July 30 2004

Ethnic Communities in a Health Crises!

Multicultural Health Festival Addresses Issues Affecting African Americans and Hispanics

Tests for blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and more will be available at a comprehensive multicul-tural health festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1. In addition to a full range of health screenings selected especially to benefit the needs of the community, demonstrations and interactive health education workshops will be offered throughout the weekend by leading physicians from around the country and other qualified health care professionals.

The H.E.R.R.O. (Health Education, Risk Reduction and Outcomes) program is sponsored by the National Medical Association (NMA), the oldest and largest medical association representing the interests of African American physicians, and AstraZeneca, a leading pharmaceutical company. H.E.R.R.O. will be held prior to the opening of the NMA’s Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly at the San Diego Convention Center. Physicians attending the convention will be volunteering at the community health event.

Health care is a family issue and the H.E.R.R.O festival is intended for the entire family. “The reality is that our minority communities are dying from many preventable and/or treatable diseases. The NMA is committed to making a difference. We hope H.E.R.R.O. will be a call to action and encourage people to take care of themselves, see their physicians on an ongoing basis and not wait until their problem is too severe to treat.” said Randall W. Maxey, M.D. President of the National Medical Association.

Dr. Maxey went on to cite startling statistics such as African Americans make up just 12 percent of the population, yet they account for 30 percent of the people with kidney failure or that men of color are diagnosed with prostate cancer at least 60 percent more often than white men and are more than twice as likely to die of it. Dr Maxey called this a health crisis within our communities and that “people of color or not informed.”

Dr. Maxey called for changes in the life style, disease education with the goal of reducing the rate of death within ethnic communities. And a good first step is in attending the multicultural health festival this weekend.

All the services available during the H.E.R.R.O. health festival are free of charge. A partial list of screenings include blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, body mass index and prostate cancer-antigen (PSA). In addition, workshops conducted by physicians will be ongoing covering topics such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease and cancer. Participants will have a chance to discuss their screening results with qualified health care professionals as well as pick up a wide range of health materials. In addition to the screenings and health education presentations and demonstrations, there will be local entertainment, great giveaways, exhibitors and much more.

“Working with the NMA, we can be part of the solution for health care disparities,” said Scott Climes, Regional Business Center director for AstraZeneca in San Diego. “Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity continue to plague the African Americans and Hispanic communities. We hope H.E.R.R.O. is the first step to help improve early diagnosis and treatment and save lives.”

H.E.R.R.O. will take place at the Euclid Health Center located at 286 and 292 [address for both buildings] Euclid Avenue on Saturday, July 31 from 9am – 5 pm and Sunday, August 1 from 11 am – 5 pm.

The annual convention and scientific assembly will focus on obesity, the human genome, profiling of African American physicians, disparities in healthcare, contemporary issues and research updates on contraceptives, resurgence of reflux of esophalgitis in African American patients and prostate cancer are among the dozens of medical and scientific seminars and lectures scheduled.

Scheculed speakers include such dignataries as: Mark McClellan, M. D.; Director of CMS, Richard Carmona, M.D. US Surgeon General; Lester Crawford, D.V.M. Acting Director of the FDA; Francis Collins, M.D., NIH, Director of the Human Genome Institute; U.S. Congressman John Lewis, and Harry Belafonte, actor and health advocate are among the medical, health, legal and industry experts scheduled to speak.

Diahanne Carroll, noted actress and breast cancer survivor, will address a luncheon of women physicians. Stephanie Mills, Broadway star and recording artist will perform at a benefit concert.

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