ROCK ISLAND — As part of the Bill Bell Jazz and Heritage Festival this weekend, there will be conversations about sickle cell anemia and mental illness, featuring doctors from the University of Iowa and OSF St. Francis, Peoria, as well as local mental health professionals.

It's part of a growing health awareness initiative from festival sponsor Polyrhythms, which began last year with a forum on autism, said Nate Lawrence, Polyrhythms co-founder.

"We view it as the thing to do, we should be doing," he said Monday. "We're about the health of the community."

This year's free conversations will be Saturday in the Martin Luther King Center, 7th Avenue and 9th Street, Rock Island. The schedule will be:

  • 12:30 p.m. — "Do You Know Your Own Strength?"

Learn how to use your body weight to strengthen your core, arms and legs. Jasmine Lamin Carr will lead a 20-minute workout you can do at home. Free of charge, but donations accepted.

  • 1:30 p.m. — "Sickle Cell Anemia: What is it? What causes it? How is it treated?"

Panel and forum featuring medical professionals from OSF, St. Francis Hospital in Peoria and University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, will share important information regarding Sickle Cell Anemia. Individuals who live with the disease and family members — Glenda Westerfield, Geraldine Lowery, and Crystal Kimbrough-Guy — will share their experiences, challenges and offer insight regarding the needs of patients and family members.

  • 2:45 p.m. — "African-Americans and Mental Illness"

Panel and forum will be facilitated by Dr. Tiffany Stoner, Three Daughters Strong Hearts Counseling and Wellness Center, Rock Island. Additional panelists include Cynthia Green, Lori Elam, Viminda Shafer, and other mental health agencies in the Q-C area.

The panel will speak about issues regarding mental health services available in the community and issues that affect loved ones and caregivers. Johnnie Woods will also share her family's personal struggle with mental illness.

  • 4:30 p.m. — "Explore Beginner's Yoga with Queen Am"

Bring your yoga mat for 30 minutes of a introductory yoga practice and experience.



Jonathan is a reporter for the Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com.

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