpoma majored in International Development Studies with a sub specialization in Public Health of Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America. She later successfully attained her Medical Degree in Spanish on full academic scholarship at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana ,Cuba where she also trained with the National Afro-Cuban Dance Company. Prior to Medical School Dr. Sarpoma also studied one year at the University of Ghana at Legon where she completed field work research on the Safe Motherhood initiative in the maternity centers of Accra Ghana, her country of origin. Shortly after completing her Medical training Dr.Sarpoma became the first International Medical Director of the Birthing Project USA, an organization aimed at increasing Maternal and Infant survival rates in woman globally. She advocates for donations of medical supplies globally and sparked a very successful safe birth kit distribution campaign which resulted in securing medical birthing supplies for more than 10k women in such countries as Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, Honduras and India. She is a true innovator in her field and has lead many medical missions in West Africa primarily in Ghana, providing medical supplies and Safe Birth Kits to families in need. She is also an Independent Medical Examiner offering insight and medical expertise to Veterans. She is currently practicing medicine in San Diego, California where she lives with her family.

Gilbert Frank Daniels 

Ugandan based photojournalist Daniels, known as Bwette, is a former breakdancer turned activist. Bwette develops and executes projects that include hip-hop diplomacy using the art of movement as a tool for youth empowerment and working to use his photography to tell the stories of young African visionaries. 

Raj Shah

Raj is a Senior Visual Designer and Professional Photographer at Condé Nast in NYC and has been an Ambassador for Beauty for Freedom since 2015. He believes deeply that creative expression can provide infinite paths to empowerment. He is committed to using the power of storytelling to move hearts and minds into action.

Joseph Otsiman

Ghanaian actor, producer and radio presenter/DJ, Otsiman is noted for his role as Pastor John Moses in The Cursed Ones and Kojo Bonsu in The Burial of Kojo. Otsiman attended the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT). He is an AMA Awards nominee for the role he played in his first feature film The Cursed Ones in 2015. He is the Co-Founder of Greenyard Entertainment; a production house that is currently involved in short films and web series.

Lisa Russell, MPH, WHO COVID-19 Arts Curator at World Health Organization

Lisa Russell, MPH is an Emmy-winning filmmaker with a Masters in Public Health who has been producing films and creative campaigns and curating artistic performances for UN/NGO agencies for the past 10+ years. An avid proponent of narrative justice and responsible storytelling, Lisa has been a featured speaker and workshop facilitator at some of the leading global health gatherings including TEDxJNJ (Johnson & Johnson), Switchpoint, Envision, Unite for Sight, and others. Lisa is also the CEO/Founder of StoryShifter, a new entertainment portal where tech and culture meet for the social good. Residing in Brooklyn, NY, Lisa is also a teaching artist for young artists in NYC.

Miguel Carter-Fisher

Miguel Carter-Fisher is currently based in his hometown, Richmond, Virginia. His interest in the arts began as a child and was nurtured by his father, the late painter Bill Fisher. At 18 he moved to Connecticut, where he studied both painting and philosophy at the University of Hartford. After graduating, Miguel moved to Brooklyn to attend the New York Academy of Art. There he studied traditional drawing, painting, and composition techniques. After graduate school, he worked at Soho Art Materials, where he educated artists, collectors, and galleries on diverse methods and materials of painting. Since returning to Richmond in 2014, Miguel has taught at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Milk River Arts, Bon Air Juvenile Corrections Center through Art 180, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He is currently an assistant professor and studio arts coordinator at Virginia State University. Miguel’s work has been exhibited at various galleries in New York, Virginia, DC, Massachusetts, Washington, and abroad.

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