The American Heart Association: Championing Health Equity for All

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April 14, 2022
African American woman holding an equal sign.

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County. 

The American Heart Association: Championing Health Equity for All

April 13, 2022 Podcast:

Audio file

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Catalina Berry - the Community Impact Director of the American Heart Association in Central Texas. Her role is to partner and collaborate with other local organizations, such as the AMEN program and Black Men’s Health Clinic to create policy, systems, and environmental changes to promote health equity.

By 2024, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a goal to achieve cardiovascular health for all, which includes identifying and removing barriers to health access and equity. Catalina shares that the AHA’s mission for community-based outreach and collaboration is to promote a “relentless force for longer and healthier lives for all.” The American Heart Association strives to promote heart health in the community by providing health education and awareness. African Americans in the United States have a greater prevalence of high blood pressure than other racial ethnic groups, making heart health especially important. Additionally, Ms. Berry notes that some of the medications used to treat high blood pressure aren’t as effective within this population.

The American Heart Association decided to collaborate with the UT Austin School of Nursing’s AMEN program to establish trusted places to “meet people where they are.” Ms. Berry explains that the American Heart Association and the AMEN program share similar values and goals to promote health and wellness throughout the community. AHA’s mission also fits with the work being done to build the Black Men’s Health Clinic by striving to normalize and promote important health conversations, regardless of race or gender. Catalina adds that AHA is also collaborating with various other organizations such as the Parks and Recreation department, federally qualified health clinics, Boys and Girls Club, and Austin Public Library to create the greatest impact and “serve those who need it most.”

Ms. Berry shares with listeners that the EmPOWERED to Serve program is a national AHA campaign to promote awareness on structural racism that perpetuates racial inequality, and the importance of coming together to reduce these disparities. Catalina invites listeners to volunteer for EmPOWERED to Serve and give back to the community and support the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball fundraiser. This year’s annual fundraiser was held on May 7th, 2022, where they hoped to raise funding to support more research and initiatives to improve health outcomes.

For more information, please visit the American Heart Association – Austin Affiliate website.

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