We are pleased to announce that our 2018, and first since its inception, Warren J. Ferguson scholarship recipient will be Precious Bedell.
UMass Medical School created the Warren J. Ferguson Scholarship to honor its namesake’s contributions to the field of criminal justice health. The scholarship was announced March 16, 2017 at the Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health, which Dr. Ferguson founded 11 years ago.
Ms. Bedell works as a Human Subject Research Coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Rochester with the Women’s Initiative Supporting Health, (WISH). WISH is one of 21 clinics of the Transition Clinic Network (TCN) that provides health care to individuals recently released from jails and prisons. Bedell was certified at City College in San Francisco as a Post Prison Health Worker (PPHW) Certificate, a 21-unit course of study that prepares students to work with formerly incarcerated clients and community members. Currently she is training community health workers with The Health Profession Opportunity Grant with WISH and Action for a Better Community. She is also a doctoral student at The Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. Her vision is to engage community members in improving their lives spiritually, mentally and physically.
Bedell is devoted to improving the lives of people affected by incarceration. She is a specialist in providing resources and helping those reentering from prisons and jails on how to navigate complex medical, social and reentry services. She founded and directs the Turning Points Resource Center, a nonprofit that supports the families of those incarcerated, which is a prison ministry at the Episcopal Dioceses of Rochester, NY. She worked on behalf of Rochester’s “Ban the Box” campaign, which aims to prevent employment discrimination against those with criminal records. They won the support at the local level. Their advocacy continues for support at the state level.
Bedell’s community service is wide-ranging. She volunteers with the Monroe County Reentry Task Force, is a Board Member of the Safer Monroe Area Re-Entry Team and the Academic Consortium of Criminal Justice Health, member of the Steering Committee for Ticket to Ride, (fundraiser to purchase bus passes for individuals with mandated court appointments) the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network, is a member of the African American Health Coalition at Common Grounds Health Association, Facing Race Embracing Equality, and she is on the planning committee of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She continues to be a guest lecturer in the University’s Department of Political Science, and has spoken about addressing health disparities at a summer brown bag series hosted by the Department of Psychiatry Department Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, which she is also a member.