Key Takeaways

  • Every year, NISC's annual Programs of Excellence Awards honor and promote the outstanding programs offered by senior centers across the country.

  • Learn more about Black History Celebration, the 2022 Programs of Excellence Award Winner in the Social and Support Services category.

NISC Programs of Excellence 

  • Year Awarded: 2022
  • Programs of Excellence Name: Black History Celebration
  • Hosting Organization: Sonna Singleton Gregory Senior Center, Ellenwood, Georgia
  • Ellenwood Population: 43,552
  • 60+ Population: 8,481
  • Senior Center  Members: 1,454

About the Black History Celebration

Black History is often celebrated in a negative light through stories such as the history of slavery. Sonna Singleton Gregory Senior Center hosted a Black History Celebration that took a non-traditional approach, featuring Black health care practitioners speaking on a variety of key topics.

The senior center's program was innovative by focusing on Black wellness and medicine in light of the fact that segregation and structural racism persist within U.S. Health care system.

Because the complex history of race in the medical field is rarely acknowledged and often misunderstood, senior center staff wanted to clear up misunderstandings and review the historical roots of Black American medicine. 

Attendees at the Black History Celebration also heard from partnering organizations about health disparities in the Black American communities. The goal of the event was to enlighten senior center participants to help improve their quality of health. The center wanted participants to learn about the disparities and the quality of health care between Black patients and non-Black patients that would help with determining how to create systems that support their medical needs. Also, learning about which illnesses often affect the Black community could help enhance treatment plans. 

Participants heard about nutrition as well as diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and mental illness and ways these diseases affect the Black community. Organizations such as Piedmont Henry, Center Well, Black Pink, Southern Pearl Dentistry and OakStreet Health served as partners. These organizations are pillars in the community and beyond. 

Sonna Singleton Gregory Presents Black History Celebration

Key takeaways from the Black History Celebration:

  • The center's Black History Celebration highlighted the important contributions Black professionals made and are making to the health care field.
  • Attendees at the Black History Celebration also received knowledge from partnering organizations about health disparities in Black American communities.
  • The center plans to repeat the event in an ongoing effort to serve the center's diverse participants.

About the Sonna Singleton Gregory Senior Center

The Sonna Singleton Gregory Senior Center is one of Clayton County Senior Services' newer facilities. Most of their partnerships and sponsorships were developed through the recent Black History Celebration. The center welcomes seniors 55 and older to participate in a variety of programs for socialization, learning and entertainment. Many of our programs are designed with an emphasis on health and wellness which include health screenings, exercise programs, nutrition, education, and field trips.