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Posts Tagged ‘health

A mile marker for the African American cycling community

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By Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio

St. Paul, Minn. — Cyclists from across the country were in St. Paul this weekend for what’s believed to be the first event of its kind: an African American-focused bike festival.

Organizers gave away bikes, took people on rides and held demonstrations in Martin Luther King Park, alongside the annual Rondo Days festival. They said cycling could be the cure for many problems in the black community, including the obesity epidemic.

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Written by Symphony

July 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Dominique Dawes, Olympic Gymnast, Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

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// SOURCE: Washington Post

Dominique Dawes didn’t flip out when the White House called asking her to co-chair the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. “After competing in three Olympic Games, I don’t feel pressure,” says the 33-year-old gymnast, also known as “Awesome Dawesome” for her medal-winning ways.

But the Silver Spring, Md., native — who was named to the position two weeks ago, along with her co-chair, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — knows it won’t be an easy task to whip the nation into shape.

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Written by Symphony

July 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Conference to address black women and HIV/AIDS

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by Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle

blackwomenTony Wafford has taught his three daughters that when they go on a date, they need to be prepared: They carry a credit card, cash for a cab, a cell phone and a condom.

Young black women, he tells them, make up a strikingly disproportionate amount of HIV and AIDS cases in the United States. HIV infection is the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those aren’t statistics you ignore.

Wafford, director of health and wellness for the National Action Network, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights group, is the keynote speaker today at an HIV/AIDS conference about how and why black women should protect themselves – from arming themselves with condoms to practicing ways to talk about safe sex with their partners.

“You’ve got to start the conversation,” Wafford said. “You’ve got to talk about condom usage. And if he ain’t feeling condoms, you’ve got to work out your exit strategy – have him take you home.”

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Written by Symphony

July 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm

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Obama announces FDA picks, food safety measures

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by Darlene Superville, Associated Press

margarethamburgPresident Barack Obama says the nation’s decades-old food safety system is a “hazard to public health” and in need of an overhaul, starting with the selection of a new head of the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Obama used his weekly radio and video address to announce the nomination of former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner, and his choice of Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein as her deputy.

The president also said he was creating a Food Safety Working Group to coordinate food safety laws throughout government and advise him on how to update them. Many of these laws, essential to safeguarding the public from disease, haven’t been touched since they were written in the time of President Theodore Roosevelt, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

March 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm

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Shower to Empower draws 1,000 moms, dads and children

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by Gregory Lewis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

John Cunningham, 19, grew up in Fort Lauderdale pretty much without his father’s guidance.

“He was around when I was a baby,” he said. “I didn’t care when I got older. He calls every now and then. But it doesn’t matter.”

Cunningham had his first child, a boy, when he was 18. His son’s mother, Natsha St. Martin, is pregnant again with a boy due later this month.

Cunningham accompanied St. Martin to a countywide baby Shower to Empower on Friday at Central Broward Regional Park, where more than 1,000 mothers, fathers and children came to learn about family health care and prenatal and infant health.

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Written by Symphony

August 4, 2008 at 6:52 am

Local organization takes kids to camp

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by Ashley Youngblood
Arkansas Matters

A group of local kids are putting their health concerns on hold for a week of fun at a special camp. This morning, children left for Camp Dream Street in Oklahoma. These kids are battling cancer, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and other blood related diseases, but for one week, swimming, camping, fishing, and making new friends will take the place of doctor’s visits and blood tests. Members of the organization, 100 Black Men are providing the transportation to the camp. “With gas prices the way they are, we’ve got several requests that we can assist to get the students to camp. This camp is held every year, but this year some of the parents are having a difficult time,” said Eddie White, President of the local chapter of 100 Black Men. 100 Black Men is a world wide organization committed to mentoring, educating, and motivating young people.

Written by Symphony

June 30, 2008 at 7:57 am

Outreach Programs Help African American Breast Cancer Patients

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Emory University researchers have developed a two-pronged outreach program that appears to significantly improve early-stage breast cancer detection among African American women. The program, which emphasizes health education and patient support, owes its success in large part to the work of specially-trained Community Health Advocates, who encourage women to get screened for breast cancer, and Patient Navigators, who help women if they’re diagnosed.

“This is an example of a cancer-control intervention that works,” said Otis Brawley, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society. “It demonstrates that health outreach, combined with changes in hospital programs, make screening more accessible to people.”

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Written by Symphony

June 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Cookie fights HIV/AIDS with magic

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by Shauntel Lowe
Oakland Tribune

People cheered when she said she grew up in Detroit. People laughed when she asked if anyone knew her real name.

And people applauded when “Cookie” Johnson described her response when her husband, former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, told her just months after their wedding in September 1991 that he was HIV positive.

“I told him I was going to stand by him and we were going to fight this thing together,” she said.

As part of “I Stand With Magic,” the Johnsons’ program aimed to reduce the spread of HIV among African-Americans, Johnson spoke at a town hall meeting at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts on Tuesday along with an area physician and HIV/AIDS patients.

The meeting followed a session of free, rapid HIV screenings, provided by the California Prevention and Education Project.

The event was a collaboration with Abbott Laboratories, a health care company that has been doing HIV research for more than 20 years.

Johnson, who later claimed she is “shy,” spoke for about 20 minutes before a question-and-answer session.

She said Magic told her he had HIV two weeks after she found out she was pregnant with their son, who recently turned 16.

A few weeks after he told her and she slapped him — a “love tap,” she said — Johnson said Magic told her he wanted to make a public announcement. “I’m ready to be in this fight with you, but I’m not ready to share it with the world,” she recalled  telling her husband.

But since then, the Johnsons have canvassed the world, educating people about HIV/AIDS and fundraising for research.

Johnson said she felt she needed to reach out to black women after hearing they are diagnosed with AIDS more often than white women.

“Maybe they’ll wake up and listen to me,” she remembered thinking.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women are diagnosed with AIDS nearly 23 times as often as white women.

African-Amercians account for 50 percent of AIDS diagnoses in the United States.

Dr. Robert Scott of Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation cautioned all sexually active people against feeling immune to HIV/AIDS.

“Some people look great, they feel fine, but the foundation of their body is being eroded,” he said.

He added that even people in serious relationships should be careful.

Johnson said people should get educated about HIV/AIDS and get tested. She said churches should not cast as sinners those with HIV.

“The church needs to really get on board with doing some real forgiveness,” she said.

Johnson said she was relieved to find out she did not have HIV a few weeks after her husband broke the news.

Now, she is trying to prevent other women from contracting the virus.

“It can happen to anyone at anytime if you’re not protecting yourself,” she said.

Recognizing Women Leaders and Assist Organizations Fighting Heart

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Press release

The combined passion and heartfelt efforts of five “queens of hearts” – - Charkarra Anderson-Lewis, Andrea Estes, Barbara Gathers, Teresa Kennedy and Sandra Waters — has helped inspire change in the lives of thousands of African American women. Today, these five leaders were honored with a 2008 Cheerios Sisters Saving Hearts grant award for their work to raise awareness for heart disease prevention particularly among black women. Each winner receives a $5,000 check from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and Cheerios, which she can donate to the non-profit, heart- health organization of her choice.

As the only cold cereal clinically proven to lower cholesterol, Cheerios is committed to empowering women who are working to fight heart disease. The grant program is in its second year and honors heart-health heroes with $5,000 each in unrestricted funds for operating expenses. The five winners also will be awarded a trophy representing their commitment to their local communities, and recognized on “We are very proud to recognize these amazing women for their tireless work, commitment and compassion on behalf of their friends, family members and neighbors,” said Elsie L. Scott, PhD., CBCF’s president and chief executive officer. “Statistics show that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, and we know it disproportionately affects those of African heritage. However, we can find inspiration and hope woven throughout our Sisters Saving Hearts winners’ stories. With continued effort, we can end this terrible disease.”

The 2008 winners are:

Charkarra Anderson-Lewis — Hattiesburg, MS After losing her mother to heart disease, Charkarra took steps to ensure she would not endure a similar fate. Charkarra shared her story — and her passion — for healthier hearts for all and created My Mother’s Heart Foundation in 2006. Since, she has touched thousands of women in her Mississippi community through wellness seminars, workshops, health fairs, screenings, church presentations and events. Her $5,000 grant will help fund the third annual Queens of Healthy Hearts Royal Slumber Party over Mother’s Day weekend. More than 250 sisters of all ages will arrive with pajamas and pillows in tow to learn how to be healthier and happier through preventative care, fitness and diet.

Andrea Estes — North Versailles, PA Andrea’s heart-inspiring dedication has touched an estimated 25,000 people in the Pittsburgh area. After losing her husband, a minister, to cardiovascular disease, Andrea took a job with the American Heart Association to support her two adopted children. Here she has helped expand the depth and breadth of the community’s Sister to Sister conference, which celebrates 12 years of successful outreach to African American women. Andrea has inspired her staff, colleagues and volunteers to strive to fight — and eventually overcome — heart disease. Andrea’s $5,000 grant will be gifted to the American Heart Association.

Barbara Gathers — Charleston, SC After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2005, Barbara was fortunate to receive a heart transplant. A year later, she vowed to help others by forming the Women’s Resource Project, a non-profit organization that identifies critical issues affecting women such as health and family. She has worked with the BET Foundation to actively arm hundreds of women with heart disease prevention tactics. With the $5,000 Cheerios Sisters Saving Hearts grant, Barbara plans to host a women’s health forum that will spark awareness through motivational workshops and panel discussions. The power packed event will also put heart-healthy tools and wellness tips within attendees’ reach relating to the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Teresa Kennedy — New York, NY Teresa, described as a woman who is “smart with a heart,” has actively helped thousands of individuals from all walks of life discover the path to a healthier heart. She wears many hats in her role as teacher, trainer and speaker. Eight years ago, she opened one of the first yoga studios in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Since then, she has served as a holistic health counselor, a life coach, an ambassador for the American Heart Association and a speaker for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She holds an MBA from Harvard and a PhD in world religions. Teresa plans to donate her $5,000 grant to fund a session on stress and heart disease through Harlem’s H.E.A.L. (Healthy Eating And Living) initiative.

Sandra Waters — San Bernardino, CA Sandra is described by her peers as “the voice of heart health in the Inland Empire’s African American community.” Using her knowledge and her voice, Sandra served as the president of the Inland Empire Black Nurses Association where she reached out to help communities of color better understand their increased risk for heart disease — and prevention techniques. She teaches nursing at San Bernardino Valley College and works with both the American Heart Association and the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County. She also was an active participant on the California Heart and Stroke Task Force. Sandra’s ultimate goal is to establish health resource centers in neighboring churches as a way to readily share information and resources with African American women and families.

“From coast to coast, each honoree is truly making a difference by leading with her heart and improving overall health in her community,” said Sarah Rohland, Cheerios marketing. “We applaud their commitment and their ability to touch so many women of color with their work. They inspire us all with their extraordinary efforts to promote wise lifestyle choices and we hope more people will hear their stories and be encouraged to take positive steps to end heart disease.” The CBCF and Cheerios received dozens of nominations for individuals and organizations from across the U.S. from February 1 through March 15, 2008.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges based on their creativity, quality of service, reach/impact of their work and their direct ability to help educate women on the importance of lowering their cholesterol. The grants are part of Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts broader heart-health initiative, which arms consumers with useful information on heart disease prevention and provides steps to a heart healthy lifestyle via diet, exercise, and regular cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. For more information about Cheerios Sisters Saving Hearts visit

Aetna Foundation Awards $240,000 Grant to BET Foundation for Healthy Lifestyle Program for African American Girls

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Aetna and the Aetna Foundation announced today that they have awarded a $240,000 grant to the BET Foundation to expand its Health Education & Active Learning (HEAL) Academy to help prevent obesity and promote healthy lifestyles for African American girls between the ages of 10 and 18.

The HEAL Academy is a multi-level, interactive after-school education program that encourages healthy lifestyle changes, physical activity and optimum health. Girls learn why a healthy lifestyle is important and how to make healthy choices through community service projects, coursework and group competition.

Addressing health disparities and encouraging wellness are important initiatives at Aetna, said Chairman and CEO Ronald A. Williams. We have dedicated significant time, effort and resources to focus on the issue and seek solutions. HEAL Academy will encourage regular physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles among young people, and will have a direct and positive impact on the problem of obesity in the African American community. Aetna is proud to support this important initiative.

The HEAL Academy teaches African American girls to analyze, evaluate and make healthier lifestyle choices, and empowers them with the knowledge, skill and opportunity to become active health advocates for policy changes in their schools, families and neighborhoods.

The BET Foundation remains steadfast in raising public awareness about the prevalence of obesity and associated health problems among African Americans. We are extremely thankful to Aetna for recognizing our effort by supporting the HEAL Academy and its mission to promote healthier lifestyles among African-American girls, said Lynda Dorman, vice president and executive director of the BET Foundation. With the right tools, resources and motivation, we are helping young girls improve not only their long-term physical and emotional health, but also the overall health of their community.

SOURCE: Yahoo 

Written by Symphony

March 28, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Remembering Dr. Sophie Womack

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Dr. Jimmy Womack knew soon after meeting Sophie Thompson that he’d someday marry her.

He also knew he would not be able to keep up with her ambitious nature, so the marriage would have to wait a few years.

“I knew I could not manage that relationship and successfully complete medical school,” Womack said with a soft laugh Sunday. “So our first year after graduation, I proposed.”

Dr. Sophie Jan Womack, who broke boundaries in Michigan’s medical landscape for women, died early Sunday of complications from surgery. She was 53.

Womack, a neonatologist, was elected the first black female president of the Wayne County Medical Society of Michigan. She also was the vice president of medical affairs for Harper University Hospital and Hutzel Women’s Hospital — the first woman to hold the position in the Detroit Medical Center system.

Read the entire article at

Another article- Detroit medical pioneer Sophie Jan Womack dies at 53

Written by Symphony

February 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

Tony Rankin talks culture gap in medicine

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1medicine.jpgTony Rankin is the first black president-elect of the Orthopaedic academy.

About six years ago, the academy gathered information for a culturally competent care guidebook and accompanying DVD for doctors with chapters on African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, women and religions including Islam.

The academy compiled interviews with patients of different races and cultural backgrounds with doctors familiar with diverse patients and a plethora of research. For example, the guidebook encourages doctors with Native American patients to “ask if patients may seek a healer or medicine man.” It also recommends that doctors with Latino patients break the ice by asking them their country of origin.


Read more about addressing the culture gap in medicine

Written by Symphony

February 15, 2008 at 7:42 am

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Feb 7

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the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), recognized each year on February 7th. NBHAAD is a national mobilization effort designed to encourage African-Americans across the United States and Territorial areas to get educated, get tested, get treated, and get involved with HIV/AIDS, as it continues to devastate Black communities. This year’s theme is “Prevention is Power.”

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day planners and organizers nationwide are committed to increasing awareness of this deadly disease. Confirmed celebrity spokespersons involved in this year’s campaign include: Tatyana Ali (Privileged, The Brothers, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air); Angela Bassett (Meet the Browns, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale); Dr. Creflo Dollar (founder of World Changers Church International); Tony Dungy (SuperBowl 2007 Champ and head coach of the Indianapolis Colts); Patti Labelle (renowned singer and entertainer); Angel Moore (ER); Sydney Poitier (Knight Rider series); General Colin Powell (former U.S. Secretary of State); Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha, Sister Act, To Sleep With Anger) Theresa Randle (State of Mind, Bad Boys I & II); Gina Ravera (The Great Debaters, The Closer, Soul Food); Tavis Smiley (world renowned speaker and author), and Tracie Thoms (Cold Case)

Read more at Health News Digest

Written by Symphony

January 26, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Twin surgeons serve in war as army reservists

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“We know our first obligation is to God and country, and we’re going to meet that obligation,” says Vance Moss, a surgeon urologist from Howell.

“But we’re also doctors, and we know the terrible needs in a place like that, so we’re hoping to do what we can for the children of Iraq,” says Vince Moss, Vance’s identical twin and a cardiothoracic surgeon.

The brothers, just starting out on their own with a private practice, are giving it up to go on their third tour in a war zone. Their first two, in 2006 and 2007, were in Afghanistan, where they patched together men and women and many children shot and bombed and burned and ravaged by disease.

Vince and Vance Moss, 36, left behind a clinic in Afghanistan they still support financially and thought they might someday go back to, continuing their work with humanitarian organizations to repair the hurt. Once they were established in New Jersey.

“But we got our orders and it’s time for us to serve again,” says Vince.

The twins, both Army majors in the active reserves, leave for Iraq Jan. 26, turning over their practice temporarily to colleagues who will care for the patients from their office, the Mid-Atlantic Multi-Specialty Group.

Read more of Bob Braun’s article at

Written by Symphony

January 17, 2008 at 2:22 am

Blacks focus of new medicine and research

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According to a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, 691 new medicines are being developed to treat major diseases affecting blacks.

Research like this has been a long time coming and its emergence is due to several factors including market demand, the understanding of unique patient response to the same medications, and a realization that genetic differences between ethnic groups demand research that addresses these differences,” says Dr. Ian Smith.

Smith is the medical and diet expert on VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club and creator and founder of The 50 Million Pound Challenge.

Among the medicines in development are 229 drugs for the treatment of cancers that disproportionately affect African Americans; 114 medicines for the treatment of cardiovascular disease (African Americans have the highest prevalence of high blood pressure in the world, according to the American Heart Association); 95 drugs to treat diabetes; 77 medicines to treat respiratory disorders (according to the American Lung Association, blacks have the highest asthma rate of any other ethnic group and are three times more likely to die from asthma than whites); and 67 medicines for the treatment of HIV (African Americans accounted for 49% of HIV cases diagnosed in 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

Read more at Black Enterprise

Written by Symphony

January 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm


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