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Black Health Matters Fall Summit- Addressing African American Health in the Age of COVID-19

By Jules Lavallee  

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/07/2020 –  On Saturday, October 10, 2020, Black Health Matters Fall Summit will include the brightest, physicians, and advocates committed to making sure that #BlackHealthMatters! The confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has our society focusing on racial, ethnic, and gender equity and finally health inequities. Utilize this moment to improve your health, NOW!  Roslyn Young-Daniels Founder & President Black Health Matters spoke with us this week.


Tell us about Black Health Matters.

Black Health Matters is the leading health and wellness platform launched to improve health outcomes. We launched in 2012 because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Before the ACA, folks were not aspirational about their health. The ACA helped African Americans and people of color become intentional about their health practices. We decided that we wanted to be the North Star for folks ready to undertake what is necessary to improve their health and that of their family. We launched first with a digital platform that has grown to 2K+ pages. Next, we become active in social and now we have 20K+ FB followers and now we are a leader in virtual health conferences for patients, caregivers, and advocates.


How is your organization addressing African American Health in the Age of COVID-19? 

We have always had a sense of urgency about what we do. The stats showed challenges even before COVID-19:

  • African American adults are 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
  • Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are less as likely than their non-Hispanic White counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.
  • African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. Death rates for all major causes of death are higher for African Americans than for non-Hispanic whites, contributing in part to a lower life expectancy for both African American men and African American women.

Sources: Office of Minority Health

We are staying the course. We have one of the most comprehensive offerings of content on living during the age of COVID-19. This includes mental health in addition to managing chronic disease and participation in clinical trials.


Tell us about your summit on October 10, 2020. Michelle Obama was your guest speaker at your last summit. Who are some of your keynote speakers?  

We are incredibly proud of the work that we’ve done with the Summit. The inspiration for the Summit came from my attending various scientific meetings. I would attend and be inspired by the passion and brilliance of presenters as they discuss new treatments and breakthroughs in science that can extend the life and lessen suffering. Given the health disparities that African Americans face, I thought, why not host this same type of program with the same type of presenters but hold it in churches/centers while everyday people could access this great information for free. Many wondered would a population, so medically underserved support this type of symposia, let alone program 6 hours of it? Well, the answer was yes! We’ve broken the mold by producing a full day on chronic disease management and wellness presented from a clinical point of view. People were drawn to science and wanted to listen and learn from the best and brightest in medicine and advocacy who happen to focus on African American health. We started with 200 and the last Summit drew an audience of 1.3K. While pleased we understand that we have a way to go. But we are encouraged by the energy of our audience for this content.


Why does this summit mean so much to you?

We are able to touch lives! It’s more than just a “drive-by” event. First, the faculty is outstanding. We draw from Memorial Sloan, Weill Cornell, Emory, Grady, Jefferson Health, Cleveland Clinic, and other world call institutions. Second, we film the event and repost the content throughout the year. This exposes new people to the information and can reiterate key learnings for others. We put this content into our weekly newsletters as a series or to commemorate health observances. Third, the content created from the Summit lives on Black Health Matters as a reference. Hence, we call it the Black Health Matters ecosystem. It will make an impact because of the reach of the program, unprecedented access to experts, and that the content is shared within the touchpoints of the attendees’ life.


What are some of the resources that will be offered during the summit? 

We’ll have a virtual exhibit hall where folks can download great information from therapeutic experts.

Please share a few stories about how Black Health Matters has changed the lives of others.

We have received feedback and emails saying how great the program is. Several attendees have asked if they can receive some type of credit for attending. The information shared was just that outstanding.

How has COVID-19 changed your vision for the future? 

We continue to be focused. What has changed is that people are willing to speak more about their mental health. Before COVID-19 and the pandemic of racism exposed, our audience did not share their anxiety about being a person of color. Now, they are more candid about it in hopes that there will be more dialogue and resources provided. (Yes, we cover mental health in our Summits!)

Please see our sizzle reel