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National Urban Health Conference underway

Herb Boyd | 4/24/2014, 12:40 p.m.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control cites heart and cancer disease as the leading causes of American deaths. Additionally, 20 percent of American teens are obese, 34 percent of American adults are obese and only 20 percent of Americans perform aerobic exercises for the recommended two and a half hours per week. The Office of Minority Health warns that these numbers are worse for America’s urban centers.

It was statistics such as these, along with the lifestyle changes that they call for, that prompted the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and its Health Committee five years ago to launch the National Urban Health Conference, which will celebrate its fourth conference this week, April 25-27, under the theme “Our Health is Our Wealth.”

The premise of these conferences is that we can manage the changes and choices necessary to achieve healthier lifestyles and healthier communities. Lifestyle recommendations are just one topic among several issues that will be addressed at the fourth annual National Urban Health Conference, along with women’s health, adolescent and family health, diabetes prevention and treatment, financial health and more.

The opening session on Friday, April 25 will feature panel discussions at the New York Academy of Medicine focused on “Building Healthy Communities.” The registration begins at 8:45 a.m., with the panels starting promptly at 9:30 a.m. The New York Academy of Medicine is located at 1216 Fifth Ave. at 103rd Street. A free and open to the public “Wellness Open House” will be hosted by the Emblem Health Neighborhood Care Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 215 W. 125th St. Free testing, clinic and facility tours, medical health coverage information and more will be available.

On Saturday, April 26, the “Uptown Youth Conference and Service Fair: Get Connected” takes place at Minisink Townhouse, 646 Malcolm X Blvd. at 142nd Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is co-presented by the New York City Mission Society and the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. The Women’s Health Conference on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. is hosted by Gran Piatto D’Oro at 1429 Fifth Ave. (between 116th and 117th streets) and will feature two panels on “Diabetes Treatment & Prevention” plus “Women’s Financial Health: Planning for Today and Tomorrow.”

The seventh annual Harlem Celebration of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day is Saturday at St. Nicholas Park, 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will feature tai chi, acupuncture, Ki Energy, energy facilitation and Qigong sessions.

On Sunday, April 27, the focus is on spiritual health at houses of worship in Harlem at First Corinthian Baptist Church, the Riverside Church and Abyssinian Baptist Church and in Brooklyn at Brooklyn Christian Center and Abundant Life Church. In addition, the public is welcome to join the historic and special commemoration of the 192nd anniversary of President Ulysses S. Grant’s birth at the U.S. Grant National Memorial Park, featuring Cheryl Wills, author of “Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale,” which pays homage to the great legacy of her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills, a member of the U.S. Colored Soldiers from 1863-1865 during the Civil War. A special presentation by the Commandant of West Point Academy and a full periodic dress costumed Civil War re-enactment will also take place. The U.S. Grant National Memorial Park is located at Riverside Drive and 122nd Street.

Throughout the conference, special presentations will be made by Gale Brewer, president of the borough of Manhattan; Roger Hayes, assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Health, East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office; and C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

All the events are free and open to the public and presented by the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce in concert with Emblem Health, the New York Academy of Medicine and the New York City Mission Society, and co-sponsored by Citicare, Health First, Metro Plus and the National Parks Service. Media partners include the Amsterdam News, New York Beacon, Carib News, Christian Times, Daily News, Harlem News Group, Hot97, WBAI, WBLS, WHCR, WLIB and WNYC.

For a full schedule and to register to attend, please call 212-862-7200 or visit www.greaterharlemchamber.com.