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Advance African Development: Improving the Quality of Lives in the U.S. and Africa

Posted by on November 20th, 2014 Posted in: The MAReport

Annamore MatambanadzoMember Spotlight

Annamore Matambanadzo, PhD, MEd, BEd, STC
Founder / Executive Director
Advance African Development, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

I am the Founder and Executive Director of Advance African Development (AAD), a non-profit organization formed in 2012.  Our mission is to respond to issues of health disparities, social justice, and human rights issues, both locally and internationally by partnering, collaborating, and supporting the development of culturally relevant intervention programs using a multidisciplinary approach.  AAD strives to improve the quality of people’s lives and empower individuals by offering community-based participatory and evidence-driven programs through leadership development, community capacity building, research, education, training, advocacy, services, and outreach to eliminate disparities, inequalities, and promote social justice and human dignity.

Health Literacy Program, University Preparatory 6-12 School, Pittsburgh, PA
Health Literacy Program, University Preparatory 6-12 School, Pittsburgh, PA

AAD is grounded in the Ubuntu philosophy that reminds us of our membership in an ecosystem.  In that ecosystem, we thrive because of our grounding in communal efforts, and we embrace the belief that you cannot exist as a human being without the support of others.  We promote a spirit of kinship across both race and creed by uniting mankind to a common purpose.  We are inspired by Nelson Mandela’s words that:  “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.”

ADD offers a variety of community initiatives both locally and in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage community members and academic institutions as it articulates its holistic and interdisciplinary vision, i.e., educating, empowering and shaping a sustainable future for individuals, families, communities and society-at-large.  Driven by the African phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” we continue to collaborate and partner with schools, universities, health care systems, free clinics, federally-funded health care centers, public libraries, faith-based organizations, other community agencies, and service providers.  AAD is an affiliate member of the NN/LM MAR and we have benefited and been supported immensely by MAR, especially the administrators and consumer outreach staff.

Students mapping community health and healthy characteristics for service learning projectsStudents mapping community health and healthy characteristics for service learning projects

As Executive Director, I wear many hats and provide a wide range of administrative and supervisory responsibilities including grant writing, fundraising, identifying potential program initiatives, curriculum development for program implementation and quality control, negotiating and establishing academic-community partnerships, and more.  I provide professional event/conference planning services, train and provide technical support for community health workers, and consultant services to several federal agencies.  These have included the Office of Minority Health, Office on Women’s Health, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of Minority Health Resource Center, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), non-federal agencies in the U.S., and both government and non-government agencies in Sub-Saharan Africa.  I serve on committees such as Obesity Prevention Oversight, Obesity Prevention Working group, as well as the Preventative Health Oversight and Preventative Health Work Group of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Class presentations of service learning projects to address health disparities in their communitiesClass presentations of service learning projects to address health disparities in their communities

AAD works with underserved, marginalized, and hard-to-reach minority populations, the homeless, school children, as well as immigrants and refugees.  Our focus is on health promotion and disease prevention with both domestic and international programs framed within the context of social determinants of health, health disparities, and Healthy People 2020.

I bring a background that is a combination of decades of experience in Zimbabwe and southern Africa.  My contributions as an academic and professional, and my health disparities work in the Center for Minority Health (CMH), now known as the Center for Health Equity, Graduate School of Public Health and the Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  I have engaged in lifelong learning to re-skill myself and keep abreast of my evolving career roles and positions.

Training community health workers at Temple University, Philadelphia, PATraining community health workers at
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

As a Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine for the past seven years, I was actively involved in interdisciplinary minority health disparities research.  When I joined the department, my initial responsibility was to direct a large, federally-funded, community-based study to assess risk factors contributing to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in African American women.  Previously, I was a Research Associate for the Center for Minority Health (CMH) where I made significant contributions to the development and implementation of a baseline assessment for The Healthy Class of 2010 (HC2010):  A School-Based Health Promotion Demonstration Research Project, implemented as a partnership between University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and Pittsburgh Public Schools.  This scholarly research allowed the CMH to transition their school-based program into a cohort research study.

Family night at Weil Academy School, Pittsburgh, PAFamily night at Weil Academy
School, Pittsburgh, PA

I am the most passionate about my on-going local Health Literacy to Promote Positive Youth Development:  An Interdisciplinary Approach Program.  This is a school-based, in-class, student-centered, experiential, and technology-based health promotion and disease prevention program being implemented at two Pittsburgh public schools and targets a cohort of 9th and 10th graders.  Our aim is to empower adolescents by equipping them with health literacy skills and competencies using appropriate technologies to disseminate health information, reduce health disparities, and promote their academic and non-academic competencies.  Helping students stay healthy and developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills is foundational to the mission of schools.  Now in its third year at one school and second year at another, more than 300 students participated during 2013-2014 and currently nearly 200 students are involved with the program in Fall 2014.  I am encouraged by the interest already expressed to expand this program to other schools, including the middle school level.  Current program implementation is funded with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Zimbabwean women learning life skills on the street since they have no office space, Southern African Empowerment Initiatives: Zimbabwean Women in Exile in South AfricaZimbabwean women learning life skills on the street since they have no office space, Southern African Empowerment Initiatives: Zimbabwean Women in Exile in South Africa

Also, I am equally passionate about my on-going research focus on mental health with immigrants/refuges in the U.S. and Southern African.  I am engaging community partners to further develop my research interests with survivors of political, domestic, and intimate partner violence to explore the intersection of their trauma and health outcomes.  I am a certified facilitator for a number of best practices and evidence-based intervention curricula intended to improve health outcomes among minority and underserved communities.

I hold both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education from the University of Zimbabwe, as well as a PhD and PhD certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.  I am a Fulbright Scholar, Delta Kappa Gamma Fellow, Region III Master Trainer for Community Health Workers [Office on Women’s Health, Women’s Health Leadership Institute (WHLI)], an Alternate WHLI Master Trainer for 2014 Special Populations in Hagatna, Guam (Pacific Islanders Community Health Workers), and a 2013 NIH/NIMHD Translational Health Disparities Scholar.  I also serve as a national and international consultant on cultural competency, African immigrant and refugee health, and community activist on social justice issues.

Image of the author ABOUT Hannah Sinemus
Hannah Sinemus is the Web Experience Coordinator for the Middle Atlantic Region (MAR). Although she updates the MAR web pages, blog, newsletter and social media, Hannah is not the sole author of this content. If you have questions about a MARquee or MAReport posting, please contact the Middle Atlantic Region directly at nnlmmar@pitt.edu.

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This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System.

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