Ms. Samuels recently led a discussion on Global Health at Johnson C. Smith University. The goal was to engage our students in understanding the different ways cultural traditions impact healthy eating and how these two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Given her professional experiences and personal background and heritage, Muriel shared with our students the ways she works with local populations in Sierra Leone, particularly women, in exploring ways to cook vegetables and protein for example, in a way that preserves traditions but also improves people’s health. Given the health care system, these teachings help people take more responsibility of their health and improves communities.
The goal was to have our students think about how the topic of global health is approached in both communities and academic spaces. Students were extremely interested in her ideas because as African Americans with some similar gastronomy, they too could reconsider the way their food is prepared and impact on their health.
In her talk, Ms. Samuels helped us consider how culture, tradition, gastronomy and clean eating can be intentionally incorporated in the broader discussion on global health in ways that it empowers people and their communities, renders their humanity visible and doesn’t take away from their culture. Ms. Samuels excitedly discussed a few steps in eating healthily and a junior was especially interested in this idea of seasonal eating and the positive effects on his health, taste-buds and budget. We look forward to having her back!
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