APRIL 13, 2021  

7:00PM-8:30 PM








To Watch The Forum

Please Sign Into

Facebook- Stronger Than Sarcoidosis


YouTube- Stronger Than Sarcoidosis


Sponsored by

Frank Rivera-President

Stronger Than Sarcoidosis


Rhonda R McCullough-President/CEO

Bernie Mac Foundation



Rodney Reese- Founder/CEO-

Sarcoidosis Awareness Foundation of Louisiana 


Chasta Posey

Sarcoidosis Patient Ambassador

Rhonda (1).jpg
Bernie Mac.jpg


APRIL 13, 2021 



Social Justice and Mental Health effects everyone in the world. When being Chronically Ill or having Sarcoidosis, the stress is multiplied.

Then you throw in COVID-19 the stress is something that not only effects their mental health, but it also effects their physical health as well.

When a Patient has to deal with stress it just doesn't effect them it effects their Caregivers, Family Members, and Friends.

We decided as organizations to make sure we help not only our community but all those that deals with chronic illnesses.

This event will be not only for The Sarcoidosis Community but all the Communities with any types of illnesses.


Stronger Than Sarcoidosis and Bernie Mac Foundation believes Physical and Mental Health and Community Relations for the Sarcoidosis Community is extremely important. Stronger Than Sarcoidosis, Bernie Mac Foundation and Sarcoidosis Awareness Foundation of Louisiana understand that both physically and mentally all Sarcoidosis patients, caregivers and family members face different struggles and diagnoses. 


Due to the social justice happening in the United States many Sarcoidosis and Chronically Ill patients, caregivers and family members are depressed, anxious and stressed. We are trying to help our community by showing them alternatives to protesting since the community can’t protest due to immune compromised systems and also to help them with controlling the mental and physical aspects that racial injustice is causing.


On behalf of Stronger Than Sarcoidosis an organization run by patients for patients, Bernie Mac Foundation, and Sarcoidosis Foundation of Louisiana, we would like to thank you for your support for social justice and mental healthcare for all Sarcoidosis Patients, Caregivers, Family and anyone else dealing with a chronic illness.


Stress is very harmful for anybody, but for Sarcoidosis patients stress is deadly both physically and mentally.


Sarcoidosis (pronounced SAR-COY-DOE-SIS) is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of granulomas—tiny clumps of inflammatory cells—in one or more organs of the body. When the immune system goes into overdrive and too many of these clumps form, they can interfere with an organ’s structure and function. When left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to fibrosis, which is the permanent scarring of organ tissue. This disorder affects the lungs in approximately 90% of cases, but it can affect almost any organ in the body. Despite increasing advances in research, Sarcoidosis remains difficult to diagnose with limited treatment options and no known cure.

Disease presentation and severity varies widely among patients. In some cases, the disease goes away on its own. In others, the disease may not progress clinically but individuals will still suffer from some symptoms that challenge their quality of life. The rest of patients—up to a third of people diagnosed with the disease—will require long-term treatment. Sarcoidosis is considered chronic in people whose disease remains active for more than 2-5 years; in this population Sarcoidosis can be debilitating and life-threatening.


Ethnicity also plays an important role in Sarcoidosis epidemiology, disease presentation, and clinical outcomes. The reported disease incidence is five in 100,000 for Caucasians and 39 in 100,000 for African Americans.


Mental Healthcare is also a very important part of your Self Care as Sarcoidosis and Chronically Patients. Patients and many doctors always think about the physical aspect of having this Rare Disease called, Sarcoidosis. They tend to forget about how the mental healthcare aspect also is a big component to self care in patients and caregivers and family members. We as a Sarcoidosis community must treat each other with respect and dignity both socially and mentally. Please remember this #YOUARENOTALONE!!



Chasta Posey:


National Sarcoidosis Ambassador

Reverend Walter P. Turner III.jpg
Rhonda (1).jpg
Dr Johnson.jpg

Agenda is subject to Change


Chasta Posey

National Ambassador for Sarcoidosis

Welcome Everyone







Reverend Walter P. Turner- Opening Prayer

Bernie Mac Foundation Board Member, Pastor New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church, President of Illinois Faith Based Association







Rhonda R. McCullough

President and CEO

The Bernie Mac Foundation 




Ansel T. Johnson MD 

President of The Bernie Mac Foundation Medical Advisory Board, Optometrist/Clinical Director/Founder of The Vision Salon Eye Care Associates, Recipient of The Bernie Mac Foundation Healing Hands Award




Sarah Anker.jpg
Rhonda (1).jpg
Douglas Gaines
Reverend Walter P. Turner III.jpg
Dr Johnson.jpg
2020 photo.png






Claude L King LCPC


A licensed psychotherapist who is passionate about building trusting, healthy relationships with my clients with the purpose of helping them remove mental roadblocks in order for them to live fulfilling and successful lives. Experienced in working with children, adolescents, and young adults in a family context in order to restructure the family hierarchy and improve family dynamics by correcting unhealthy communication patterns and resolving past issues. Strong cultural competence and highly skilled in working with diverse populations of individuals from differing racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds.

  Discussing social injustice in the USA and how it can affect your mental health. 




Sarah Anker

Suffolk County Legislator

Discussing Mental Health from a Government Perspective



Panel Discussion


Rhonda R. McCullough

President and CEO

The Bernie Mac Foundation 




Mr. Douglas T. Gaines 

Bernie Mac Foundation Board Member and Bernie Mac Foundation Financial Chairperson, Founder and CEO Gaines and Gaines Financial Services Ltd.







Reverend Walter P. Turner

Bernie Mac Foundation Board Member, Pastor New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church, President of Illinois Faith Based Association






Ansel T. Johnson MD 

President of The Bernie Mac Foundation Medical Advisory Board, Optometrist/Clinical Director/Founder of The Vision Salon Eye Care Associates, Recipient of The Bernie Mac Foundation Healing Hands Award





Miah Rogers

The Bernie Mac Foundation

Administrative Assistant 






Rodney Reese

CEO and Founder

Sarcoidosis Awareness Foundation of Louisiana 




Gaynell Bland 

Vice President of Shalimare Corporated

Ms. Gaynell's mother (Dorothy Bland) passed away from sarcoidosis complications. Beginning in 2017, The Bernie Mac Foundation has honored the life and legacy of Dorothy Bland. We have honored her memory by naming an award in her honor (The Dorothy Bland Sarcoidosis Warrior Award) and bestowing the award recipient each year with this honor during our annual Purple Carpet Awards. Dorothy Bland Family are contributors of the Bernie Mac Foundation.




Kimberly Jerideau

Serves as a member of the communications team of Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs bureau. In that role, Kimberly fosters relationships with Youth & Community Organizations, Employers and Government Agencies to increase awareness about the great opportunities in Suffolk County.



Dr. Lesley Saketoo

physician and researcher

director and founder

New Orleans Scleroderma and Sarcoidosis Patient Care and Research Center.

Her focuses are clinical trial design and identifying patients' priorities in life-threatening autoimmune illness including pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis, and developing research tools with patients including targeting self-management strategies with yoga, dance and singing for lung health rehabilitation as well as mindfulness practices.


Colleen Merlo , LMSW
Chief Executive Officer

Association for Mental Health and Wellness

An experienced, dynamic and committed non-profit leader, Colleen Merlo, a licensed social worker and a Rocky Point resident, has worked for more than twenty years in the not-for-profit sector, focusing on issues of violence, mental health, gender equity, and poverty. 

Ms. Merlo is the CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW), where she provides strategic leadership to the organization. MHAW Based in Ronkonkoma, the Association for Mental Health and Wellness is a not-for-profit organization that provides programs, services, and advocacy for people in Suffolk County who face mental health challenges, with an enhanced focus on service to veterans.

She is a past co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Long Island, serves on the board of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, as well as the Suffolk County Teen Pregnancy Advisory Board. She is a past board member of MHAW as well as the Suffolk County Family Violence Task Force, chairing the Prevention Sub-Committee. She was honored two consecutive years by Long Island Business News, receiving the Top 50 Women in Business award in 2019 and the Non-Profit Leadership Excellence award in 2020.



Wrap Up



Frank Rivera-


Stronger Than Sarcoidosis



Contact Us

Thanks for submitting!