The African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry, Freedom Church of Seattle, local churches and health providers will sponsor a day of health and wellness activities as part of the federal Department of Heath and Human Service's "Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day" campaign.
The national campaign was launched Sept. 19 in an effort to bring individuals and health providers together to help eliminate health disparities. The health and wellness symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Freedom Church of Seattle, 9601 35th Ave. S.W.
"Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day" is vital because too many racial and ethnic minorities are dying prematurely and suffering form preventable diseases, said Mary Diggs-Hobson, executive director of the health ministry. Such diseases include heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality and conditions that can be prevented with vaccines.
"We look at what some of the health disparities are in various communities of color and determine what to focus on as far the exhibits and workshops," Diggs-Hobson said. "African Americans are at in increased risk for heath complications, so we're trying to help increase awareness, provide access to services and decrease health disparities."
Locally, the symposium will focus on prevention and self-care; community members will have opportunities to take charge of their health through free health services. Individuals will be able to increase their awareness about health conditions; determine their health status by receiving free preventative health screenings for diabetes, breast cancer, HIV, blood pressure, and vision and foot problems; and be able to visit with health care professionals.
In Seattle-King County, one out of 10 adults does not have health insurance. The uninsured are more likely to require emergency care, and they have poorer medical outcomes and a lower quality of life.
"With communities of color facing various health risks including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, we need to try to eliminate and decrease health disparities and help educate the community and provide resources," Diggs-Hobson said.
"It's about helping to increase awareness, and we provide screenings for various types of health risks and provide access to people."
With regard to breast and cervical cancer, population groups with lower screening rates include older women, the uninsured, ethnic minorities (especially Latina/ Hispanic women, African Americans and Asian Americans) and low-income women.
Low-income people tend to be twice as likely to have diabetes than those with higher incomes. Diabetes rates are significantly higher among African American, Latino/ Hispanics, American Indian and Alaska Native, and some sub-Asian Pacific Islander populations, compared to Whites.
Children in low-income neighborhoods in King County are three times more likely to be hospitalized with asthma than those in higher-income neighborhoods.
The event will feature performances by Baile Folklorico, Sukutai Mbira and Zimbabwean Dance and Music Ensemble, Sharper Skills, Northwest Connection Community Choir and Freedom Church of Seattle.
For more information, call the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry at, 206-850-2070, or visit www.aarth.org.