Community Leaders Named to Speak on the Effects of Gun Violence on Five Denver Neighborhoods at 2040 Health Summit, Feb. 23

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2040 Partners for Health is hosting a panel to discuss gun violence in Park Hill, Northeast Park Hill, Northwest Aurora, East Montclair and Stapleton

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The 2040 Health Summit, a project of the nonprofit 2040 Partners for Health, will include a panel of community leaders exploring gun violence and its effect on five Denver neighborhoods (Park Hill, Northeast Park Hill, Northwest Aurora, East Montclair and Stapleton). The panel discussion will be followed by a breakout session where participants can explore what their communities can do to reduce gun violence. The 2040 Health Summit will take place February 23 at the Denver School for the Arts, Montview and Quebec.

2040 Partners for Health Executive Director Janet Meredith said, “Like heart disease, diabetes, mental health issues and asthma, gun violence is a public health issue that has a direct effect on ordinary people and their families.”

The free event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Registration is requested at, or by calling 720-216-0076, extension 101 to ensure enough lunches for everyone.

Moderators for the Gun Violence Panel:

Michele Wheeler is a long-time resident of Denver; the Community Liaison for 2040 Partners for Health; former Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Denver District Attorney's Office; current Community Relations Ombudsman for the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor; and President of the Northeast Park Hill Coalition.

Cerise Hunt, MSW, has served as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice for more than three years. In this role, she has successfully developed and facilitated cultural competency trainings throughout Colorado. She was instrumental in the formation of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative and the Far Northeast Health Alliance. She was formerly the Health Disparities Specialist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Health Disparities.

Community Members Participating on the Gun Violence Panel:

Terrance Roberts, resident of the Park Hill/Mayfair, is founder and Executive Director of The Prodigal Son Initiative, a nonprofit that provides young people with positive tools and knowledge they need to succeed. Growing up without positive male role models, Terrance became a member of the Bloods, one of the most violent gangs in Northeast Denver. He spent most of his teen years and early 20s affiliated with this group. After being shot in the back in 1993 and spending nearly a decade in and out of prison, Terrance decided to not only change his own life, but to also give hope children in the community who face some of the same challenges that he had faced growing up.

Thelma Craig is Chair of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative. The mission of the Collaborative, which strives to ensure that Black communities have resources to sustain optimal health and well-being, is to achieve health equity in Colorado’s Black community. Thelma is also a Project Administrator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, STD/HIV Care and Treatment Programs. She has served in various capacities in public health and the community for 25 years.

Armando Diaz was raised in Denver. A resident of Green Valley Ranch, Armando and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child. Armando will bring a youth's perspective to the panel, as well as his personal experiences with gun violence.

Katherine Bakes, MD, obtained her medical degree from Harvard and currently is Associate Pediatric Trauma Director and Director of the Denver Emergency Center for Children at Denver Health Medical Center; Associate Professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine; Director of the Denver Emergency Center for Children and Clinical Instructor for the Department of Emergency Medicine at The Children’s Hospital, Denver. She is Board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

Pastor Reginald Holmes, pastor of the new Covenant Christian Church in Park Hill, is an active member of the Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance. He is a leader in Prayer Across the City, which is encouraging prayer vigils following a series of gun-related murders in Denver in 2012, and is also involved in planning a safety summit in 2013.

Gun Violence Breakout Session Moderators:

Following the panel discussion, the Summit will offer a breakout session on gun violence. Moderators will be Dr. Comilla Sasson and Michele Wheeler (above).

Comilla Sasson, MD, MS, is an attending physician at the University of Colorado Hospital and assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado. She was working in the Emergency Department at University Hospital the night of the Aurora theater shootings. In addition to moderating this panel, she will be giving a presentation on cardiac arrest at the Summit.
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The mission of 2040 Partners for Health is to advance the health and healthcare of community residents for the long term by convening and facilitating health discussions, research, programs and other community based action, using Community-Based Participatory Research and Action principles, through a collaboration with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the five neighborhoods.

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Erich Kirshner
Kirshner Communications
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