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Full-Court Press for Good Health

Essence Carson, former Scarlet Knights women’s basketball star, helps underserved communities with their health.

Essence Carson
Essence Carson serves as an ambassador for Health Equity Initiative, a nonprofit organization that promotes the value of good health.

The summer was not the full court-press success that basketball star Essence Carson had envisioned. Instead of making headway in her career as a starting guard for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s New York Liberty, Carson RC’08 spent most of the summer on the sidelines after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that often derails athletic careers. Carson missed most of the Liberty’s 2013 season and will skip playing this winter in Europe, but she expects to make a full recovery. “I’m already ahead of schedule with my rehab,” she says.

The multitasking Carson, who plays four musical instruments and is a producer and rapper (she was a music minor at Rutgers), has been busy during her recovery. She recently finished her first album, “Broken Diary,” which is scheduled for release later this year.

And Carson has continued her work as a celebrity ambassador for Health Equity Initiative, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to strengthening programs and communications about health care. Carson said she sees her work as an ambassador as more than just lending her name to the campaign; it’s a chance to help those underserved communities like the one in which she grew up, Paterson, New Jersey.

“This work is needed, at all levels, to encourage people to think more about health care and to take advantage of programs that are out there,” Carson says. “It starts with kids, and then you educate their parents and give them information. Hopefully you’re instilling an awareness that helps guarantee that everyone has knowledge about their health, and the importance of health care and available programs.”
                                                                                                                                                  — Karyn D. Collins