Influential Black women amplify need for health equity amid COVID-19

2/25/2021, midnight
In appreciation of Black History Month and American Heart Month, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization ...
RODNAE Production from Pexel photo

In appreciation of Black History Month and American Heart Month, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, is bringing together some of the most influential Black women in the country to address the prevalent health disparities affecting Black women, the global COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate effect on minority communities, and the COVID-19 vaccine. In collaboration with the Association’s Go Red for Women movement, EmPOWERED to Serve will host an hour-long roundtable bringing to the forefront the organization’s commitment to health justice and equitable health outcomes for Black women. The EmPOWERED to Serve Black Women and Well-Being Roundtable will be held virtually Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. PST/7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register at the EmPOWERED to Serve website at www.empoweredtoserve.org.

Moderated by Amy Dubois Barnett, vice president of digital for Black Entertainment Television (BET), the EmPOWERED to Serve Black Women and Well-Being Roundtable will convene this crucial conversation with a powerhouse panel bringing together the national leaders of all four of the Divine Nine National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities (www.blackgreek.com) and The Links, Inc.

Panelists will include Mary Bentley LaMar, North Atlantic regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Beverly Evans Smith, national president and CEO of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Valerie Hollingsworth Baker, international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Rasheeda Liberty, international president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D., national president of The Links, Inc.; and Cheryl Pegus, M.D., a member of the American Heart Association board of directors and executive vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness.

All of these organizations, which represent millions of Black women worldwide, have national alliances with the American Heart Association and are jointly committed to improving the social determinants of health in the communities they serve, including health risk factors, especially for historically excluded populations. The American Heart Association is committed to go beyond words and help accelerate social equity by declaring structural racism as a major cause of poor health and premature death.

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association announced plans to invest more than $230 million over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs, while leading additional efforts to drive systemic public health change focused on removing barriers to equitable health for everyone, everywhere.

The American Heart Association works toward a world of longer, healthier lives and is dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, the organization funds innovative research, advocates for the public’s health, and shares lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. For more info, visit heart.org, connect on Facebook and Twitter, or call 1-800-AHA-USA1.