Avenues for Promoting Health Awareness in African Communities
Disparities in healthcare remain a serious problem in African American communities. The history of slavery and other social determinants like systemic racism and access to healthy foods undoubtedly underlie the inexcusably poor state of African American health. It is concerning that Blacks are the least healthy ethnic group, and with the lowest projected life expectancy at birth in the U.S. Further, conditions like hypertension and diabetes, which are risk factors for lower limb amputation, are most prevalent among Black and African Americans.
In 1984, Margaret Heckler, the Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time,provided a detailed review of disparities in healthcare as endured by Blacks and other minority ethnic groups, compared with whites. The report recommended that action be taken to eliminate the disparities, through health education,awareness, and access to healthcare.
Today, various healthcare players are at the forefront of the battle against health disparities. Government agencies,not-for-profit organizations, and healthcare professionals like podiatrists and vascular surgeons are creating avenues through which they can raise the levels of awareness and sensitivity to the issues concerning Black health among the African American population.
African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from diseases that are risk factors for lower extremity amputation, including peripheral artery disease (PAD) and diabetes.But what are the various avenues that help deliver health promotion interventions among the African American populace? Below, we look at some of those.
Black-owned Barber Shops
Barbershops and hair salons have long imparted essential African American cultural constructs like expressiveness and communalism. These entrepreneurial establishments are highly accessible and have over the years been involved in health promotion activities, including formative research and implementation of interventions.
It is common for African American men to hang out at the barbershop for hours beyond their service visit. And because this group has been particularly difficult to target, barbershops have been seen as the perfect avenues for health promotion among African American men.
Black barbershops are powerful social institutions that are being used to raise awareness about the conditions that disproportionately affect Black men, including hypertension, diabetes, and prostate cancer. In a 2016 TED talk, Joseph Ravenell, M.D. suggested that barbershops can have a wide reach for Black and African American men and can be the perfect place to talk about the health issues that affect Black men.
In line with the efforts to fight health in equalities facing Black men in the U.S., Dr. Bill Releford, a renowned foot and ankle surgeon, has also founded a medical outreach service called The Black Barbershop. The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program (BBHOP) has since its inception screened over 30,000 African American men for prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.
By advocating dietary changes and exercise, BBHOP focuses on early detection and prevention of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Using a secure telehealth platform on its website, Black people in under served and under-resourced communities can connect with a broad network of physicians across the country.What’s more, the platform offers a video-based app that remotely monitors patients’ vitals in real-time. BBHOP also leverages AI and cloud services through its mobile and tablet-based app to ensure that patients access timely and quality healthcare.
Akin to barbershops and salons,faith-based organizations like churches and mosques are more than just religious institutions in African American communities. Particularly, Black churches have over the years acted as facilitators of health promotion programs. In fact,Black churches have throughout the 20th century promoted education, political activism, and business within Black communities.
In a study that investigated the role of the Black church in health promotion programs,most Black pastors stated that they try to have a holistic ministry – one that deals with the soul as well as the body. With physical well-being as one of the many facets that make people wholesome, the church can be a focal point and also an essential avenue in facilitating health promotion programs in Black communities.
African American faith-based organizations like churches continue to play a vital role in addressing health disparities. Through their collaboration with community health advisors,they can promote screening and help implement many other interventions. The opportunities to use technology are also likely to support and enhance the capacity of Black churches to sustain health-related programs and interventions.
County-Based Healthcare Programs
In light of the clear health disparities spurred by racial discrimination and other social determinants, the federal and state governments have created and funded programs to address these disparities. For instance, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services established the African American health program (AAHP) in 1999 to help tackle health disparities.
In their programming, the AAHP particularly focuses on cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, maternal and child health, oral health, mental health, and STI/HIV/AIDS. Their Health Promotion Classes are also a great avenue for African Americans living in Montgomery County, MD, to talk about and learn how to avert, manage, and reverse chronic conditions such as cancer,diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
With the advent of COVID-19, AAHP took its Health Promotion Classes online. Attendees can now engage and learn through informal lectures, lively discussions, and Q&A sessions. AAHP nutritionists also demonstrate how to prepare healthy dishes. Through these classes, Black and African Americans in the county can also review their health goals and progress, including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and weight management.
The Health Promotion Classes also include year-long health and fitness classes in which people can learn from trained exercise professionals how fitness can avert, manage, and reverse the risk for chronic diseases. Their Diabetes Prevention Program is designed for those with prediabetes or those at risk for type 2 diabetes. Generally, these classes help raise awareness about conditions that are risk factors for lower limb amputation.
Leveraging Advanced Technology for Amputation Prevention
The Wound Docs is a network of healthcare professionals such as podiatrists, vascular surgeons, and wound care specialists in the country. Besides bringing healthcare professionals together,The Wound Docs is leveraging artificial intelligence and advanced biologics(skin substitutes) for better results in wound care among Black and African American patients.
Exercise Routines for Health and Fitness: Moderate and High-intensity Workouts
There are different types of exercises; you get better results when you choose a combination of activities that cater to your needs. Research shows that you can gain tremendous benefits by doing a mix of four types of exercise: endurance activities, strength training.
Foam Dressings: Benefits And Applications
Non-adhesive foam dressings require the use of an additional secondary dressing to be secured in position. In general, thin foam dressings have an adhesive wound contact layer.
Hydrogel Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
Hydrogel wound dressings belong to the class of modern wound dressings that actively stimulate the wound healing process. They are composed of synthetic polymers with a high water content formed in the shape of sheets, amorphous gels, and foams.
Alginate Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
In the United States, approximately 6 million people are affected by chronic wounds. The number is only expected to increase with the rise in the elderly population. Wound dressings form an essential component of wound care.
How Obesity and Overweight Affects Wound Healing
Obesity and excessive weight are conditions that continue to disproportionately affect Black and African American people in the United States.
Understanding and Tackling Hypertension in African American Communities
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is more prevalent in African American communities than in other racial groups in the United States. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicated that about 5 in 10 non-Hispanic Black adults are hypertensive.
Understanding the Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores or decubitus ulcers, are areas of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They result from unrelieved pressure on the skin, friction, shear, or a combination of these.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Amputation Prevention
With the various technological advancements, amputation prevention through proper wound care is an attractive area for Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2002, the whole world was in awe when Google brain, an Artificial Intelligence research team, could find a cat in a YouTube video.
The Role of Advanced Biologics (Skin Substitutes) in Wound Healing
For a long time now, limb amputation has affected the mobility of African Americans living with chronic diseases. Worse still, studies have shown that limb amputation among diabetes
Know Better, Do Better: Adopting Healthy Lifestyles for Amputation Prevention
Black Americans are twice as likely to develop pulmonary artery disease (PAD) – a leading cause of lower limb amputation – as any other race.
Tackling the Education Gap: Encouraging Medical Careers Among Black Students
Black and African American doctors make up 5% of all active physicians in the country – a mere 45,534 healthcare professionals. With the African American population at about 46.9 million, it is clear why Black communities are underserved.
The Amputation Epidemic in Black America: What Everyone Needs to Know
Peer-reviewed studies have revealed that black patients are three times more likely to lose limbs than the national average. In black populated areas with little or no access to quality healthcare...
Why Are Black People Losing Limbs More Often?
Now more than ever, Blacks and African Americans are losing lower extremity limbs. In recent years, there has been a stark difference in the amputation rates in Black and white communities.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Its Impact On Wound Care
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the narrowing of the arteries in the arms, legs, and internal organs. It’s often caused by atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fat and cholesterol – called plaque – in the arteries.
Promoting Physical Exercise and Mobility in African American Communities
Inadequate physical inactivity has increasingly been recognized as a leading cause of mobility problems and early mortality in the world.
A Spotlight on Healthcare Disparities in African American Communities
Even with promising interventions such as the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare equality in the U.S. seems like a distant goal. African Americans are still more likely to be burdened with chronic diseases
Avenues for Promoting Health Awareness in African Communities
Disparities in healthcare remain a serious problem in African American communities. The history of slavery and other social determinants like systemic racism and access to healthy foods undoubtedly underlie the inexcusably poor state of African American health.
The State of Black Health in America
Over 150 years from the abolishment of slavery, healthcare in America is stilled marred by systemic racial discrimination and inequality. According to the CDC, 20.2 percent of black American adults are living in fair or poor health. This is a visibly higher population compared to white, non-Hispanic (14.1 percent).
Black Nutrition: Are You Eating The Right Diet?
Blacks have dietary preferences born from cultural influence. A study conducted on 7,000 men and women over 45 years living across the U.S. found that Black participants were more likely to eat a diet comprising highly processed foods compared to their White counterparts. Further, 46% of Blacks and 33% of Whites developed hypertension, with diet being the reason for much of the disparity.
Debridement: A Critical Component of Wound Treatment
Debridement is a part of the standard DIME technique for wound bed preparation in chronic wounds.
What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) aims to facilitate wound healing by modifying the pressure over a wound surface.
The Benefits of Telemedicine To Wound Care
Telemedicine is particularly beneficial in long-term care facilities where a significant number of Americans living with chronic conditions such as non-healing wounds reside.
Why are Some Wounds Slow To Heal?
Chronic slow-healing wounds are those that fail to progress through a timely and predictable sequence of repair.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
Chronic non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers and venous insufficiency ulcers remain in the inflammatory state despite adequate management, prolonging wound healing, and adversely affecting the quality of life of patients.
Diagnosis and Management of Pressure Ulcers
Leading research estimates a prevalence of up to 27% of pressure ulcers in patients living at long-term care facilities. Elderly patients (above 70 years of age), obese patients, patients with limited mobility, and those with underlying medical conditions e.g., peripheral arterial disease, and multiple sclerosis are the most at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
Compression Therapy for Wound Management
For patients living with chronic wounds such as venous ulcers, compression therapy can help to ease symptoms and aid wound healing.
Democratizing Wound Care in Hospice Care Facilities
Hospice care facilities provide care for the terminally ill, including patients battling late-stage cancer, heart disease, and kidney failure, as well as those living with chronic non-healing wounds.
Dealing With Diabetic Foot Ulcers During The Pandemic
People living with diabetes represent a subset of individuals with special health needs due to the nature of the disease.
What Clinicians Need To Know About Wound Care Dressings
To healthcare experts, choosing the right dressing is critical to improving wound healing outcomes in patients.