The School of Professional Studies presents Columbia Community Scholars LIL NICKELSON and VIVIAN WILLIAMS-KURUTZ for a discussion of issues surrounding health and wellness in the Harlem community and beyond.
LIL NICKELSON is a food, dining and culture writer focused on “Healthy Living for People of Color,” a multi-faceted approach to promoting healthy living habits for residents of Upper Manhattan. Lil’s love of home cooking dates back to her childhood spent preparing meals from scratch at her mother’s side. When she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Lil began relying on her cooking skills and her love for walking to take charge of her health; she encourages others to do the same. In “Dining with Miss Lil,” her monthly online column for Harlem World Magazine, she has shared her quest to establish a healthier relationship to food. Nickelson holds a Master of Business Administration from New York University and has worked at, as well as taken courses at the Institute of Culinary Education.
VIVIAN WILLIAMS-KURUTZ is founder and executive director of the Harlem Wellness Center (HWC), which combats health inequity by targeting populations most vulnerable to adult onset diseases that are preventable by lifestyle choices. HWC offers a holistic approach to wellness that includes yoga, mindfulness meditation, bodywork, special workshops, outdoor activities, weekend retreats, healthy eating, social interaction and reconciliation (racial, socio-economic, gender, generational) to reinforce community in an ever-changing neighborhood. Since 2003, Ms. Williams-Kurutz she has been committed to cultivating a health-conscious Harlem community engaged in holistic living practices that fortify body, mind and soul wellness. She is certified as a personal trainer, meditation teacher, yoga instructor and Thai massage practitioner. In addition, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in mental health counseling. With her husband, she is also a co-owner of Plowshares Coffee on the Upper West Side.