I fuse fitness x mental health treatment in underserved communities around NYC
My name is David and I am a social worker, certified personal trainer and writer. I specialize in providing integrative, preventive health services for individuals affected by structural inequities related to poverty, race and access to opportunity. Since August 2015, I have served as fitness consultant for Lantern Community Services. I also serve as fitness consultant for CAMBA, Inc. and Housing & Services, Inc. In this capacity, I run fitness programs at nine supportive and affordable housing sites for formerly homeless adults and families throughout New York City. I provide personal training, group exercise instruction and mental health counseling to individuals. Meanwhile, I collaborate closely with social service staff to foster truly integrative programs.
Four Core Attributes of My Work
- Introduce preventive health programs to address chronic health problems proactively, thus improving quality of life and reducing emergency room visits.
- Contrast the traditional counseling experience with a new setting where individuals may feel comfortable discussing personal issues.
- Add a tool (suggested by clinical studies) to the substance abuse treatment toolkit
- Build community and break down barriers in the client-worker relationship
- Licensed Master of Social Work, New York University
- Nearly a decade of experience in social service as a counselor, case manager and social work intern
- American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer
- American Council on Exercise Senior Fitness Certified Trainer
- YMCA-Certified Group Exercise Instructor
- American Safety & Health Institute CPR/AED Certified
- Presenter, National Health Care for the Homeless Coalition Annual Convention 2017
- Move Toward Wellness: Integrating access to exercise in programs serving individuals impacted by homelessness
- Panelist, Supportive Housing Network of New York Annual Convention 2016
- Panelist, Supportive Housing Network of New York Annual Convention, 2017
- QUARTZ: Why are Americans with severe mental illness dying 25 years younger than their peers?
- RUNSTREET: Changing the World One Step At A Time: David Brand Fuses Fitness and Social Work
- BRONXNET: Open University
Motivation to provide integrative and preventive health services
Before earning my MSW, I worked as a case manager at a supportive housing site in Harlem where most of the tenants had a mental illness. Meanwhile, nearly all of them experienced preventable health problems related to obesity such as diabetes, hypertension, joint pain and respiratory problems. Their endemic deconditioning reflects broader social trends. In fact, individuals with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population, often due to preventable chronic illnesses. In addition to my case management responsibilities, I facilitated a weekly Healthy Living Group focused on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation and exercise. The group featured a core group of tenants and lasted for nearly two years. My passion for exercise, commitment to mental health services and my experience with the Healthy Living Group motivated me to earn my personal trainer certification so I could provide fitness opportunities to individuals who face barriers to exercise participation related to income, mental health or lack of access.
I live in Queens and I am available to work throughout the NYC-Metro area.
David F Brand © 2016