West Virginia University Libraries and the WVU School of Public Health are collaborating on an exhibit and talk that examines the impact of socio-economic factors on health issues and connects with the University’s 2017-2018 Campus Read title, Hidden Figures.
Hidden Figures tells the story about three African-American women at NASA—two from West Virginia—and their experience with discrimination in mid-twentieth century America.
Imagining the West Side: Constructing Health through the Built Environment, on display at the Downtown Campus Library Atrium Aug. 7-31, presents a 21st century account of marginalization, population health, economic development and geography specifically with regard to Charleston, W.Va.’s West Side. Dr. Lauri Andress, whose work is visualized in Imagining the West Side exhibition, will provide a narrated tour of the exhibition at 11 a.m. Aug. 24 starting in the DCL Atrium.
“Today health is determined by where we live work and play. But what happens to the health of groups when their community, after years of disinvestment and neglect, is finally restored but the residents can no longer afford the costs to live there?” asks Andress, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership in the WVU School of Public Health.
Andress explains: “Imagining the West Side explores an overlooked form of discrimination that happens when stigmatized groups are marginalized through geography starting with limitations on places where they are allowed to buy property, followed by decades of community neglect and disinvestment, and ending with economic development that transforms the space into a place where the residents are slowly, culturally and economically priced out and displaced by higher income residents.”
Incorporating participatory photoanalytics, GIS mapping, and video with an aim of integrating the voices of vulnerable groups into public policy decision-making, the exhibit sheds light on the built environment and population health status of Charleston’s West Side. Community members and WVU School of Medicine students provided photos and narratives. The exhibition closes with suggested policy solutions to help ensure equitable development.
Following the exhibit tour, comments will be delivered by two individuals who have first-hand experience with Charleston’s West Side, Pastor Matthew Watts, CEO of HOPE Community Development Corporation, and David Fryson, a vice president for West Virginia University and head of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Pastor Watts is senior pastor of Grace Bible Church on the West Side, and founded HOPE Community Development Corporation, with the mission of empowering the residents on the West Side through spiritual renewal, education, training, employment, and economic development.
The presentation is part of WVU Campus Read programming as it relates to the health of marginalized individuals like the women in Hidden Figures and the residents of Charleston and beyond. An exhibition video is available online. The exhibit is jointly facilitated by the WVU School of Public Health, WVU Libraries, and the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and supported in part by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Sally Deskins, Exhibits & Programs Coordinator, WVU Libraries
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