MIAMI – With the recent political drama around health insurance, there has been a lot of conversations around health lately. Considering April is National Minority Health month it would be a good idea to look at ways that health issued are being addressed in minority communities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Office of Minority Health (OMH) has the theme for National Minority Health Month in 2017 as “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities.”
Per the 2013 CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities report, there are many areas that the disparities are very clear, for example, the report shows that “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Non-Hispanic black adults are at least 50% more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely (i.e., before age 75 years) than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
The prevalence of adult diabetes is higher among Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and those of other or mixed races than among Asians and non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence is also higher among adults without college degrees and those with lower household incomes. The infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic blacks is more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites. Rates also vary geographically, with higher rates in the South and Midwest than in other parts of the country.”
The above examples many areas of health where the health care disparities have been present for centuries. A core reason for this in the United States is slavery, then segregation and institutional racism. Growing xenophobia can only exacerbate these disparities in the United States.
In Miami three very accomplished practitioners are involved in projects to help change the narrative, Doctors Nelson Adams III, Cheryl Holder and Anthony Hall. They have come together over the past decade to support an annual initiative founded by Doctor Adams called the Walk A Mile with A Child community outreach program. The initiative, which serves as a walk a thon and fundraiser at the same time, occurs in Historic Overtown, ground central for the history of Black Miami. This year it will occur on the 22nd of April.
The Walk A Mile With A Child initiative has been held since 2008 and has become a great opportunity for galvanizing the community in the context of improving health conditions and bringing people from outside of Overtown to form alliances with persons of Overtown for this very worthy cause. Dr. Adams expresses also that the event becomes a wonderful opportunity of mentorship between parent and child, and/or guardian and child.
The Walk A Mile with A Child initiative has become an event that not only educates all those in attendance around the facts of disparities in health conditions amongst different groups in the United States and the ways to combat them, but also to put in place habits of interaction within and outside families that deal directly with improving health care.
The Initiative is not just educational and evolutional for family and community, it is also entertaining and fun. This year participants will be entertained by the electrifying Booker T Washington High School band and their cheerleaders leading the walk. Along with that there will be a health fair filled with games and on a warm Miami day, yes, refreshments. As said above, the walk is about health so there will be screenings, fitness demonstrations along with discussions about nutrition in Gibson Park where the walk ends.
Dr Adams has a passion in being the type of medical practitioner that teaches persons about the importance of keeping good health and the things that impact health. The preacher in him has his presentations filled with applications of biblical structure and the compassion to support events that help communities be in a better place when it comes to health, events such as this walk. Adams states that “This walk is just one of those things that brings attention to the importance of attaining and maintaining our health”.
According to Dr Adams, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure if we can teach folk how to prevent problems we are much better off than trying to wait until there is a problem …… therefore Walk A Mile With A Child is training children in the way that they should go and hopefully one day they won’t depart from it”, throwing a little biblical truth here.
Dr Holder also touts the importance of participation in the walk and is asking all adults to bring a child with to walk. Dr Holder sees Overtown “as a symbol of a thriving black community during the 30s and 40s that can rise again and that’s sorta like how I see other people despite everything with some simple changes we can thrive again.”
“We do this walk on the 22nd of April and we raise the funds to help support science experiments that we do throughout the community, for scholarships and to help different communities to increase their knowledge about health and to increase the number of kids interested in this. If we can make more doctors, we can make richer people for the community who will then share their money with the community.”
Dr. Adams declares: “Let’s get moving!”. To be involved with the Walk A Mile with A Child walk register and get instructions at www.jwbms.org/about-us/walk-a-mile/
The walk is on Saturday, the 22nd of April, 2017 at Gibson Park 401 NW 12th Street in Overtown! The Walk starts at 8:30 am. Registration begins at 8:00 am.