Cleveland State College of Sciences and Health Professions senior Aliyah Bolden has used her knowledge from CSU and several community outreach programs to help address health disparities in her local community.
“The programs have been very eye-opening. I grew up on the west side and saw how the opioid epidemic was affecting my community,” explained Bolden. “After seeing its effects, I wanted to learn more about the misuse of drugs and apply that awareness to my everyday life.”
Bolden is a member of the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) scholars program, which helps health professions students gain additional knowledge and experience in underserved settings. She quickly became a mentor for other undergraduates in the Urban Health Fellows Program, helping to further the program’s goals encouraging students to think critically about community needs, health disparities between communities, and public health issues.
In addition to being an AHEC scholar and CSU pre-med student, Bolden has earned an EMT Certificate from Tri-C and recently received national and state certification. She served on Promote Educate and Prevent (PEP), a program that focuses on mental health and substance abuse disorders. PEP educates adults and children on how to correctly take prescriptions, store medicine safely and properly dispose of unused prescriptions.
Bolden completed the TINAD (This Is Not About Drugs) course offered by the PEP Program, which focuses on drugs and mental health, and is primarily geared towards youth audiences like middle school students. She also serves on the National Society of Leadership and Success executive board as the organization’s President, an experience she says has contributed to her personal growth and willingness to actively engage with surrounding communities.
“Knowing more about the opioid crisis and how it impacts underserved communities is beneficial to anyone including family, friends, and even health professionals,” Bolden said. “It is important to see the epidemic from the user’s perspective and learn how to talk with people who are susceptible to addiction or thinking about starting a prescription.”
Aliyah Bolden is pursuing a health sciences major with minors in biology and sociology with a pre-med track. CSUs’ partnerships with programs like AHEC provide students with opportunities to practice what they learn In real-life situations.
Read about Aliyah Bolden’s first-person account of advocating in her community here.