Locals join McKeesport public health panel
A McKeesport pastor and the city's public high school principal are on a new panel aiming to prevent violence and promote community mental health.
“We did not want people to get confused and think that we were just talking about a psychological issue,” the Rev. Earlene Coleman of Bethlehem Baptist Church said on Thursday. “This takes in a greater context of what mental health is about.”
Coleman and acting county health director Dr. Ron Voorhees will co-chair the 23-member Public Health Commission on Preventing Violence and Promoting Community Mental Health announced by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
“Community violence is a public health problem,” Fitzgerald said. “In order for us to have any impact at all on this issue, we need to start approaching it from a public health perspective.”
McKeesport Area High School principal Mark Holtzman Jr. also was named. School spokeswoman Kristen Giran said Holtzman looks forward to being a part of the panel.
The commission will meet monthly, make a preliminary report public by year's end, and then present a finished plan a year from now.
Coleman was contacted by Austin Davis, a Fitzgerald aide from McKeesport, and the executive's spokeswoman Amie Downs about co-chairing the panel.
“I have stated many times to others in my community that we must sit down collectively,” Coleman said. “This is not a ‘you' or an ‘I' problem, it is an ‘our' problem, and ‘we' must work together to solve it.”
Downs said Fitzgerald named Coleman because she “initiated several programs geared to fighting community violence (including) the Rally in the Valley, Day of Coming Together, the Noah's Ark Community Center, Law Enforcement Sundays, Project Reach, among many others.”
Downs noted Holtzman's role as principal of a high school and McKeesport Area Technology Center that serve more than 1,200 students.
Coleman and Fitzgerald said the idea for the commission came from state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-East End.
Some other panel members also have Mon-Yough ties. T. Rashad Byrdsong is president and CEO of the Community Empowerment Association, which has various programs in McKeesport and other Mon Valley communities.
Wilford Payne is executive director of Primary Care Health Services in Braddock.
Voorhees and Gainey are among the public officials on the panel, with state Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Beechview, and Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District; county Medical Examiner Dr. Karl E. Williams and Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III; and Wilkinsburg police Chief Ophelia Coleman.
Also named are Ralph L. Bangs, associate director of the Center on Race & Social Problems at the University of Pittsburgh; Loren H. Roth, Pitt associate senior vice chancellor; Richard Garland, coordinator of the Violence Prevention Project at Pitt's School of Public Health; Valerie Dixon, executive director of the Prevent Another Crime Today initiative; Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow, dean of Duquesne University's School of Nursing; the Rev. Glenn Grayson of Wesley Center AME Zion Church in the Hill District; Kevin Jenkins, director of community initiatives for the Pittsburgh Foundation; Magdeline Jensen, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh; Marcia A. Martin, vice president of Gateway Health; Beth Monteverde, executive director of Residential Care Services; Joni Siff Schwager, executive director of the Staunton Farm Foundation; Edith Shapira, Pittsburgh Foundation board chair; and Patricia L. Valentine, a deputy director of the county Department of Human Services.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bad exhaust fan caused ‘massive’ carbon monoxide leak in Duquesne retirement home, officials say
- Auberle celebrates success stories in employment, outreach programs
- Elizabeth proposes big jump in small local services tax; councilwoman steps down
- Clairton City School District wins award for its anti-hunger efforts
- Elizabeth mayor hails police department’s role in ‘major’ heroin bust in Clairton
- Auditor general: West Mifflin Area audit raises concerns about district’s financial health
- Detective testifies Homestead man punched him
- DA Zappala lauds Duquesne partnership, drop in crime rate
- Elizabeth Forward school board takes out $6.55M loan as precaution
- South Allegheny school board rules out tax referendum
- ‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’ casts spell at Grand Theatre in Elizabeth