Community Education Services
HEAL connects the community to the wide scope of medical treatment options that support individual and population health management. HEAL understands that showing underserved communities how to access the services and resources that improve overall health standards and health outcomes can only come from a committed process. Teaching the impact on community health and how this benefits the community-at-large is the great difference HEAL contributes.
In promoting proper management of personal health choices, HEAL encourages participation in patient assistance programs and other cost support options for prescription drugs. In addition to traditional treatment options, HEAL “demystifies” clinical research, and explains the consequences of failing to achieve “fair representation” in clinical trials and the reasons for the lack of minority involvement:
- Limited access to specialists or specialty care centers that serve as referral sources
- Fear of exploitation, potential unintended outcomes, stigmatization, and discrimination
- Unique cultural and linguistic differences
- Minority physicians might be best suited to gain their trust, but tremendous disparities exist in the biomedical research workforce.
Need help educating, enabling and empowering your congregations’ health literacy? We’re ready to partner with you to provide educational materials to share with your congregations or host a virtual event: contact us.
HEAL program attendees can learn more from a local physician-investigator explaining details of a current clinical trial program. Those interested can provide contact details or request future communications regarding other clinical research opportunities.
Learn more from these links:
- The Need for Awareness of Clinical Research
- Minority Inclusion in Clinical Trials Act of 2015
- A Resolution by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators
- Diversity in Clinical Research: A Promise Yet To Be Fulfilled
- African American Participation in Clinical Research
- Clinical Trials Education / Clinical Trials Registry
The immune system plays the vital role in protecting our bodies from germs and other cell changes that could make us ill (NCBI). An autoimmune disorder is a condition affecting the immune system causing abnormally low, or abnormally high immune system activity (WebMD). There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases including diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) (Healthline).
Diabetes is a chronic health condition effecting more than 34 million adults in the U.S., though nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults with diabetes are unaware they have it (CDC). There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, though type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases (CDC). The most common racial ethnic groups to receive a diabetes diagnosis are American Indian/Alaska natives, Hispanic, and Black Americans (CDC).
- American Diabetes Association
Lupus is another autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the patient’s tissues and organs leading to inflammation in the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs (Mayo Clinic). The difficulties around lupus are diagnosis, lacking one single test that can diagnose the disease, and symptoms that closely mimic other health issues (Mayo Clinic). A leading risk factor for lupus is race, with the disease more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans (Mayo Clinic).
- Lupus Foundation of America
Bones are living, growing tissue mostly made of collagen (National Institutes of Health). Our bones protect our vital organs from injury and store calcium and phosphorous supplies. Without the right bone regimen, osteoporosis may occur, causing bones to become weak or break, in some cases needing surgery to repair (National Institutes of Health).
Osteoporosis occurs when bone health is weakened through losing too much bone or making too little bone. Patients with osteoporosis will have larger spaces between bone cells and lower bone mass or densities (National Osteoporosis Foundation). Around 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass (National Osteoporosis Foundation). Around 50% of women and 25% of men 50+ will break a bone because of osteoporosis in their lifetimes (National Osteoporosis Foundation).
The brain, the three pound organ that allows humans to think and function, is complex and when working correctly, functions quickly and automatically (National Institute of Health). Being a complex organ, the brain has many possibilities for error leading to 100 million Americans suffering from devastating brain disorders including degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (National Institute of Health).
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, an umbrella term referring to memory and thinking decline symptoms (Alzheimer’s Association). The disease causes destruction and death of nerve cells in the brain, leading to memory failure and changes in personality (Alzheimer’s Association). The disease is around two times more prevalent in Black Americans over white Americans (Alzheimer’s Association).
Cancer represents the collection of diseases related to the spreading and unusual dividing of human cells (National Cancer Institute). The human body is made up of cells. These cells grow and divide to form new cells when needed (National Cancer Institute). When cells are cancerous, they do not follow this growth pattern, instead continuing to grow and divide, usually forming a solid tumor of tissue (National Cancer Institute). There are over 100 types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer (National Cancer Institute).
Breast Cancer is the second most common cancer in women, usually forming in lumps in the cells of the breasts (Mayo Clinic). While Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer slightly less often than white women, Black women are significantly more likely, 42%, to die from breast cancer than white women (Sisters Network). The 5-year survival rate for white women with breast cancer is 91%, but only 81% for Black women with breast cancer (Sisters Network).
- Touch: The Black Breast Cancer Alliance
- FDA: Mammograms
- FDA: Mammography Saves Lives
- Sisters by Choice
- Tigerlily Foundation
- My Style Matters
Lung Cancer is divided into two main types – non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) (American Cancer Society). The majority of lung cancer cases are NSCLC, but regardless of the type, the cancer usually begins in the tubes that connect your windpipe and the lungs, or the bronchi (American Cancer Society). The third most common cancer in men and women, about 1 in 15 men, and 1 in 17 women will develop lung cancer in their lifetime (American Cancer Society). The chances for Black men specifically are 15% higher for developing lung cancer (American Cancer Society).
- S. Preventive Taskforce: Lung Cancer Screening
Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer formed in white blood cells called plasma cells (Mayo Clinic). The cancerous plasma cells grow in the bone marrow, ousting healthy blood cells causing complications like bone problems, infections, anemia and reduced kidney function (Mayo Clinic). Black Americans, especially Black men, develop multiple myeloma at 2 times the rate of white Americans (Even the Odds).
HEAL Partnership events:
- New Salem Baptist Church, Columbus, March 24, 2021 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayZolauNFUM
- International Myeloma Foundation: African-American Initiative
- Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation: MM in African Americans
Prostate Cancer refers to cells in the prostate growing out of control (American Cancer Society). About 1 in 8 US men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes, but when caught early, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 99% (Prostate Cancer Foundation). Black men are more 1.8 times more prone to prostate cancer, and 2.2 times more prone to dying from prostate cancer than white men (ZERO Cancer).
The kidneys filter the human body’s blood for toxins, waste and excess fluid, controlling blood pressure and keeping the bones healthy (CDC). Most people have two kidneys, about the size of a fist, and are located on each side of the spine below the rib cage (NIH). In a single day, when functioning properly, the blood circulates through the kidneys many times a day, filtering around 150 quarts (NIH). When damaged or functioning improperly, chronic kidney disease may occur.
Chronic kidney disease develops when the kidneys are not functioning at full capacity and filtering the blood as well as they need to, causing other health complications (CDC). Treatment includes dialysis and a kidney transplant. While 33% of US adults are at risk for developing kidney disease, the stakes are 4 times higher in the Black community than white Americans (National Kidney Foundation).
HEAL partnered with Emory University to establish a Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program (KDSAP) student organization working together to fight kidney disease and kidney disease disparities.
- NephCure Kidney International: Rare Kidney Revolution Roundtable Findings. HEAL's own Howard Mosby participated in the event, which resulted in five specific recommendations, including how to meet the needs of communities of color.
- Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: African American Perspectives of Testing for Genetic Susceptibility to Kidney Disease
- Black Health Matters: Living with FSGS
Sickle cell disease is a group of blood disorders causing a constant shortage of red blood cells when the sickle cells die early (CDC). Sickle cell disease is inherited and diagnosed at birth when both parents pass on a sickle cell gene (CDC). There are over 100,000 patients living with sickle cell disease in the U.S., but most people with SCD are Black with 1 in 13 Black babies born with sickle cell trait (Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee).
HEAL Partnership events:
- Mount Zion Nashville Baptist Church, Nashville, December 5, 2020 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTi7LRS78XY
- Hematology: Sickle Cell Disease