SPOTTED!!!! - Dr Altreisha N-S Foster
Director/ Virologist Foster-Bentho ConsultancySunday, September 12, 2021
The buzz... The Jamaican-born Minnesota pastry chef created the celebratory cake for the 200th episode of The Bachelor spin-off ( The Bachelorette). The cake featured 200 red roses, and a single-stem rose at the centre, representing the franchise's iconic Final Rose. American weekly magazines People and Us Weekly both featured Foster's cake as they recapped the celebration.
Fun Fact: The 200th anniversary celebration took place at the hotel where she got married: Windows on Minnesota, Hilton Hotel.
Her Rock Foundation... Mother: Lorna Waugh, Grandmother: Viholda Gilbert
She attended St Mary's All-Age School in Above Rocks... until I was nine years old, and later attended Clan Carthy Primary School for Grade 5. I was raised in Golden River, St Catherine, where my mother's family is from. My later years were spent in Ensom City, Spanish Town.
She graduated from UTech in 2000... I studied Medical Technology at UTech. I went to Howard University from 2001-2003, where I studied Clinical Laboratory Sciences. I earned in 2009 a doctorate from the Department of Microbiology, Howard University College of Medicine, specialist areas: Infectious Diseases and Virology. The next chapter was George Washington where I did a Master's in Public Health at The Milken School of Public Health, the George Washington University.
She was a young PhD, who desperately wanted to return home to give back to the country that had given so much to her... I wanted to be home and I created a space for me to be able to do that. The vaccine work I was doing at the time in the USA was so impactful and beneficial in combatting the deleterious impacts of pneumonia in children in communities of colour. I immediately thought of home, and how this must be impacting poor and underserved countries like my own. I did the research, identified the gaps, wrote a grant, and a large pharmaceutical company agreed with me and saw that there was a need to access data on; pneumococcal prevalence in the Caribbean, pneumococcal vaccine uptake and pneumococcal vaccine efficacy in the region. I did that from 2013 to 2016.
She would embed herself into Caribbean communities with her nursing teams... to recruit parents of children six years and younger and seniors 65 years and older, and inform them about the impact of pneumoniae, and access their level of knowledge regarding the benefits of the pneumococcal vaccine, and whether they've had access to the vaccines. The team would subsequently test with consent. I would analyse the data and advocate for parity and equity. Vaccine equality and availability to underserved communities is really the foundation of who I am and this work was really meaningful to me. I show up as my authentic self daily and because of that authentic self I am able to advocate for the poor. My inequities and the health disparities I experienced growing up were really defined by my race and my place in the community...so I really endeavour to do what I can
The journey to Minnesota was predestined... I got married in Minnesota and my husband's entire family is based in Minnesota. Family means everything to us as we were both raised with our family units including cousins being an integral part of who we are. Living in Maryland was isolating for our children as we had no close relatives on the East Coast. It was best and beneficial for our children Kende and K'nedy to be raised in a community of their own and we relocated closer to my husband's family.
My husband is Togolese and a physician. He is a neuro-intensivist and part of the neuroscience/neurosurgery team in the Twin Cities.
My foray into baking is the most intriguing part of me... I was grounded due to a horrible pregnancy in 2016. To maintain a healthy pregnancy I could no longer travel for work and I was just bored. My best friend advised me to take a cookie class. I did the cookie class and I supported a friend, Diwura Ayodeji of Mon Delice Desserts during the summer of 2017. Since then I've been watching YouTube videos practising new techniques and here we are today!
In 2016, baking was introduced to me as a tool to fill a space in my calendar because I didn't know how not to be busy. Baking has also saved me. It has snatched me from the jaws of post-partum depression and has become my centre. When you remove all the other trappings of success, the myriad of college degrees, the financial successes, baking and my children are paramount because they are authentically Altreisha.
I also own a Cake Therapy: It's a baking outlet for system impacted girls who use baking as a tool for therapy. There is, too, Neighbors Doing Good, a non-profit born out of the pandemic to support elderly and house-bound individuals in the Golden River community. We provide on a quarterly basis, food and basic need items, medical check-ups and medication to the often forgotten demographic in our poorest and underserved communities.
Closing the chapter... Altreisha is Jamaican, deathly shy, humble and uber-private. She is a mother, a wife. She is Lorna's daughter, Maas Tiny and Miss Girly's grandaughter. A woman born from poverty, a broken home, broken lives, a survivor of adult indiscretions, but she bakes through the pain, the memories of past hurt. She is alive, she is here and she is ready to serve her country when called to do so.
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