URBAN HEALTH

Lindsay Beane, DrPH, is a public health expert with over 30 years experience in needs assessment, program development, fundraising, strategic planning, and coalition building related to anti-poverty, drug recovery, primary health care, and HIV prevention. She has co-founded four non-profit agencies: two in Boston (Arts in Progress in 1979 and Reel Teen Productions in 1985) and two in Baltimore (the Park Heights Community Health Alliance in 1997 and The Readiness Project in 2012) to foster the cultural arts, urban youth filmmaking, community revitalization, and HIV and violence prevention.

Dr. Beane has provided technical assistance and training to hundreds of national, regional, and grassroots nonprofit organizations and government agencies in the Baltimore–Washington, D.C. corridor. She has also helped to secure over $70 million for Federally Qualified Health Centers, hospitals, HIV providers, and social service agencies that serve the poor in Baltimore City and rural North Carolina. (See “List of Clients” on the Consulting Services page.) She has taught program development and grantwriting in both university and community settings, including at the Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, Goucher College, Association for Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

For the past two decades, Dr. Beane’s public health research and activism has been focused on an under-resourced African American community in northwest Baltimore City called southern Park Heights. Her findings highlight a link between longstanding official neglect of this community and its resultant poverty, environmental degradation, uncontrolled infectious disease, health disparities, and compromised life expectancy. In 1997, Dr. Beane led an effort involving some 300 health and social service providers, government agencies, and neighborhood residents and activists to plan a revitalization of the community. Once planning was completed, she served as the founding executive director of the Park Heights Community Health Alliance (PHCHA). In 1999, Dr. Beane and Ademola Ekulona, a PHCHA founding Board member, were acknowledged as Social Visionaries by the Hood College Bonner Scholars Program for their work.

In 2000, Dr. Beane was compelled to investigate the HIV epidemic, and the devastating impact that unchecked incidence (new cases) was having on the Park Heights community. She also noted dramatic population declines from 1990 to 2000, and again from 2000 to 2010. She continues to explore the possible root causes of this dramatic population decline (especially the decline among young adult males), including dramatically high rates of homicide, drug overdose, AIDS, and incarceration. Further, she is concerned about the consequences of the resultant gender imbalance on the community’s capacity to replenish itself (i.e., a sufficient volume of births to counter deaths and other types of departures).

In 2005, Dr. Beane served as Co-Principal Investigator of a team commissioned by the Baltimore City Planning Department to conduct a comprehensive health and human services needs assessment of the Park Heights community. The team’s findings and more than 300 community resident recommendations for improvement were subsequently incorporated into the city’s Park Heights Neighborhood Master Plan.

Dr. Beane’s first career path was music. She studied classical piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston and the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France. Her career as a performer and piano teacher ended abruptly, however, following a wrist injury in 1981. Instead of giving up music altogether, she co-founded Arts in Progress, her first nonprofit agency, to bring music and the arts into the Boston Public Schools. Dr. Beane eventually went on to earn a doctorate in public health (DrPH) in 2009 from the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University (HCBU) in Baltimore, and was awarded the School’s Outstanding Scholar Award for Excellence in Academic Scholarship. Her dissertation research involved a door-to-door household survey in the southern Park Heights community modeled after the seminal work of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. The study was funded by the National Institute On Drug Abuse at NIH through the “Drug Abuse Dissertation Research: Epidemiology, Prevention, Treatment, Services, and Women and Sex/Gender Differences” program (Grant #1R36DA022949-01A1).

In 2010 and 2012, Dr. Beane traveled to Cuba to learn about the Cuban family-centered universal health system, and to explore the potential for a partnership with colleagues at the Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública to compare the HIV service delivery models in Havana and Baltimore. Dr. Beane currently serves as a reviewer for the Health Promotion Practice Journal of the Society for Public Health Education and the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved of Meharry Medical College.

With the sole exception of her dissertation research at Morgan, Dr. Beane conducts her investigations into urban health independently, unimpeded by the pressures and constraints that an academic setting or research funding would impose. She sees this as crucial to her freedom to explore lines of investigation that she deems critical, regardless of political implications or concerns about embarrassing government officials or institutions.

ALTERNATIVE HEALING

Dr. Beane’s many years in the public health arena were yet to come when her second child was born in 1992. She would eventually learn how to collaborate effectively with doctors, hospitals, and health administrators on a professional level. But at the time that her son received two serious life-threatening diagnoses in his first year of life, she was interacting with these groups, not as a professional, but as the parent of a very sick baby whose prognosis was bleak.

Dr. Beane was initially overwhelmed by her son’s challenges and the dire predictions made by the doctors. Her faith in conventional medicine and an ingrained reverence for doctors made her reluctant to question the standard testing and treatments that were often carried out without her consent as a parent. A loving mother, she repeatedly cringed at the atrocious bedside manners of attending doctors and residents, and she could not stomach the repetitive examinations that clearly caused her young child pain. Most of all, she was unable to accept the status quo treatment regimen given the prognosis that her son would face an early and grim death.

Over time, the same skills that Dr. Beane brings to her public health work came to her aid in dealing with an inefficient and monolithic health care system. She made the best use of her research skills and strived to learn everything she could about her son’s two conditions: Spina Bifida and Cystic Fibrosis. She was obliged to synthesize vast amounts of technical information and ask probing questions of medical staff at every appointment. Eventually, recalling her own early forays into alternative healing as a young adult and the positive results she experienced from acupuncture, herbs, and osteopathy, Dr. Beane was motivated to try alternative healing approaches with her son. The addition of alternative healing into her son’s daily regimen led to a miraculous health rebound and, today, a very healthy 23-year-old young man.

Dr. Beane’s sojourn through the health care maze and exploration of alternative healing is documented in her recently completed memoir, Embracing The Dragon: A Parent’s Journey to Reclaim Hope. The memoir is a balanced mix of documented scientific findings and personal anecdotes, offering parents at a similar crossroads a rich tapestry that is both educational and inspiring. Dr. Beane is currently in search of a publisher.