Verlando Brown, 28, Baltimore, Maryland
Verlando Brown didn’t want to die of diabetes, high blood pressure or a stroke.
But as a college sophomore whose weight hovered near 300 pounds, a doctor said if Brown did not start exercising, death by disease would be his likely fate. So, the West Baltimore native found a personal trainer and dropped more than 100 pounds.
Today Brown is the program coordinator at Johns Hopkins University’s Urban Health Institute. He’s kept the weight off for ten years and uses his position to help others do the same.
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“[The Urban Health Institute] caught my interest because I realized many communities need that access to support to really be healthy and to live longer,” Brown said.
As a kid, Brown recalls living in a tough neighborhood where drugs, crime and limited resources fueled unhealthy habits, stress and mental health issues. Brown sees his job as a way of giving back to the community and helping people explore the intersections of public health, race, class and gender.
Community outreach is also part of the Towson University graduate’s work as the Institute holds town hall style meetings to help residents discuss health concerns and their needs.
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