The Black Women’s Health Imperative


(upbeat music) – We believe that black
women are inherently resilient, strong, and
passionate about our health, and we’re not defined by
disease, obesity, and poverty. (upbeat music) (upbeat guitar music) My name is Linda Goler Blount
and I’m President and CEO of the Black Women’s
Health Imperative, the only national organization
dedicated to improving the health and wellness
of the nation’s 21 million black women and girls. (upbeat guitar music) Our mission is to ensure
that black women and girls live their healthiest
lives emotionally, physically and financially. (upbeat guitar music) We have a lifestyle
change program called Change Your Lifestyle,
Change Your Life. It grew out of a national
diabetes prevention program. We have now expanded it
beyond diabetes prevention to chronic disease prevention
and risk reduction. – You know I grew up with my
grandmother being a diabetic, taking insulin everyday,
and then my aunts as they got older, were
becoming diabetics. So, I knew that early on I
would need to start taking steps to prevent that
from happening to me. Going through the class
gave you additional tips and recipes and just all
of the information that I learned in the class, being able to take that
back and help my family and see them make
some of the changes, that’s pretty amazing. (upbeat guitar music) Since I’ve started the program
I think as of this morning I’m at 26 pounds down. So, just seeing it
move again (laughs), it’s been so exciting for me. (upbeat guitar music) – What it was is peer to peer
outreach, just face to face contact in our target cities
I think that really added value to the project. – In the field of HIV
prevention, we have a program called Let’s Talk About PrEP. PrEP stands for
pre-exposure prophylaxis. (upbeat guitar music) Black women represent
64% of all infections, where we’re 13%
of the population. So, our program Let’s
Talk About PrEP gets this information to women
where they are, in their hands, on their smartphones. (upbeat music) My Sister’s Keeper
is a new program and it is focused on college
age women, women 18-34. – Unintended pregnancy,
intimate partner violence, and the consequences of
risky sexual behavior are the leading reasons
that young women drop out of college. Through My Sister’s Keeper,
women at historically black colleges and
universities across the country learn how to support each
other in making healthy choices and they also become
advocates in their communities and on their campuses. (guitar music) – One of our main
challenges is breast cancer. When we look at black
women and breast cancer, about 18% of our breast cancers
occur under the age of 50. – When I was 44 no one in
my family had breast cancer or any form of cancer
that I was aware of, so it was a total shock to me. (guitar music) – So, if these guidelines
in fact become policy, that means potentially
another 2,000 black women could die every year
from breast cancer. So, what the Imperative is
doing on the policy front is making sure that
policymakers know that science. (guitar music) There has never been
a comparative index of black women’s health. So, IndexUS will be the
first time we’ve ever looked at black women’s health
from a healthy perspective. We will take what we learn
from healthy black women and use that in our
programs, our policy work, and our messaging and make
it available to organizations who focus on black women’s
health across the country. It makes all the sense in
the world to talk about what’s right with us. There’s far more that’s
right with black women and their health than
is wrong with them. (guitar music) – We partner with the BWHI
cause it’s a great group. Something that’s particularly
close to my heart is BWHI is working very hard
to get more women who are African American,
who are black, into medical research. They have traditionally
been under-represented in many different
kinds of research. They’re working both at
the federal and state level to improve the opportunity
to get policies changed that will help improve
the health of black women. – One of the things that
has always impressed me about the Black Women’s
Health Imperative is that it’s fact based, evidence based,
it’s research based, a lot of data
driven information. One of the things I
want to be able to do as a Board member is to
continue to lead the charge in ensuring that we
have those numbers and that we put those
numbers in front of people. (upbeat music) – [Linda] The Black
Women’s Health Imperative has a bold goal to increase
the number of healthy black women from 9.5 million today
to 12.5 million by 2020. (upbeat music) – My health matters. – My health matters. – My health matters. – My health matters. – My health matters. – My health matters. (upbeat music)

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