Biobehavioral Health head honored for Black History Month

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Collins Airhihenbuwa, professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health, has been recognized during Black History Month by the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities celebrates the current contributions made by African Americans in improving health disparities. This year’s theme, “Black History in the Making,” highlights individuals at the local, state, national and international level who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of African-Americans.

“I am very humbled by this recognition particularly in this historical moment as we are reminded of why the civil rights framework remains a pivotal instrument for achieving social justice for all,” Airhihenbuwa said. “For me, February is a perfect month to celebrate black history because it is like no other month on the calendar. Like African-Americans and U.S. history, February is so consequential to the calendar that it is our referent for knowing if we have a regular year or leap year.”

Airhihenbuwa’s research interests include global health and culture, and interventions in health promotion.

“My research is but one small example of the legacy of the civil rights movement, both in making it possible for me to have a voice as a scholar and also in framing public health intervention from cultural lenses so that voices that were once silent can be heard,” he said.

Another honoree this year is Robert Smith, executive director of Central Mississippi Health Services Inc. Smith is a principal founder of the local and national community health center movement, and was a participant in national programs, such as Public Law 89239 which brought the advances of heart, cancer and stroke treatments to the local community.

For more information on “Black History in the Making,” visit

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Last Updated February 12, 2015