The American Heart Association's Cultural Health Initiatives strive to establish priorities and strategies to educate emerging populations including Hispanics and African-Americans, and to reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke disparities through its programs, messaging, media, advocacy and partnerships that reach out to and empower underserved communities to live healthier lifestyles.
Power to End Stroke educates African-Americans about their disproportionate risk of stroke and shares how to win the fight against that risk. African-Americans are among those least aware despite having a high prevalence risk and have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to whites. The Power To End Stroke (PTES) awareness and education campaign urges African Americans to join the movement to fight stroke by:
Statistics show that African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease than Caucasians and are less aware of their cardiovascular risk factors. Research studies reveal that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African-American males and females age 20 and older. The American Heart Association’s Search Your Heart program is a community-based educational program/tool to reach high-risk audiences. Search Your Heart delivers knowledge and action steps to encourage people to act upon this knowledge and reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke. By empowering these individuals with information, the program shows how to take necessary steps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, including making healthy lifestyle changes and developing heart-healthy habits.
Heart disease and stroke are the number one killers of Hispanics across the nation. More than 60 percent of Hispanic men and women are physically inactive—one of the risk factors for heart disease. In an effort to educate the Hispanic community about heart health, the American Heart Association launched the Conozca Su Corazon program. Conozca Su Corazon is a comprehensive, informative program that teaches the causes, symptoms and preventions of cardiovascular disease. The program consists of three modules: heart disease and stroke, nutrition and physical activity, and a focus on diabetes. Downloadable versions of the bilingual kits are available for free at americanheart.org/searchyourheart.
The Joy Program is a successful program that aids in reducing disparities in cardiovascular disease among African-Americans. The program takes the message of healthy living into churches that are social and cultural centers in black communities. Churches enrolled in the program commit to one year and agree to provide staff to coordinate 90-minute weekly exercise and nutrition sessions at the church.
The Joy Program is funded by the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation in conjunction with the American Heart Association and Bon Secours Parish Nurse Network. The sponsoring organizations provide resources, such as baseline and follow-up health screenings, an exercise instructor who goes to the church at least twice a month to supplement what the churches offer, training for program facilitators, pedometers and water bottles, and printed health information for participants. Participants have lost pounds and inches, as well as points off their cholesterol and blood-pressure readings, and have gained appreciation for the virtues of water, exercise and portion control.
To learn more about the Joy Program, contact the Richmond office of the American Heart Association at (804) 965-6592.