Events, Initiatives Focus on Fitness, Mental Health, Other Issues Affecting Minority Communities
Several groups recently launched initiatives that seek to address health issues among minority communities. Summaries of the efforts appear below.
Black Entertainment Television Foundation: The BET Foundation on Thursday announced its Fourth Annual "A Healthy BET Fitness Challenge," a national weight-loss and fitness competition that seeks to address obesity in the black community. The competition, which will also feature a separate online contest, will run through June 8 and award a single winning team that has met weight-loss goals an all-expense paid trip to the 2007 BET Awards in Los Angeles (BET release, 2/8).
- Dekalb, Ill.: The Northern Illinois University School of Nursing will use a $450,000 state grant to increase minority enrollment, the Elgin Courier News reports. Local black and Hispanic residents will be recruited and offered accelerated courses to meet a nursing shortage (Carr, Elgin Courier News, 2/8).
- Greenville, N.C.: The Third Annual Jean Mills Health Symposium this weekend addressed health issues affecting blacks and Hispanics, the Greenville Daily Reflector reports. The symposium -- which featured a health fair, health screenings and educational lectures and workshops and other services -- in the past focused primarily on black health, but an increase in the Hispanic population prompted organizers to expand the offerings, according to Beth Velde, a symposium organizer (Greenville Daily Reflector, 2/5).
- Monroe County, N.Y.: The Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency is using a $240,000 grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation to establish the African-American Health Coalition and address racial health disparities in the region, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports (Stanforth, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2/11).
- New Jersey: The second phase of a partnership between New Jersey City University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that seeks to address a racial mortality disparity among cancer patients in New Jersey will focus on research, the Jersey City Jersey Journal reports. The project, launched in 2005 with a $1.2 million NIH grant, previously centered around education and outreach efforts (Hanlon, Jersey City Jersey Journal, 2/1).
- Orange County, Calif.: The Association for Latino Mental Health Awareness and the Orange County Health Care Agency on Thursday sponsored a one-day conference, "Mental Health Awareness: Stigma Elimination," in which 200 health care workers and students participated in discussions about how to address mental illnesses in the Hispanic community, the Orange County Register reports. According to Ana Nogales, chair of ALMA, Hispanics in Orange County have higher rates of depression and suicide than other ethnic groups but are least likely to seek treatment (Bernhard, Orange County Register, 2/8).
- Richland, Miss.: East Metro Family Medical Clinic recently offered a workshop to educate ministers on diseases that affect black men in disproportionate numbers -- such as diabetes, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease -- hoping they will relay the information back to their congregations, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. The clinic also provided no-cost medical and wellness exams to each participant (Spann, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 2/6).
- San Antonio: A program called "Talk It Up Texas," funded by the South Texas Health Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, seeks to raise awareness about depression among Hispanic teenagers, the San Antonio Express/El Paso Times reports. The three-year-old program was developed to address an increasing rate of depression among teenagers and a need for early intervention and treatment (Pisano, San Antonio Express/El Paso Times, 2/4).