Rooted in Resilience Tour Comes to Dallas

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This weekend, the Rooted in Resilience Tour is making its much-awaited third and final stop in Dallas.

The tour is a collaboration between the National Pan Hellenic Council’s Black Greek Letter Consortium (BGLC), the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program through Baylor Scott & White Health, the Community Council of Greater Dallas, and a host of other community partners. Its main objective is to foster collaboration within the black community across various areas, including medical research, community empowerment, and spiritual enlightenment.

The BGLC comprises nine National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations that have come together to support the All of Us Research Program’s goal, which is “to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay healthy,” according to its website.

The Dallas Express spoke with Dr. Jennifer “J.J.” Jones, the executive director at SMU and BGLC program coordinator, about the importance of this event to the community.

The 2024 Rooted in Resilience Tour is marking its third year, with this year’s stops in Jackson, Mississippi, in February; in Miami, Florida, in March; and in Dallas, Texas, from April 5–7. The three-day event is open to anyone and is free of charge.

The tour was borne from the 2020 “Rooted in Research” webinar series that came into existence during the COVID lockdowns.

“After each webinar, we would poll the people who participated, asking what they need and how they could fill in the gaps,” explained Dr. Jones. “Resoundingly, it was mental health.”

This led to a ‘Rooted in’ series that ranged from “Rooted in Culture” to “Rooted in Rhetoric” and more. From this came the Rooted in Resilience Tour.

“We took the three Cs — college, community, and church — and each day represents one of these themes,” explained Jones.

Jones mentioned that the three-day event is designed to disseminate information in an engaging and entertaining way. The event utilizes a variety of activities and games, including mock game shows like Family Feud and interactive games like Bingo, to encourage participation and make learning fun.

On April 5, day one of the tour in Dallas will be held at Paul Quinn College, 3837 Simpson Stuart Rd., at 6 p.m. in the Grand Lounge.

The first of the three Cs, college, will be the theme of the evening, which will include a mental health panel discussion. This night is “resounding[ly] the most effective, attentive piece of the weekend,” said Jones.

“We have health providers from the city, from the college, as well as students,” she added. The discussion will be moderated by mental health influencer and advocate Jade E. Mathis, Judge Greg Mathis’ daughter.

During the event, the All of Us Research Program will be comprehensively discussed to examine its advantages, prospects, obstacles, and pertinence to mental health and medical research within diverse communities.

Jones noted that the program is “centered around precision medicine,” wherein individuals are considered based on “different factors in life, and a diagnosis and medication that is geared to them” is developed.

Day two of the tour in Dallas will be held on April 6 at the YMCA at Oak Cliff, 6701 S. Hampton Rd, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will focus on the second of the three Cs: community.

“This is the community day, and is a fun-filled day,” said Jones. “Bring everyone, and come and have a good time.”

“We will be providing information throughout the day,” she added. “We will have local entertainment, including dancers, singers… vendors, food, health care representatives, kids’ zone,” and more.

“Baylor Scott & White will be able to enroll people into the program if they are interested” on April 6, explained Jones, or interested individuals may join any time online.

Enrolling a diverse sample population in the program will help to develop and provide more effective and individualized care. For instance, many medications were developed based on a uniform demographic, “which is why sometimes our medications don’t work for us,” Jones said.

Jones is passionate about tailoring healthcare to one’s individual needs, as she is a two-time survivor of breast cancer.

“This program has empowered me to be a champion for my own health – to ask questions – you just can’t give me a pill. … I don’t need you to mask what is going on with me; I need you to cure it. If you can’t cure it, I’m not taking a pill,” she explained. “This is very personal to me.”

Jones shared that her message was never “Why me?” but “Thank you, Lord, for allowing and showing favor in me to share my testimony to those people who need to hear it.”

Day three of the tour in Dallas will be held on April 7 at 10 a.m. at Friendship-West Baptist Church, 2020 W. Wheatland Rd. The last of the three Cs, church, will be the theme of the morning. After the service, “we will be in a room to have more intimate conversations, and there will also be a mini health fair,” she explained.

The Rooted in Resilience Tour brings together the message that “this is a fight for your freedom to be a champion of your own health,” Jones said. “You need to be able to advocate for yourself and leave a legacy of health.”

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