Month: June 2020

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Becomes President of the IMHOTEP Connecticut NMA Society

FARMINGTON, CT- On July 1, 2020, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin becomes President of the IMHOTEP Connecticut NMA Society, a community-based affiliated organization of the National Medical Association. The National Medical Association (NMA) represents the interests of Black Physicians and the patients that they serve.

“On behalf of the State of Connecticut, we are honored that Dr. Laurencin will now be the President of the IMHOTEP Connecticut NMA Society. His leadership in cutting-edge healthcare, science and engineering makes him a driving force for change.” says Senator Douglas McCrory, Deputy President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut state Senate.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is a designated University Professor at the University of Connecticut. He is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Laurencin earned a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, and his M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School, and received the Robinson Award for Surgery. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was named a Hugh Hampton Young Fellow.

In Connecticut, he has been honored by the Urban League of Greater Hartford, the Hartford Public School System and the Connecticut State Legislature for his work in the community. He is an appointed member of the State of Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board and he currently serves as a Commissioner of Boxing for the State of Connecticut. Dr. Laurencin served as Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Connecticut where he was the faculty leader of the state’s Bioscience Connecticut Initiative. He has been recognized as a Connecticut Health Care Hero by Connecticut Magazine.

Dr. Laurencin is active in mentoring, especially students of color. He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award, the Beckman Award for Mentoring and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring in ceremonies at the White House. The Society for Biomaterials established The Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. Travel Fellowship in his honor, awarded to underrepresented students of color pursuing research.

Dr. Laurencin is an expert in public health, especially as it pertains to racial and ethnic health and health disparities. He is a core faculty member of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, published by Springer Nature, the leading journal of the field.

Nationally, he co-Founded the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute, dedicated to addressing Health Disparities, and served as its Founding Chair. Dr. Laurencin served as a trustee of the National Medical Association for over 10 years, and served as Speaker of the House of Delegates for that organization. The W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute and the National Medical Association established the Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award, given during the opening ceremonies of the National Medical Association Meeting.

Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The JUMP Program Expands Community Aeroponic Gardens with 12 New Garden Towers at the Urban League of Greater Hartford in an Effort to Reduce Food Insecurity

Tower Gardens ULGH


Earlier this week members from the CT Convergence Institute’s JUMP Program, graduate students, and volunteers from the Urban League of Greater Hartford safely congregated outdoors (using proper social distancing and wearing masks) to assemble a year-round community garden of 12 new aeroponic garden towers. The CT Convergence Institute is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Hartford in an effort to reduce food insecurity throughout the city of Hartford, especially in the inner city, which has been traditionally considered a “food desert” due to a lack of healthy and affordable foods. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation in Hartford worse.  In an effort to alleviate this crisis, the JUMP Program has geared its mission towards experiential nutrition education in an effort to reduce food insecurity by providing healthy food grown in the community garden and making it readily available to the city of Hartford.

Currently, there are 5 functioning aeroponic gardens located at the Parkville Senior Center and Parkville Elementary School in Hartford. Dr. Helen Wu, the leader of the JUMP Program was able to incorporate the scientific gardening elements in to the 5th grade science curriculum of Parkville Elementary. Earlier this year, the students were able to enjoy the first crop of healthy vegetables that they grew on their very own.

The JUMP Program hopes to expand the mission even further in the very near future. If you are interested in learning more about how you can benefit from these aeroponic gardens, stay tuned for the next JUMP event which will focus on combating hunger and fostering healthy eating.

6/ 23 COVID-19 and Black Communities Workshop

Tune in for a historic public workshop featuring world renowned experts in Science, Engineering and Medicine to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Black Community. The workshop will examine various elements of COVID-19 that increases case numbers in Black communities and will also focus on addressing current and future challenges.  Provided by National Academies Roundtable, the united front strives to provide the building blocks necessary to form a resilient community.

Title: COVID-19 and Black Communities: Understanding the Landscape, Developing Ideas to Address the Challenges, and Building a Community of Action that includes Black Physicians, Black Engineers, and Black Scientists

When: June 23rd from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM EDT

How to join the Zoom workshop: Click here to register


9:30 AM EST   Opening Remarks, Introductions, and Workshop Goals

Victor Dzau, M.D.

President, National Academy of Medicine

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair of the Roundtable

Mark Alexander, Ph.D. Camara P. Jones, M.D., M.P.H. Cora Marrett, Ph.D.

Co-Chairs of the COVID-19 Action Group


Moderator: Hannah Valantine, M.D. Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health

10:00 AM    

Garry Gibbons, M.D., Director, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

Richard E. Besser, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, President, Aetna Foundation

11:00 AM        Discussion with Roundtable Members


Moderator: Mark. Alexander, M.D., Treasurer, 100 Black Men of America

11:30 AM

Session Objective:

  • To discuss why Black people are more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, and why once infected, Black people are more likely to die from COVID-19.

Cyde Yancy, M.D., Professor of Cardiology, Northwestern University School of Medicine Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., University Professor, University of Connecticut

Camara P. Jones, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Fellow, Morehouse School of Medicine

12:30 PM        Discussion with Roundtable Members

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM     Break for Lunch


Moderator: Louis Sullivan, M.D., Former Secretary, Health and Human Services, President, The Sullivan Alliance

1:30 PM

Session Objectives:

  • To understand the landscape of work being performed regarding COVID 19 at the National Academies
  • To explore synergies between the Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine and other National Academy Initiatives
  • Panel Group Presentations and Panel Discussion

Harvey Fineberg, M.D. Chair,  Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious

Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats


Cora Marrett, Ph.D. Advisory Committee Member,

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Marsha McNutt, Ph.D., President, National Academy of Sciences

2:30 PM                      Discussion with Roundtable Members


Moderator: Cedric Bright, M.D., Associate Dean, East Carolina University Medical School

3:00 PM

Session Objectives:

  • To explore ongoing and new ideas for addressing COVID-19 in the Black Community
  • To examine the role of Black Doctors, Scientists and Engineers in partnering with other in the Black Community to generate community response and community resilience.

Scot Esdaile, National Board Member, NAACP

Martha A. Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE, President, National Black Nurses Association Gilda Barabino, Ph.D., President,  Olin College

Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D., President, Morehouse School of Medicine

4:00 PM          Discussion with Roundtable Members

4:30 PM          Wrap-up and Next Steps by Workshop Co-chairs

5:00 PM         Workshop Adjourned

Dr. Laurencin Invited as a Panelist for the Virtual African American Cultural Center Town Hall Meeting

AACC town hall meeting

On the evening of June 4th, Dr. Laurencin participated in the UConn African American Cultural Center virtual town hall meeting as a panelist on the topic of “Racism and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the African American Community”. Amongst Dr. Laurencin were nine other panelists with a wide array of backgrounds who provided various perspectives on the discussion.

The UConn African American Cultural Center (AACC) was established in 1968 to support African Americans in all aspects of campus life. The AACC serves as a liaison to academic support departments and assists students in navigating the many resources of the University community such as residential life, the dean of student’s office, financial aid, and other student affairs departments.

Dr. Laurencin Sponsors and Presents at a CT Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Community Event

On Friday, June 5th Dr. Laurencin sponsored and participated in a webinar put on by the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project titled “Truth and Reconciliation- A Conversation about Race and Policing”. For years, the killing of unarmed Black people has sparked calls for reform. The death of George Floyd by a white police officer has laid bare an open wound in our nation and inflicted additional trauma on people of color plagued by a history of institutionalized police violence and systemic racism. The protests erupting across the country demonstrate the urgency in which these issues still need to be addressed. The webinar enabled an open and honest discussion about policing and race relations in the state. Panelists discussed how to reconcile the past and explore ways to heal the community.

Dr. Laurencin serves on the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board. The advisory board was established (in 2012) for the purpose of advising the Office of Policy and Management with respect to the adoption and standardized methods and guidelines pursuant to Connecticut General Statute 54-1m. The advisory meets on a monthly basis and is open to the public.


Watch the forum here